Scott Audette/Getty Images
Tomas Plekanec controls the puck.
During the 2013-14 regular season, the Montreal Canadiens were in the bottom third of the league when it came to puck possession, ranking 22rd in Fenwick-for percentage and 26th in Corsi-for percentage.
As these are the best means by which to measure puck possession, it's obvious that the Canadiens don't have the puck all that often.
And yet they finished the season in third place in the Atlantic Division with 100 points and made the playoffs. They managed to win games while being a poor puck-possession team.
Imagine what they could do if they had the puck more often?
Well, more games might look like Game 1 did.
There were only three games played, but the Canadiens were the best puck-possession team of the six squads that played on April 16. They finished the game with an impressive five-on-five Corsi-for percentage of 59 percent, according to ExtraSkater.com.
To put that number into perspective, the top puck-possession team in the regular season, the Los Angeles Kings, finished the year with a Corsi-for of 57.3 percent.
It's not realistic to think that the Canadiens can continue throughout the playoffs, or this series even, with a Corsi-for of just under 60 percent. It's unlikely any team in the playoffs will finish with a Corsi-for of 59 percent or higher.
But improving on their regular-season number of 47.2 percent will be important. The Canadiens could be in for a successful postseason if they can get their Corsi-for percentage above 50.
Having the puck on your stick makes hockey a simple game. You get to shoot more, and the opponent shoots less. That usually leads to more goals and then more wins.
Puck possession is a key to winning hockey games. Improving on their regular-season Corsi-for percentage will play an important role in Montreal's 2014 Stanley Cup playoff run.