Bolts beaten

About last night …

What a difference a year makes.
If your Montreal Canadiens do not win another playoff game this spring, they will still have (mostly) exorcised the demons that plagued fans through last summer.
The last game of the 2012-’13 season was played at the Bell Centre on the second Thursday in May.
With Peter Budaj in nets and Robert Mayer as his backup, the Ottawa Senators beat the Canadiens 6-1.
To the dismay and multi-month misery of their passionate fans, the Canadiens made an ignominious five-game exit from a quarter-final series in which they were outscored, outhustled and, most embarrassingly, outmuscled.
Fast-forward 11 months and two weeks.
In sweeping Tampa Bay, the Canadiens won their first playoff series since 2010.
They will play the Detroit-Boston winner in an eastern Conference semifinal, and they’ll enter the next series with momentum.

Photo by The Gazette’s PIERRE OBENDRAUF

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Max Pacioretty’s timing was exquisite for his first playoff goal.
With 42.6 seconds left on the clock in regulation time, Pacioretty scored the game-winning goal on the power play as the Canadiens beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 at the Bell Centre and swept the first-round series.
“The boys were joking that they didn’t need my goal till the end,” Pacioretty said after the game.
“It’s awesome that everyone pitched in this series,” he said. “My job is to score and I’m not doing that. You see the three other games, tons of players stepped up. Even tonight, tons of players stepped up. It’s nice to have that balanced scoring. I think that’s why we had success.”


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About last night …

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My cautionary notes after Game 2 enraged many members of the Commentariat.
I had cited some recent postseasons in which the Canadiens had lost playoff series after winning the first two games on the road: quarter-finals against Boston in 2011, Carolina in 2006 and the Rangers in 1996.
Let’s not not count our chickens, I urged, until they’d hatched.
To which several HIO readers responded: Go cluck yourself.

Gazette photo by DARIO AYALA


“It’s a huge win for us,” Habs Therrien says (VIDEO)

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The Canadiens now hold a daunting 3-0 lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning and have a chance to clinch the best-of-seven playoff series on Tuesday at the Bell Centre.
“It’s a huge win for us,” coach Michel Therrien said after the Canadiens 3-2 win Sunday over the Lightning.
“I thought the first period was phenomenal. We got great, great scoring chances,” said Therrien, who added Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback kept Tampa in the game.
The Habs great start included a goal by Rene Bourque on a breakaway 11 seconds into the game, drawing thunderous cheers from the Bell Centre crowd.


Liveblog: Playoff game 3 – Canadiens win a tight one, take 3-0 series lead

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Habs expected to stick with same lineup in Game 3

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