Had the Bruins lost Wednesday’s Game 7 against the Canadiens, the backlash would’ve been severe. Bruins fans and Boston media would be calling for Claude Julien ‘s head and the general feeling would be one of disgust and disbelief at the fact that the B’s fell short in a Game 7 once again.
If the reactions by Montreal players after the game are any indication, there will not be anywhere near that sort of outcry north of the border after it was the Canadiens who fell short in Game 7. The mood in the locker room was one of disappointment, obviously, but also one of optimism about the future of the Habs.
“You see the maturity of the team, and it’s going in the right direction,” said captain Brian Gionta. “We didn’t get the result we wanted this year, but you look at some of the guys who played and they really made great strides for this organization. Hopefully we can continue that and grow off that.”
One point of pride for the Canadiens was how they battled through injuries all season. They rarely had their full team healthy and playing, and that didn’t change in the playoffs. Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges, two of the team’s best defensemen, missed the entire series, as did forward Max Pacioretty . On top of that, forward David Desharnais and defenseman James Wisniewski both battled through injuries during the series and missed varying amounts of time.
“We’ve had young guys have to step in and play big minutes and play big roles and elevate their game,” said defenseman P.K. Subban. “This is how you build a franchise, when you give guys like that the opportunity. We were all given great opportunities here, and it just looks great for the franchise the next couple years. There’s a lot of young talent and a lot to look forward to. … If guys don’t step up, we don’t even have this opportunity to be in a Game 7, or even be in the playoffs.”
That said, there was still plenty of disappointment in the Montreal room. Although overcoming that kind of adversity can certainly be seen as a positive, they didn’t want to use an excuse for losing to the Bruins.
“Maybe the outside public can commend us for those sorts of things, and we definitely appreciate that, but it’s not something we dwell on very much,” Michael Cammalleri said. “Whoever’s next over the boards has to do their job. It really doesn’t do us any good dwelling on those things.”