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Canadiens invigorated by blowout win in Game 4

by Corey Long /

TAMPA -- The Montreal Canadiens don't look like a team one loss away from elimination in the Eastern Conference Second Round and their confidence continues to rise after a 6-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4 at Amalie Arena on Thursday.

One of the reasons for the Canadiens' optimism is they clearly outplayed the Lightning in two games here. Montreal outshot Tampa Bay 71-43 and controlled the puck during 5-on-5 play.

"Our focus has been to get another game at the Bell Centre," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said Friday before returning to Montreal. "Now we want to get back to Tampa Bay and have another game here. We are still taking this one game at a time. Momentum can change quickly in hockey."

Game 5 of the best-of-7 series will be at Bell Centre on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

The Canadiens didn't change much between Games 3 and 4, but center Tomas Plekanec said the difference was in the result.

"I think we finally scored goals," Plekanec said. "We continued to have chances and finally scored more than one or two times."

There was no more telling sign that the bounces began to go the Canadiens way than on David Desharnais' goal to put Montreal up 3-0 in the second period. Desharnais took a slap shot from the circle and Lightning goalie Ben Bishop thought he made a glove save but the puck bounced out and into the net.

"If [Bishop] does have a weakness we're going to try to exploit that," Plekanec said. "Maybe it's glove-side."

Defenseman Jeff Petry shared the optimism of his coach and teammates but understands being down 3-1 is a precarious position and one simple mistake can mean the end of the season.

"Hope is definitely alive," Petry said. "But it's still a must-win game. We still have a long way to go and we have to focus on winning Game 5."

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