The Montreal Canadiens are tied 1-1 in their Eastern Conference Semi-Final against the Boston Bruins and actually hold home ice advantage going into Game 3. But it doesn’t feel like it.
The Canadiens have, to put it lightly, been dominated at even strength by the Bruins through two games and are frankly lucky to be where they are even though they could have very well been up 2-0 in the series.
But they are one Carey Price save from being down 2-0, don’t forget.
When I predicted the Canadiensw ould win the series, I did so thinking they would carry over their even strength play from the Tampa Bay series which we have yet to see. Now, it could be from the rust heading into Game 1 and the early start for Game 2.
The Canadiens better hope they can turn it on for Game 3.
Claude Julien said today before the game that it doesn’t matter what the Canadiens do in the game. If Boston plays their game they will win more often than not. That is true. But we do know that Montreal can play better than they have been.
The first line of Max Pacioretty, David Desharnais and Thomas Vanek have been borderline invisible at even strength and are two Vanek power play goals from being invisible at all times. They need to get it going for the Canadiens to have any chance. You can beat Tampa without their number one goaltender without your best line but you can’t beat a full strength Boston team.
The second line of Tomas Plekanec, Brandon Gallagher and potentially Michael Bournival has yet to provide much offence except for the rush that led to Mike Weaver‘s game-tying goal. It was the Canadiens only even strength goal of Game 2.
It’s the team game that needs to improve. Zone entries and forechecking are two of the things the Canadiens should be able to do due to their speed. It hasn’t been there through two games and barring a Price miracle, they won’t win the series that way.
There are a lot of things that are going Boston’s way, including two two-goal third period comebacks through two games. It feels like Montreal is out of the series before a game is even lost on home ice. And it is – if Montreal doesn’t pick up their play in front of the 21,273 tonight.