BROSSARD, Que. – Carey Price probably didn't realize just how misplaced his rallying cry was, considering the city he'll be playing in Saturday night.
Price spoke to the media Friday morning before the Montreal Canadiens boarded their charter flight for Boston, where they will play Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal against the Bruins with the series tied 2-2.
That's right, tied.
But listening to most people in Montreal on Friday morning, one would think the Canadiens were down 3-0. That's what happens when a team steals the first two games of a series on the road – as the Canadiens did – only to hand back the home-ice advantage by losing the next two.
"They were facing adversity, and now it's our turn," Price said. "It's pretty much all the quotes (the Bruins) were saying two games ago. So we can't kick ourselves, we've just got to cowboy up and do it."
Price likes to spend his offseason playing cowboy, taking part in a semi-pro rodeo circuit as a calf-roper in Western Canada, so that was likely his point of reference.
Then again, perhaps he was fully aware that "cowboy up" was the rallying cry used by then-Boston first baseman Kevin Millar during the Red Sox run to the 2004 World Series championship.
But whether it was a blissfully ignorant reference to his rodeo alter ego, or a subtly placed jab at the Boston fans, Price's underlying message was one being embraced by all his Canadiens teammates Friday.
The Canadiens have no choice but to "cowboy up" after blowing a 3-1 second-period lead in Game 4 and losing on a Michael Ryder overtime goal that came off a 3-on-1 break.
"Obviously, guys were disappointed yesterday," captain Brian Gionta said. "It was an emotional game and a tough game to lose, for sure. We were up twice in that game, 3-1 and then 4-3 in the third. We wanted to have that win, but today there's nothing we can do about it. We just have to prepare for (Saturday)."
Gionta, along with linemate Scott Gomez, would love nothing more than to leave Game 4 far behind him, as the two graduates of the New Jersey Devils' school of defensive hockey were on the ice for the final four Bruins goals.
And even though the Bruins outshot the Canadiens 23-9 from the time Andrei Kostitsyn made it 3-1, Gionta doesn't feel his team sat on the lead.
"I don't think we sat back at all," he said. "It was being irresponsible with the puck in the neutral zone, turning too many pucks over at their blue line. They have a good team off the rush and they counter well, so we've got to do a better job – especially when we've got the lead – of making sure we're getting it deep and making them come up the full length of the ice."
The Canadiens did a great job of protecting slimmer leads in winning Game 1 and 2 in Boston, and perhaps having the experience of unsuccessfully attacking that defensive shell gave the Bruins an advantage in Game 4.
"By the end of this series," Bruins coach Claude Julien said after Game 4, "there won't be too many secrets on either side."
Canadiens coach Jacques Martin said after the game that most people wouldn't have predicted his team would be knotted in a 2-2 tie with the Bruins before the series began, something Price repeated Friday.
But that has not quelled the sense of panic across Montreal, as a city that was already preparing itself for the possibility of a second straight deep playoff run suddenly turned to the other extreme.
Some of that concern has centered on the play of Price.
In Game 3, the Bruins' winning goal came off a nonchalant turnover by the Canadiens goalie. So after he allowed five goals in Game 4 – even though he should have maybe stopped one of them – a fan base that has turned on Price in the past began to show signs of doing it again.
But while Price agrees with those fans to a certain extent, he does not share their sense of panic or doubt.
"Obviously I'm not happy with the result," Price said. "Who would be? Five goals. But I felt good about my game. I played the game probably four times in my head last night, and I wouldn't have changed a whole lot. We've just got to keep on trucking."
Keep on trucking.
Doesn't have quite the same ring to it.