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Canadiens say loss 'one of best games we've played'

by Chris Stevenson

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens are down 1-0 in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban said he likes what he saw.

The Canadiens lost Game 1, 2-1 in double overtime at Bell Centre on Friday. They outshot the Lightning 44-35, created ample opportunities to win in the first overtime with 13 shots, but couldn't beat Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop.

"This is probably one of the best games we played all year," Subban said. "I thought we did a good job moving the puck out of our zone, defending. I thought we limited their opportunities to carry the puck through the neutral zone with speed. We did a lot of good things today, except win the game.

"That's the difference in the [Stanley Cup Playoffs]. For us right now, if we play that way for the rest of the playoffs, for the rest of the series, I think we're going to be in a good spot."

Subban is optimistic, but offense has to be a concern for the Canadiens. They have scored four goals in their past 13 periods plus two minutes.

Montreal forward Max Pacioretty said it is easy to be frustrated not scoring on the opportunities the Canadiens had Friday.

"It always is," he said. "You can't worry about that. You can get frustrated and be upset tonight, but come back to the rink tomorrow and have that working attitude of doing what it takes to win the next game. A lot of good things to build off of tonight, and that's our job moving forward to build off of that.

"All we can worry about is getting ready for next game, but it's a strong performance. You can't win them all."

The Canadiens got the start they wanted in Game 1. Two of their best chances resulted in shots off the post.

"We threw everything at him, hit posts, two or three posts there," said Pacioretty, who tied the game 1-1 with 5:13 left in the second period. "That's the way it goes sometimes. We played a great game. Our start was exactly what we wanted, got the fans into it. It didn't go our way in the first. We have to keep working hard and keep getting better."

The Canadiens power play was 0-for-3 and is 1-for-23 in the playoffs. It hasn't scored since the second period of Game 2 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Ottawa Senators, which they won in six games.

"It's a work in progress," Pacioretty said. "Once we get that bounce we'll really start to feel good about it, but the only thing we can worry about is getting better and getting some momentum off it. We've got to be better in a 2-1 game, you've got to try and find a way to be the difference."

Subban was preaching patience.

P.K. Subban
Defense - MTL
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 5
SOG: 24 | +/-: 1
"I don't know if you can be frustrated," he said. "You know that in overtime it's going to come down to just one break, right? Listen, they got the break today. I thought in the first overtime we had opportunities to end it. It just didn't go our way.

"I think when you're frustrated is when you're not getting the opportunities. You're working hard and you're not getting the chances. We had more than enough chances to end it tonight, but it didn't go in for us. For us, though, not a lot of things that I can look at or remember where we weren't doing the right things out there. We played the right game today."

Canadiens goaltender Carey Price made 33 saves.

"I thought we played a pretty solid game tonight, deserved a better fate," Price said. "We'll just have to move on from here."

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