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Preview; Bruins look to knot series with Game 4 win in Montreal

April 21, 2011

Down 2-0 in the series coming into Montreal, the Bruins needed a win in the worst way and got it with a 4-2 win over the Canadiens. The Bruins jumped out to a 3-0 goal before the Habs made it interesting by storming back in the back half of the game. Now with the series at 2-1 in favor of Montreal, the Bruins face another must-win game.

The importance of Game 4 is evident from the simplest of perspective. Winning two out of three would be a hell of a lot easier than three out of three. Joe Haggerty broke it down a level further. He tweeted that when the road team is leading a series 2-1 they win 60% of the time. The probability jumps to 88% when up 3-1 but drops down to 50% if the series is tied to 2-2. So tonight’s game is close to do or die.

It’ll be interesting to see which team benefits from the long layoff. The Canadiens have had a lot of time to adjust but also face the pressure of being in Montreal for an extended time after a loss. The Bruins probably would have wanted to get right back out there after a strong showing and now need to worry if they lost some natural momentum after the win.

A Bruins win tonight would certainly swing the tide of the series. Montreal was 24-11-6 at home this season and Carey Price was a much better goalie at home in the regular season. The playoffs have flipped the Habs success on their heads. The Canadiens have thrived off the role of underdog and the road team, scoring early and trapping very well but haven’t succeeded at home. We’ll see if the Bruins move to Lake Placid has any effect on the game after they handled the crowd very well in Game 3.

Neither teams power-play has been a factor through the first three games. Montreal has gone 1-12 while the Bruins have gone 0-11. Goals have been relatively hard to come by so if either team can come away with a power-play goal than it could be huge.

It appears that Benoit Pouliot has lost favor in Jacques Martin’s eyes after his cheap shot in Game 3 in favor of Jeff Halpern. Chris Kelly, who may have fractured his face in Game 3, will reportedly be in the lineup tonight. If so, he’ll likely be wearing a full cage.

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