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Looking for a spark

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
ST. LOUIS – The Habs saw their win streak snapped at five in St. Louis, but the veterans in the room have every intention of starting a new streak at one on Saturday afternoon.

After outscoring their opponents 19-7 over the five games leading up to Thursday night, the Canadiens couldn’t get more than one past Jaroslav Halak and the Blues.

Highlights Canadiens - Blues
“Give them credit: they stuck with it and we couldn’t get it by Jaro,” offered Scott Gomez following his team’s loss in St. Louis. “We had a lot of chances and some great looks. The important thing now is to regroup. We’ve got to provide a little more spark than that. It was a tight game, but emotionally we have to get better and it starts here with the older guys.”

With the first three goals of the game coming in the first 31 minutes of Thursday’s game, Gomez knows his team had plenty of time to pot the tying goal and shift the momentum in the third period.

“Games like that are going to happen on the road. It probably looked like a really boring game, but those are games you have to learn how to play in and learn how to win,” stressed the two-time Stanley Cup champ. “We have to provide more than that. These are huge games on the road and the emotion starts with us. If that’s the case, we have to respond really well against Pittsburgh and I know we will.”

Fellow veteran Brian Gionta had a similar explanation for the 4-1 result on Thursday night. Far from making excuses for his team’s performance, the Habs captain was ready to identify the problem to make sure it isn’t an issue come Saturday night.

“Our level of intensity was pretty low,” underlined the nine-year NHL veteran. “We had a good first five or 10 minutes and then we dropped off after that. They’re a type of team that pressures and obviously we didn’t counter that. We weren’t moving our feet, we weren’t getting open and it’s tough to get up the ice when you’re not doing that.”

With just 14 games left until the postseason kicks off, Jacques Martin made sure the message he sent to his team was heard loud and clear after Thursday’s loss.

“We weren’t sharp and the Blues were ready tonight,” explained Martin. “Our execution wasn’t where we wanted it to be and they did a good job pressuring us. We left two points on the table and now it’s about regrouping and getting prepared to be better on Saturday.”
Shauna Denis is a writer for

See also:
Postgame comments: Martin | Gomez | Gionta | Eller
The Numbers Game - March 10, 2011
Letter from Geoff Molson to Canadiens fans
Old stomping grounds 
Wanting more
Send Max your get-well messages here
Statement from NHL Senior VP of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy on Zdeno Chara hit
Update on Max Pacioretty 

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