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Canadiens understand momentum can be fleeting

by Adam Kimelman /
PHILADELPHIA -- At this time of the season, momentum only carries as far as the next game.
That seemed to be the common theme in the Montreal Canadiens' locker room following Friday's 1-0 win in Philadelphia that moved them up to sixth in the Eastern Conference.
The Habs have four games left, starting Saturday when they host the Buffalo Sabres, and the players know as good as things were Friday in Philadelphia, they can turn around 180 degrees in 24 hours.
"It's good up until tomorrow night," Canadiens forward Brian Gionta said Friday. "We need to have that same effort tomorrow night. We lose tomorrow night we're right back where we are today."
Where they are today is two points ahead of seventh-place Boston and eighth-place Philadelphia, and four points ahead of the ninth-place Rangers and 10th-place Atlanta.
The Sabres are the last playoff team the Canadiens will play down the stretch, as they finish the regular season with games at the Islanders and Hurricanes and a home game with the Maple Leafs.
Regardless of the where the opposition is in the standings, however, the Canadiens know they'll need the same kind of effort they got in Philadelphia on Friday, especially from whoever is in net.
"We've had good goaltending for a while now," defenseman Hal Gill told "(Friday's game) are the games that it shows -- it's a tight game all the way through, and that's the way they're going to be from now on. You get playoff time and things tighten up, that's where you need that big extra save."
Halak made a bunch of extra saves Friday en route to stopping all 35 Flyers shots -- including 14 in the third -- for his fourth shutout of the season.
"I think Jaro was really outstanding," coach Jacques Martin said. "He made several key saves, several big saves and kept us in the game. Especially in the third period."
Halak, however, wasn't getting too excited with his play.
"When we get to the playoffs, it was a huge win," he said. "If not, it was just regular win.
"Right now every win is important for us. Even when we get one point it's important. We'll see how important (Friday's) game was in a week or so."
The key, he said, is like what Gionta said -- bringing the same effort to their last four games that they did to Friday's game.
"I think everybody knew the importance of (Friday's) game," said Halak. "Everybody did the job. Everybody is happy with the results. We just have to make sure we play the same way tomorrow."
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