No confirmation yet on whether Benoit Pouliot will be in the lineup tonight or not but if practice lineups are anything to base these assumptions on, Pouliot will be watching the game from the press-box. Yesterday at the Habs practice facility in Brossard, Jeff Halpern was seen in the company of Lars Eller and Travis Moen while David Desharnais was skating with Tom Pyatt and Ryan White. The combinations left Pouliot feeling like the odd man, but Coach Jacques Martin did not confirm his inclusion or exclusion from the lineup.
Benoit Pouliot played a mere 3 minutes and 21 seconds in game three at the Bell Center on Monday night and was on the ice for a total of 5 shifts. In these 5 shifts, he managed to get a fighting major and handed the Bruins a powerplay on the sole hit he landed. That penalty earned him the ire of Coach Martin and Pouliot spent pretty much the rest of the game including the whole third period on the bench. With the pending return of Jeff Halpern, out of the lineup due to a lower body injury, Pouliot once again finds himself as the odd man out.
Inside Montreal's dressing room after the practice yesterday, the topic of conversation was their loss of focus early on in game 3 which allowed the Bruins to take an early lead. Everybody agreed with Carey Price's assertion that the Habs went into the game without the focused attitude that saw them win the first two games at the Garden in Boston.
"He’s been our best player all year, and if he doesn’t think we’re focused, then the guys have got to get ready to play," Defenseman P.K. Subban said. "He’s probably the most focused guy on game day, he’s pretty serious". Captain Gionta summed up the feelings and said: "He [Carey Price] was right, we lost our focus, for sure".
The Habs also agreed that this game will constitute an important step in shaping up the remainder of the series. As PK Subban put it: "3-1 is a lot different than 2-2".
On the Bruins side, forward Chris Kelly, who scored the empty net goal in game 3, was sent to Boston to have the area under his right eye examined in fear of a fracture that may have taken place when Kelly found himself crashing face first into the goal post after a push by Montreal's Scott Gomez. Kelly, who was sporting a shiner under his right eye, is confirmed to be in the lineup for game 4 but was spotted practicing with a full cage earlier today. Zdeno Chara, who missed game 2 due to dehydration, claims to be feeling much better and the prevalent feeling on the Boston side was one of a relaxed nature. Coach Julien commented about their retreat to Lake Placid during the two day break and emphasized the fact that the Bruins wanted to get a little rest and that the guys seemed really relaxed.
Boston worked hard on their powerplay during their 75 minutes practice stint on Wednesday at Lake Placid but the powerplay concerns have both sides looking into it. Montreal has had their own problems on the man-advantage but were able to capitalize at least once while shutting the Bruins down completely.
The puck is set to drop at 7:00 PM EST and the game will be telecast on RDS and CBC.