BOSTON – Five Canadiens skated this morning at TD Banknorth Garden, though none who will be playing tonight: Halak, Grabovski, O’Byrne, Stewart and Bouillon. Not a huge surprise the regulars didn’t take part, considering last night’s energy-sapping overtime victory and the team’s late-to-bed arrival in Boston aboard their charter.
Nor did the Bruins skate.
Both coaches this morning said there would be no lineup changes for tonight, though Boston’s Claude Julien said defenceman Dennis Wideman will be a game-time decision.
Jacques Demers, who coached the Canadiens to their most recent Stanley Cup in 1993, wondered over a Dorval airport breakfast about the Bruins using long-sidelined concussion victim Patrice Bergeron tonight, but only on spot duty, say the power play and/or penalty kill.
He also considered the idea of using Manny Fernandez in Boston’s goal. Not because Tim Thomas had a bad game Saturday, making 28 saves in Boston’s 3-2 loss, but because he didn’t win.
The Bruins were encouraged by their performance in Game 2, light-years better than what they served up in their series-opening 4-1 loss on Thursday.
They deserved a better fate, to be sure, and promise to be tougher still tonight in their own building.
With another victory, the Canadiens will put a chokehold on this quarterfinal and can wrap it up here on Tuesday, or back at the Bell Centre on Thursday.
Expect more than a few Canadiens fans in TD Banknorth Garden tonight; Habs fans do enjoy the bus ride to Beantown, and they’ll be wearing their colours and Olé-ing from start to finish.
The Habs are scheduled to practice mid-afternoon on Monday to prepare for Game 4.