The Montreal Canadiens want to accentuate the positive after blowing a 3-1 lead in the third period of their playoff game in Boston.
Coach Michel Therrien said on a conference call on Sunday that his team was happy to be home from Boston with a split of the opening two games of the best-of-seven NHL Eastern Conference semifinal.
The Canadiens pulled out a 4-3 overtime win in the series opener on Thursday, but let a lead slip away under relentless Bruins pressure in a 5-3 defeat on Saturday afternoon at the TD Garden.
The third and fourth games will be played Tuesday and Thursday respectively at the Bell Centre.
“We went to play two games where it’s tough for any team to play in the NHL and we’re out of there with the series tied,” said Therrien. “That’s the big picture.
“I think it’s a boost of confidence for our players that we’re able to compete with that team and play with that team. And one thing for sure, playing at the Bell Centre, with the fans and support we’ve got, is a tough place for the other team to play. I’m sure the players will feed off our fans.”
The Canadiens were given the day off Sunday and will practice Monday at their suburban training centre to prepare for Game 3.
While the Canadiens took home ice advantage away from Boston, the Bruins looked to have grabbed momentum in the series with four third-period goals.
“Momentum, yes it’s a part of hockey, but there’s nothing you can do about the past,” said Therrien. “What’s important is the moment.
“Our preparation for the next game has already started. From the coaching standpoint, there are going to be things we’ll apply during practice and make sure we apply them in the next game.
“Momentum starts when they drop the puck.”
He denied that the Canadiens were nursing a lead in the third period before the Bruins stormed back. He said Boston had only one scoring chance in the third 10 minutes and scored on their first real chance of the final frame.
Defenceman Josh Gorges said the players want to put Game 2 behind them.
“There’s no sense in celebrating too much after a win or beating yourself up after a loss,” he said. “It doesn’t do anything for you for the next game. We know where we stand. We know we have to be better.”
Therrien would not discuss any potential lineup changes.
He said winger Brandon Prust, who looks to be struggling, is “totally healthy” and that he liked what he saw from rookie winger Michael Bournival, who returned to the lineup after sitting out a game in favour of veteran Travis Moen.
“He had a really good first round,”said Therrien, who used Bournival in every game of an opening round sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning. “We put him back in the lineup. I wanted to use his speed. I thought he did a good job with (Tomas) Plekanec.”
Therrien also said he hopes that popular singer Ginette Reno would be back to sing the Canadian anthem in Game 3. The Canadiens scored early after she sang in both home games against the Lightning.
“We’d welcome her with open arms,” he said.
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