Mike Cammalleri: "The pressure is on them."

Cammalleri1.jpgThe Montreal Canadiens have been here before. Just two weeks ago,
they went on the road for a Game 7 against what many consider a much
more talented team, overcoming all odds to take out the top-seeded NHL
team after being down 3-1 in the series.

Now the Habs will have to
do it again, and while their confidence in this series is soaring most
don’t believe they’ll be able to do it once more.

Mike Cammalleri,
the playoffs goals-leader and the emotional catalyst for the Habs, says
his team is embracing the underdog role. From
Herb Zurkowsky:

“Do we think we’re going to win?
Yeah,” he continued. “That’s still our
attitude, but they’re still the favourites. They have the big rings on
their fingers. We’re just a bunch of blue-collar guys. The pressure’s on
them. The city [of Pittsburgh] and the experts expect them to win.”

Talking
with a couple of fellow hockey bloggers, it seems that the prevailing
thought is that the Penguins will dominate this game and walk away with
the series win. There’s just no way Halak and the Habs can continue this
run and do what they did against the Caps for the second series in a
row.

I don’t necessarily think that will be the case this time
around, as this series hasn’t exactly mirrored the one against the
Capitals as it would first seem. For one, Halak has had to be good but
has yet to be required to be miraculous. Sure, the Habs are still
allowing an incredible amount of shots but they are from from the
endless amount of chances the Capitals had in Game 6 and 7.

This
has been a series built on the success of the team, and if the Habs pull
off the win tonight it will be because of another overall team effort.
Hal Gill and Andrei Markov are going to try and skate tonight, although
it’s likely that only Gill plays and the Habs roll with seven
defensemen.

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    Report: Patrick Eaves is driving serious trade interest for Stars

    NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 17: Patrick Eaves #18 of the Dallas Stars skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on January 17, 2017 in New York City. The Stars defeated the Rangers 7-6.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    NHL teams are especially interested in trade talks with the Dallas Stars regarding Patrick Eaves, and it’s not because of his stellar beard-per-capita.

    Nope, it’s instead that he provides such excellent bang for the buck. You won’t find many players who already have 20+ goals and are making just $1 million, particularly outside of the artificial ceiling created by entry-level contracts.

    Eaves, 32, is enjoying arguably the year of his career, but it’s that bargain price that makes him the Stars’ best bargaining chip (and maybe one of the best in all of the league), according to Pierre LeBrun during the latest round of TSN’s Insider Trading.

    Interesting, Eaves could conceivably present a now vs. later debate for those in the bidding.

    While his cap-friendly contract makes him easy to drop in just about any contender situation, his affordability may prompt the Stars to ask for richer future assets.

    Of course, with an expiring contract, the Stars would still need to walk that tightrope between getting something for Eaves and letting him leave for nothing (assuming they wouldn’t re-sign him).

    That’s a delicate balancing act for any GM, and Jim Nill has mainly been accustomed to buying in Dallas so far.

    Want some more trade talk? Check out that full Insider Trading segment and also Sportsnet batting around ideas below.

    WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at Minnesota Wild

    CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 15: Zach Parise #11 of the Minnesota Wild tries to get off a shot against Corey Crawford #50 of the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on January 15, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The Wild defeated the Blackhawks 3-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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    The Minnesota Wild haven’t lost often, particularly in the past month, but they did fall to the Chicago Blackhawks in their last meeting.

    That was a spirited affair that ended with a 4-3 overtime win for Chicago, a setback that began what’s been a mostly successful run of home games for the Wild.

    The Blackhawks aim for a similar result – ideally this time in regulation – to make up ground against the Wild in the Central Division.

    At the moment, the Wild have more points (84 to 77) a game in hand, more wins (39 to 36) and more ROW (36 to 34). Catching the Wild even with a win tonight wouldn’t be easy for Chicago; a regulation loss would make the odds extremely slim.

    If their last game was any indication, this should be a fun one on NBCSN. You can also watch online or via the NBC Sports App.

    Click here for the livestream.

    Rough night for Carey Price so far

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    A large portion of the hockey-loving population in Montreal let out a big sigh on Tuesday night. Especially worrisome types may still be holding their breath about Carey Price, however.

    Many gasped after hearing that Price left pre-game warm-ups early after taking a Paul Byron shot up high.

    Video even surfaced of the moment, with Price looking very uncomfortable following the shot. (Byron might have felt uncomfortable too.)

    Yikes.

    It doesn’t sound like Price is going to miss time because of that incident. Of course, in many cases upon further reflection/once the adrenaline of competition wears off, he might think differently. So we’ll see.

    As you can see from the video above this post’s headline, the theme of Habs nearly hurting Price continued during the game, too. Sheesh.

    Trade deadline auditions? Quincey, Pateryn in action tonight

    GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 09:  Greg Pateryn #8 of the Montreal Canadiens in action during the first period of the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on February 9, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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    NHL executives, scouts and fans aren’t just watching their teams or the teams they’re jockeying with for playoff position tonight. They’re also likely taking a gander at potential trade deadline targets.

    At least two possible defensemen on the move are getting into lineups on Tuesday: Kyle Quincey with the New Jersey Devils (vs. the Senators) and Greg Pateryn for the Montreal Canadiens (against the Rangers).

    Will there be a dogged pursuit for Quincey?

    Quincey told the Bergen Record that the situation even has his dog on edge (gasp).

    “It’s not just me that’s on eggshells,” Quincey said. “It’s the wife and the kids and the dog. You’ve got to uproot your life. But I’m definitely not thinking about it. The only focus is getting some wins because we’re definitely not out of it.”

    (Sadly, some cursory searches did not provide insight as to the breed or name of Quincey’s dog. We’ll assume it’s first name is John.)

    Quincey’s getting his first bit of action since logging a little more than 23 minutes in a game on Feb. 4. He’s played in 51 games this season, generating 12 points and mediocre (but arguably adequate) possession numbers. At 31, a contender could conceivably target him if the price is low.

    Pateryn being shopped

    TSN’s Frank Seravalli reports that the Habs are indeed looking to move Pateryn, who returns to the lineup for the first time since Feb. 11 (replacing Nikita Nesterov, no stranger to changing locales).

    Pateryn is far less experienced than Quincey, but also has fresher legs at 26.

    He has six points in 22 games this season and some solid possession numbers.

    ***

    Now, neither of these blueliners are expected to make a big splash. Still, the price to even “rent” the likes of Kevin Shattenkirk could be huge, so teams might consider going after bargains like these two defensemen.

    Games like tonight’s contests could very well make or break decisions for some teams, for all we know.