With another day off, comes more speculation.
Will the Canadiens move on? Will the series shift back to Boston? Who's in and who's out?
After splitting the games in Boston, the Canadiens grabbed a 3-1 series lead and are looking comfortable to win the series at home, winning both games at the Bell Centre by 4-1 and 3-2 scores. With Carey Price backstopping Montreal consistently and solidly, Montreal's chances are looking good especially at home.
The Bruins, on the other hand, are looking to breath a little life into their post season lives. Marc Savard did that in Game 3 with his first post season marker, yet the Bruins were stifled by Price and a Montreal team committed more to clogging up the neutral zone and making Boston defenders make more mistakes. Boston's chances rely on how well they can implement a Game 2 and 3 strategy to clog up the Canadiens, instead of letting it be done to them.
Game 3 was, in retrospect, a classic playoff game. The refs let the players play, calling only six minors, including none in the third period. It was good old-fashioned Original Six hockey at its best...a 1-0 win.
Series Stats So Far:
Montreal -- 9 GF - 5 GA
Boston -- 5 GF - 9 GA
Both rookie goaltenders in the playoffs, Tim Thomas and Price have been sensational. Price has posted a 1.20 GAA with a .957 SV% to boot. At the other end, Thomas has a 2.16 GAA with a .924 SV% for the Bruins.
Marc Savard leads all Bruins with three points, followed by Peter Schaefer with 2 points. Defenseman Mark Stuart is a team low -4, while Schaefer is a team high +2.
Patrice Brisebois, Bryan Smolinski, Alex Kovalev, and Tom Kostopolous lead the Canadiens with three points a piece. Sergei Kostitsyn and Kostopolous lead the team in goals with two apiece. Kostopolous is a team high +3, while Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Kostitsyn, and Mathieu Dandenault are a team low -1.
Important Stats For Game 5
Very rarely do the Canadiens not finish a team off after leading 3-1. Over the last six times they have had the edge against Boston, the Canadiens have pulled through with a win, while going 15-5 against all other NHL teams in the playoffs when leading 3-1. On the other hand, the Bruins are 4-16 all-time when facing a 3-1 hole in a series. While the Canadiens overcame a 3-1 deficit against Boston in 2004, the Bruins have never done such a feat.
Montreal Ice Tips
Bob Gainey has indeed recalled some Bulldogs, since Hamilton's chance at repeating as Calder Cup Champions ended with a 7-1 drubbing to the Syracuse Crunch in the last game of the season. AHL Player of the Month Corey Locke, Kyle Chipchura, Matt D'Agostini, Duncan Milroy, Yann Danis, and Pavel Valentenko are the players on the list to be recalled. Even though many of these players, possibly minus Chipchura, may not get much ice time, Carbonneau will need them if there were any serious injuries to occur.