-- The last time the Montreal Canadiens
lost as convincingly as they did on Sunday, the response was impressive.
Let's see if they can do it again.
Four nights after ending the Pittsburgh Penguins
' season with a 5-2 win in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Habs could not get anything going in Game 1 of the conference final as they suffered a 6-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers
at the Wachovia Center.
But the Canadiens are playing hockey in May because of their ability to respond. After suffering a 6-3 loss at Pittsburgh to open Round 2, Montreal bounced back with a 3-1 victory to even the series. They also trailed 3-1 in their opening-round series against the Washington Capitals
before reeling off three straight victories.
Nonetheless, Sunday night was a painful reminder that they still have a long way to go if they intend to bring the Stanley Cup back to Montreal for the first time in 17 years.
"They just gave us an old-fashioned, you-know-what," center Scott Gomez
said. "We've got to respond. We'll let this go. The next one's a big one for us."
The next one will take place on Tuesday night here at the Wachovia Center, which was rocking from the get-go as fans -- and the Flyers, it seemed -- were still riding an emotional high following the historic second-round series victory against the Boston Bruins
Montreal coach Jacques Martin is confident his team can bounce back from this as it aims for a split before the series shifts to the Bell Centre for Games 3 and 4.
"I think it's a matter of adjusting our game and raising our level of intensity," Martin said. "The one thing tonight, we didn't play a team game. We played an individual game, and you can't be successful that way."
The Canadiens certainly weren't successful in any facet of Game 1, including special teams. Philadelphia cashed in on the power play just 3:55 into the contest on Braydon Coburn
's first career playoff goal before Simon Gagne
ended Jaroslav Halak
's night midway through the second when he gave the Flyers a 4-0 lead. Montreal finished 0-for-5 on the power play.
"Their power play buries theirs, and our power play and penalty kill doesn't bury theirs," forward Michael Cammalleri
said. "We're going to have to correct that right away. That's one thing where you go back to the drawing board. It comes down to execution and attention to detail. Their sharpness was the difference."
"They just gave us an old-fashioned, you-know-what. We've got to respond. We'll let this go. The next one's a big one for us."
-- Scott Gomez
For whatever reason, the sharpness the Canadiens displayed in Pittsburgh last Wednesday was nowhere to be found on the eastern side of Pennsylvania. Not only did the power play and penalty kill struggle, but discipline was a problem, too. In all, the Habs gave the Flyers nine power plays.
"There's no doubt special teams is one area we have to be better at," Martin said. "Our overall game is what's brought us some success in the first two rounds -- our ability to compete. Tonight, we didn't compete at the level we need to."
While nobody in the Canadiens' dressing room made excuses, the team didn't know who its opponent was going to be until late Friday night, when the Flyers rallied from an early 3-0 deficit to beat the Bruins. It could have hindered their preparation, but the Habs weren't going there.
"It's hockey … you've got to come ready to play," said defenseman PK Subban
, who was minus-3. "We've just got to get ready for the next game."
History says the Canadiens will do just that. Their ability to shake losses off is the very reason why the No. 8 seed in the East is still here.
"We'll regroup," Gomez said. "You've got to let this one go."
Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL