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The Notebook - April 20, 2011

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
BROSSARD – In today’s playoff notebook, the guys discuss down time, the race to four and road ice advantage.

Refreshed and ready: With an extra day between Games 3 and 4 thanks to a Rush concert taking place at the Bell Centre on Wednesday night, Habs head coach Jacques Martin decided to give his team the day off on Tuesday to relax and recharge for Thursday night. Knowing better than anyone what a grind the playoffs can be, Hal Gill chose to spend the day enjoying some of the comforts of home.

Highlights Canadiens - Bruins: Game 3
“You want to be comfortable, you want to be rested and you want to be ready to go. It’s about knowing what you need,” explained the veteran blue-liner, who is second on the team with eight hits so far in the 2011 playoffs. “There are distractions at home and sometimes you don’t need those distractions. Sometimes you do need those distractions.

“It was nice yesterday to be at home and to be with my kids and get away. Now, today you get back into it and tomorrow, you’re ready to go again,” added Gill. “You recharge a little bit. If you’re locked down, your brain fries out. There’s a healthy balance there. If you need a mental break or you need to gear it up physically and stay sharp mentally, it’s a personal thing.”

Doing the math: Rookie defenseman P.K. Subban may be new to the NHL but he still knows you need to get three wins before you can get four. The best way to get there is making sure his team plays as well on the first shift as they do on the last.

“It’s an important game. The last one is over and the next one is just as big. 3-1 is a lot different than 2-2,” described Subban, who is third among all NHLers averaging 27:01 of ice time so far in the playoffs. “Our focus now is just on getting ready for that opening shift and playing a solid 60 minutes. We know if we do that we’re confident the outcome is going to be what we want.

“We have to find a way to get out and be ready to play right from the drop of the puck,” he added after seeing Boston take an early 2-0 lead in Game 3. “We can’t afford to get behind the 8 ball – we have to be ready to go right off the hop. They’re a desperate team and we have to make sure we play desperate hockey against them.”

Road ice advantage:
Playing on home ice hasn’t worked out well for the Habs or Bruins so far in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. After winning both games on the road in Boston, the Canadiens came back to the Bell Centre only to see the Bruins steal Game 3 in front of the Montreal faithful on Monday night. 2010 Stanley Cup champion Brent Sopel wouldn’t mind breaking that streak on Thursday night, but he’s not about to stop there.

“It’s the playoffs; it doesn’t matter where you are – home or away – you’ve got to win,” offered the 34-year-old defenseman. “It’s always nice to be at home in front of your own fans, but you need to get the job done whether you’re at home or on the road if you want to go far.”

Shauna Denis is a writer for

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Comments: White | Darche | Halpern | Sopel | Subban | Cammalleri | Gill | Gionta
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