The Notebook - April 8, 2011
One game at a time: The Canadiens may have clinched a playoff berth on Tuesday night, but Habs head coach Jacques Martin isn’t planning on focusing on the postseason until after his team’s final regular season game.
“We know that we have to be ready to have our ‘A’ game tomorrow night,” confirmed the Habs bench boss. “You look at how the Leafs have been playing lately and they really made a strong push to get into the playoffs and we know they’ll be ready. They’re a dangerous opponent anytime you play them. There’s a rivalry there and they’re a team that’s been improving. They’re playing with pride and some of the young guys are playing for jobs next year.”
Scouting report: With one or two games left on the schedule and only a few points separating the top four teams in the East, the Habs will have to wait to find out who they’ll be matching up against in the first round of the playoffs. Some Montrealers already have strong opinions about who they want to see the Canadiens face in the postseason, but Michael Cammalleri isn’t one of them.
“I have no preference at this point – we’ll see where the chips fall. When you’re going into the playoffs, if you’re going in at all thinking there are certain people or teams you want to avoid, I think you’ve beaten yourself already,” explained Cammalleri, who led the league with 13 playoff goals last spring. “We’ll never go into a game thinking we’re not going to win. That would lend itself to say it doesn’t really matter who the opponent is.”
| Subban's notching his first NHL playoff goal against the Pens
Grizzled vet: P.K. Subban is getting ready to wrap up his rookie campaign on Saturday night, but after being called up late in the first round against the Capitals last spring, the 21-year-old already has plenty of playoff experience under his belt.
“It’s a new season and I think it was great last year that I kind of got thrown into it and I didn’t really have any time to think about anything,” admitted Subban, who averaged 20:44 in 14 playoff games last year. “It’s the same mentality going into it this year. You just go in and play hard and see how things unfold. That’s all we can control.
“Come playoff time, I don’t think it matters where you’re seeded. I think even the teams at the top will tell you it’s a new season and it’s a new life,” he added. “For guys who had a great season, they can come out and prove themselves again; for guys who didn’t, they can come out, have a great playoffs and it’s a great year for them. It’s an interesting time of the year but it’s fun.”
Unlikely offense: Second in the NHL with 37 wins to go with his .923 save percentage and eight shutouts, the only thing Carey Price hasn’t done for the Habs this year is put the puck in the net. Having already attempted a few 200-foot shots with the opposing goalie pulled for the extra attacker this season, the 23-year-old netminder wouldn’t mind getting one last crack at potting his first career NHL goal.
“You know what? They don’t give me the puck to go for the empty net – I’ll have to have a talk with the guys about that. That’s not very nice,” cracked Price, who has six assists in 205 Actually, Gomer gives the puck every once in a while; not when the net is empty, though.
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
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