MONTREAL – The Bob Gainey era began on a winning and dramatic note with a come-from-behind win over the Oilers. To hear the Habs tell it, that end result was no accident.
All looking to make an impression on their new coach, the Canadiens to a man, did all they could to help Gainey begin his latest coaching reign on a winning note.
“It's all a question of confidence,” said Maxim Lapierre. “Sometimes all it takes is a simple pat on the back to get that 'boost' that you need. Today, the pats on the back came from everywhere.”
The Habs’ GM/coach used every bit of his calming influence to help fuel a Canadiens comeback in the third period after a tough middle frame that saw the Habs get outshot by a whopping 17-2 mark.
“Bob walked into the room after the second period and just said that we just had to forget about what just happened and concentrate on the third period,” revealed Saku Koivu, who scored two goals including the overtime winner. “We were able to dig deep and put on the kind of pressure we needed to in the last 10 minutes of the third, and it paid off for us.”
True to form, Gainey was quick to downplay his role in his team’s spirited comeback.
“I’m not sure what exactly happened in the second period, the players didn’t seem to be in sync. I couldn’t blame them though, because I felt the same way,” admitted Gainey of his first-game jitters. “I didn’t have to say much during the intermission, I just told them to tweak a few things and focus their efforts.”
Not with the Canadiens when Gainey last made a move behind the Montreal bench in 2006, Alex Tanguay may have been getting his first taste of Coach Gainey, but the winger quickly got a dose of what the wily former Habs captain can bring to a dressing room.
“That’s what Bob is all about, he works on the details, the little things. And that’s what made the difference for us tonight,” said Tanguay. “If we can play like we did in the third period, we’ll be fine the rest of the way.”
That’s the plan. Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.comRead also:
Fly on the Wall: March 10 Koivu powers Habs to victoryRace to the playoffs