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Split decision

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
WASHINGTON – This loss got you down? That’s nothing compared to what the Caps have lost: home ice advantage.

With three of the five possible games left in this series slated to be played in the cozy confines of the Bell Centre, the Habs have stolen what the Capitals earned by winning the President’s Trophy as the NHL’s regular season champs. Now in the home-ice driver’s seat, this isn’t the time to dwell on a Game 2 loss to the desperate Capitals.

“We came to Washington with the intention to prove we can play with these guys and we definitely did that,” said Hal Gill, after another night of donating his body to the science of shot blocking. “Sure there are a few things we need to work on, but there are a lot of good things we can build on from these first two games. We just need to do those a little more consistently.”

While the frustration was obvious in the Habs dressing room following the game, an interesting resolve seemed to have washed over the team. To a man, the Canadiens had clearly sent a message to not only the Capitals but to one another by slugging out with Alexander Ovechkin and Co. for eight periods and counting.

“Every loss is tough at this time of year, but that doesn’t change what we’ve done here,” said Brian Gionta. “Get one in their building was the plan and that’s what happened. This is an explosive team but we got that win and we need to feel good about that because in the big picture that’s all that matters. This isn’t about one game, it’s about a series.”

Also not in the mood to talk about the one that got away, Michael Cammalleri believed a valuable lesson was learned by squandering a 4-1 lead to the Capitals in Game 2.

“We’re facing a good team here, we can’t forget that,” said Cammalleri following the first three-point night of his playoff career. “Even with a big lead, it’s never over against these guys. We can draw on the positives and I know we can be even better.”

The tables will turn drastically on Monday night when the Bell Centre becomes the stage for his tight series. Tomas Plekanec couldn’t board the bus to the airport fast enough so he can reunite with 21,273 of his closest friends.

“We can compete with this team. Now we just need to go back home and keep playing our game,” concluded Plekanec. “Our fans are waiting for us and I know they will be ready.”

Manny Almela is a writer for

See also:
Playoff central

Flying out of the gate 

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