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04-29-2006, 01:25 PM
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They need to work harder, that's all, and that's Begin's specialty. Defensively they're doing okayish, Carolina has been getting lucky bounces all series, just the way it goes. Their luck will run out eventually.

Offensively it's a different story, they need to do to Ward what has been done to Huet -- screens, jostles, plant your feet in the crease. I'm all for D-men shooting from the point, strong offense from the point is a big advantadge the Habs have over the 'Canes, but it will only work on him if someone is in front to screen, tip, or deflect (exhibit A: Alexander Perezhogin).

Higgins and Ryder must become offensive threats again because the pressure is all on the Kovalev line, and thus all the checking. Bonk has been awesome on the PK but he has no chemistry with Higgins and Ryder (who seemed more affected than most by the loss of Koivu, truth be told), but there aren't too many options unless . Kostitsyn-Higgins-Ryder? Don't count it out, but I see Gainey giving a stern talking to to Higgins and Ryder, pointing out that Koivu will be okay, and keeping them with Bonk. Begin would play alongside Murray and Sundstrom -- a clear energy line.

The PP lines are fine. The Habs have the clear edge on special teams, and goaltending is pretty even I'd say, although Huet, with a little more luck, could steal a game. It hinges on so little. A chippier game on Sunday, with even reffing but more penalties on either side, or just the Habs catching a break for once, and Montreal could easily win it.

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