Clearly the chips are stacked against the Canadiens. What else is new? No one outside their dressing room is giving them a real shot of storming back from a 3-1 series deficit, but why should he Habs let that phase them? No one gave much hope coming into this series, either, but Jacques Martin’s squad still won Game 1 and held a 4-1 lead in Game 2 in the same building they will fight for their playoff lives in tonight.
“We’re extremely focused, we know what we have to do and what needs to happen. We also know that we can play well in this building, we’ve proven that,” said Travis Moen. “The goal is simple. We want to head back home to Montreal to play another hockey game. That’s all we’re worrying about right now.”
Despite staring down the possibility of shaking hands at center ice with the Capitals should they lose, the Habs want no part of any moral victories tonight at the Verizon Center.
“I don’t see this as a pride issue or wanting to not going down without a fight. This is only about winning a hockey game and making a series out of this. Nothing else,” vowed Michael Cammalleri, who has combined for 15 points with linemates Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Kostitsyn.
“I’ve been saying from the start that we can’t expect to shut these guys down. All we can do is try to contain them and limit the damage,” continued Cammalleri. “To beat these guys, we need to score goals and that’s all there is to it.”
While Cammalleri and Co. will be busy worrying about solving Semyon Varlamov, it will again be Jaroslav Halak’s job to stare down Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals' high-octane offense.
“Since the Olympic break, Jaro played in some huge games for us when he really needed to win like in Buffalo and Philadephia and he got the job done,” explained Jacques Martin of his goalie of choice in the latest biggest game of the Habs' season. “On top of that he got us our win in Game 1 so I’m giving him another opportunity.”
In his first year behind the Habs bench, Martin has learned a thing or two about his players. That’s why he isn’t convinced the Capitals have heard the last of his squad in this series.
“We’ve fought through our share of adversity this season. We have a special group here that can take a lot and then rise to the occasion,” added Martin. “Tonight is one of those nights and I’m confident about these players raising their games and doing whatever it takes to get the job done.”
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com
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