MONTREAL – Five things the Montreal Canadiens must do to beat the Boston Bruins in the second round of the NHL playoffs:
Goaltending—Both starters have baggage. Boston’s Tuukka Rask has won only three of 15 career games against Montreal, while Carey Price was only as good as he needed to be in the first round. The near-unbeatable Price from the Sochi Olympics may be needed.
Composure—The Canadiens have had success in the past getting under the Bruins’ skin, especially key players like Zdeno Chara, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand. Players like P.K. Subban, Brendan Gallagher and Alexei Emelin are the chief agitators.
Special teams—The Montreal power play has been in a funk since late in the regular season. If it doesn’t score, they want at least to generate momentum off the man advantage. Their penalty kill will be helped by the return of Travis Moen from a concussion.
Top line—The Canadiens beat Tampa Bay with production from all four lines, but at some point, the top trio of Max Pacioretty, David Desharnais and Thomas Vanek needs to take charge. They had one goal each in the first round.
Puck pressure—The Canadiens have had success using a puck pressure game against the bigger, more physical Bruins and must do that again. Aggressive forechecking in the neutral and attacking zones was key against the Lightning.