The Habs travel to Boston Thursday to face the team that defeated them in a heart breaking OT, game 7 loss in last season’s first round of the playoffs. The Canadiens and Bruins are currently tied for the bottom in the Northeast division this season, and Habs fans are hoping for some vengeance against the Cup winners from last season, in their own backyard.
The Canadiens are coming off their first home win on Wednesday night, a dominating 5-1 win over the Flyers. The win broke a terrible 6-game losing streak for the Habs, and provided Carey Price his 100th career win. That slump cost assistant coach Perry Pearn his job, as GM Pierre Gauthier was looking for a significant shake up. Pearn had been tasked with handling the special teams groups, both of which have struggled mightily.
Boston is off to a 2-5-2 start, leading hockey pundits to claim they’re suffering from the proverbial ‘Cup hangover’. The Bruins will be well rested, as they last played Saturday night at home, a 4-2 loss to San Jose.
The projected Habs line-up for this contest is:
Plekanec – Gionta
Moen – Eller – Kostitsyn
Cammalleri – Desharnais – Cole
Darche – Nokelainen – Blunden
Gorges – Subban
HW’s Keys to Victory
Speed Kills: The Habs forwards must use their speed to their advantage against Boston. They’ve shown that several times last year. When the team plays into the Bruins grinding style, then the Canadiens will be at a disadvantage. Forechecking the Bruins defence in their own zone is a must. Keeping the puck away from Zdeno Chara as much as possible is also a key strategy.
Keep The Momentum Going: The Habs played a good game, and got a good share of breaks going their way last night. Andrei Kostitsyn’s goal had to go to video review, and after it was deemed a good goal, the Habs took a 2-1 lead, and never let up. That was a turning point to the game, that seemed to rally the troops.
Net Presence: The Habs forwards need to get in front of the Boston goalie. One of the Habs goals last night had two forwards in front of the Flyers goalie, although vertically instead of horizontally across the crease. The distraction was enough to be a factor on a power play goal. If Tim Thomas is in the nets, he can be riled up with some jostling and screening.
Game time is 7:00 EST and the game can been seen on RDS, TSN-Habs, NESN and the NHL Network in the U.S.