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Subban believes Canadiens can rally from 3-1 hole

by Mike G. Morreale

NEW YORK -- There's seemingly never a moment when Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban doesn't appear to be in control of a situation.

He was at it again following a 3-2 overtime loss in Game 4 against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. After leading all players in ice time and blocked shots, the unflappable Subban fielded more than a dozen questions from reporters in the visitors' locker room before announcing "last question" when he felt the time was right.

"We walked in the room here and a couple of guys said that we're going to put this behind us and get ready for a bigger game come Tuesday," Subban said. "We did a lot. We had a lot of opportunities, but pucks didn't go in. There is a lot of hockey left to be played, and we just have to be prepared to go home and play a good game."

Subban had one of his finest efforts of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, scoring his first goal in six games, logging his second highest total in ice time (33:16) and blocking five shots.

"I felt good out there," Subban said. "I felt like I could play another game. I didn't feel tired at all. I felt great and I was prepared for the OT. It's just tough when it ends like that."

The ending came quick too. Martin St. Louis scored 6:02 into the extra period to put the Rangers up 3-1 in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Final and the Canadiens on the brink of elimination.

"We had a couple of opportunities where the puck bounced back the other way; things happen," Subban said. "We're not too focused on [the loss] now. We have a quick turnaround here, so we have to put it behind us and get ready for the next game."

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Canadiens have rallied to win a series that they trailed 3-1 twice in their storied history (2004 in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Boston Bruins, 2010 in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Washington Capitals).

"I've been down 3-1 in series before, and the tide can turn really quick, so we're prepared to go home and play a good game," Subban said.

If the Canadiens are to get back in the series, one area they will need to improve is the power play. Subban was on the ice for 12:51 of power-play time and appeared frustrated when Montreal faltered on its only opportunity of overtime. The Canadiens finished 1-for-8 with the man advantage Sunday and are 1-for-16 in the series.

Montreal generated eight shots on the power play and allowed a shorthanded goal in the first period. Subban was asked about the obvious frustration with the man advantage just prior to the game-winner by St. Louis in OT.

"It's the playoffs," he said. "I don't want to talk about that. There are many times when I come off the ice when I'm steamed.

"It's the playoffs, and teams aren't going to give you two and three power-play goals a game; guys are bearing down and willing to block shots," he continued. "You hope for a bounce and to get pucks to the net. You hope for a tip and hope for it to go in. But it's hard to score two or three power-play goals in a game. It's a game of mistakes, and the team that makes the least amount of mistakes is usually the team that wins."

Subban's first point of this series, a goal scored off a slap shot from the point two minutes into the third period that pulled Montreal into a 2-2 tie, actually came with his team working the power play.

"When he's shooting from back there, he gives us a chance on that power play," Canadiens captain Brian Gionta said. "He's a great weapon for us."

Subban was asked if he felt his team has enough left in the tank to string together three straight wins. Game 5 is Tuesday at Bell Centre (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"I mean, we believe in our group and believe in each other and we know we can win this series; it's long from over," he said. "We're not tired. Listen, when you're playing for your life, you find the energy."

The energy that Subban supplied was certainly infectious, but it wasn't enough to overcome the relentless Rangers, who became the first team in the series to win on home ice. Subban praised rookie goalie Dustin Tokarski (26 saves) for another strong outing.

"He's played well; we can't ask anything more from him," Subban said. "He made big saves when we needed him to and he kept us in the game and gave us an opportunity to win in overtime. We came up a little bit short, but we now have to get ready for the next one."

Subban has five goals and a team-leading 13 points in 15 playoff games. He will be looked upon for another strong outing Tuesday in a must-win situation for the Canadiens.


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