The Montreal Canadiens have the opportunity to do something huge tonight. They could with a full 60 minute effort take the lead in a series in which they have been outplayed. The crazy thing about the playoffs is that anything can happen, and the split that the team earned in Pittsburgh has afforded them the chance to use home ice to their advantage. It will be easier for Martin to get the match-ups that he wants on faceoffs. They will have the energy of one of (if not) the loudest crowds in hockey. One thing is for sure, they will need to do a better job controlling the puck as we saw what happens in Game 1, when the opposition gets bounces. In Game 2 the Habs escaped with the win because of some fantastic goaltending, and bounces that went their way. I’m not taking anything away from the 3 goals the Habs did manage, but Pittsburgh is FAR too dangerous and savvy a team to be held down by all-out defense for 4 games. We saw in the regular season just how adept Dan Bylsma is at making adjustments to his game plan. You can bet that Pittsburgh will have re-grouped after their frustrating loss. The question is whether or not Montreal can seize the opportunity to make a change themselves. Yes they beat a stronger opponent by hanging onto narrow leads with excellent goaltending, but apparently most people have forgotten that for much of the early part of the Washington series, Montreal had fantastic results with forechecking pressure, and offensive time on possession. There would have been no Game 6 or 7 without the Games before where Montreal went out and took the win.
That is what is needed tonight. Montreal has to go out in front of their home crowd and skate. They need to draw penalties. They need to put up goals and get into Pittsburgh;s head in the same way they did to Washington. It wont be easy. But nothing is this time of year.
Go Habs Go!!!