Five Keys to the Game: Habs-Rangers #5
Fifth gear: It's win-or-go-home time for the Habs. In the past 10 seasons, the Canadiens have won Game 5 while trailing 3-1 in a playoff series on two occasions. Against the Bruins in 2004 and the Capitals in 2010, the team was able to come all the way back and win the series in seven games. Could the Habs pull off the trifecta?
Fairytale run: One of the most memorable and unlikely playoff stories in recent NHL history is the 2010 Montreal Canadiens' run to the Conference finals. That edition of the Habs knocked off the President's Trophy-winning Washington Capitals in seven games after trailing three games to one and then eliminated the defending Stanley Cup champs in the Pittsburgh Penguins to reach the third round of the postseason. Holdovers from that edition of the team include Tomas Plekanec, P.K. Subban, Brian Gionta, Josh Gorges, Travis Moen, Andrei Markov and Carey Price. In the enemy camp are Benoit Pouliot and Dominic Moore, two current Rangers who wore the bleu-blanc-rouge in the spring of 2010.
Fat Tuesday: Historically, the Canadiens have done most of their heavy lifting on three days of the week: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Montreal has compiled an impressive playoff record of 10-3-1 against New York all-time on Tuesday nights. Besides a loss on April 23, 1996, the Canadiens were last felled by the Rangers in regulation time on March 29, 1932.
Subban has to be Subban: P.K. Subban has been a force to reckoned with for the Canadiens in the playoffs. Even though he’s only scored one goal against the Rangers, the talented rearguard has been a shooting machine in the postseason. Subban has fired 42 shots on goal, including 16 against the Rangers. Only 29 active NHL defensemen have racked up 42 shots or more during a single playoff run. In addition to that impressive shot tally, the 2013 Norris Trophy winner also boasts 13 points in 15 playoff games.
Mr. Playoffs: Daniel Briere is a true playoff performer. The 2009-10 edition of the Boston Bruins can attest to that. When Briere was a member of the Flyers, his team trailed the Bruins 3-0 in the series. The Gatineau native went on to torch the B’s for three goals and six points over the next four games to help Philadelphia stage an impressive comeback. Briere also scored the winning goal in Game 6. One wonders what the veteran forward has in store come Game 5 and beyond…