Christopher Higgins plays for arguably the most scrutinized team in the National Hockey League, and it has been one remarkably topsy-turvy year for the Montreal Canadiens. All that can turn, however, in a flash if the 100-year-old Habs have a good showing in the playoffs.
Higgins took time out in the last week of the season to talk with NHL.com and discuss his team as it heads into the playoff. The pressure, before a huge road game against the Rangers was such that the expected seven-question session ended after just five queries. But, it's still an interesting look into the playoff mindset of both Higgins and his team
Here are our five questions with Christopher Higgins; the late-season pressure was too much for all seven:
NHL.com: Do you think the rough patches that this team has gone through this season can actually serve as a positive going into the playoffs because you have battled through adversity?
Christopher Higgins: "You learn to deal with bad stretches, especially in Montreal, because it seems like they are always worse there. We were booed pretty loudly the last time we played the Rangers there. It always makes things a little more difficult, but it definitely can bring the room together, especially when you start winning again. You realize how special it is to win and you want to keep it going for as long as possible."
NHL.com: How devastating are these injuries to Andrei Markov and Mathieu Schneider?
Higgins: "Oh, they hurt. There's no doubt about it, they hurt. Marky is one of the best defenseman I have seen play in this League and obviously he's a huge part of our team. Both of those guys, Mathieu and Andrei together, have been exceptional on the power play for us. They have done some great things and put up a lot of points for us. Guys are going to have to step up and fill that void."
NHL.com: They can't be replaced, but how do you cope without them?
Higgins: "Well, you just do the best you can. Guys just have to play better. That's it. They have to step up their game and rise to the challenge with those guys out. It's all clichés, but it's all true." (Note: Schneider returned from his injury earlier than expected)
NHL.com: Your young goalies, Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak, both gained playoff experience last year. How much does experience play a factor and how much confidence do you guys have in the goalies, knowing they have been through it?
Higgins: "They saw their action last year in the playoffs and they won some big games for us, so we have complete confidence in our goalies, especially considering that we used both of them almost 50-50 this year with the number of games they got in. We feel it's one of the strongest points of our team, our goaltending."
NHL.com: Can one of the best things about starting the playoffs be that you can put everything that happened this season aside and focus on a new season?
Higgins: "That's always the way in Montreal. As soon as you're losing, it only takes one game to change things around. It goes from the worst team in the League to the best team in the League pretty quickly."
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