While the Senators are not looking so good, despite Daniel Alfredsson's return, the only other Canadian team left in the East is engaged in a tight race.
That team? The Montreal Canadiens.
As a few writers have already suggested here at Bleacher Report, coach Carbo should make a few changes prior to game four.
For the first three games, coaches Carbonneau, Muller and Jarvis went with the same lineups. Obviously, we don't change a winning team, but when the winning team starts to get caught in the opponents' defense, it becomes a struggling-to-win team.
A forward combination of Kovalev, Plekanec, and A. Kostitsyn makes the first trio. Well, Plekanec went with the I-blame-myself type of speech for his recent play yesterday, saying, "I play like a girl."
In normal times, I would have felt flattered that a hockey player compared himself to me—but now is not the time.
Of course, we know the real star lineup so far: Kostopoulos, Smolinski, and Begin. They have been amazing.
If I were part of the coaching staff, I would first suggest that "tie guy" put his weird looking lucky tie back on. He had it on during game one. If you've noticed, it seems like a real rainbow, with all sorts of colours mixed.
Rumours are he will auction it after the playoffs. Oh, sweet!
Then, I would go for:
Kovalev, Plekanec, and A. Kostitsyn;
S. Kostitsyn, Higgins, and Dandenault;
Streit, Lapierre, and Latendresse;
Kosto, Smolinski, and Begin (the grinder!)
Who goes out? Ryder. Who goes in? Ryan O'Byrne.
As much as I liked the previous French lineup (Dandy, Lapierre, and Latendresse), I am not sure it would be the best move ever to have Streit with Higgins.
The first and fourth lines should remain the same. Kovalev and Co. have been consistent all season, and so far in the series, Kovalev and Kostitsyn have three points.
As for the so-called little girl playing with them, as soon as he resolves his little identity crisis, it should be okay. Of course, the sooner the better!
For the defense, as soon as Streit is gone, it is fine by me. Obviously, Hamrlik, Komisarek, Markov, and Georges can handle the physical aspects of the game. For Brisebois, well, he's got the experience and I believe he can hit hard, too—no?
In the final minutes of game three, the Habs became again the fast-skating and amazing passing team we knew during the season. They played well despite Tim Thomas being strong in front of his net.
The Habs do have the necessary ingredients to get through this series without too much drama. So, please, no more drama!