|Public Betting: Flyers at Canadiens Spread, Odds, Trends & Matchups|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Saturday, 03 May 2008 03:17|
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The time has come for Guy Carbonneau's lucky tie to make another appearance.
The Montreal Canadiens are 3-0 when their coach has worn the wildly colorful silk Hermes tie his wife Line gave him as a birthday present in March.
``It's coming out of the closet,'' Carbonneau said following the team's afternoon practice Friday.
Carbonneau first wore it March 24 when Montreal clinched a playoff spot with a win over Ottawa, and two more times in the first round against Boston, the series opener and the decisive seventh game.
The undefeated tie will be around Carbonneau's neck and Carey Price will be in net when Montreal takes the ice Saturday night against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Bell Centre.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Montreal -158 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5.5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 57% of bets for this game have been placed on Montreal -158 (View NHL Bet Percentages). Bet this game.
Price was replaced for the third period of Game 4 by Jaroslav Halak, who made his first career playoff start Wednesday, a 3-2 loss in Philadelphia.
The 20-year-old rookie said Carbonneau told him after that game that he would return Saturday.
``I need to try and get a good go out there,'' Price said. ``It's pretty important right now. (Henrik) Lundqvist did it with New York. I think we all need to play our best or else we'll be playing golf.''
Asked about rumors that he was playing with a left hand injury, Price joked that he had ``three broken fingers on each hand'' as he held up both hands for inspection.
Carbonneau had insisted during a conference call Wednesday that Price was not injured.
``He's been our guy and he deserves a second shot,'' Carbonneau said. ``I think the last couple of days he had the time to kind of cool down and refocus and get ready for another long stretch.''
The Canadiens face a 3-1 deficit in their Eastern Conference semifinal and have yet to hold a lead in the series aside from Tom Kostopoulos' overtime goal in the series opener.
``Gosh I'd like to find out,'' Carbonneau said as he anticipated a question about playing with a lead. ``Ask everybody in the sport, in hockey, especially when you don't have the lead, you have to kind of force the play a little bit more, you have to put players into a different situation so you do spend a little bit more energy and sometimes you have to overplay some of the players.''
Alex Kovalev, the Canadiens' regular-season scoring leader, has one assist in the past three games since he scored twice in the series opener.
``He's played a lot of hockey for us,'' Carbonneau said. ``He's been really good since Day 1. You know, like everybody I'm sure that he feels the length of the season but I know he has more in himself and I think he took a good day (Thursday) to rest and we'll rest him again (Saturday) morning and I'm sure he'll be ready to go for the next bunch of games.''
Carbonneau will move Kovalev off Saku Koivu's line in a bid to shake up the offense that has been stymied by Flyers goalie Martin Biron.
Kovalev will be reunited with regular-season linemates Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Kostitsyn, whose younger brother Sergei will rejoin Koivu and Chris Higgins.
``I think if you look at the last four games Biron has been on top of his game,'' Carbonneau said. ``Sometimes he didn't see the puck but he was there to make the save and I always say better lucky than good sometimes, and right now he's really good and we have to find a way to get through him.''
Koivu and Kovalev are among a group of eight players on the Canadiens who were part of the last NHL team to overcome a 3-1 playoff series deficit.
Montreal came back with three straight wins against Boston in 2004 to win their first round series.
``Obviously we just can't keep playing the same way, playing well and losing,'' Carbonneau said. ``We can't afford to lose now so we have to find a way to win games. The fact that some of the guys on our team have been there will help in a way.''
The Canadiens and the Flyers each enjoyed 3-1 series leads in the first round and both lost their next two games to face Game 7.
Montreal beat Boston at home and Philadelphia won in Washington.
Obviously, both teams have experience with their current situation.
``Everyone is going to have pressure tomorrow, both teams,'' Carbonneau said. ``They are certainly going to want to end it and avoid making the same mistake they did against Washington. For our part, we've got our backs against the wall and it's now up to us to find a way to win.''