TAMPA – In a special playoff edition of the notebook, P.K. talks PP efficiency, Michael Bournival discusses his postseason debut and playoff veteran Daniel Briere knows you don’t win the Cup after Game 1.
TAKING THE POWER BACK: Having now gone 0-for-25 on the power play over the past nine games, including an 0-for-2 mark so far in the playoffs, the Canadiens once again split up into two groups to spend some quality time on special teams during Thursday’s practice. Winning the special teams battle in Game 1 after going a perfect 2-for-2 on the penalty kill, in addition to scoring a shorthanded marker against Tampa, the Habs aren’t hitting the panic button but they’re ready to start seeing the red light come on a little more often with the man advantage.
“I think we’re doing a lot of good things and we’re generating opportunities. We’re not scoring; it’s just not going in for us. If we score, it changes everything,” underlined P.K. Subban, who was second behind only Alex Ovechkin this season averaging 4:39 of power play ice time per game. “I think the most important thing for our team right now is working together as a five-man unit. It’s not just on the forwards; it’s on the defense as well to make sure we’re putting the pucks in good places so our forwards can retrieve them. The most important thing is just generating momentum and carrying that over into our 5-on-5 play. You’re not going to score on every power play – we’d like to, obviously – but the other teams are good and trying to shut us down so the important thing is to make sure we’re generating momentum and not giving them any.”
BATTLE TESTED: While 12 Lightning players were enjoying their first taste of NHL Playoff hockey on Wednesday, Michael Bournival was one of just two Habs players making his postseason debut in Game 1. With a playoff pedigree that includes leading the Shawinigan Cataractes to a Memorial Cup championship in 2012 as captain, it was no surprise to see Bournival hit the ground running in his first playoff game with the Habs. Kick-starting the play that led to Dale Weise’s overtime winner against the Bolts in addition to going 2-for-3 in the faceoff circle during his 12:28 workload, the rookie forward had no trouble fitting in with his veteran linemates.
“Playoff games are always exciting and full of emotions. It’s even more fun when they finish the way it did yesterday, and we played well,” mentioned Bournival, who played with Weise and Daniel Briere in the outing. “In every league, when you get to the playoffs, the game kicks up a notch. I was expecting that. I watched playoff games in Montreal last year and I saw how it went then so I think I was ready for the moment. Every game is important in the playoffs. It goes fast and you could be eliminated the next night. Every game, every period and every shift is important.”
SAGE ADVICE: About to take part in his 110th career NHL playoff game, postseason veteran and much-heralded clutch playoff performer Daniel Briere has already turned the page on his team’s big overtime win in Game 1. Counting more games of NHL Playoff experience than eight of his fellow forwards in the lineup on Wednesday night combined, the 36-year-old center recognizes the importance of maintaining an even keel at playoff time.
“If you look at teams that have success in the playoffs, they’re the teams that are able to control their emotions. You have highs and lows, whether it’s a goal against or a mistake or a bad penalty, but good teams are the ones that can bounce back and put that behind them,” described Briere, who helped the Flyers reach the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010 with 30 points in 23 playoff games that spring. “It’s not just one game to another; sometimes it’s one period to another or even one shift to another. Yesterday after they scored their first goal it would have been easy to hang our heads, but we responded right away with a goal 19 seconds later. You’re going to go through a rollercoaster of emotions in the playoffs and you can’t get caught up in it. Yes, we played a good game yesterday but that doesn’t mean anything tomorrow. We have to start again from square one with another one.”
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
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