Canadiens Clicking At the Right Time
Rather, it is usually the team that is the hottest or is clicking at the right time. Sure, said team may have finished a point or several points behind their opponent, but in the end, all that matters is the here and now and what a team does with it.
Right now, one team that is playing perhaps their best hockey of the year is the Montreal Canadiens. Going into their postseason match-up with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Habs went 7-2-1 to finish the regular season and finished the year with 100 points and in third place in the Atlantic Division.
It appears that the Canadiens have carried over their strong play from the final few weeks of the regular season into this year's playoffs. After tonight's 4-1 win in Game 2 against the Lightning in Tampa, the Canadiens have a 2-0 series lead heading back to Montreal, where they were 23-13-5 during regular season.
There are several reasons why the Canadiens are having success right now. For starters, this team is not having any trouble putting the puck in the net.
In their first two games of the series, the Habs scored a combined nine goals. Sure, the Lightning do not have their number one goaltender Ben Bishop between the pipes, but no matter who is in net for the Lightning, the Habs are finding ways to put the puck in the net with regularity this postseason.
Secondly, the Habs are getting production up and down the lineup so far and in the postseason, that is extremely important. The team may have been 21st in the league in the regular season in terms of goals scored per game, but right now, the Habs are proving that that stat means nothing because of the depth they have.
Guys like Brian Gionta (one goal and one assist for two points), Lars Eller (one goal and two assists for three points), Rene Bourque (two goals), P.K. Subban (two assists), David Desharnais (one goal and one assist for two points), Dale Weise (one overtime goal), and Thomas Vanek (one goal and one assist for two points), have all played well to start this series. These names also represent a nice scoring mix for the Habs and shows that they do have some depth despite being inconsistent during the regular season.
The team has also gotten some solid goaltending from Carey Price. Price was easily the Canadiens' best player during the regular season and while he was not at his absolute best in Game 1, he still found a way to help his team win a hockey game.
In two games, Price has two wins and has allowed five goals on 52 shots. While his stats may not look great, he has made the big saves when his team has needed it the most and has come out as the winning netminder in both tilts.
When you put these three things together, you have a very dangerous Canadiens hockey team that has the potential to accomplish big things in their quest to win hockey's Holy Grail.