MONTREAL — The Montreal Canadiens obviously want to do something to improve their faceoff percentage in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the Bruins.
So far, they’ve won just 44.4 percent of the draws while building a 2-1 series lead.
Tonight they should receive a huge boost as forward Jeff Halpern, who’s been out with a lower-body injury since March 30, might play. He took the morning skate at the Bell Centre and did not stay out extra with the scratches.
Head coach Jacques Martin said there’s a “good chance” Halpern will play. In the regular season, Halpern registered 26 points and won 56.9 of his faceoffs.
“He plays a role well. He’s had a really good year,” said Bruins center Gregory Campbell, who will be among those trying to defeat Halpern at the dots. “He’s good on the faceoffs, he’s a good defensive player. It adds to the depth of their team. It’s not something we’re focusing on but obviously it’s going to help them.”
Halpern wasn’t available in the Habs’ dressing room after the skate. Yesterday after practice, he spoke with the media. In the Montreal Gazette, he said:
“I wanted to be ready for Game 1. It wasn’t too tough watching the first two games because we won, but the last game was tough because I wanted to help the team.”
Halpern has never been beyond the first round in his NHL career. So he’s obviously hoping his return will give the Habs the extra jolt they need to stave off the hard-charging Bruins.