Kukla's Korner

The Upper Canadien

Three’s trouble

It was. More trouble that anyone expected, especially given the energy of the Bell Centre crowd. But, the Bruins had over 100 points, and we all knew they weren’t going to lie down and call it a day. They’re rough, they’re mean, and we’ve got a series.

So what next? I’ll venture a guess that what we saw from Montreal in the second and third on Monday is exactly what we’ll see come Thursday.But, and here’s a recurring theme: it all comes down to Carey Price.

I have little doubt that Montreal will bring “it” Thursday. Gionta, Cammalleri, Kostitsyn, Gomez, Plekanec: these five appear to be on a mission. They were buzzing Thomas right until the siren on Monday, and that will pick up on Thursday night. But Carey Price needs to be just as good as games one and two, if not better, for the Habs to take a 3-1 lead in this series. Because they can’t compete physically with Boston, and they are undoubtedly going to take a couple of silly penalties feeding off the energy of their crowd. It happened to Boston at home, and the Habs capitalized. But when it happens to Montreal, will Price bar the door?

I think so. I expect Carey Price to deliver his ‘A’ game and then some come Thursday. It’s all business for Montreal at this point, and they really, really want to beat this Boston team.

As for Habs fans, yes, a sweep would have been amazing, but a series win is just as good in any number of games. And look at the bright side: now we have a very entertaining series.

Lineup changes?

The question now becomes whether Jacques Martin tinkers with his lineup. My bet: Benoit Pouliot, he of the stupid penalty, comes out. Jeff Halpern, and his 55% faceoff rate, goes in. The only other change I could see is Yannick Weber slotting in for either Jaroslav Spacek (who, with his partner Roman Hamrlik, looked very slow Monday) or Ryan White. Weber gives the Canadiens another big point shot, and he tallied a goal in game two. Paul Mara is also a possibility given his size, but I doubt Martin goes there since the speed game has worked so well.

And an aside: Andrei Kostitsyn has been Montreal’s best forward the best month, and it continues. He’s blocking shots, throwing hits, and last night he scored a goal to keep his team in it. All the while as he plays on what is a badly injured leg. Andrei’s answering his critics, and I say good for him.

As for the lineup, it should otherwise be status quo come Thursday. I am already excited at the prospect of Wednesday being over. Game four will be a doozie.

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About The Upper Canadien

The Upper Canadien is your one stop shop for all things Montreal Canadiens. Since the summer of 2010, I've been providing Habs related news, notes, and most importantly, opinions. As a blogger, I don't believe it's my job to report the news, it's my privilege to comment on it. You may disagree with what I suggest. In fact, you most likely will. But that's the great part about blogging: it spurs opinion, comment and engages all involved. I've really enjoyed all the debate and commentary from readers thus far and I encourage everyone to respond with ideas on lineups, trades, logos, sweaters, mascots, whatever. The Upper Canadien is a conversation for all hockey fanatics.

I've come to Kukla's Korner with four years of campus radio and three years of sportswriting from my time at Mount Allison University on Canada's East coast. Not only do I not have any professional journalistic training, after five years in the corporate world, I've spent much of the past two years completing an MBA. Business by day, hockey by night, I'm a Canadiens fan through and through. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I do writing.

Questions or comments? theuppercanadien@kuklaskorner.com