So here we are on the anniversary of the Habs-Nords Good Friday Massacre game (a game that the Habs won 5-3, both teams combined for 252 minutes in penalties, and ten players were ejected) and I am excited. Probably the first Good Friday that I've been excited for in a long time - no 2 hour mass, I'm not eating fish, and the Habs are in the playoffs. There's a lot of reasons to be excited for this game, so let's look at them.
1. That fourth line. Yeah, I'm excited about a 4th line. It's a weird line with Briere between Bournival and Weise (all childhood Habs fans) and they were great in Game 1. That OT goal by Weise was so satisfying. Weise has now scored 4 goals for the Habs and 50% of them have been game winners. I am pretty sure he can keep that pace up. I am probably off on my belief that Briere will score six goals in the playoffs, but he looked good in Game 1 and the Habs now have a decent 4th line to send out against the Bolts.
2. Tonight's game has to be better than Game 1. I'm not complaining about a game that had nine goals after hoping for high scoring games at the tail end of the season, but that game was, to be kind, sloppy. The Lightning weren't very good, The Habs' D wasn't amazing, and while Carey Price and The Ders Lindback were great in OT, they were spotty throughout regulation. This wasn't expected (aside from Lindback) and can't be assumed it'll be the case going forward. The quality of play (hopefully) should improve and that makes for entertaining hockey. It also means we're going to hear canned phrases like, "These two teams really don't like each other" a lot more going forward.
3. Before the trade deadline, I'm not sure I'd give the edge to the Habs. But this series, due to roster changes, has become increasingly winnable for the Habs as time goes on. Stellar, otherworldly, god, Ben Bishop is injured and while he may make his way into this series if it goes long, he is most definitely sitting out tonight's game. In an alternate timeline where Nathan MacKinnon was still with the Halifax Mooseheads (we barely knew ye), Ondrej Palat would be the winner of the Calder. As it stands now, he's out for the Bolts and that certainly alters the make-up of their top six especially with Filppula coming back from injury. Now we've got Vanek vs Panik and the edge certainly goes to Montreal.
4. I'm one of those people who loved Tom Pyatt when he was with the Canadiens. Maybe it was because I was trying to justify that McDonagh trade, maybe it was because he was a loveable hard-working mucker, or maybe it was his 4 goals in 101 games, I don't know. What I do know is that I was excited to see Tom Pyatt draw into this Tampa Bay line-up. But he is not dressing for the Lightning - they are dressing 7 D. Andrej Sustr will dress for the Bolts. 11 forwards - 7 defensemen.
We had 762 comments for the Game 1 thread, let's see if we can top 800 tonight.
Puck drop is at 7 PM
|Max Pacioretty||David Desharnais||Thomas Vanek|
|Brandon Prust||Tomas Plekanec||Gallagher|
|Rene Bourque||Lars Eller||Brian Gionta|
|Michael Bournival||Danny Briere||Dale Weise|
|Andrei Markov||Alexei Emelin|
|Josh Gorges||P.K. Subban|
|Francis Bouillon||Mike Weaver|
Scratches: Douglas Murray, Jarred Tinordi, George Parros, Ryan White
Injuries: Travis Moen (concussion), Alex Galchenyuk (lower body)
As for the Bolts
|Alex Killorn||Tyler Johnson||Steven Stamkos|
|Richard Panik||Valtteri Filppula||Ryan Callahan|
|Teddy Purcell||Nate Thompson||J.T. Brown|
|Cedric Paquette||Nikita Kucherov|
|Victor Hedman||Sami Salo|
|Eric Brewer||Mike Kostka|
Scratches: Ryan Malone, B.J. Crombeen, Keith Aulie, Tom Pyatt, Cody Kunyk, Mark Barberio
Injuries: Ben Bishop (upper body), Ondrej Palat (undisclosed - day to day), Brian Lee (out for the season), Mattias Ohlund (out for the season)
Check out the opposing side at Raw Charge
This game will be carried on CBC and RDS in Canada and CNBC in the US.
You can stream the HNIC (CBC) feed here.