Five Keys to the Game: Habs-Rangers #3
It’s Possible: Coming back from a 2-0 deficit in a playoff series is a difficult task, but it’s certainly not impossible. Since 1943, when best-of-seven series were integrated into NHL play, the Canadiens hold a 5-16 record under similar circumstances. On three of five of these occasions when they won the series, the Canadiens ultimately went on to win the Stanley Cup in 1966, 1971 and 1993. Talk about momentum…
Déjà Vu: The Canadiens and Rangers find themselves in familiar territory right now. When the two clubs last met in the playoffs, the Canadiens were the team that came into Madison Square Gaden chomping at the bit and headed back to Montreal with a 2-0 series lead. The Blueshirts, however, went on to win the next four games to eliminate the Habs. That being said, one should never count their chickens before they hatch.
Road Advantage: After seeing their power play struggle over the course of the first two games against the Rangers, the Canadiens are hopeful they can turn things around in that department when they head south of the border. The numbers suggest they will. Of the teams that remain in the hunt for the Stanley Cup, the Canadiens are the team that boasts the top power play success rate, lighting the lamp 32 percent of the time. Michel Therrien’s troops also boast the third-best power play among all teams that took part in the NHL playoffs behind the Blue Jackets (33.3%) and Lightning (33.3%).
One Billion Dollars Later: If there’s one mythical building still standing in hockey, it has to be Madison Square Garden. For their part, the Canadiens have done their fair share of damage at The World’s Most Famous Arena. Since MSG opened its doors at its current location, the Habs hold a 47-45-13 record in the Big Apple. In addition, Michel Therrien’s troops are undefeated at the “new” MSG after the building underwent costly renovations in 2013. They might have only contested one tilt in the newly-renovated facility, but it was one to remember. The Canadiens blanked New York 2-0 on Oct. 28, 2013, as Rangers fans celebrated the opening of MSG once all modifications had been completed. Here’s hoping that Therrien & Co. can spoil the party again come Game 3.
The Weaver Difference: Mike Weaver is solid defensively. He’s proven that throughout the 2014 playoffs. While the veteran rearguard has registered just one goal and four points, Weaver boasts the top plus-minus differential in the NHL at plus-8. He's ahead of nine players with plus-7 differentials, all of whom have amassed more points than him. Weaver was also one of just two Habs – alongside goal-scorer Lars Eller – who managed to finish last Saturday afternoon’s 7-2 loss in Game 1 on the plus side, posting a plus-1 differential.