The number 5 is a prime number in mathematics. In geometry, it is classified as a Fermat Prime, a "regular polygon". In the mystical language of numerology, the number 5 can represent a number of things, including the quintessence of elements, the "fifth element" that links earth, wind, water and fire.
Should the Habs not "plead the fifth" in tonight's game, as they seemed to do Wednesday night in Ottawa, the Canadiens will be the second team to eliminate their first round opponent and advance to the second round. But not so fast! The Ottawa Senators have been able to adjust to a style of play that gave the Habs a lot of trouble in in game 4, out-possessing the Canadiens with a 60 CF%, and out-shooting the Habs 12-7 in the 3rd period when Mike Hoffman scored the only goal of the game.
For the Habs, the message coming from the team even as early as right after the loss on Wednesday: stick to the plan. Up 3-1 in the series, the Canadiens don't see any reason to panic, and instead base their seizure of the series victory on better execution of the game plan and playing their best game of the series.
With home-ice advantage, the Canadiens will be able to use the last change to improve the match-ups for their forwards, as Erik Karlsson and Mark Methot were extremely effective in game 4 when the duo were +32 CF (Karlsson at +26), compared to P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov who were +11 CF. In fact in looking at game 4 individual performances, no Sens player was any less than -10 CF, whereas the Canadiens had 5 players who were on the ice for 10 more shots against than for, including Tom Gilbert (-26) and Alexei Emelin (-19) who were trapped in the defensive zone a number of times, including on the game winning goal.
With no changes coming from the Habs' side and the focal point of victory being pointed to as a question of "execution", the swing of change will have to come from the environment, from the game being in Montreal, from the crowd, from the concern of giving the Senators even more life in this series. A little pressure on the executioner may provide the push to cut through this series and advance, though the Senators have been a team surviving by the skin of its neck for a long time.
The puck drops at 7:00 PM EST. No changes for the Habs. The Senators have removed Chris Neil from the lineup and replaced him with Alex Chiasson.
In Canada (French): TVA Sports
|Alex Galchenyuk||Tomas Plekanec||Brendan Gallagher|
|Max Pacioretty||David Desharnais||Devante Smith-Pelly|
|Jacob de la Rose||Lars Eller||Dale Weise|
|Brandon Prust||Torrey Mitchell||Brian Flynn|
|Andrei Markov||P.K. Subban|
|Jeff Petry||Tom Gilbert|
|Alexei Emelin||Greg Pateryn|
Scratched: Mike Weaver, Manny Malholtra, Sergei Gonchar, P.A. Parenteau
Injuries: Nathan Beaulieu (upper body)
|Clarke MacArthur||Kyle Turris||Mark Stone|
|Milan Michalek||Mika Zibanejad||Bobby Ryan|
|Erik Condra||Jean-Gabriel Pageau||Curtis Lazar|
|Mike Hoffman||Zach Smith||Alex Chiasson|
|Marc Methot||Erik Karlsson|
|Patrick Wiercioch||Cody Ceci|
|Mark Borowiecki||Eric Gryba|
Scratched: David Legwand, Colin Greening, Jared Cowen, Chris Neil
Injuries: Robin Lehner (concussion), Chris Phillips (undisclosed), Matt Puempel (lower-body)
Check out the enemy over at Silver Seven.