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Matt Carkner on comebacks, Montreal Canadiens

by Jon Lane

Comebacks have been the order of the day during the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. All three games Wednesday saw teams overcome deficits to even its series at 2-2. The eight games in which the winning team has overcome a deficit of two or more goals match the total for the entire 2013 postseason.

"If you're watching the game in the first period at home and you go to put your kids to bed or something and go read them a book, and then come down for the third, there's two different games going on," Islanders defenseman Matt Carkner said Thursday while visiting the NHL offices. "The momentum swings and just the all-out intensity is pretty cool to see. I think it's great for the fans to know either team has a chance. That's the way it's going to be for a long time."

One team, the Montreal Canadiens, has moved on to the Eastern Conference Second Round following a four-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Lighting. Montreal will face the winner of the Boston Bruins-Detroit Red Wings series.

Carkner's Islanders beat the Canadiens 2-0 on April 10 at Bell Centre. But the Montreal team waiting for winner of Red Wings-Bruins series bears little resemblance to the one that had 10 players combine to score 16 goals in the sweep of the Lightning.

"With them, with their speed and their play, they try and cheat a little bit," Carkner said. "Once they get the puck they're going the other way. They're looking for those breakaway and odd man rush opportunities. For us we just played a tight gap, we tried to keep everything as tight as we can, stay in their face, slow them down and grind their D out. We tried to cycle their puck in the zone, tire them out and find opportunities around the net when we could."

-- Jon Lane

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