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Canadiens vow to shove back in Game 2

by Brian Compton
PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers didn't just push the Montreal Canadiens Sunday night, they shoved them to the ice in a 6-0 rout.

Now, the Canadiens will attempt to push back Tuesday as the teams meet in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals at the Wachovia Center (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS).

The Habs swear they're ready to do just that. They'll need to if they hope to return to Montreal with a series split. One can almost guarantee the Flyers will show up Tuesday eager to push the Habs around again. It's up to the Canadiens to fight back.

"We push back, we fight back. We're not afraid to get in there and mix it up. We've just got to have that urgency here tonight, a little more desperation. If we have that, we'll be OK."
-- Josh Gorges

"I think we have guys in here that aren't going to shy away," Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges said. "We know these guys are going to come out and play hard and they're going to play physical. But so did Washington, so did Pittsburgh. They came at us, they hit us, and I think the guys in this room are OK with that.

"We push back, we fight back. We're not afraid to get in there and mix it up. We've just got to have that urgency here tonight, a little more desperation. If we have that, we'll be OK."

The Canadiens escaped the first period of Game 1 trailing only 1-0 before things got out of hand early in the second. They understand the importance of having a better start in Game 2 and creating more traffic in front of goalie Michael Leighton, who stopped all 28 shots he faced Sunday. Five of them came in the third period.

"They probably did a good job of not allowing us to get the chances we'd like," said forward Michael Cammalleri, who was held to just one shot on goal in Game 1. "I think we've got to do more about our whole game. When you create chances, it has more to do with how you're playing in your own end and the neutral zone than how you're playing in the offensive zone. It's our whole game."

While the Canadiens found themselves in a physical showdown Sunday, they firmly believe it was nothing new to them this postseason. Sure, the Flyers are big and strong, especially on the blue line. But that doesn't mean the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins -- who both lost to Montreal in seven-game series -- were unable to play that type of style.

"I thought Washington and Pittsburgh both presented physical challenges," Cammalleri said. "A lot of big guys that finish hits. We don't expect much different from Philadelphia. I think what people underrate about Philadelphia is people want to give them the old 'Broad Street Bullies' trademark. But they're a skilled team. Their depth up front is as good as anybody's. When I look at the Philadelphia Flyers right now, they probably think it's a secret, but they to me are a skilled hockey team."

Said defenseman Hal Gill: "They have a good mix of skill and grit. That's what makes them effective."

So effective the Flyers held a 4-0 lead after 40 minutes Sunday. But even they know it's unlikely they will manhandle the Canadiens again in Game 2, especially when you consider how well Montreal has responded this postseason.

"It's going to be a totally different game than Game 1," Philadelphia forward Scott Hartnell said. "They came out the way they wanted in that first game, but we slowly but surely took the game over and they're going to be harder on our key guys and they're going to want to play the body and get more pucks to the net. It's going to be a battle tonight."

It has to be if Montreal doesn't want to find itself in an 0-2 deficit. If the Canadiens want a split, they must push back in Game 2.

"It was a wake-up call," Gorges said of Game 1. "We can't play that way. We can't think we've accomplished anything yet, because realistically we haven't. We want to keep moving forward."

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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