In some ways, the Boston Bruins will be in a must-win situation when they take the ice at the Bell Centre on Thursday night to take on the Montreal Canadiens (7 p.m. EDT; TV/Radio: Versus/WBZ-FM) in Game 4 of their quarterfinal series in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
A loss on Thursday night would put the Bruins in a 3-1 series hole after opening the series with two straight home losses to the Habs. Boston has never won a playoff series when trailing 0-2 in franchise history.
Yet that's all in the past, and Tim Thomas and the B's will try to even up the series at 2-2 in front of a hostile crowd in Montreal on Thursday.
Boston avoided an all-out disaster by beating the Canadiens, 4-2, in Game 3 of the series on Monday night. David Krejci, Nathan Horton, Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly all scored in the victory, and Tim Thomas had 34 saves.
"I was lucky to be able to hold them tonight," said Thomas. "Not too many rebounds. It's about time, I was happy to get this win, I needed it. It all worked out good. (via Sports Network)
The win marked the first time this series that the Bruins were able to solve the puzzle of Montreal goaltender Carey Price, who had been lights out through the first two games, allowing one goal in the first two games while turning away 65 shots.
"We weren't as focused as we were in Boston," said Price. "They were buzzing in the first half with a full court press. They traded a lot of opportunities off their forecheck and we were sitting back on our heels in the beginning." (via Sports Network)
Thomas hasn't been bad in net for Boston, yet at the same time, he hasn't been stellar. Through three games in the series, the presumed Vezina Trophy winner has given up seven goals while making 75 saves.
The storyline for the Bruins continues to be the health of captain Zdeno Chara, who was held out of Game 2 after being hospitalized for dehydration. Chara had one assists in 26 minutes on the ice on Monday.
"Chara makes a huge difference, he's one of the more important players in the league and the most important on this team," said Thomas. "It's harder to play without him. The last game we weren't able to get it done without him." (via Sports Network)
In addition to Chara's health, the Bruins have had to worry about the well being of Kelly, who was hit into Price on Monday night. However, a report from WEEI indicated that Kelly has been cleared to play in Game 4.
"I'm good to play tonight," Kelly said afterwards. "I went back to see our doctors in Boston and they gave me the green light and said everything is great and to just go out and have fun." (via WEEI)
Montreal is also dealing with the injury bug, as forward Jeff Halpern has been sidelined since late March with a lower body injury. Halpern may be able to make his return to the ice on Thursday night, according to The Sports Network.