NHL

Kostitsyn could return to lineup as Habs look to rebound

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TSN.ca Staff
5/18/2010 5:17:01 PM
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The Montreal Canadiens will be looking for redemption tonight when they step on the ice against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Final.

You can follow along on our live playoff blog on TSN.ca at 7pm et/4pm pt. 

The Flyers embarrassed the Canadiens 6-0 in the opening game, but Montreal suffered lopsided losses in each of its previous two playoff series and rallied to win the following game.

Jaroslav Halak was pulled after allowing four goals on 14 shots in Game 1. He also got yanked after giving up five goals in a 6-3 loss to Pittsburgh in Game 1 of the second round. He was dominant the rest of the series, and the eighth-seeded Canadiens eliminated the Penguins in seven games.

"It wasn't one of his better games," Canadiens coach Jacques Martin said Monday. "I think he'll recognize that, and not just him. I think it goes with our hockey team. I think last night wasn't a good performance, and the result was there to show it. I've got lots of confidence, and his teammates have a lot of confidence in Jaro that he'll be able to bounce back."

Halak also stopped 131 of the final 134 shots he faced against the Capitals in the opening round. After his early exit against the Penguins, he allowed just 12 goals in the last six games and Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were limited to a goal apiece  in the series.

"Every series is a different series, so right now we are facing a different team than we faced in the first round and second round," Halak said. "So every team plays different hockey, and we just need to make a little bit adjustment in our penalty killing and our system. I think if we do that we should be okay."

In the other net, Flyers goalie Michael Leighton was outstanding. Making just his third start of the playoffs, Leighton stopped 28 shots for his first career playoff shutout.

Leighton has allowed only four goals on 98 shots in four games since replacing Brian Boucher, who is likely out for the postseason with a knee injury.

Leighton, who sat out from March 16 until May 10 because of an ankle injury, will take a shutout streak of 105 minutes, 50 seconds into Game 2. The Flyers, who overcame a 3-0 series deficit against Boston, could get more help soon. Injured forwards Jeff Carter (foot) and Ian Laperriere (concussion) both skated on Monday. Laperriere was cleared for contact, and general manager Paul Holmgren said he is closer to playing but he has been ruled out for Game 2.

From the Canadiens' side, there was plenty of speculation on Tuesday morning on who may or may not be in Martin's lineup. Forward Sergei Kostitsyn, who was all but banished by the team two weeks ago for apparent attitude issues, will be a game-time decision and could dress in place of Mathieu Darche or struggling winger Benoit Pouliot



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