Stanley Cup Playoffs: Montreal Looks to Recover in Game Four

Matt EichelSenior Writer IApril 15, 2008

There's nothing like a home crowd and a playoff game than to turn everything around in a series.

Tell that to the winner of every game thus far in this best-of-seven series.

Despite a loud chorus of fans at the TD Northbank Garden Sunday night, the Habs still lost out on their first road game of the playoffs.  Marc Savard shattered any chance of a 3-0 strange hold on the series as the Bruins once again slowed the Habs down with a muscle brand of hockey and are back in the series.

With an ever increasing intensity in the hitting aspect of this series, Guy Carbonneau is expected to make changes in the lineup to add grit and size on the back end.  Expect either Francis Bouillon or Ryan O'Byrne to be inserted back in the lineup.  Despite inexperience, O'Byrne could add a world of hurt on the blue line for opposing Bruin forwards.  Bouillon has experience, and despite his size, could help the Canadiens' physicality as the series wears on.

Montreal needs the power play to start clicking, as it is sputtering at a 1-for-18 rate this playoffs, with Alex Kovalev's OT winner in a 3-2 Game 2 win being the lone PP marker.  The line of Kovalev-Tomas Plekanec-Andrei Kostitsyn also have to step it up as they did in the regular season or this could be a long series.  So far, the third and fourth lines have contributed the majority of the Habs offense, with Tom Kostopolous and Bryan Smolinksi leading the Canadiens in scoring with 3 points apiece.

Finally and obviously, the Canadiens could use Saku Koivu back, not only for his leadership, but also the intensity he brings with every shift, especially in clutch situations.  Koivu is going to be re-evaluated Wednesday and then the certainty of his comeback may become clearer.

Whatever needs to be done, the Habs better do it, or it might be a brand new series, with one team thinking upset.  Game 4, Tuesday night, 7 PM ET in Boston.