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PHT Morning Skate: Habs, Wild look to turn things around at home

May 6, 2014, 8:25 AM EDT

Michel Therrien AP

Tonight’s Game 3 match-ups in Montreal and St. Paul are vital ones for the host teams.

The Montreal Canadiens are trying to shake off the disappointment of their Game 2 loss in which they blew a 3-1 third period and gave up four unanswered goals on the way to a 5-3 loss to the Boston Bruins. Home ice advantage could come in handy for the Habs as the crowd at Bell Centre will surely be at fever pitch.

The Minnesota Wild are in a bit more of a predicament down 2-0 in the series to the Chicago Blackhawks. In spite of the losses, they feel like they’re right there with the defending champs. That may have been the case in Game 1, but Game 2 saw Chicago dominate.

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Game 3: Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins [Series tied 1-1] (7:00 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

The Canadiens are hoping home ice can help them gain an advantage on the Bruins and after Bruins coach Claude Julien’s complaints about the lack of calls in Game 2 going his team’s way, looking for the officials to bend things more their way in Montreal is an interesting tactic.

Michel Therrien recognized what Julien was doing, however, and this is where home ice comes into play as Bell Centre can be one of the most intimidating places for players and officials alike to play in.

For the Habs, Thomas Vanek got things going with a pair of power play goals in Game 2, but the area they have to get better is 5-on-5. Four of the seven goals they’ve scored in the series have come on the power play whereas all eight of the Bruins’ goals have come at even strength.

Reilly Smith has been big in the first two games with two goals. Boston’s defensemen have been equally strong with Dougie Hamilton having two goals and Torey Krug and Johnny Boychuk with one each.

Game 3: Minnesota Wild vs. Chicago Blackhawks [Chicago leads series 2-0] (9:00 p.m. ET — CNBC)

The mission for the Wild seems simple. After getting run over by Patrick Kane in Game 1, they kept him quiet in Game 2… Only to see Marian Hossa have a big night setting teammates up with three assists. The guy who’s been killing them in both games is last season’s playoff stud in Bryan Bickell.

In two games, Bickell has three goals and two assists. After a regular season in which he had 15 points, having five in two games sounds like a major problem for Minnesota.

Another serious issues for the Wild comes from their star players being shut down. Zach Parise, Jason Pominville, and Mikko Koivu are struggling badly as the three have combined for two assists, both coming on Clayton Stoner‘s goal in Game 1. With the series shifting to home ice for Minnesota, those players have to find ways to get free to create and generate opportunities.

People can talk about Ilya Bryzgalov‘s goaltending issues all they want, but unless the offense helps out, the Wild are in trouble.

  1. charlie24zz - May 6, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    Let’s go boys, start tilting the ice in our favour…last change will surely give the Habs some better matchups. Feed off that Bell Centre crowd, and let’s win both games at home!!!

  2. dboldave - May 6, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    You guys just showed their secret play with this picture!

  3. theskinsman - May 6, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    If the Bruins can get at least some calls so they aren’t on a game long penalty kill, they’ll prevail.
    Montreal is a very fast team, but the Bruins seem to have more depth. Goalies are both good. 5 on 5 favors Boston. If the refs let them play, it seems to me the Bruins win the series. Should be fun to watch.

    • hockey412 - May 6, 2014 at 9:56 AM

      They might want to tell Thornton to shut the f&$* up, too.

      • ironyisadeadscene - May 6, 2014 at 10:26 AM

        Is Thornton effecting the Bruins play with his talk?

      • hockey412 - May 6, 2014 at 11:06 AM

        Sorry – was about to start a rant about the Thornton/Subban thing and all the pointless roughing penalties and confused myself. Rephrase – they might want to tell Julien to shut the f&$( up, too.

        That’ll help the cause.

      • theskinsman - May 7, 2014 at 12:37 PM

        Why? truth doesn’t hurt.

      • hockey412 - May 7, 2014 at 12:50 PM

        It does if they penalize your team for it.

  4. montrealbbr - May 6, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    Dont expect the Bruins to get away with the elbows and hits to the head while they are at the Bell! GO HABS GO!

    • dropthepuckeh - May 6, 2014 at 10:31 AM

      Habsman – brief timeout to say I was thoroughly impressed with PK Subban’s response to the stupidity that occurred on twitter after game 1. He demonstrated a maturity beyond his years and despite not liking a lot of his on ice hysterics, won me over in terms of his character. He seems like a great guy and my opinion of him has been changed.

      That said, I don’t particularly like you or your team but I love this time of year and the rivalry. Back to the hate.

  5. infectorman - May 6, 2014 at 9:59 AM

    Diver Down….

  6. bostonstranglah72 - May 6, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    Morning Skate News: Mounties hire overtime in case Habs take any big hits… 9-1-1 lines will be open tonight to all those yahoos!

  7. dropthepuckeh - May 6, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    Fact: Montreal will get a PP within the first ten minutes of the game. Fact: Montreal will get a PP with less than 5 minutes to go in the 3rd period. Fact: At least one of the calls will be the result of a dive from the Montreal player. Fact: Montreal fan base is the most arrogant and self-righteous in all of sports.

    • hockey412 - May 6, 2014 at 11:08 AM

      I hope you gave yourself 14 thumbs up and there aren’t any others as hypocritically self-righteous and/or can’t see the irony in your post.

      • dropthepuckeh - May 6, 2014 at 12:00 PM

        No, no thumbs from me 412. Do you disagree? Obv I love the Bruins but by no means do I think they are the greatest franchise in all of sports etc. As a Pitt fan I would think we would find common ground on the arrogance of les habitants, your hatred of all things Boston not withstanding.

  8. infectorman - May 6, 2014 at 10:06 AM


  9. comeonnowguys - May 6, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    Wild won their first home game in last year’s series. I expect the same tonight.

    • parasolmonster - May 6, 2014 at 11:01 AM

      Hawks have dropped eight straight away-game openers in the playoffs.

      • comeonnowguys - May 6, 2014 at 11:12 AM

        Wow. That’s a heck of a trend.

  10. earpaniac - May 6, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    I expect the Blackhawks to lose tonight. I do not expect them to lose the next 4 out of 5 however.

    • comeonnowguys - May 6, 2014 at 10:31 AM

      Typical arrogant Hawk fan.

      Sorry. Just wanted to beat the Wild fans to it.

      • strictlythedanks - May 6, 2014 at 3:48 PM

        comeonnow, guy

      • comeonnowguys - May 6, 2014 at 3:52 PM

        Walked straight into that one, didn’t I?

  11. purpleguy - May 6, 2014 at 10:33 AM

    At this point, I’d settle for the Wild holding a lead in at least one game of the series and never again hearing that flipping post-goal song they play in Chicago.

    • comeonnowguys - May 6, 2014 at 10:41 AM

      Vancouver Canucks getting rattled by Chelsea Dagg…:

    • ignath - May 6, 2014 at 11:23 AM

      I just change the word from Dah to DERP! and it sounds WAAAY BETTER!


      Should be easier for FIB’s to understand too (I went to school in Wisconsin, any Sconnies should get FIB) 😉

      • comeonnowguys - May 6, 2014 at 11:36 AM

        Yes, because FIB is such a rare term in the Upper Midwest.

      • ignath - May 6, 2014 at 11:48 AM

        I never heard it till I went to school in Wisconsin, and I lived ~45 miles from the Wisconsin border in Minnesota before that. Never heard the term in LaCrosse either as a matter of fact. I never heard the term until I went further south in Wisconsin, like Madison and south, picking up a LOT in Milwaukee area (obviously).

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