The Montreal Canadiens find themselves in a bind. They are down 2-0 to the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference finals and have managed just three goals in two games after scoring 2.6 per game during the regular season.
“I still don’t think we’ve played our best hockey game yet,” Montreal blueliner P.K. Subban said. “So I don’t think there’s any panic here.”
According to WhoWins, when the higher seed takes a 2-0 series lead in the conference finals they have gone on to win the series 90.2 percent of the time. They also have a 32-39 record in Game 3’s, so if the Habs want to avoid hitting the panic button, they will have to find a way to solve Blueshirt netminder Henrik Lundqvist on Thursday night.
Lundqvist has been stellar during this series. He has stopped 60 of 63 shots he has faced, including a barrage of attempts during a 6-on-4 with less than five minutes to go in Game 2, eliciting a smile from Rangers General Manager Glen Sather.
“The reason why we lost the game tonight was Lundqvist,” Habs Coach Michel Therrien said after Game 2. “Lundqvist was phenomenal, phenomenal. Stole the game.”
If the Habs are going to have any chance solving Lundqvist, they are going to have to do a better job storming the crease. Below are the goals scored against Lundqvist during the 2013-14 season. On the right are the shots Montreal took during Game 2 of the series.
Crashing the net is how Montreal scored their lone tally Monday night, a deflection by forward Max Pacioretty 6:14 into the first period.
If the Habs want to maximize their 9.8 percent chance of winning, it all starts with crashing the crease on Lundqvist.