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Habs won't let possible Carter return affect game plan

By Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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Habs won't let possible Carter return affect game plan
The Canadiens shrugged off news leading goal-scorer Jeff Carter could return to the Flyers’ lineup as soon as Tuesday night, focusing instead on what they have to do to win Game 2 and square the Eastern Conference Final at a game apiece.
PHILADELPHIA -- It's a long shot that Jeff Carter returns to the Philadelphia Flyers' lineup for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final on Tuesday night.
 
Either way, the Montreal Canadiens didn't seem too worried upon hearing the news of Carter's possible return at the Wachovia Center on Monday afternoon. Carter hasn't played since suffering a fractured right foot in Game 4 of Philadelphia's opening-round series victory against the New Jersey Devils, but he skated in the morning at the team's practice facility in Voorhees, N.J.
 
The Canadiens shrugged off the news, though. As far as they're concerned, they're simply in search of a win in Game 2 after being trounced 6-0 on Sunday night.
 
"I have no control of who plays for the Flyers," Montreal coach Jacques Martin said. "My concern is to get our team ready to play. Before the start of the series, we knew we had to win a game here."
 
Should Carter manage to return, it's hard to imagine that it wouldn't provide the Flyers with even more momentum heading into Game 2. Not only did Carter lead Philadelphia with 33 goals during the regular season, but his 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame could create another headache for Montreal's defense.
 
"He's a pretty offensive guy, but you can't start changing your game plan," defenseman Ryan O'Byrne said. "One guy comes in, one guy comes out. That's the playoffs. Over the course of a seven-game series, there's always guys in and out of the lineup. You can't change your game. Obviously, he's a big kid and he's got offensive ability. But we won't be changing our game."
 
Montreal's attitude is based off what it was able to accomplish in the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Sure, Carter's a talented player with a knack for the net. But the Canadiens had to get past the likes of Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby just to reach this point -- a pair that combined for 101 goals during the regular season.
 
"It's a team game," Habs forward Glen Metropolit said. "He's a good player, but they've had a lot of guys up due to injuries, and so do we. That being said, it doesn't matter who they have. We just beat the top two teams in the conference, so we'll see."
 
Regardless of Carter's status for Game 2, the Canadiens know they have to be better. They were outplayed in every facet of Sunday's loss and need to have a better effort from everyone on their roster if they hope to go back to Montreal with a split.
 
"We've got to come out and initiate … we kind of waited to see what they were bringing," Metropolit said. "Obviously, they took it to us. Our special teams has to be better, too. We took a couple of bad penalties, and it cost us. If we stick to our game plan, we'll be fine. Once we stray away from it, we don't look too good out there. We've just got to have a better effort from everyone."
 
Martin hopes to receive the type of effort he witnessed back on April 1, when his Canadiens marched into the Wachovia Center and earned a hard-fought, 1-0 victory. Montreal had lost five of its previous six games before beating the Flyers in their building behind a 35-save performance from Jaroslav Halak.
 
"We came late in the season and won a big game in this building, 1-0," Martin said. "Basically, our focus is we have to do the same thing tomorrow night."
 
Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
 
Quote of the Day

We think that Randy is a very good coach. Our players think that Randy is a very good coach. We think that he's going to get the most out of this group. With the addition of the two assistants, a bit of a different dynamic, we're very comfortable that this is a quality coaching staff that's going to maximize the potential of this team.

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