After desperation powered the Montreal Canadiens comeback from a 3-1 series deficit against the Toronto Maple Leafs and led them on a five-game winning streak, they now need to defend against the desperation that the Winnipeg Jets now have trailing the series 2-0 after losing both games at home.
Ironically, it was the same advantage the Jets had through two games in Round 1 against the Edmonton Oilers.
Montreal definitely has the inside track. They have home-ice advantage for three of the five potential remaining games and only need to win two of them. That doesn’t mean the series is over by any means. Montreal just has to remember the contrast of the two situations.
In 2006, they won the first two games on the road against the Carolina Hurricanes, but did not win another game in that series. In 2011, they did the same thing against the Boston Bruins only to lose in seven games. Prior to this year, the Canadiens have taken a 2-0 lead on the road six times in the post-season. Two of those times, they have won Game 3 and both of those times they finished the series in four games.
One of those times was against Tampa Bay in 2014. The other was in 1968 against St. Louis in the Stanley Cup final, and that one is interesting.
Why, you ask? Well the Canadiens won Game 2 of that series 1-0. The only goal was scored shorthanded. It is the only time a playoff game ended 1-0 with the only goal being a shorthanded goal... Until Friday, that is.
If you are a fan of patterns, the last paragraph is a positive one. Two before that one is less positive. The point is, Game 3 may be the game that decides the direction of the entire series.
The Canadiens made it this far by channelling desperation. How far they make it from here may depend on whether they can channel their killer instinct.