PHILADELPHIA – The Habs need a big win to stay alive this postseason. So what else is new?
About to embark on their sixth elimination game of the playoffs, no team has more experience winning when the season is on the line this spring. Currently five-for-five in do-or-die situations, the Habs’ water bottles are clearly half-full, with the team fully aware that just three wins now stand between them and the Stanley Cup Finals.
“Being down 3-1 in any series I think people are going to write you off, but the thing about this team is there’s no quit; we’re not going to stop fighting,” declared Josh Gorges
. “Every time someone tells us that we can’t do it or that we don’t have a chance, we take that as a little chip on our shoulder and it pumps us up to prove everyone wrong.
“Not that we’re going out there trying to prove anything to anyone but the guys in this room, but it is a little added motivation to know that no one believes in us and it just shows even more that we need to believe in each other,” added Gorges. “No one else is giving us a chance so it’s got to be the guys in this room that are going to go out there and get the job done. It seems like all year, when we’ve had to play through adversity – and we’ve faced a lot of it – that we seem to play our best hockey. The team comes together and we do what’s necessary to win.”
What’s been necessary this spring hasn’t always been easy or
probable. But after being prematurely pronounced dead by many after Game 4 in the first round, the eighth-seeded Habs rallied back against a team full of snipers and superstars in Washington and moved on to Round 2 with a dramatic Game 7 win. Proving that was no mistake, the Canadiens then came back from a 3-2 hole against the defending Cup champs to earn their spot in the Eastern Conference finals.
Now back in a familiar position trailing 3-1 heading into Game 5 in Philly, Michael Cammalleri knows it’s a story he’s read once or twice before – and he’s looking forward to making it a “Choose Your Own Adventure” ending yet again.
“I wish we were able to feel this way and not have to be down 3-1 in a series, but it feels good to just know that we can go out and play our game and not worry about the result,” admitted Cammalleri, who is leading the league with 13 goals this postseason. “I think the experience undoubtedly helps, knowing that we’ve been here before recently in these playoffs and found ways to succeed. We expect to play a good game today.
“You go through a weird range of emotion with these games,” continued Cammalleri. “It’s our sixth now and it’s kind of liberating to know that you can’t sit here and worry that it could be your last game – you can’t think that way. You just go out there and play.”
One Hab in particular who can’t wait to hit the Wachovia Center ice on Monday night is Maxim Lapierre. With one game-winning goal already on his resume this postseason, the 24-year-old isn’t ready to pack up his gear for good just yet.
“Last game I think we showed some signs of frustration and we weren’t patient enough. We didn’t have as much traffic in front as we would have liked and we didn’t get enough pucks to the net, either,” described Lapierre, who leads the Habs with 44 hits this spring.
“This story is too good to end tonight. We’re all aware of it in here and we’ll be giving everything we have to bring the series back home with a win.”Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.See alsoGame preview #5: Canadiens-Flyers Keys to the Game : Habs-Flyers #5 Too legit to quit