They took to advantages
Canadiens buried their big chances
MONTREAL — During the two days off leading up to last night’s Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, the Canadiens did their best to express their feelings about being down, 3-2, in the series.
They talked about mustering determination in the face of elimination, about needing a do-or-die attitude, about leaving everything they had on the ice because, as veteran defenseman Hal Gill pointed out, “There’s nothing to save it for.’’
Well, now there is something more to play for. The Bruins had a chance to close out their archrivals at the Bell Centre but failed and tonight at TD Garden, Game 7 will determine who moves on and who goes home for the summer.
Both of Montreal’s goals were scored during five-on-three situations. Michael Cammalleri put the Habs up, 1-0, at 10:07 of the first. Dennis Seidenberg tied it at the 48-second mark of the second period and Canadiens captain Brian Gionta put his team ahead to stay at 5:48. Montreal did a masterful job of chewing up the clock in the third period with their frustrating defensive style.
For Habs goaltender Carey Price, the victory was meaningful as it was his first home playoff win in his last eight games and his first since the first game of the second round against Philadelphia in 2008.
“Everyone is doing everything they can to win hockey games,’’ said Price, who had 31 saves. “They’re blocking shots. They’ll do anything they can to win a hockey game and that’s what we need to do [tonight], too.’’
Each team won their first two road contests. In the last two, each team has won at home. Price said Game 7 could be played anywhere because with these stakes on the line, location doesn’t matter.
“Game 7s are just pure adrenaline,’’ said Price. “When you step on that ice, it doesn’t really matter where you’re at. Both teams are going to be revved up and ready to go. It’s going to be the exact same, probably one-goal game, so it’s going to be fun watching.’’
Price had plenty of praise for his teammates in terms of their ability to limit the Bruins scoring chances, particularly in the third period.
“That was excellent shutdown hockey,’’ said the 23-year-old netminder. “Guys were playing within the system. Guys were coming back to the house. Whenever we’d get scrambling, everybody comes back to the front of the net and then goes out from there and gets in the shooting lane and [the puck] hits a shin pad or a body part of some sort on point shots and we’re doing everything we can to keep the puck out of the net. That’s what we’re going to need [in Game 7].’’
The Canadiens proved their resiliency last year when they rallied from a 3-1 deficit against the Capitals in the opening round and went on to face the Penguins. They got down, 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 and battled back to win Games 6 and 7 before falling to Philadelphia in five games in the Eastern Conference final.
“We always seem to make it hard on ourselves,’’ said Price. “We seem to like it the hard way so we’ve just got to keep going. We put ourselves in the corner and we’ve already staved off elimination once. Now we’ve got to do it again. When you’re backed into a corner, you just do whatever you can to get out of it. When your back is up against the wall, the only place you have to go is forward and fight.’’
Last night, they earned the right to fight another day.