MONTREAL – Springtime is coming early in Montreal.
The mercury may still be hovering well below zero in la Belle Province, but the Habs are already dusting off their playoff best and prepping for postseason-style hockey. Coming off his team’s 14-goal, 12-fight night against the Bruins, Canadiens blue-liner Roman Hamrlik didn’t seem to mind the throw-back style they faced in Boston.
“You know what? I enjoy it. I didn’t get any beatings, but of course I got the toughest guy out there in [Shawn] Thornton,” cracked Hamrlik, who was one of six Habs to throw down on Wednesday night. “We have lots of guys who can fight and we have lots of guys who can skate. It’s not about the fighting; it’s about winning games.
“Last night, we would’ve rather had the two points,” he underlined. “It’s time for us to start playing playoff hockey and winning hockey games.”
Also involved in an uncharacteristic scrap in Beantown, Tom Pyatt came away with a few stitches courtesy of Greg Campbell’s elbow pads, but he and his teammates also took home a key lesson from TD Garden.
“We just don’t need to play that kind of game. It was old-time hockey and there was a playoff-type atmosphere. It’s just one of those games where there’s a lot of fighting and a lot of emotion. We need to use our skill and speed to win games; we’re not going to be a team that goes around fighting everyone,” mentioned Pyatt, who dropped the gloves with just under a minute left in Wednesday night’s game. “They’re a tough team and if that’s their game, that’s ok but we’re not going to play like that.
“But we’re always going to stick up for each other and we’re not going to back down,” he added. “It’s not our type of game, but if it happens, we’ll stand up for ourselves.”
With his eyes glued squarely on the road ahead, Habs coach Jacques Martin had already left the past behind him when he boarded the team charter after Wednesday’s game. One thing is clear – the next time the Canadiens bench boss will be thinking about the brawl-filled match-up is when the Bruins come to town next month.
“I don’t think it’s hard to turn the page. You learn from a game like that. It was just an accumulation of the rivalry that’s built up between the two franchises over the years,” he shrugged. “You look at the good things that happened last night and you look at the bad things and you see what you need to improve upon. Right now, we’re focused on tonight’s game against the Islanders.
“Every game is a test from now on, regardless of who we’re playing,” added Martin. “We have 27 games left on the schedule so we need that playoff-style intensity from here on out.” Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.SEE ALSOGame day comments: Pyatt
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