Scoring early and often in the first two periods, the Canadiens were 15.8 seconds away from giddily heading to the dressing room with a 4-0 lead. But after seeing Max Pacioretty carried off the ice in a stretcher following a hit into the turnbuckle by Zdeno Chara, the focus on the bench was on a lot more than just the game.
“The most important thing is that we’re all hoping Max is going to recover well and hopefully he’ll be back with us soon,” shared rookie center Lars Eller, who scored the first and second goals of the game against the Bruins. “We’re happy we got the win and we played a really good team game today so we’re happy about that.
“But I’ll tell you, it wasn’t easy,” added the game’s first star of seeing his teammate head to the hospital between periods. “We talked about staying focused on the right things, but it’s tough. At least we know now that Max is talking and he can move all his [extremities] so that makes us feel a little better.”
| Highlights Habs - Bruins
“We were a little bit dead in here coming into the second intermission,” admitted White, whose fight with Boychuck was his second in the NHL this season. “That’s an eye-opener; it turns your stomach a little bit when you see a buddy on the ice like that. Patch made the right play – he’s got to get the puck out there. He does his job and it’s tough to see a guy go down like that, especially when it’s a close friend. I’m hoping everything is alright with him.”
Helping make sure their younger teammates were able to re-focus on the task at hand, a few of the veterans had some words of advice to share with the rookies between periods.
“The room was pretty quiet. We were just trying to talk to each other and say ‘Hey, let’s keep our focus and go play’,” explained Michael Cammalleri. “There’s nothing you can really do at that point so you have to try to stay as present as you can. It’s ok to have that human side come out and feel what you feel, and then you move on and play the game.”
“We’re obviously all concerned,” added Habs captain Brian Gionta. “The well-being of your teammates and the guys involved in the game is above anything else. We play a game for a living and you want to make sure that everybody comes out injury free.
“But we knew it was going to be an important game for us and our focus was on making sure we got the win,” he stressed. “Obviously we didn’t play the way we wanted to last time in Boston but I thought we did a good job of coming back and refocusing for this game.”
Gionta’s coach was equally impressed with his team’s ability to bounce back. According to Jacques Martin, the Habs that hit the ice on Tuesday night looked nothing like the group that suffered an 8-6 loss in Boston just one month ago.
“A game like tonight helps us continue building our confidence. The guys played hard and we worked well as a group of five in every zone,” described the Habs bench boss, whose team is now just three points behind Boston for the division lead. “We’re a team with a lot of character that works hard and cares about and supports each other. I think tonight was an excellent example of that.”
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
Postgame comments: Gionta, White, Eller, Price,
Canadiens 4, Bruins 1
The Numbers Game - March 8, 2011