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Subban: 'We can beat these guys. We're better'

by Arpon Basu

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Despite being on the brink of elimination, P.K. Subban is convinced the Montreal Canadiens are better than the Ottawa Senators.

The Canadiens defenseman said Wednesday he was eager to play Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series Thursday (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS) with Montreal trailing 3-1 and needing a win to extend its season.

"We still have a pulse right now, we're still alive and [Game 5] is the biggest game of the season. We need to be ready to play," Subban said. "Quite frankly, I want to beat these guys. We have another opportunity [Thursday] to play and we can beat these guys. We're better."

The Canadiens certainly will have the odds stacked against them in Game 5.

Captain Brian Gionta and forwards Brandon Prust and Ryan White were ruled out for the game Wednesday, and early Thursday the announced goaltender Carey Price would miss the remainder of the series with a lower-body injury after he was hurt near the end of regulation the team's 3-2 overtime loss in Game 4 in Ottawa.

Price appeared to be laboring after Senators forward Cory Conacher scored with 22.6 seconds to play in the third period to tie the game, and Price hunched over again after making a save just before the buzzer sounded to end regulation. He did not come out for the overtime period, and backup Peter Budaj was forced into action. He allowed the second shot he saw to get past him.

Ottawa's Kyle Turris scored the overtime winner on a floater from the top of the faceoff circle, a shot Montreal defenseman Raphael Diaz waved at with his elbow, but which Budaj said he doesn't think was deflected.

Either way, Budaj took full responsibility for the goal.

"I don't know if [Diaz] touches it or not, maybe he did a little bit, I don't know," he said. "But I just misplayed it. It's a bad goal. I think I could have stopped it."

Though Price widely has been blamed for the hole the Canadiens find themselves in due to poor performances in Game 2 and Game 4, his potential absence looms large heading to Game 5, and Budaj knows he will have large skates to fill. It will be Budaj's first start in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"If I have to go in, I did everything I could to keep myself prepared, to keep myself physically and mentally sharp," Budaj said prior to the announcement that Price was out. "We'll see what the status is with Carey, and if I have to go in I did everything I could to be prepared."

The Canadiens, from coach Michel Therrien to the players, remain convinced they were the better team in three of the four games played thus far in the series, but have one win to show for it. As a result, there is a belief in the Canadiens' room that if they stick to what they've been doing well, they can come back in the series.

"I don't know if you can change much," Subban said. "We've outshot them in most of the games that we've played, we've outchanced them. I think they've had more opportunities on the power play so maybe that generates some momentum for them, but other than that, I think that we've done a great job. Can we be upset with our performance [in Game 4]? No. I thought we played a great game; it just so happens that the game went away from us."

Asked how they will deal with the injuries that have hit the club, Subban said everyone simply will need to do more, and that they should welcome that opportunity. He said the pressure that once existed on the Canadiens because of them being the second seed in the conference now has shifted to the seventh-seeded Senators, and his team needs to believe a comeback is possible.

"When we come out of the gates and we're flying, guys are going to realize that we're the better team and there's still life in this series for us," Subban said. "But it takes guys in this room to believe that. It's a situation where all the pressure's on them. You're up 3-1 right now, on the road, with guys in and out of the lineup [on the Canadiens]. They want to end this thing. But they've got to beat us first. Good luck to them.

"We've been outshooting them every game, we've got good goaltending no matter who's in the net, so I wish them the best of luck."

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