Skip to main content

Canadiens' Subban ready for another Game 7

by Arpon Basu

MONTREAL -- P.K. Subban remembers it well.

His 22nd birthday still a few weeks away, Subban's play in the first round of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Boston Bruins was his coming out party in the NHL and capped off a tremendous rookie season and even better playoffs that ended in overtime of Game 7.

It was when the Montreal Canadiens defenseman first established himself as Public Enemy No. 1 in Boston, when he showed the NHL the tremendous skills he had in his wide and varied tool box, and when he first displayed how confident he was to use them.

Now, three years later, a matured and seasoned Subban will go back to Boston for Game 7 of this Eastern Conference Second Round series on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS) after Montreal evened this best-of-7 series at three games apiece with a 4-0 victory at Bell Centre on Monday night.

Game 7 will take place a day after Subban's 25th birthday, when he will attempt to finish what he started in 2011.

Subban scored the game-tying goal with 1:57 to play in regulation and Patrice Bergeron in the penalty box on April 27, 2011 to send that Game 7 into overtime, with the Canadiens losing on Nathan Horton's goal at 5:43 off a shot that tipped off Jeff Halpern's skate and behind goaltender Carey Price.

Subban remembers the feeling well, both of scoring the goal and losing the game.

"Yeah, I wanted to do it again. I wanted to do it again the next shift," Subban said of his goal, a blistering one-timer from the faceoff circle. "The way I see it is it was great to push it to overtime, but we didn't get the job done. I wanted to put another dagger in, but I didn't get my opportunity.

"I'm sure I'll get my opportunity this time. It's my job to make sure it counts."

If the 2011 playoffs were his coming out party, this postseason has served notice to show that Subban has arrived as a bona fide superstar in the NHL. He does things on the ice that virtually no one else can, and he says things off it that are just as unique to him.

When P.K. Subban talks freely, we listen.

Except this season, Subban has generally shied away from saying anything of note. He's acted as though he viewed much of his time with the media as more of a chore than anything else, spouting out clichés and remaining as stale as possible.

The storylines that surrounded Subban all season were divisive. Does he get enough ice time? Should he make the Canadian Olympic team? Every time people talked about Subban, he appeared to be at the center of a debate that he did not want to be involved in.

That polarizing debate followed Subban somewhat into the playoffs, except he has chosen this time of year to express himself to the fullest.

And no one can debate the way he has played.

On the ice, Subban has been a force, offensively and defensively.

Off the ice, Subban has become a spokesman for the extreme confidence the Canadiens feel facing a mighty opponent that most have as the favorite.

That confidence was clearly evident following Montreal's 4-0 win in Game 6, forcing a do-or-die game that Subban could not be more excited to play.

"You have to enjoy it," Subban said. "I don't think I've played a game in this League nervous, and I'm not going to start to do that now."

Subban did not dominate the game Monday. He managed it.

But this entire series, if it's been about one person, it's been about Subban.

So it's only appropriate that he set the tone for the deciding Game 7 by boldly stating exactly what he and the Canadiens intend to do in Boston on Wednesday.

"It's going to be great," he said. "I can't wait for the crowd, the noise, the energy in the building.

"I can't wait to take that all away from them."

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.