The Montreal Canadiens say rest will be more important than rust.
The Canadiens, who swept the Tampa Bay Lightning to win their Eastern Conference First Round Series on Tuesday, found themselves with several days to sit back and wait to find out who they will play in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Montreal will take on the winner of the best-of-7 series between the Boston Bruins
and Detroit Red Wings
, which Boston leads 3-1 with Game 5 on Saturday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, RDS, TSN). In the meantime, they Canadiens are looking to stay sharp and focused.
"Rest is always a good thing. You don't get that much of it through the course of the season and you have to take advantage of it. It's never a bad thing to have," captain Brian Gionta said after practice on Saturday. "You have to build some excitement, have some fun few days, and you want to be ramping up that intensity and work the last few days before the game, making sure you get that focus back. The problem with peaking too early in the week is you start to get tired at the end of the week. We need to be careful of that."
It's in that spirit Montreal has maintained a practice schedule that has afforded players a chance to get healthy for the next round. The hope is that balance will allow the Canadiens to rest their minds as well as their bodies.
"It's also important you're not thinking about it every day either. Just kind of relax, take the time to rest and let your body rejuvenate," defenseman P.K. Subban said. "When the time comes, a couple of days before you have to really focus and turn the switch back on. It's hard to have the fire burning for seven days. Sometimes you just have to put it on simmer for a little bit."
Canadiens goaltender Carey Price was not among the finalists named for the Vezina Trophy on Friday. Montreal coach Michel Therrien expressed surprise at Price's absence from the final list, as did some of the goalie's teammates. But with a second-round series on the horizon, Price didn't seem too worried about the omission and lauded the accomplishments of the three finalists: Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins, Semyon Varlamov of the Colorado Avalanche and Ben Bishop of the Lightning.
"Every year you try to be your best, but an individual award isn't going to make or break me. Right now it's about this moment," Price said. "I don't necessarily think I had better seasons than those three guys. I think those three individuals are deserving of that."