-- A successful business trip. Nothing more, nothing less.
That's how Montreal viewed its shocking 2-0 series lead on favored Boston as the Canadiens packed their bags for a flight home after Saturday's 3-1 victory at TD Garden.
But they also understand that the job is nowhere near finished, not with a pivotal Game 3 at the Bell Center in less than 48 hours.
"Satisfying is the wrong word," said forward Michael Cammalleri
, often the conscience of this Montreal team. "I think happy and pleased to a certain extent, as far as definitely the result and some of the things we've been able to do.
"You go into a lot of these series and games thinking you can win every game, but at the same time there is always that we will see what happens for everybody involved. There's some good stuff there, but far from satisfying. It is a long way to go."
Actually, there is a lot of good stuff happening for Montreal.
First, the Canadiens have scored early in each of the first two games. On Saturday night, they scored two goals in the first 2:20, putting a Boston team already unnerved by the absence of its captain and best defenseman, Zdeno Chara
, into full-on panic mode.
"Obviously, it is a huge calmer when you score the first goal in both games," said Montreal defenseman James Wisniewski
, who assisted on Cammalleri's game-opening goal at the 43-second mark. "Like I said before, (Carey Price
) with his two saves -- he had a big one in the first period when we were up 2-0, right in front of the net. If they (get to) 2-1, they have a lot more momentum going into the second period.
Nothing is going as right as Price right now. He has stopped 65 of the 66 shots he has faced in the series, and he absolutely robbed Milan Lucic
in the second period when the big power forward had a sure-fire shot to tie the game at 2-2. That save, like so many he has made so far, blunted Boston's momentum.
"Carey's there to make a difference," said Mathieu Darche
, who scored Montreal's second goal and his first playoff goal. "We have said it all year, we have said it in the playoffs; we wouldn't trade for anybody in the League. He is on top of his game. We are playing well around him. He is making it easy for us."
Montreal is making it easy for Price at times, too.
The Canadiens have played a collapsing zone around their goaltender whenever Boston gains possession in the Montreal zone. In doing so, they have shut down Boston's shooting lanes and made it far more difficult to get pucks through to Price. In two games, Montreal has blocked 46 shots.
"We have the same game plan as to box guys out and really create a battle and make it hard to get to rebounds and even they are going to get to them, they are going to have lumber on them at least," Price said. "Our guys are doing an excellent job of battling in front."
It also hasn't hurt the Canadiens that they have gotten contributions from everyone. In Game 1, Scott Gomez
had two assists to break out of a seemingly season-long slump. In Game 2, not only did Darche score his first playoff goal, but Yannick Weber
, a last-minute replacement for the injured Andrei Kostitsyn
, also scored.
"You have to give them credit, they're playing good hockey right now," Boston forward Mark Recchi
said. "They're doing the things possible to win. Every time we turn the puck over through the neutral zone it ends up in our net. We have to be very wary of that, and we have to get a little better through that. We‘ve made mistakes that have hurt us. They've done a good job but we're going to have to do the same thing up there."
"Up there" is the Bell Centre, Montreal's fortress – and, all too often, Boston's house of horrors. The building – which hosted three Bruins losses in the regular season -- will be rocking for Monday's Game 3. Montreal fans will be wild with the prospect of putting the Bruins into an 0-3 hole in this best-of-seven series.
But for the Canadiens, it will just be another day at the office -- they hope.
"We are confident," Darche said. "We have to be happy with what we did, but we can't be satisfied. We are going to go back to Montreal and it is going to get tougher. They are not happy, I mean, I am sure they are not happy and they are going to come out with a vengeance. It is going to be our turn to be home."