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Sudden death

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
MONTREAL – There’s nothing the Habs like more than do-or-die situations these days.

Needing overtime or a shootout to decide the winner in four consecutive games, the Habs seem to be enjoying last minute heroics of late. While winning three of those four sudden death games may be impressive, it’s the way the Canadiens have been finding themselves all tied up at the end of regulation that’s been drawing the most attention.

Highlights Canadiens - Bruins
Down 2-0 to the Bruins with 2:22 left to go in the game on Saturday night, Scott Gomez banked a shot in off a Boston defenseman to bring the Habs within one. Then, with Carey Price pulled for the extra attacker, Brian Gionta deflected a shot past Tim Thomas with just 48 seconds remaining to force the extra frame.

“We knew the importance of the game coming in. The first couple of periods we were just a little bit behind and things just weren’t going our way,” described Gionta. “We did a good job of battling through and we got some pucks and guys to the net and got some fortunate bounces.”

Heading into the game one point behind the Bruins for the division lead, the Habs were well aware what was at stake heading into Saturday’s tilt.  

“It’s huge for us,” confirmed the Habs’ captain. “Everyone looks at the standings and knows the importance of it. It was big to be able to stay composed and battle right to the end. It obviously shows some character because we didn’t quit. We understood the importance of the game and we knew we had to keep going towards the end.”

After the win, Max Pacioretty was focused on more than just the big two points his team had stolen from Boston.

“Tonight was one of our biggest games of the year and to be able to come back is something I think we’re going to be able to build off of as the season goes on,” explained Pacioretty, who netted his first game winning goal of the season on Saturday night. “It shows what type of character we have in this room and it’s definitely a good feeling. That’s probably the biggest goal of my life. I can’t even describe how I feel right now. It’s definitely an honor to be able to help the team win like that.”

According to the 22-year-old winger, it wasn’t just the fans that left early to beat traffic who were surprised by the Hollywood finish against the Bruins.

“To be honest, my head was down for the whole shot. I don’t really know what happened; I was kind of in a daze after the goal,” beamed Pacioretty after claiming first-star honors for his night’s work. “We got a good drive to the net by Davey [Desharnais] and a good pass through the seam by Subby [P.K. Subban]. Sometimes that’s the way it goes; just get the puck on net and hope it goes in.”

Being able to dig themselves out of holes may build character, but Hal Gill would prefer seeing his team take the lead early and never let it go from now on.

“It’s important for us to stay in games. We’ve had a little run where we’ve been in tough spots and found a way to come back. It says a lot about what we have in here,” offered the 6-foot-7 blue-liner, who chipped in with an assist on Pacioretty’s winner. “Hopefully we can change it around and be better in the first two periods, but it’s nice to come back and get a win.

“You need a bounce or two and we got them, but we worked hard to get those bounces,” he added. “You just have to play 60 minutes and see what happens.”

Shauna Denis is a writer for

See also:
Canadiens 3, Bruins 2, OT
The Numbers Game - Jan. 8, 2011
Postgame videos: Pacioretty, Gill, Gionta, Darche, Martin, Gomez
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