Throughout the series we've heard the Montreal Canadiens
talk about how the pressure is on the Washington Capitals
, how the Habs have nothing to lose, that they weren't even supposed to compete against the Presidents' Trophy winners.
Now it's Game 7 and all that nonsense, well, forget about it. The Habs have always been in this to win it, and they know what's at stake Wednesday night at Verizon Center (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN, RDS).
"Both teams have got lots to lose," Canadiens left wing Travis Moen
said Wednesday morning. "Everybody wants to move on here. You're playing for the Stanley Cup and nobody wants to go home early, so we both have lots to lose."
If you want to talk in mental terms, yes, there is more pressure on the Capitals because they are at home and they've already blown a 3-1 lead in this series. But with Montreal being the hockey hotbed it is, are we to assume that the Canadiens aren't under any pressure to win?
Isn't the pressure to win always huge in Montreal? Heck, just the other night, after Montreal had beaten the Capitals in Game 6 at Bell Centre, Canadiens forward Tom Pyatt
admitted that he was taken aback by how wild the city went.
They flooded the streets and bars like a college town the night of a national championship. It was only Game 6 of the first round.
"We have expectations," Montreal defenseman Hal Gill
said. "I'm sure we're happier about being in a Game 7 than they are. I'm sure there is more frustration on their part that they didn't close us out already. We're happy to be a part of this and we're happy to have a chance to win, and when it comes down to it that's what both teams want."
The Canadiens know in order to give themselves the best chance to win Game 7, allowing 54 shots on goal and giving up six power play chances to the Capitals is probably not something they ought to do again.
It worked in Game 6 because Jaroslav Halak
happened, but the longer you play with fire, well, you know what happens.
"The first thing about that is we can't be giving them so many power plays. You're playing with fire when you let those guys handle the puck as much as they can when they get on the power play," Canadiens left wing Michael Cammalleri
said. "That's first and foremost, but the other part is us. We have to play with the puck a little bit more, have more confidence in our attack and spend a little more time in their zone 5-on-5.
"We don't want (Halak) to have to (have another huge game), but we expect him to play really well."
Moen, who won the Cup with the Ducks in 2007, talked about laying it all on the line.
"When they want to turn it on they can turn it on," he said. "So, it's holding onto the puck, puck management, grinding it out in the corners, picking up guys in the slot and trying to get into lanes to block shots. It's Game 7 and we have to block all the shots we can."
That doesn't sound like a player or a team that feels it has nothing to lose.
It's Game 7. Losing is, well, not an option.
"It's never about the talk, it's always about the actions," Cammalleri said. "This is it, one game, let's see who moves on."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl