Canadiens’ pre-game 3-D light/laser show was pretty friggin’ awesome

Canadiens

On the heels of the Quebec League’s Halifax Mooseheads’ incredible light show from last week, the Montreal Canadiens rolled out their own must-see laser/highlight-projection production prior to Game 3 against the Lightning. From classy tributes to electrifying entertaining, no one, and I mean no one, does pre-game like the Habs.

If you tuned in late, here it is…

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Top 10 clutch performers in the playoffs

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images Sport)

Come crunch time, these are guys who find that extra gear when the pressure gets ramped up in the 
post-season. Here are the top 10 skaters you can count on to come through in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

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Bourque’s gorgeous goal undresses Lightning’s defense in Canadiens’ dominant Game 2 win over Tampa

Rene Bourque (Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Since arriving from Calgary in a trade two years ago, Rene Bourque hasn’t lived up to expectations as a member of the Canadiens. But in Game Two of Montreal’s first-round series against Tampa Bay, he scored a nifty little goal that stood up as the game-winner in the Habs’ 4-1 win over the Lightning.

Halfway through the first period, Bourque split Tampa Bay’s defense and delicately pushed the puck to the outside of netminder Anders Lindback for the Canadiens’ second goal of the night. The 32-year-old winger – who added a second goal against Tampa late in the third period of Game Two – had just nine goals and 16 points in 63 games with Montreal this season, but he did have a pair of goals and three points in five post-season games with the Habs last year. He’s matched that goal total in just two playoff games this year and if he can continue producing, star goalie Carey Price will have a lot more room to breathe.

Bergevin’s awesome dance moves create an Internet stir and plenty o’ mirth

Jason Kay
2012 NHL Entry Draft - Round One

Montreal Canadiens’ GM Marc Bergevin, known as a hard-core prankster during his playing days, is the subject of some guffaws thanks to a viral video.

Bergevin did his happy dance after Dale Weise scored the overtime goal for the Habs over Tampa Bay the other night, celebrating with moves rarely seen in NHL arenas. Quebec-based Les Satiriques took the footage and ran with it, creating a “Dance Party” mix that’s widely making the rounds. Read more

Can the Blue Jackets keep Sidney Crosby off his game?

Brandon Dubinsky

A few thoughts after Night 1 of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs…

• Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson is a polarizing player.

On the one hand, he’s an offensive defenseman who is capable of hitting or approaching 40-point seasons. He led the Blue Jackets with 24:40 of average ice time this season, which is actually more than a minute less than he was pulling in a season ago. He’s a guy the emerging Blue Jackets lean on, even though he’s their third-highest paid defenseman at $4.357 million against the cap through 2017-18.

On the other, he can be a liability at times. His negative Corsi for relative percentage this season was worse than every Blue Jackets defenseman and second-worst to only R.J. Umberger on the team. The volatility in his game, especially this season, was a reason why he wasn’t included on Team USA’s Olympic roster this time around.

But Johnson is a competitor. And when it comes to the playoffs, he’s a scorer. Read more

Dale Weise flips over the boards, scores overtime winner for Canadiens

Dale Weise

It was a back-and-forth Game 1 between Tampa Bay and Montreal Wednesday night – and an up and down game for the Canadiens’ Dale Weise.

First, he put himself on the low-light reel with this hit-and-miss bodycheck on Lightning rookie Cedric Paquette. (And actually, the most eye-popping part of this video is how close Weise’s skate comes to J.T. Brown’s face.)

GIF: In between the benches with...Dale Weise? on Twitpic

(That gif is courtesy @PeteBlackburn who, if you’re not yet following, you should)

But later on, he went and totally redeemed himself. Read more

Fleury, Price just good enough to win Game 1

Price save

Let’s get one thing out of the way right away. If the four teams in the Eastern Conference play throughout the playoffs the way they did on the first night of the post-season, none of them will be around beyond the second round.

It was a night where all the playoff rules were broken, but also one in a couple of hockey’s age-old axioms held true. The notion that defense and goaltending rule in the playoffs went out the window very early in both the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 overtime win over Tampa Bay and the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The age-old theory that scoring dries up in the playoffs also made a hasty retreat.

But, hey, it’s the Eastern Conference. If you’re looking for masterpiece games from a defensive standpoint, take your complaints to Dave King. If you seek actual entertainment, intensity and some pretty damn compelling hockey, don’t take your eyeballs off the screen for a second.

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Stanley Cup playoff preview: Round 1

Stanley Cup

Welcome to the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs and the beginning of a new format. No longer will teams be seeded from 1-8 in their conference, but instead will have to play out of their division first. Teams are no longer re-seeded after the opening round and will face the other winner in their division in the second round.

THN gets you prepared for the action, which will start Wednesday, April 12. Below is our introduction to each series, insider analysis from CBC’s Kevin Weekes and TSN’s Jeff O’Neill, and THN’s prediction.

And be sure to vote on our poll: Who do you think will win the 2014 Stanley Cup?


EASTERN CONFERENCE

BOSTON BRUINS vs. DETROIT RED WINGS
Introduction: A classic Original Six matchup welcomes the Detroit Red Wings to the East side of the playoff bracket and it won’t be a warm reception. The Bruins are the most complete team in the East and asserted their dominance by going through the East with a 12-4 record last playoff season. But the Wings are also an unfortunate draw for Boston. If any team, no matter its drawbacks, is capable of a shocking upset, it’s the experienced Red Wings machine. Just last season, Detroit upset Anaheim in the first round and took Chicago all the way to Game 7. This season, Gustav Nyquist should be even better for them. Read more