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Looking ahead

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
BOSTON – Coming just one goal shy of a first-round upset over the Bruins, there were plenty of positives to take away from the Canadiens’ 2011 playoff performance.

While the Habs weren’t looking to discuss the silver lining immediately after their Game 7 overtime loss, some of the major bright spots of 2010-11 rose to the surface anyway.

“Especially when you battle that hard and you know you have a team that could’ve won the series, it definitely hurts,” admitted captain Brian Gionta, who notched two of his team’s three game-winning goals this spring. “I thought we played hard and we showed a lot of character.

Highlights Canadiens - Bruins: Game 7
“We had the lead in the series and we lost it, but we played great in Game 6 and again tonight,” continued the 32-year-old winger. “We were down two goals tonight, showed character and battled back again at the end to tie it up. We definitely never quit. We worked hard until the end and unfortunately we were just a little short. It definitely wasn’t for a lack of effort.”

Watching P.K. Subban rifle the tying goal past Tim Thomas with just 1:57 remaining in regulation, it might be hard to remember the 21-year-old is still just an NHL rookie. Averaging an astonishing 28:33 of ice time through seven games this spring, Subban played with the poise of a veteran throughout the series, and he wasn’t alone in that department.

“I think we’re proud of the effort we put forth in here,” offered Subban. “If you look at our team all year, as soon as we got rolling, we’d have an injury to one of our key guys – we had some amazing injuries this year to some really key players.”

“Look at the Ryan Whites and the David Desharnais’ and the Lars Ellers and some of the other young guys who have stepped in and played some really key roles for us and gotten us to this point,” he underlined. “I mean, if guys don’t step up, maybe we don’t even have an opportunity to be in a Game 7 – or even be in the playoffs at all.”

One of the factors that helped the sixth-ranked Habs bring the No. 3 ranked Bruins to a do-or-die Game 7 situation in the first place was their ability to stymie a Boston offense that led the league in 5-on-5 goals in the regular season. After watching his teammates combine for an NHL-high 144 blocked shots in the series, Carey Price was proud of what he saw from his fellow Canadiens.

“Our guys were battling the whole time. We had guys out of the lineup and guys who were banged up and playing hard. We have every reason to hold our heads high,” shared the All-Star netminder, who finished the playoffs with a .934 save percentage. “We all said at the beginning of the series that it was going to be a long, hard-fought, close series.

“We have a really good locker room. We have a lot of guys who care a lot for each other and we have a lot of guys who would do anything for each other,” revealed Price. “That’s good to see because that’s how you build good teams: through chemistry. I’m looking forward to next season.”

Shauna Denis is a writer for

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Comments: Gionta, Cammalleri, Subban, Darche, Price
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