Stiff lower lip

Tuesday, 06.12.2011 / 10:55 PM / News
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Stiff lower lip


MONTREAL – Brian Gionta shakes off a skate to the face, gets stitched up and helps the Habs salvage a point.

The Canadiens captain proved exactly why he’s also the team’s iron man on Tuesday night. Keeping his 152 consecutive game-streak alive and well, not only did Gionta return after being cut by an errant skate, he also scored the game-tying goal to send the match into overtime.

“That’s just the type of player Brian is. He’s an incredibly tough guy and a skate to the mouth isn’t going to stop him,” said Josh Gorges who for his own part logged a marathon 27:58 of ice time. “He’s always going to come back, and he proved that tonight by helping to get a vital point for us. It was a huge goal and it was great to see him come back.”

Brian Gionta prior to Tuesday's game

“Getting the point was important for us, but we can’t afford to keep losing points as the year goes on,” continued No.26, who currently boasts a plus-13 differential on the season. “We need to be winning the games that we can, that we have to, in order to be where we want to be at the end of the year.”

While Gionta was on hand to discuss his injury after Tuesday night’s tilt, it was clear that letting the second point slip away was causing him significantly more pain than the cut to his face.

“I took a hit and the skate went up directly into my face and cut me across the lip. I was actually pretty lucky considering the circumstances,” explained Gionta who was sporting some stitches on his lower lip thanks to the Jackets’ Marc Methot’s skate blade. “After the hit, I think we both had the impression that it was the other guy that was at fault. I still haven’t seen the play, but I’ll say again, I’m really lucky that it wasn’t worse than it was.”

“We have to be better when it comes to our preparation,” added Gionta shifting his focus to the night’s events. “We absolutely didn’t show up ready for this game and it was obvious on the ice. Mentally we made too many mistakes, too many turnovers. It shouldn’t ever matter if we’re playing at home or on the road, we need to find a way to start stringing some wins together.

A few stalls down Carey Price was busy echoing his captain’s sentiments, frustrated by the shootout results despite making some game-saving stops over the course of the match.

“I hate coming out here and dropping a bunch of clichés on you, but every game is important and every point is important. We need to find a way to crack the top 8,” said Price on the subject of his team’s current ranking in the East.

“It’s hard to look at our standings board and remember that we’re not in a playoff position right now. If we don’t move up in the rankings we ultimately can’t accomplish our goal which is to win the Stanley Cup,” added Price. “No one plays to lose and it’s obviously frustrating. We have to get back to work and start climbing again.

Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.

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