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Game Day - Game 4 vs Lightning - April 22

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

- The Canadiens held an optional skate at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning ahead of contesting Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

- Thirteen skaters took part in the on-ice session conducted under the watchful eye of coaches J.J. Daigneault, Gerard Gallant, Clement Jodoin and Stephane Waite, including forwards Brendan Gallagher, Travis Moen, Daniel Briere, George Parros, Ryan White and Michael Bournival. Defensemen Douglas Murray, Josh Gorges, Mike Weaver, Alexei Emelin, Andrei Markov, P.K. Subban and Jarred Tinordi were also present, as was goaltender Peter Budaj.

- Despite owning a 3-0 series lead, Michel Therrien’s troops aren’t taking anything for granted heading into their Game 4 matchup against the Lightning at the Bell Centre. While Tampa Bay is just one loss away from elimination, playoff veteran Daniel Briere knows full well that a best-of-seven series isn’t over until one team picks up that highly coveted fourth victory.

RAW: Daniel Briere

The 36-year-old, who was a part of a Philadelphia Flyers squad that overcame a 3-0 series deficit to the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals back in 2010, and a 3-0 deficit in Game 7 in Boston, insists the Lightning boast the mental makeup to achieve what to many people might seem almost impossible.

“The Lightning are a tenacious group. We saw it this year when [Steven] Stamkos went down. Everyone was expecting them to fall apart, but they did the exact opposite,” offered Briere, who has one assist in three postseason games in 2013-14. “They banded together and they played good hockey to finish out the year strong. I’m expecting the same thing from them. They’re used to facing adversity and they won’t give up.”

With that in mind, defenseman Josh Gorges is adamant that the Canadiens’ game plan heading into Tuesday night’s tilt remains the same.

“We need come out with the same preparation, the same mindset that we’ve come out with in previous games. It might be redundant, but it’s a new day, a new challenge. We’re facing a desperate team, a team that’s on their last legs and we know that,” stressed Gorges, who sits tied with Lars Eller for top spot on the team with a plus-4 differential through three postseason games. “They’re going to come out with everything that they have, so we’ll need to match that. We’ll need to have that killer instinct, that mentality to win every battle, the battles in front of the net and the battles at the blueline. We’ve got to have that strong mindset tonight.”

- Daniel Briere was one of six Canadiens players who made their Bell Centre playoff debuts on Sunday night, and the experience of donning the bleu-blanc-rouge in front of 21,273 rabid Habs fans was something the 15-year NHL veteran won’t soon forget, particularly because he ensured it was a true family affair.

“I’ll remember that game for a long time. My three boys were there. They’ve also seen plenty of playoff games, but they told me how impressed they were by the crowd and the ambiance throughout the game, at the beginning and especially at the end when we won. I experienced some great moments in Philadelphia and Buffalo, but what I experienced here on Sunday night was special,” praised Briere, who has 50 goals and 110 points in 111 career NHL playoff games.

Ginette Reno’s electric rendition of O Canada prior to puck drop also struck a chord with Briere, who believes it made the occasion even more special.

“I helped the players understand why the crowd was so loud when Ginette [Reno] sang the national anthem. It was a nice moment. I had goosebumps,” said Briere. “The crowd was just so excited and I’d like to experience that again when tonight’s game is over.”

- For her part, Reno has confirmed that she will once again sing O Canada on Tuesday night.

- Goaltender Ben Bishop took part in the Lightning’s morning skate at the Bell Centre. He was on the ice for approximately 15 minutes. Anders Lindback was the first goaltender to leave the ice following practice, suggesting he could be between the pipes for the Lightning on Tuesday night.

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