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Canadiens still coping with elimination from Stanley Cup Playoffs

Lack of offense leads to first-round exit against Rangers

by Sean Farrell / NHL.com Correspondent

BROSSARD, Quebec -- The Montreal Canadiens were still wrestling with their elimination from the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Monday.

After winning the Atlantic Division with 103 points in the regular season, the Canadiens lost their Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers in six games.

New York, which finished in fourth place in the Metropolitan Division with 102 points, eliminated Montreal with a 3-1 win in Game 6 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

"We have to own up to the fact that we fell short and our goal was to do much better than we did results-wise in the playoffs," Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty said. "So yeah, I understand that we have to look in the mirror and learn from this and be better from this, but I truly believe that this adversity will make us better."

Despite taking 28 shots in the series, Pacioretty failed to score a goal and was held to one assist after leading Montreal with 67 points (35 goals, 32 assists) in 81 regular-season games.

Video: FLA@MTL: Pacioretty rips a one-timer on odd-man rush

"I have to take ownership for not producing offensively," Pacioretty said. "Whenever the puck doesn't go in, people tell me to worry about the process and the result will take care of itself. And I did that, I think I did a really good job of that, just worrying about what I could control and worrying about my game. And I feel the process was there, but I still have to do a better job of achieving the result that I want and our team wants."

Canadiens coach Claude Julien recognized that Pacioretty's inability to score in the series was not due to a lack of effort.

"He really tried and led us that way," Julien said. "He fought, he did everything he could to show his leadership, so I want him to know that he's got our support and we recognize those things that he does."

Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber could not explain what the difference was in the series.

"We'll probably be breaking that down for a few more months I'm sure," Weber said.

Montreal, which missed the playoffs last season, was shut out by New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist in Game 1 and scored four goals while losing the last three games of the series.

"[Lundqvist] made the saves he needed to make, and obviously he was hot," Weber said. "It's tough. Sometimes you run into a hot goaltender and you want to create more. And you can sit back and say, 'I should have done this, I should have done that,' but at the same time, we didn't get it done."

Video: MTL@NYR, Gm3: Radulov nets nifty one-handed goal

The Canadiens scored seven of their 11 goals in the series in the two games they won.

"It would be great if we could score five goals every night, but in reality, it's a hard league to score goals in," said goalie Carey Price, who allowed 12 goals in six games. "A lot of teams play really well defensively, that's the nature of the game. Yeah, it would be great if we could score a lot of goals, but you can't expect that every night."

Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin had no regrets about not bolstering his offense at the NHL Trade Deadline in March, when he acquired depth on defense and grit up front, including forwards Dwight King and Steve Ott, who each played all six playoff games.

"I think scoring's at a premium in this league," Bergevin said. "The Rangers finished fourth in the League in scoring; they have 12 goals, one more than us. At the end of the day, I know the result matters and we failed. But we had our looks, we had our chances; we didn't bury them and the bounces didn't go our way. It's not what people want to hear, I get it. But would I like to add some scoring? Definitely I would like to, but at the deadline there was nothing out there for me that I felt was worth to make a trade to get some scoring, which I didn't think was going to make a difference."

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