Bruins @ Canadiens: Game 3 Preview

Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens.

Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens. Image Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

The Boston Bruins return to familiar ghostly territory tonight — the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec. The game is the third of the series between the Canadiens and Bruins. Each club won a game in Boston. The series is tied 1-1 heading into tonight.

The Canadiens won Game 1 in double overtime. P. K. Subban ended it with a point shot.

After the game, Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask said of his performance: “I was shit.”

The Bruins won Game 2 — a matinee at the TD Garden in Boston — despite trailing 3-1 with 10 minutes remaining in the third-period. Boston exploded with four goals in the final 1/6 of the game to win the day by a score of 5-3.

Game 2 brought to light the dangers both historic clubs face in this second-round series.

The Canadiens can’t sit back if they hope to win four before the Bruins. However, they appear outmatched in several areas, so I’m not sure they can avoid playing on their heels for long stretches against the Presidents’ Trophy winners and defending Eastern Conference champs.

Conversely, should the Bruins rely on late game heroics too often against Montreal (Boston also needed a comeback in the third-period of Game 1 to force overtime) they may be Priced-out of the third-round.

Montreal Canadiens net minder, Carey Price, has been magical throughout the first two games of the series. The Habs have been outshot and out played, but Price has kept them in the game with several great saves, many of which have been fit for a highlight reel show.

Bruins defenceman Dougie Hamilton — who started Boston’s rally in the third-period of Game 2 — claims the B’s have found Price’s weakness.

Hamilton told The Toronto Sun, “I think we’ve definitely noticed that when he’s screened, he’s looking low.” Hamilton continued, “he gets really low, so it seems like we score a lot of goals up high when we have net front presence.”

In response, Price told reporters, “I’ve seen a lot of scouting reports on lots of goalies throughout the league and that’s pretty much the scouting report on everybody.”

And there has been a war of words between the two head coaches — both of whom have been Montreal-side in first-round upsets over the Bruins.

Michel Therrien, current Habs coach, was behind the bench in 2002 when the Canadiens beat the Bruins in the first-round, needing six games.

Current Bruins coach, Claude Julien, coached the Canadiens to a seven-game series win over the B’s in 2004, Round 1, after trailing 3-1 in games.

The referees were criticized after Game 2 for being too inconsistent in their calls. Julien wasn’t happy. He expressed his unhappiness to the media. And Therrien called it posturing.

Therrien accuses Julien of lobbying for favours from officials through the media. The Canadiens coach told reporters that the Bruins, “try to influence referees. That’s the way they are,” according to Therrien.

Julien’s reply: “You know what? Everybody’s entitled to their comments. People are trying to make more out of this on-ice rivalry, trying to turn it into an off-ice rivalry . . . Right now I’m focusing on my team and what we need to do. That’s what both teams are trying to do I think.” Coach quotes courtesy of WEEI 93.7FM.

I’ve heard it said that the odd games are the most important in a seven game series. Tonight is Game 3 — the winning club will take a 2-1 series lead that could spring it toward a five-game series victory. Boston has won twelve straight Game 3s. The Habs: they have the ghosts when the Bruins visit Montreal in the spring (sometimes).