PITTSBURGH – After Game 1 against the Penguins, the Canadiens know their special teams are going to need to be exactly that to dethrone the reigning Cup champs.
The Habs' shut down crew of penalty killers that allowed just one Caps power play goal in 33 opportunities one round ago allowed four on as many Penguins chances on Friday night. While no one in the Canadiens' dressing room was denying that some changes would have to be made heading into Game 2, Brian Gionta
already knows that the best way to kill off penalties is to not take them in the first place.
"The special teams battle will be the difference in this series," explained Gionta, who scored a power play goal of his own in the outing. "You want to stay as disciplined as you can at this time of year. If they're going 4-for-4, obviously they're doing something right so we have to stay out of the box."
A key cog in the Canadiens' PK unit, Josh Gorges
had plenty of opportunity to study Penguins power play 101 first-hand in the opening tilt.
"I think overall, besides our penalty kill we played a pretty strong game against a team that we knew was going to come out fired up and against a good team at home," offered the Habs blue-liner. "Five-on-five I thought we played good hockey tonight - we won a lot of battles and did a lot of good things. We just made a few mental mistakes. Overall if we change a few things, straighten a few things out and get back to work tomorrow, we'll be ready for Sunday."
With two Stanley Cup rings on his shelf back home, Scott Gomez
is no stranger to battling through springtime adversity. It's no surprise that the veteran center managed to find the silver lining in his team's outing despite ending up with the loss.
"Especially after Marky went down, a lot of guys stepped up. We'll make some adjustments and I'm sure we'll get a good game plan tomorrow and go over it," said Gomez, who chipped in with two assists in the series opener. "There are some positive things we'll take out of it and we'll keep our heads high. Tomorrow's a whole new day and Sunday is a new game."
The Penguins might be walking away from Game 1 with a victory in their back pockets, but Gomez & Co. know by now that it takes a lot more than one win to clinch a series.
"We've got a bunch of guys who have gone through this before and it's just one of those things," shrugged Gomez. "They got the first one on us, but we came here to get one. Sunday we'll be ready to rock." Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.See also:BoxscoreRecapThe Numbers Game - April 30 Three-year contract for Gabriel Dumont