Heading back to Montreal trailing in a series for the first time this spring, the Canadiens are prepared to stave off elimination by playing the desperate hockey that earned them a spot in the playoffs in the first place. Sitting one loss away from an early summer vacation may be uncharted waters for the 2013-14 Habs, but there are plenty of veteran leaders in the team's dressing room who have successfully navigated come-from-behind series wins before.
“Like we’ve said this whole time, it’s one day at a time. The biggest thing is when we get ready for Game 6, we don’t focus on trying to win two games,” explained Josh Gorges, who helped the 2009-10 Habs rally back from 3-1 and 3-2 series deficits against the Capitals and Penguins, respectively, with a pair of Game 7 wins that spring. “We can’t win two games on Monday, we can only win one. If we do that, then we’ll worry about what comes after that.”
Despite spotting the Bruins a three goal lead by the two-minute mark in the second period, the Canadiens battled to the end, getting power play goals from Brendan Gallagher and P.K. Subban to make it a 4-2 final. Refusing to throw in the towel before the final buzzer has been a hallmark of the Habs all year, and Gorges is expecting his teammates to come out swinging again on Monday night.
“There’s no quit in this team,” stressed the 29-year-old assistant captain. “We know what the stakes are now and we know what situation we’re in. We’ll go home and we’ll get ourselves prepared. We don’t have a tomorrow anymore. We’ll make sure we’re ready for Game 6.”
With their backs against the wall for the first time in the 2014 Playoffs, the Canadiens will be facing a Boston squad that will be salivating at a chance to close out the series in Montreal on Monday. Carey Price knows the best way to counter that and punch their ticket for a Game 7 back at TD Garden will be to make sure the Bruins – and their Vezina-nominated goaltender – have their hands full at the Bell Centre.
“It’s desperation mode,” confirmed the 2014 Olympic gold medalist, who has stopped 258 of the 282 shots he’s faced this postseason. “We’re going to have to get more traffic in front of Tuukka [Rask] and we’ll have to get to the net. They’re a tight defensive group and we’ll have to find a way to crack it. But we have enough guys in here that realize the type of situation we’re in and I think we’re just really excited to get another opportunity to win.”
They may be down in the series following Saturday’s loss, but the Canadiens are heading home in the same position they were in when they arrived in Boston on Friday: two wins away from eliminating the Bruins and moving on to the Conference finals. For head coach Michel Therrien, the game plan heading into Monday night is no different now that his team is trailing.
“We lost a battle, but we haven’t lost the war,” he underlined. “We’ll head home where we play with a lot of confidence and we’ll take it one game at a time.”
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
The Numbers Game - Game #5 - May 10, 2014