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The Canadiens need to start taking more risks

Game three was one of the most boring playoff hockey games in recent memory. It was exactly what the Flyers wanted.

Philadelphia Flyers v Montreal Canadiens - Game Three Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

I can’t stress enough that game three of this Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers series was one of the most boring hockey games I’ve ever watched. I assume there have been more boring games in the history of hockey, but this one was in the playoffs, so most of us fans were reasonably expecting a decent offering.

It didn’t come. The Flyers got the opening goal relatively early in the first, and from there is was about as dull as games can be. The Canadiens did manage to hit the post rather successfully, but they couldn’t generate anything of substance as the Flyers coasted to regaining the series lead.

Philadelphia did a lot of the same things they did in game one. On defense, they were incredible at getting their sticks into passing and shooting lanes, breaking up any offense the Habs tried to get going. Once they got the lead, they went into their shell, and it proved impossible to crack for Montreal.

I understand why Kirk Muller didn’t want to make any big changes to his lineup coming off a 5-0 win, but he should consider some changes before Tuesday’s return to action. They need to take some risks, because putting up 22 shots on Carter Hart just isn’t going to cut it, unless you can convince the league to start counting posts as goals.

My number one suggestion would be to instert Charles Hudon into the lineup. The speed of the Canadiens was what really took game two, and Hudon is an excellent skater. He’s also an offensive juggernaut in the AHL, so he can give your bottom six a punch that it is perhaps lacking at this time.

Obviously this suggestion would require someone to be taken out. At this point I’d be looking at Jake Evans to fall on that sword. I don’t think he’s been terrible, but a shakeup is needed and he seems like the foremost candidate for a night — or an afternoon in the case of game four — off.

As for number two? I’d take Victor Mete and Brett Kulak aside, and let them know they have the green light to start jumping into the rush more often. When the Flyers are jumping all over neutral zone passes, they’re often content to simply flip the puck back the other way. They don’t seem intent on actually attacking from those plays, so it seems to be a smart plan to try and cut off their interceptions, then look to re-launch the

This is of course a risky proposition, as failure to regain possession could lead to odd-man rushes for the Flyers. This is, however, a risk that the Montreal Canadiens have to take. They need to make the Flyers play from behind, because if game two is any indication, they really don’t like doing that.

So I say take some chances. After all, an overwhelming percentage of hockey fans didn’t expect the Habs to be here. When you have nothing to lose, you can afford to take risks.