Not so fast…
Ok, so the Flyers are up 2-0, but what does such a deficit mean to the Canadiens, historically? Well for starters, no team has come all the way back from a 2-0 hole more often than the Habs, with the Canadiens turning the trick five times, tying them for that honor with the Penguins who have also done it five times, including twice during their Cup run last year.
So when did the Habs last do it? That was 2004 against the Bruins, the same year the Canadiens erased a 3-1 deficit for the first time in franchise history. The Habs' favorite victim for 0-2 comebacks were the Nordiques, who blew 2-0 leads to the Canadiens in both 1993 and 1987.
Of those five Habs teams to have roared back from a 0-2 deficit, none of them failed to score a single goal in the first two games of their series. Still the NHL leader with 12 goals this spring, Michael Cammalleri knows the goals will come if Habs keep chipping away.
“Whenever a goalie gets back-to-back shutouts, you know he’s doing something right,” shrugged Cammalleri on behalf of he and his snake-bitten dressing room. “We responded well as a group and the chances were there for us, too. That’s the thing with sports, you can play bad some nights and still get a win just like you can play well like we did tonight and lose.”
Game 2 was a role-reversal of sorts for the Habs, who are accustomed to stealing games they were outplayed in during their upsets in the first two rounds.
"It was a bit of our own medicine, I guess. We had more shots and out-chanced them but just couldn't get it done," said defenseman Hal Gill, of his team’s 30-23 edge in shots. "That doesn't change that it was a much better effort on our part. We just need to be a little sharper. I think frustration is only natural at this point, but we can't let that take us out of character."
With Michael Leighton’s shutout string against the Habs now at six periods and counting, the Canadiens could simply reach out and push the panic button, but that doesn’t seem to be in their immediate plans.
“For sure we’re disappointed, but we need to stay positive,” said Tomas Plekanec. “We played better tonight and got more scoring chances, but now we can still improve on some things. We need to do a better job on special teams obviously and I think we need to get more second chance opportunities and make sure we have guys in front of the net to jump on rebounds.”
With the pressure squarely on the shoulders on the Habs' top two lines to finally solve Leighton, Cammalleri knows that the answer lies in the noisy confines of the Bell Centre in Montreal.
“I liked a lot of things about our game tonight, like our intensity and the sense of urgency was there,” concluded Cammalleri. “The bottom line is we just need to go home and win a couple of hockey games.”
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com.
The Numbers Game - May 18, 2010