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Notebook - Jan. 13, 2011

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
BROSSARD: In today’s Notebook: Plekanec looks ahead to the Rangers, Hamrlik focuses on discipline and the Habs catch a break.

First Blood: After giving up the first goal in their last six consecutive outings the Canadiens proved last night that playing catch-up is a tough way to win hockey games. Despite briefly claiming a 2-1 lead in the second period, the Habs’ weren’t able to stop the Penguins from surging back for the win, leaving them no other option than to look ahead to Saturday’s game and try to avoid a repeat performance.

“That was the main thing we talked about today, just putting this game behind us. There are a lot of injuries that have piled up for us right now. It’s not easy and we’re always trying different combinations to see what works best,” admitted Tomas Plekanec who opened up the scoring for the Habs against Pittsburgh with his 13th goal of the season.

“We have the Rangers coming up on Saturday and that’s going to be a huge game that we have to win. It’s going to be a very similar situation to our second game against Pittsburgh but we obviously want to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen.”

Squeaky Clean:
Discipline was one of the main topics of discussion in the Canadiens’ dressing room following their Thursday morning team meeting. After giving up four unanswered power-play goals against the Penguins Wednesday night, it’s a safe bet the Habs will be on their best behavior when the Rangers come to town.

“A main issue for us this season has been taking so many penalties. It’s tough to come back and win a game when a team scores four power-play goals on you. It’s one thing to take a good penalty, but last night we took a lot that were unnecessary and we can’t keep letting that happen,” explained Habs’ blue-liner Roman Hamrlik who logged 22:22 minutes of ice time against the Pens. “Our biggest focus right now is getting off to a better start as a group. We need to work on being mentally ready to come out strong in the first 5 to 10 minutes of every game.”

Taking a breather: Following a tough Wednesday night loss to the Penguins, Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin was quick to look past the game, giving his players a much deserved day of rest.

“We’ve played a lot of games in the last little while. We just played two in two nights and next week we’re going to be doing the same thing,” pointed out Habs’ forward Mathieu Darche. “Sometimes a day off is exactly what a team needs. People think a break like this is just us taking it easy, but it’s not the case. It’s important to get the rest while we can to benefit ourselves later.”

Justin Fragapane is a writer for

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