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Round 2
Round 3
Stanley Cup Final

Offense stagnant again for Canadiens, Gionta

By Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- Throughout the playoffs, Brian Gionta has been counted to score goals for a Montreal team that has consistently struggled to find offense.

In the first two rounds, that offense came fairly easy for him. But against the Philadelphia Flyers, the well has run dry for Gionta and all of the Canadiens. Saturday afternoon, Montreal was shut out for the third time in four games by Philadelphia, falling into a three-games-to-one hole in the best of-7 series.

Gionta had two shots in Game 4, but he was unable to solve Michael Leighton, who also stopped the other 15 shots Montreal managed. As a testament to the Canadiens’ offensive struggles, Leighton only faced one shot in the second period, which tied a Montreal mark for offensive futility in the playoffs.

Gionta played a little more than 22 minutes Saturday and had the aforementioned two shots, but also had another three blocked and missed with three more. He handed out two hits and had one giveaway while finishing a minus-1. He was also a key part of a struggling power play that went 0-for-2 in the game.

The Canadiens will try to get things rolling again in Game 5, Monday in Philadelphia. Montreal is 5-0 in elimination games this postseason.

Q: Can you explain the struggles offensively?

Gionta: We were turning pucks over and we were not on the same page as far as support. You go carrying it into the neutral zone and it is easy to step up on him knowing he has no outs.

Q: Did you feel some impatience and, if so, at what time?

Gionta: I think the second period is where we got away from our game and we tried pressing a little too hard, and that is when you get away from your game plan.

Q: Do you feel you have given Leighton your best?

Gionta: Definitely not. We did some good things in Game 3. But again tonight, we just weren’t on the same page coming through the neutral zone and that affects your offensive zone play.

Q: You have been in this position before. That should help going forward?

Gionta: The good thing is we know what works against this team. It’s just a matter of us executing it. For three out of the four games, we haven’t executed it. We have to find a way down the stretch to make sure we are playing our game and doing the right thing.

Q: You had a great start. Can you explain what happened from the middle of the first (period)?

Gionta: I don't know. Sometimes when you don’t get a goal, you start pressing or you change things up. It seemed like that is what happened. We just change our game plan and got away from what was working and tried to make something happen. When that happens, it doesn’t work out for you.

Q: Last game, you said how important it was to make their ‘D’ turn their backs and go after the puck. That didn’t happen tonight. Did they do something different to counter that?

Gionta: We just didn’t execute. We just got impatient and got away from doing that. Since the second period, we were trying too many plays at the blue line and against this team, they are going to step up. They got a good enough group of guys that can make plays when you turn pucks over. That’s what happened tonight.

Q: Can you use a word to characterize that effort?

Gionta: We weren’t supporting each other up from the neutral zone. That’s the biggest thing. When you look back on the games when we are coming up together and we have outs or we are able to chip by their ‘D’ with guys going, that is when we get our attack and when we get guys going. It was not for effort tonight. Guys wanted it, guys were working hard; but sometimes you get away from your game plan when you are pressing like that.
 


Once again, it shows character in this dressing room. Once again, there's no quitting in here. We all wanted this so bad and we worked so hard to get home-ice advantage and we weren't going to let this one slide.

— Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog on his team's OT Game 1 win vs. Minnesota Wild