|P.K. Subban, Canadiens disappointed with loss to Bruins, but optimistic about the future||04.28.11 at 12:01 am ET|
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.”
|Bruins Game 5 Live Blog: B’s, Habs head to overtime||04.23.11 at 6:29 pm ET|
Join DJ Bean, Mike Petraglia and others at the TD Garden for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
<a href=”http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=544866eb6c” mce_href=”http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=544866eb6c” >WEEI.com Bruins Game 5 Live Blog</a>
|Brian Gionta, Andrei Kostitsyn among those missing from Habs morning skate||04.21.11 at 10:50 am ET|
MONTREAL — The Habs seemed to have held a semi-optional morning skate Thursday in anticipation of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals vs. the Bruins. In addition to both goaltenders, nine forwards (Michael Cammalleri, Tomas Plekanec, Jeff Halpern, Ryan White, Benoit Pouliot, David Desharnais, Lars Eller and Tom Pyatt) and six defensemen (Jaroslav Spacek, Paul Mara, Brent Sopel, Yannick Weber, Hal Gill and P.K. Subban) took the ice.
Among the missing for the skate were Brian Gionta, Andrei Kostitsyn, James Wisniewski, Mathieu Darche and Roman Hamrlik.
|Whether or not the big man plays, Bruins will have to block out big-time crowd noise||04.18.11 at 1:34 pm ET|
MONTREAL — The Bell Centre is going to be roaring for Monday night’s Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Given that the Habs have taken the first two games of the series against the rival Bruins, the crowd noise should be plenty loud, and that’s without factoring in the possibility of Montreal villain Zdeno Chara playing.
If things get as loud as they’re expected to, it could actually impact the game in how players communicate with one another. Unable to hear over all the hoopla, calling to teammates suddenly becomes a much more of an intended yell.
“That happens a lot during a game,” Habs forward Michael Cammalleri said after the Canadiens’ morning skate. “I guess it will happen more often if they’re cheering or boring more often when someone’s on the ice. Even if you get a rush chance, everyone gets excited and on their feet. Sometimes you can’t hear a guy and things of that nature because the fans get loud. Players are pretty used to that kind of thing.”
The Bruins are at enough of a disadvantage playing in the Bell Centre down two games to none, so the crowd noise seems to be the least of their concerns. Either way, they know it’s there.
“If you’re close enough — and you may have to talk a little louder than normal — but normally it’s not too bad, but it definitely is a loud atmosphere,” B’s defenseman Adam McQuaid said Monday. “When you’re down on the ice, you just kind of have to speak over it.”
McQuaid has never played in Montreal in the postseason, but did admit that he “can only imagine what it will be like tonight.”
If Chara plays, he can expect perhaps the heftiest booing of his career, as long as Habs fans can top some of their personal bests. Should he be in the lineup Monday, the crowd will get its first crack at the Boston captain since he was ejected for shoving forward Max Pacioretty into a stanchion on March 8. Much like the rest of the crowd noise, the B’s will have to block out any pointed jeers as well.
“That doesn't matter,” Claude Julien said of the reception Chara would get if he plays. “I think what matters to us right now is what is at stake in this game. No matter what happens, you have to play through those things. We're all aware of that and guys are professional enough.
“I don't know if there is a rink Zdeno doesn't get booed in, certainly not because of what happened, but because of the realization of the impact he has on the game and the difference he can make in game situations. He's a big man, he's a strong guy that we rely on a lot and he's a big part of our team. I think other buildings realize that.”
|Canadiens continue to clog shooting lanes in Game 2||04.17.11 at 1:28 am ET|
The Bruins have gotten a lot of shots on goal in their series against the Canadiens — 66 through two games — but they've also had a lot blocked. Montreal has registered a staggering 47 blocks in its pair of wins, including 27 in Saturday night's 3-1 triumph. By comparison, the Bruins have blocked just 21 shots in the series.
'We have some guys who are actually really good at it,' forward Michael Cammalleri said. '[Brent] Sopel and [Hal] Gill right away come to mind. Those guys are two premier shot-blockers in the NHL. They're leading the way and other guys are feeding off that.'
Gill led all players with five blocks in Game 2, while Sopel's seven in the two games combined are a series high. It's not just those two, though. Fourteen of the 19 Canadiens who have dressed in the series have blocked at least one shot. At the other end of the ice, only seven Bruins have registered a block.
'That's what it takes to win in the playoffs,' forward Mathieu Darche said. 'It wasn't only our third and fourth line guys or our D. It was everybody.'
Defenseman James Wisniewski said the Canadiens have to make sure they're getting in shooting lanes because the Bruins are a hard team to clear away from the front of the net. If they don't block shots, he said, there's a chance the Bruins could tip them or prevent goalie Carey Price from seeing them.
'That's the type of thing that's huge for our team,' Wisniewski said. 'We can't outmuscle them in front of the net, so we have to make sure forwards get in the shooting lanes. And if it gets by our forwards, we can come out and front the puck and get the puck out of our zone.'
The Canadiens play a layered defense that has become more and more common at all levels of hockey, and that makes it even more difficult for their opponents to get shots through.
'It's kind of a skill,' Wisniewski said. 'You have to see what the forward is taking away, if he's taking blocker or glove-side away. If he's taking blocker, then you step out and take glove-side. So it's kind of like a double block that we're doing.'
Price said it requires almost constant communication between him and his defensemen and between the defensemen and the forwards to make sure guys are blocking shots and not just deflecting them or screening him.
'There's a lot of talk on the ice,' Price said. 'It's not always easy with the noise in the building, but communication is really important.'
|Canadiens could be thinking sweep, but they aren’t||04.16.11 at 11:50 pm ET|
After winning Games 1 and 2 in Boston, the Canadiens have a chance to close out the series in front of their own fans if they can defend home ice and win the next two games at the Bell Centre, where they went 3-0 against the Bruins in the regular season. Just don't expect them to be looking ahead to Game 4 and the possibility of a sweep.
'We're not concerned about the second game or coming back here,' said Canadiens goalie Carey Price. 'All we're worried about is the next game. It's a clichÃ©, but that's really all we're looking forward to, is the next day and the next game.'
Don't expect them to spend any time celebrating their two straight road victories over their rivals, either.
'I've got no time for that,' Michael Cammalleri said. 'Seriously. If we're sitting here happy about that and celebrating, then we're making a crucial mistake. The fans can be happy and our parents and our families can be happy, and good for them, but I'm dead serious. We have no time to be happy right now.'
The Canadiens know the Bruins are capable of playing better than they have in the first two games and they're not taking anything for granted or expecting anything to come easy.
'We're happy with those two games, but we really can't be satisfied,' Mathieu Darche said. 'It's just going to get tougher. They'll come to Montreal with a vengeance. We know they're going to be better, and we'll have to be better also.'
Price said the Canadiens also can't get caught up in the excitement of the crowd or get down if something goes wrong.
'We're going to have to really maintain our composure,' Price said. 'I think that's going to be the biggest thing. The crowd's behind us and obviously there's going to a lot of adrenaline, so we have to make sure everybody stays composed.'
The Bruins, meanwhile, aren't getting down on themselves. They know they've been a good road team all season — their 24-12-5 record on the road was fifth-best in the NHL — and even though they're down 0-2 and haven't won in Montreal this season, they remain confident.
'It might be a good thing for us to get there and really simplify things and get more composed than we are right now,' Mark Recchi said. 'We'll be fine as long as we regroup here and as long as we embrace it and get ready for a big situation on Monday. The pressure is on us now. I believe in this group of guys and we're going to have to go show them on Monday.'
|Report: Michael Cammalleri says he ‘won’t be like Mark Recchi and diagnose the other team’||at 12:50 pm ET|
Where would we be without twitter? The Montreal Gazette’s Dave Stubbs tweeted Saturday that Michael Cammalleri had an interesting take on Zdeno Chara‘s dehydration when talking to TSN after the team’s morning skate. Asked about Chara, Cammalleri reportedly said, “I’m no MD, so I’m not going to be like Mark Recchi and diagnose the other team.”
Cammalleri was obviously taking a shot at Recchi’s suggestion last month that the Canadiens exaggerated Max Pacioretty‘s head injury following his hit from Chara on March 8.