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Therrien says Vanek needs to ‘step up,’ Vanek agrees

May 2, 2014, 7:25 PM EST

Despite Thursday’s big 5-4 OT win in Boston, the Canadiens weren’t satisfied with their overall play — most notably, the contributions from prized trade deadline acquisition Thomas Vanek.

Vanek was minus-1 in Game 1 and was temporarily dropped to the fourth line, finishing with 18:58 TOI. That last figure is noteworthy, because it came in a double-OT game; comparatively speaking, Vanek played 19:34 in a Game 3 victory in the opening round against Tampa Bay — a game that was decided in regulation.

Against Boston, all but three Canadiens forwards played more than Vanek did. Here’s more, from NHL.com:

Vanek is playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2011, when he scored five goals in a seven-game loss to the Philadelphia Flyers with the Buffalo Sabres. Vanek’s line with [David] Desharnais and [Max] Pacioretty combined for 18 goals in 14 full regular-season games together, and Vanek’s history of torching the Bruins, with 30 goals in 55 regular-season games, made him a key ingredient to the Canadiens’ potential for success.

In Game 1, he and his line didn’t deliver.

“It’s frustrating,” Vanek said. “You want to contribute, especially this time of year, so I think it’s frustrating we’re not having the success we had earlier. At the same time, you just take a step back, relax, and be better [Saturday].”

Getting more out of Vanek will be key for Montreal in this series. One, he’s a noted Bruins killer — 62 points in 55 career games against the B’s — and two, this postseason may be all Montreal gets out of Vanek, so it has to be good. The pending UFA has previously expressed his desire to test free agency, and the Habs paid a fairly decent price for what could amount to a short-term rental: a second-round pick and prospect Sebastian Collberg, the 33rd overall pick at the ’12 NHL Entry Draft.

  1. terrier92 - May 2, 2014 at 7:47 PM

    The guy is a dog yet a skilled dangerous one. My fear is that he is in invisible all series then scores series clinching goal for Habs. With that said Bourque was great last night a real handful for bruins defense. Guy had motor going real well.

  2. bleedrangerblue - May 2, 2014 at 8:01 PM

    Go Habs!!

  3. cantescapekarma - May 2, 2014 at 10:56 PM

    This seems to be a pretty common problem with Vanek. I can remember years back, Lindy Ruff benching Vanek for almost an entire playoff series because he was so displeased with Vanek’s effort level. He used to drive me nuts when he played for Buffalo. He would show such amazing skill, but then he’d disappear for many games at a time…

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