Live Blog tonight: Habs @ Isles! 7PM!

TCL is pleased to announce that we will be doing yet another live blog tonight for the Canadiens game on Long Island. Set your reminders in the widget at the end of this blog, and make sure to log back into TCL at 7PM tonight, as TCL Islanders contributor and member of The Hockey Writers, Rob McGowan and myself will be blogging the game LIVE.

Rob will be at Nassau Coliseum in the press box, and I will be sitting on my couch as we discuss the game as it happens.

Tune in for this special event, and make sure to post lots of comments!

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GAME PREVIEW

The Canadiens' destiny is in their own hands tonight. A win against the Islanders (paired up with a loss by the Rangers against the Sabres, or even a Flyers loss in Toronto) guarantees the Habs a playoff berth.

Of course, the Habs shouldn't be banking on the failure of other teams, so tonight they need to play a perfect game. No mistakes, 60 minutes of hockey, and stellar performances all around, starting with, of course, Jaroslav Halak.

Only a day after receiving first star of the week honors from the NHL, Halak will look to continue his goal-less streak tonight against the Isles. But of course, no one really needed me to tell them that Jaroslav Halak would be starting the game tonight. After yet another loss by Carey Price last Wednesday, and back-to-back shutouts this weekend, Halak has solidified his position as the Canadiens' number one goaltender. From hereon in, the Canadiens will live and die by Halak's sword.

Halak was quick to nullify any credit given to him for his first star selection, as cited in this article by Dave Stubbs. “I said after the (two) games that it’s not me, it’s a team effort. Without all my teammates, I wouldn’t be able to get the two shutouts. They played two great games in front of me. I don’t think about being named a star. I just think about winning the game. We’re all here to make the playoffs.”

And while Halak is right - his teammates blocked a whopping 34 shots in the combined shutouts - we don't need to get into the difference Halak makes for the team in front of him. He deserves the credit, and he's earned the right to play most, if not all, the games the Canadiens will play between now and whenever they're eliminated from the playoffs.

However, if the Canadiens wish to win tonight and secure their position in the playoffs, it will need to be a team effort. Mike Cammalleri, who hasn't scored since he returned from his MCL injury, is going to have to bury the puck. Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta and Benoit Pouliot are going to have to find their chemistry once again. The 3rd and 4th lines are going to have to continue being stellar in providing secondary offense, defending leads and killing penalties. And the defense is going to have to take control of games and shut down opposing forwards.

Things are looking fairly rosy for the Canadiens, but they looked pretty good after the Habs had won six games in a row in early March. Forwards, defensemen, goaltenders, are going to have to come together, forget about the two shutouts and look forward to an Islanders team that has nothing to lose.

Tune back into TCL later this afternoon for Rob McGowan's preview of tonight's game, and be here 7PM sharp for the live blog!

Enjoy the game,

Prax
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