‘WE’RE GO­ING TO NEED MORE FROM A LOT OF GUYS’

Montreal Gazette - - SPORTS - PAT HICKEY

The best way to de­scribe the mood in the Cana­di­ens’ dress­ing room af­ter Thurs­day’s 3-2 over­time loss to the New York Rangers was delu­sional.

There were the usual clichés about how the game could have gone ei­ther way in over­time, but there was only one predictable out­come from the way the Cana­di­ens played from the start of the third pe­riod un­til Mika Zibane­jad redi­rected a shot from Chris Krei­der for the win­ning goal.

“There were op­por­tu­ni­ties to close out the game and (Rangers’ Hen­rik Lundqvist) made some good saves and they got a bounce on that goal,” cap­tain Max Pa­cioretty said. “But noth­ing we can do about it now. We have an op­por­tu­nity now to show what we have in this room. We’ve come back a lot this year and hope­fully we can do it in this se­ries as well.

“It could have gone ei­ther way, it re­ally could have,” Pa­cioretty added.

No, it couldn’t.

Philip Danault hit a post early in the third pe­riod, but the Cana­di­ens didn’t reg­is­ter their first shot on goal un­til Pa­cioretty fired one just past the 10-minute mark. As for the over­time, that was all New York, with the Rangers out­shoot­ing the Cana­di­ens 10-3.

The Cana­di­ens took a 2-1 lead af­ter the first pe­riod, but coach Claude Julien said the seeds of de­struc­tion were sowed in the sec­ond pe­riod.

“In the sec­ond half of that pe­riod, we spent less time (in the Rangers’ zone) and when we got the puck in there, it came right back out,” Julien said. “We spent more time chas­ing and de­fend­ing than we did con­trol­ling the puck and that can be tir­ing. They got some en­ergy in the sec­ond half and they brought it into the over­time like we did a few games ago.”

The loss left the Cana­di­ens trail­ing the best-of-seven Eastern Con­fer­ence quar­ter-fi­nal 3-2 and fac­ing a must-win sit­u­a­tion Sat­ur­day at Madi­son Square Gar­den (8 p.m., CBC, TVA Sports, TSN-690 Ra­dio).

Bren­dan Gal­lagher and Art­turi Lehko­nen scored the Mon­treal goals and, with­out nam­ing names, Julien said the Cana­di­ens need more from their top play­ers.

“In or­der to get through this, we’re go­ing to need more from a lot of guys,” Julien said. “It’s time for cer­tain play­ers to el­e­vate their games and have that con­fi­dence and de­sire to be bet­ter. There’s no doubt when you lose games and you’re be­hind 3-2, you can’t be sat­is­fied as a team and you know there are cer­tain play­ers who can give a lit­tle bit more.”

That list starts with Pa­cioretty. He’s the play­off leader with 24 shots, but has only one as­sist. Alex Galchenyuk has earned a pro­mo­tion, but he has only three as­sists. Andrew Shaw, who was brought in be­cause of his play­off ex­pe­ri­ence, has no points.

Gal­lagher as­sured re­porters that Pa­cioretty will break out of his slump and he tried Thurs­day with five shots on goal, but six others were blocked and he missed the net twice.

Julien said he had a sim­ple mes­sage for his team go­ing into Game 6.

“The mes­sage is to fo­cus on that game; you can’t be think­ing about Game 7, be­cause Game 7 won’t hap­pen un­til you take care of Game 6,” Julien said. “The pres­sure is on them to close out the se­ries in their build­ing and for us, it’s to sur­vive and force a Game 7.”

“We just got to tune out all of this noise,” Pa­cioretty added.

“We got to be dis­ap­pointed that it was an op­por­tu­nity blown, but ex­cited at a big chal­lenge that we can show our char­ac­ter here.”

MI­NAS PANAGIOTAKIS/GETTY IMAGES

“When you’re be­hind 3-2, you can’t be sat­is­fied as a team and you know there are cer­tain play­ers who can give a lit­tle bit more,” Cana­di­ens coach Claude Julien said fol­low­ing Mon­treal’s over­time loss to the New York Rangers in Game 5 on Thurs­day night.

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