One of the best things about the playoffs is the opportunity to have a fresh start for a new season, and a chance to become a difference maker each night. After the fourth line took the headlines following the Canadiens victory in Game 1, it would be the third line, along with goaltending, that would help propel the Habs in Game 2 to take a 2-0 series lead with the series heading to Montreal.
After a sub-par regular season, which saw a trip to the press box as a healthy scratch, Rene Bourque elevated his game on Friday night with a two-goal contest, including a highlight reel goal which turned out to be the game winner. He led all Montreal players with four shots on goal.
Meeting with the media on Saturday, Bourque admitted that the playoffs are providing a fresh start as he wants to atone for the regular season, and now is the best time to make an impact.
Coach Michel Therrien also conceded that since his late-March trip to the press box, Bourque has played more physical and shown the kind of game they expect from the forward.
The power play also managed its first goal of the year against the Lightning in Game 2, and ended a scoreless run of 27 consecutive attempts without a goal. The Canadiens also showed some of the best puck movement with the man advantage that they have in quite some time. The team has put a lot of focus on the special teams over the last week in practice.
The power play goal scored by David Desharnais was his first career playoff goal. Max Pacioretty earned his first power play point with an assist on the play.
The line of Thomas Vanek, Desharnais and Pacioretty has combined for two goals, five points and 22 shots over the first two games of the series. Meanwhile, the Bourque, Lars Eller and Brian Gionta trio have put up four goals, seven points and 16 shots.
While the Bell Centre will be rocking on Sunday night, the Habs refuse to look too far ahead, knowing all too well that a 2-0 series lead built on the road in 2011 still ended in a Game 7 overtime loss to the Bruins.
Montreal had an off-ice workout on Saturday, with no line-up changes expected for Game 3.
You can listen to Sunday's game live at 7pm et/4pm pt on TSN 690 Montreal, TSN 1050 Toronto, TSN 1200 Ottawa, TSN 1290 Winnipeg and TEAM 1040 Vancouver.