Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens: Biggest Takeaways from Game 3
With Montreal as the new backdrop for this intriguing battle between two storied Original Six teams, Tuesday night's play reflected more physical and high-skill play from both teams.
Tuukka Rask and Carey Price were once again in the middle of the action, as both teams had some extended time in the offensive zone with the goalies bearing the brunt of the pressure.
Montreal is in the driver's seat and will look to go up 3-1 in the series on Thursday night. Let's take a look at the five biggest takeaways from Game 3.
Bruins Power Play Needs Juice
The Boston power play has gone missing in this series. After scoring six power-play goals in the opening round against the Detroit Red Wings, the team has nothing to show with the extra man since.
With Carey Price playing as well as he is, the Bruins are going to have find a way to get more traffic in front of him with the man advantage.
The Canadiens are doing a great job of keeping the Bruins to the outside, and Zdeno Chara has not had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in front to provide the necessary screen.
With the Canadiens' penalty-killing units playing such inspired hockey, the Bruins are faced with a daunting task.
Bell Centre Crowd Was Fantastic
Ginette Reno has become an intriguing story this spring. Despite some recent health issues, she has been not only cleared, but also apparently encouraged to belt out the Canadian national anthem for the Canadiens.
The crowd had whipped itself into a frenzy by the time Reno was closing her rousing rendition of "O Canada," and there can be no question the Habs had an extra jump in their collective stride.
The crowd noise was deafening at various times, and when the Canadiens sagged a little in the third period with the Bruins pressing, they seemed to help lift the enervating home team.
The Canadiens have seized home-ice advantage and remain undefeated on home ice in the playoffs.
The Bruins are going to have to battle the on-ice opponent and the crowd as the series continues.
Canadiens' Speed Was Decisive
The Canadiens scored three breakaway goals, with the final one coming with starter Tuukka Rask on the bench.
Dale Weise and P.K. Subban also scored on heady plays that featured some blazing speed. The Bruins are by no means slow, but the Habs boast better overall team speed.
The Canadiens were quicker to lose pucks, and their forecheck was an important feature for long stretches, as they created a number of turnovers with their good puck pressure.
Montreal cannot match the size of the Bruins, but its speed did allow it to take the body on a number of occasions on Tuesday night as well as play some suffocating defence when it had the lead.
The Bruins are going to have to find another gear, or figure out how to slow the Habs down if they hope to beat the high-flying club.
P.K Subban Has Been the Best Skater
P.K. Subban has been one of the best players in the NHL playoffs to date. He was flying all over the ice again in Game 3, and after taking an early penalty, he charged out of the box, took a great outlet pass and scored a beautiful goal on Rask.
Subban has been physical when he's needed to be, but the strengths of his game are his puck-moving ability and offensive touch.
The Bruins are going to have to find a way to try to contain the gifted rearguard. He's got 11 points in seven playoff games now, and he makes everyone around him better when he's playing at his best.
It's early to be talking about Conn Smythe candidates, but Subban has to be on everyone's long list as thoughts begin to turn that way.
Tuukka Rask Has to Be Better
Tuukka Rask has been something much less than good in this second-round series. He has yet to post a .900 save percentage or better in any game since defeating the Red Wings.
He was at .880 on Tuesday night, and that kind of goaltending is not going to win games at this time of year. Dale Weise and Subban scored on breakaways, but as a Vezina Trophy candidate this year, Rask has to find a way to be better.
Carey Price is winning the goaltending battle by a wide margin. If Rask's play continues at the current level, the Bruins are not going to be moving to the next round.
All stats can be found on NHL.com unless otherwise noted.
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