BROSSARD – On Tuesday morning, Canadiens players took part in a morning skate at the Bell Sports Complex hours before Game 5 against the Rangers.
- Carey Price, who is still rehabbing a lower-body injury suffered in Game 1, was first out on the ice and practiced in full gear with goaltending coach Stephane Waite and athletic therapist Graham Rynbend. Price had been ruled out of the series and will not play tonight.
- Every regular player was on the ice except Tomas Plekanec, who took the option but is expected to play on Tuesday night.
- Having already seen his team go 2-0 in elimination games against the Boston Bruins this spring, forward Dale Weise is confident that the Canadiens can extend their streak at home with their backs against the wall.
“This is when we play our best hockey. We saw that against Boston and in Game 3 in this series,” offered Weise, who scored to give the Habs an early lead in Game 7 against the Bruins. “We want to come out with a good first period. Our building is going to be rocking tonight. It’s not going to be an easy place to play for the Rangers. Montreal is the best place in the world during the playoffs. You can feel the buzz in the streets, and we want to keep that going.”
Teammate Mike Weaver shares a similar appreciation for the level of support he has experienced since coming to Montreal. Formerly a member of non-playoff teams in Atlanta and Florida, the veteran considers himself lucky to be able to contribute to the success of the sport’s most storied franchise.
“Everybody comes up to me in the streets, saying that they are completely behind us. It’s great to have a community supporting us. It should be a loud game tonight. Having been in places like Florida, it’s completely different,” noted Weaver. “That’s going to be the biggest motivation. Everybody is a competitor in this dressing room. We have to win three in a row. It’s difficult, but not impossible. If any group can do it, this is it.”
- Game 4 at Madison Square Garden could well have had a different outcome.
With the score tied at two and time running out in the third period, Alex Galchenyuk hit the crossbar and saw the puck bounce straight down into the crease without ever crossing the line. The sophomore, who was the overtime hero in Game 3, does not intend on dwelling on the bad break.
“It’s already in the past. What we need to focus on now is to get more pucks on net and get traffic in front of the Rangers goal,” insisted Galchenyuk.
“We have to find ways to put pucks in the net,” concurred Max Pacioretty. “I haven’t done a good enough job of doing that, last game especially. When you look at the big picture, we have to focus on one game and one period at a time. If we get this one tonight, we’ll have to say to ourselves that we were in the same position not that long ago against the best team in the league.”
- In this win-or-go-home situation, head coach Michel Therrien has been working hard to give his team an edge heading into the Bell Centre on Tuesday night. He believes that his players will be ready to execute their game plan and push their series to a sixth game.
“I expect us to play our best game of the series tonight. We were in a similar situation not even two weeks ago, and we responded with strong games. We were able to raise our game because of our preparation and our attitude. We know what’s at stake, and we’re ready to play at our best,” stated Therrien.
Jack Han is a writer for canadiens.com.