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Posted On Monday, 04.21.2014 / 6:39 PM

By James Murphy - Correspondent / - Lightning-Canadiens series blog

Lightning's Carle draws on '10 experience with Flyers

MONTREAL -- Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Matt Carle has been here before. In 2010, Carle was playing for the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, and he and his teammates had just lost Game 3 to the Boston Bruins on home ice to fall behind 3-0 in the series.

The whole world seemed to have the brooms ready for Game 4, but the Flyers had other ideas. Philadelphia won Game 4 in overtime to force a Game 5 back in Boston, and the rest is history, as the Flyers won the next three, including erasing a 3-0 deficit in Game 7 at Boston to win the game and the series.

It was the third time in Stanley Cup Playoffs history a team erased a three-game series deficit.

Now, Carle and the Lightning hope to erase the Montreal Canadiens' 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference First Round series to become the fourth team to accomplish the monumental comeback. But as Carle pointed out after an optional practice Monday, they're in a bit of a different scenario than the Flyers were.

"It was a little different because [the Flyers] started on the road, so Game 4 was at home," Carle said. "I think that whole mentality going into that game was just to not get embarrassed in front of our home fans and just try to win one. We won that game in overtime and went on the road and ultimately won the series."

Posted On Sunday, 04.20.2014 / 1:36 PM

By James Murphy - Correspondent / - Lightning-Canadiens series blog

Canadiens look to stay composed on home ice

BROSSARD, Quebec – The Montreal Canadiens return to Bell Centre for Game 3 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS, SUN) looking to take advantage of playing in their home arena with a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.

"I think we could've been better at home this season and I think it can be used as a tool for us, especially during playoff time," Montreal defenseman Josh Gorges said following the morning skate Sunday. "We know it's going to be electric in there tonight and we have to use that, feed off that and create some energy and make sure we're flying off the start.

"But at the same time, we have to have a road-like mentality. We can't change the way we play because we're back on home ice. We need to use that energy and excitement or passion to play, but it has to be controlled and smart energy. We need to keep it simple and still play that north-south game."

Posted On Wednesday, 02.26.2014 / 3:40 PM

By James Murphy - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Red Wings shrug off injuries, ready for playoff push

MONTREAL -- For the past few seasons once the NHL season began its stretch run, media and fans alike have speculated if the demise of the Detroit Red Wings' run of success and streak of appearances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs had finally arrived.

Each time the run appeared to be over, the Red Wings have proven the doubters wrong. Although the core isn't getting any younger and Detroit has been hampered by injuries, the Red Wings are focused on the final 24 games of 2013-14 and extending that into the playoffs.

That mission starts Wednesday when the Red Wings (26-20-12, 64 points) play the Montreal Canadiens (32-21-6, 70 points) in a key Atlantic Division game at Bell Centre.

"We think we know how to play and we've had a number of good players for a long time," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said after the morning skate. "We've had a number of injuries the last couple of years and those things can't be excuses. You gotta find a way to get it done and that's it."

Posted On Wednesday, 02.26.2014 / 2:56 PM

By James Murphy - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Canadiens' Subban: No hard feelings sitting in Sochi

MONTREAL -- Despite the fact P.K. Subban arrived back here with a gold medal and memories that will last a lifetime, the buzz around the Montreal Canadiens defenseman has been why he got into the lineup only once at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, playing a little more than 11 minutes in Canada's 6-0 win against Austria in the preliminary round.

But Subban squashed any ideas he holds bitterness toward Canada coach Mike Babcock, whom Subban and the Canadiens will play at Bell Centre on Wednesday.

"People should be praising Mike Babcock because he just won us a gold medal," Subban said after the morning skate Wednesday. "I got nothing but praise for him, the coaching staff, the management staff and the players that participated. I don't see any negative coming out of this really."

Posted On Tuesday, 02.25.2014 / 5:42 PM

By James Murphy - Correspondent / - 2014 Trade Deadline blog

Canadiens duo stays focused as deadline looms

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov was welcomed back from the 2014 Sochi Olympics on Tuesday by the local media with questions surrounding his contract status with the team and the March 5 trade deadline.

TSN 690 radio host Tony Marinaro reported Monday that Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin had offered the 35-year-old defenseman, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, a one-year contract worth "just over $6 million." Marinaro also reported that Markov and his new agent, Sergei Berezin, countered with a three-year contract proposal, but that Bergevin indicated he wants to go one year at a time with Markov.

When asked to confirm if the Canadiens had made him an offer, Markov appeared taken aback.

Posted On Friday, 02.07.2014 / 12:35 AM

By James Murphy - Correspondent / - Road to Sochi blog

Canucks' Henrik Sedin out for Sochi Olympics

Henrik Sedin
Center - VAN
GOALS: 9 | ASST: 31 | PTS: 40
SOG: 80 | +/-: 6
MONTREAL -- Vancouver Canucks center Henrik Sedin won't play for Sweden in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"I'm going to stay at home," Sedin said Thursday night after the Canucks' 5-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre, though he added that he was "very confident" he'll be ready to return when the Canucks resume play on Feb. 26 against the St. Louis Blues. "I need rest; I need rehab and I'm going to get a few days of recovery. It's right where they thought it was at first. It wasn't a whole lot worse but it's just a matter of feeling it confident-wise and feeling 100 percent.

"I don't think I'm there so that's why I made this decision."

Posted On Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 2:54 PM

By James Murphy - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Tortorella used time off to analyze individual Canucks

MONTREAL -- In what had to be categorized as a very relaxed John Tortorella press conference, the Vancouver Canucks coach told the media at Bell Centre after the morning skate Thursday that there was some good that came from his recent 15-day suspension.

Tortorella, who admits he still is familiarizing himself with the Canucks organization and players in his first season as coach, used his time away from the rink to focus more on individual players.

"There's no question because I wasn't involved in the day-to-day stuff I watched the games on TV and my video coach sent me all the stuff onto my computer," Tortorella said. "It gave me a lot more time to digest a lot of our concept. I spent more time on individual players because I couldn't be there working with them the next day or whatever it may be. So I filled my time that way, and it was a really interesting perspective for me because I've never been in this situation.

"It helped me, especially so early on with a new team and organization, I think understand some of the things with players and some of the things they're doing on the ice because I had more time to do it."

Posted On Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 2:50 PM

By James Murphy - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Canucks get Higgins, Richardson back vs. Canadiens

MONTREAL -- Although forward Henrik Sedin will miss the Vancouver Canucks' final two games before the Olympic break, and defenseman Dan Hamhuis will be out of the lineup Thursday with an undisclosed injury, the team will get two players back for their game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Forwards Chris Higgins and Brad Richardson, neither of whom dressed in a 3-1 loss at the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, will return. After the Canucks' morning skate Thursday, Higgins said he's happy to be back but looking forward more to helping his team snap a five-game losing streak.

"We're just looking for a win here and looking to gain some traction," Higgins said. "It's kind of spiraled for us here lately with injuries and what not so we have to find a way to win and hopefully put a couple of wins together. This is very important and we're focusing on [Thursday] but we'd like to get a couple because it's been difficult for us to put a string of wins together."

Posted On Tuesday, 12.17.2013 / 2:31 PM

By James Murphy - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Bourque returns as Canadiens host Coyotes

MONTREAL -- Montreal Canadiens forward Rene Bourque will be back in the lineup Tuesday when they host the Phoenix Coyotes at Bell Centre.

Bourque has been out with an upper-body injury since Dec. 2. He will skate on a line with Travis Moen and Brandon Prust.

"We will start him on the fourth line and gauge his progress," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien told the media following his team's morning skate. "Physically, he is ready to go, it's just a matter of him getting used to the pace of the game, considering the fact that we haven't had too much practice time recently due to our busy schedule."

Therrien also told the media that forward George Parros is doing better and has been riding the stationary bike. Parros sustained his second concussion of the season in a fight with New York Islanders forward Eric Boulton during the Canadiens' 1-0 overtime win Saturday at New York.

Posted On Saturday, 11.23.2013 / 7:57 PM

By James Murphy - Correspondent / - Road to Sochi blog

Bylsma impressed with Canadiens' Galchenyuk

MONTREAL -- After a 27-point rookie season, Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk is showing he's the real deal again with 16 points in his first 23 games of 2013-14.

With Montreal hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night at Bell Centre, Galchenyuk had a chance to get noticed in person for Olympic consideration with USA Olympic coach Dan Bylsma behind the Penguins bench.

But according to Bylsma, Galchenyuk has been on his radar for the past three years. If he had it his way, Bylsma would've been coaching Galchenyuk for the Penguins. He first met the Canadiens rising young star at the 2012 NHL Research and Development Camp in Toronto and was instantly impressed.

"I met Alex a couple summers ago at the NHL Development camp when he was a prospect and 17," Bylsma said. "Two-and-a-half days there in Toronto and I was fortunate to coach him there. We kind of had our eyes on those players when they were going into their draft year."

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Quote of the Day

I think when you build a team, you look at pairs, and I think the pair of [Voracek and Giroux] is very good, certainly one of the top pairs in the League.

— Flyers GM Ron Hextall on Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek after giving Voracek a multiyear extension Thursday