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Canadiens get a lift from their role players

by Corey Masisak /
MONTREAL – For the 48 hours leading up to Game 4, there was plenty of discussion about the lack of scoring from Montreal Canadiens not named Michael Cammalleri and Brian Gionta.

Gionta did score again Thursday night -- he got the winning goal in a series-tying 3-2 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins -- but the role players finally came through with some offense to help key the victory.

"[The media] has spent two days talking about it, but we didn't," Cammalleri said. "There you go. If you're going to get to the end, it is almost like another season. You're going to have your ups and downs but tonight we got scoring from guys all over the lineup."

Tom Pyatt scored his first career Stanley Cup Playoffs goal and added an assist. Maxim Lapierre had his first goal of the series and second of the playoffs. His goal was set up by a wraparound try from Mathieu Darche.

Pyatt opened the scoring 2:34 into the game with a seemingly harmless shot from along the left wall that snuck under the arm of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

"It was starting to get a little frustrating," Pyatt said. "Obviously you want to contribute, but I just kept telling myself to keep doing the same things. I was getting some chances the last few games and keep shooting the puck because eventually it is going to go in.

"You never know, especially early in the game when the goalie hasn't seen many shots. Just get the puck to the net and even if it doesn't go in, there can be rebounds and there are a lot of rebound goals. I was just focusing on getting it to the net."

Lapierre has been a bundle of energy for the Canadiens in this series, helping change the momentum on several occasions with his hard work and hitting. He hit the crossbar early in Game 2, and that might have proved to be a game-changing play.

When he collected the puck behind the net early in the third period of Game 3, he made sure he didn't miss -- and started the Montreal comeback in the process.

"It was awesome," defenseman Josh Gorges said. "That was great to see when guys who are always out there working hard crashing and banging get rewarded for it. [Lapierre] has working a lot, getting a lot of hits so it was nice to see him get that one. Darche too – it was nice to see him get in there and create that chance."

It has been a tough series for Darche. He was a healthy scratch in Game 1 and had had only two shifts in Game 2. That was a lot compared to Game 3 – he dressed but coach Jacques Martin did not give a single shift.

Darche had 13 shifts in Game 4 and logged a little more than eight minutes to go with his first career NHL playoffs point.

"It's always tough to dress and not play, but the most important thing is the team. You don't want to be a distraction, but I've got pride," Darche said. "As an athlete, I want to contribute. It was nice to be able to reward (Martin) by making a contribution tonight."

Martin said he felt his team played its best period of the season in the final 20 minutes Thursday night. He credited that to giving his depth forwards -- guys like Darche, Pyatt and Glen Metropolit -- more ice time.

"I think probably the biggest factor was we used more depth tonight," Martin said. "We used more people and we were fresher. I think after two periods we hadn't really overextended anybody. I tried to go with four lines and you're going to get different amounts of time for certain guys with killing penalties and the power plays. Certain people are going to get a little more, but I think we got some contributions tonight from everybody."

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