3 Keys: Jets at Canadiens, Game 3 of second round

No. 3 Jets at No. 4 Canadiens

6 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS

Montreal leads best-of-7 series, 2-0

The Montreal Canadiens will attempt to win a sixth consecutive game when they host the Winnipeg Jets in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Second Round at Bell Centre on Sunday.

The Canadiens defeated the Jets 1-0 in Game 2 in Winnipeg on Friday and has not lost since being defeated 4-0 by the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 4 of the first round on May 25.

Canadiens captain Shea Weber said Montreal’s belief in each other has snowballed with each win.

“I think it’s pretty standard,” the defenseman said. “I think that’s the whole thing we wanted to do in the playoffs. I think we’re just playing with more confidence and doing it more confidently.

“Obviously we know that’s a very good team over there.”

The Jets again will be without center Mark Scheifele, who will serve the second game of a four-game suspension issued by the NHL Department of Player Safety on Thursday. Scheifele was disciplined for charging Jake Evans after the Canadiens forward scored an empty-net goal with 57 seconds remaining in Montreal’s 5-3 win in Game 1.

Winnipeg could get a boost if center Paul Stastny can play. He missed the first two games of the series with an undisclosed injury.

“We’ve got some confidence going into the other team’s building, and there’s a chance we might get Paul back, which will probably help our group up front,” coach Paul Maurice said.

Stastny has scored two points (one goal, one assist) in four playoff games after he scored 29 points (13 goals, 16 assists) in 56 games during the regular season.

Teams that take a 3-0 lead are 194-4 (98.0 percent) winning a best-of-7 playoff series, including 2-0 this season.

Here are 3 keys for Game 3:

1. Jets offense without Scheifele

Winnipeg took 30 shots at Carey Price in Game 2 but many came from the periphery where the goalie could get a good view of them. The Jets offense, playing without Scheifele, did not manage to produce sustained pressure until the third period, when they had eight shots in the final four minutes. 

A return by Stastny would help, but they need to be better at getting traffic in front of Price, who is coming off his eighth postseason shutout. 

“We haven’t generated the offense that we’d like to in this series, and we may not, going the first two with Stastny and then Stastny and ‘Scheif’ out,” Maurice said.

2. Canadiens sharpness when shorthanded

Montreal’s penalty kill has been effective at each end of the ice. The Canadiens have scored almost as many goals (two) as they’ve allowed (three) when shorthanded; that included the only goal in Game 2, scored by forward Tyler Toffoli at 1:41 of the second period. 

Their penalty kill is operating at 89.3 percent (three goals in 28 opportunities) in the playoffs; the Jets power play has been scoring at 20.0 percent (3-for-15) but was 0-for-2 in Game 2.

3. First goal: feast or famine?

Winnipeg allowed the opening goal in Games 1 and 2, so scoring first is imperative. Or is it? Maurice said it’s an important part of the game but not vital to winning during the playoffs.

“As you get further down the playoff road and a one-goal lead seems like it’s such a big deal that you have a tendency to really protect that, where maybe in the regular season one goal (down) you’re still pushing for all you can get,” Maurice said. “I think the lead isn’t insurmountable in these games. I think you can find a way to get back into it.” 

Montreal has scored first in each of its five straight wins.

Jets projected lineup

Kyle ConnorPierre-Luc DuboisBlake Wheeler

Nikolaj EhlersAndrew CoppMathieu Perreault

Kristian VesalainenAdam LowryMason Appleton

Jansen HarkinsNate ThompsonTrevor Lewis

Josh MorrisseyTucker Poolman

Neal PionkDerek Forbort

Logan StanleyJordie Benn

Connor Hellebuyck

Laurent Brossoit

Scratched: Dominic Toninato, Ville Heinola, Sami Niku, Eric Comrie, Mikhail Berdin, David Gustafsson, Cole Kehler, Joona Luoto, Dylan Samberg, Marko Dano, Nelson Nogier, C.J. Suess

Injured: Paul Stastny (undisclosed), Dylan DeMelo (lower body), Nathan Beaulieu (hand)

Suspended: Mark Scheifele

Canadiens projected lineup

Artturi LehkonenPhillip DanaultBrendan Gallagher

Tyler Toffoli — Nick SuzukiCole Caufield

Paul ByronJesperi KotkaniemiJosh Anderson

Joel ArmiaEric StaalCorey Perry

Ben Chiarot — Shea Weber

Joel EdmundsonJeff Petry

Erik GustafssonBrett Kulak

Carey Price

Jake Allen

Scratched: Tomas Tatar, Michael Frolik, Alex Belzile, Jon Merrill, Alexander Romanov, Xavier Ouellet, Cayden Primeau

Injured: Jake Evans (concussion)

Status report

Dubois is expected to remain at center on the top line in the absence of Scheifele. … The Canadiens likely will use the same lineup from Game 2.

Read More

Written by 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *