BOSTON – The Canadiens practiced at TD Garden in Boston on Saturday morning ahead of Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Bruins.
Rene Bourque did not participate in the morning skate, instead opting to take advantage of a therapy day. All other players were on the ice.
With 18 different players factoring in on the scoresheet through eight games in the postseason, secondary scoring has proven to be a key to the Canadiens’ success so far this spring. While scoring by committee has led the Habs to the second round, Max Pacioretty knows that to go deeper in the playoffs, he’ll need to rediscover the scoring touch that saw him finish the regular season one goal shy of becoming a 40-goal man for the first time in his career.
“I’ve got to be relied upon to score important goals. I haven’t done that yet. I just have to keep fighting the way I have been and maybe just calm down a bit,” shared the 25-year-old sniper, who scored the series-clinching goal against Tampa in the first round. “But we’ve only played eight games and it’s only been four games since I last scored. I feel that I’ve been contributing in other ways. Obviously I know that I can do better to score goals, and hopefully I can do that from here on out. It’s a best of 3 series now, and I just have to worry about what I can control and try to help the team win.”
After sweeping the Lightning in the first round before going up 1-0 and 2-1 against the Bruins at various points in Round 2, the Canadiens have spent the majority of the 2014 Playoffs sitting comfortably in the driver’s seat. With the opportunity to head back to Montreal either up 3-2 or facing elimination for the first time this postseason, Brendan Gallagher recognizes the importance of putting in a solid performance in Game 5.
“Each game there’s been such a slim margin of error and it’s the little mistakes or bounces that have been the difference,” explained Gallagher, who has six points in eight playoff games in 2014. “Obviously this is a big game when it’s tied 2-2. It’s Game 5 on the road so you want to make sure you come out and give yourself a great chance to win the game. We know they’re going to be fired up playing in front of their home crowd, but for us it doesn’t change anything. We need to come in and play good road hockey and really minimize our mistakes.”
Having trailed their opponents for less than 10 minutes in the entire second round, the Canadiens haven’t had to play much come-from-behind hockey against the Bruins, but that isn’t inspiring the Habs to head into Game 5 overconfident. With two of the four games coming down to overtime and the other two decided by a slim two-goal margin, veteran defenseman Josh Gorges knows the series might be different had a few bounces gone the other way.
“I think both teams have played well all four games. It’s been close. We’ve had the lead, but I think in some of those games Carey [Price] really held us in there and it could’ve been a different story,” admitted Gorges, who has played just over 14 shorthanded minutes so far in the playoffs. “We want to have the lead and we want to play with the lead, but what’s happened up until now doesn’t matter anymore. Today is a new day.”
Puck drop for Game 5 is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. EDT at TD Garden in Boston. The Habs will return home for Game 6 in Montreal at 7:30 p.m. EDT on Monday night. SEE ALSO:Game 5 preview: MTL vs. BOS Five Keys to the Game: Habs-Bruins #5 RAW: Words from the RoomGame Four Highlights