P.K. Subban is expecting nothing less than fierce battle from Bruins: They are ‘a resilient team’
|05.02.14 at 1:04 am ET|
P.K. Subban wasn’t turning cartwheels in the Canadiens dressing room after his power-play goal 4:17 into the second overtime lifted Montreal to a 4-3 win over the Bruins in Game 1 Thursday night at TD Garden.
There’s good reason for his reservation.
Three years ago, Subban’s Canadiens not only won Game 1, they came back and beat the Bruins in Game 2 soundly and everyone, including the Canadian media, had the Bruins dead and buried heading up north for Games 3 and 4. But a funny thing happened in the Lake Placid retreat between Games 3 and 4. The Bruins found themselves. They tied the series and took a 3-2 lead before losing Game 6 in Montreal.
Of course, Game 7 back in Boston was sent to overtime after Subban drilled home a laser on the same end of the ice where he won Game 1 Thursday night. Nathan Horton saved the day, the series and the Stanley Cup dreams with an overtime goal and the Bruins were on their way to their first title since 1972.
All of which led to Subban keeping it low key after the Game 1 win Thursday.
“Well, it’s great that we won, but listen, I have played against these guys more than a few times over the past couple of years and in the playoffs. The one thing I can tell you is this is a resilient team,” Subban said of the Bruins. “That’s not something that you can say about every team, but against these guys I have to give them credit. They always battle back. They always find a way to persevere. Tonight, it feels good to be the team that found the way to get it done.”
Boo him all you want, but Subban does understand the value of respecting your playoff opponent, especially when it’s the Bruins.
“Listen, I don’t think we can even think about winning the series,” Subban added. “I mean, a couple of years ago we came in here and took two games and went back and we lost in Game 7. When there is success you have to take it and get better. I still think that there are things we need to get better on. We can’t be giving up 50-plus shots, I can tell you that for the rest of the series. [Carey Price] shouldn’t have to stop that many pucks.”
Subban was referring to the fact that Price had to face 51 shots on the night while Tuukka Rask saw only 33 in over 84 minutes. Then Subban made the following declaration that should raise more than a few eyebrows in Boston: “Both goaltenders played well,” Subban said. “Like I said, I have said it before and I’ll say it again, in my opinion [Price] is the best goaltender in the league, and he showed that again today.”
As for his two power-play goals, Subban said getting the puck on net was the key both times.
“When we get an opportunity like that, two power plays, I just try and be the difference and try and put the puck on net. I thought our first power play, I don’t even think we got a shot. I got the puck in the slot, [Andrei Markov] made a good pass. Let’s be honest, faceoffs are key. When you win a big faceoff like that — I think it was [David Desharnais] who won it. He was great all game. Lars [Eller] was great as well. [Tomas Plekanec], [Brandon Prust], that’s the difference in the game. If we don’t win the faceoff than we don’t even get that shot. Between all of our centermen and Carey Price, I thought that they were huge for us today.
“I just thought that we did a good job of moving the puck and moving ourselves to get open. They are a good team on the penalty kill. They take away your time and space. They have big guys down low. Our forwards did a good job of winning battles and getting the puck back to the point. That is the difference.”
On the game-winner, Subban said he was lucky that Zdeno Chara didn’t have time to get out to the center point because of the clean win by Desharnais.
“It’s a tough play for [Chara],” Subban said. “When you win a faceoff like that so clean, it’s tough for him to come out and block that shot. It was the same thing on the [Johnny] Boychuk goal. Once you get that puck in that spot you know you got a guy like him who can hammer it as well. I know that I try and lean into it as much as I can. It’s a tough play for him. I think he did all he could to get in my lane, but by the time he already did, I had already let it go.”