"I can’t tell these things guys."
Saku Koivu was not going to reveal his strategy. Whatever, it worked.
The Captain had just scored the only goal of the shootout, a backhander past Tim Thomas that secured two points in a hard-fought game of playoff intensity.
By winning, Canadiens remained atop the Eastern Conference. And they’ve opened up a five-point lead on Ottawa, which will be at the Bell Centre Monday night.
Koivu had noticed that in stopping Mark Streit and Alex Kovalev on the first two shots of the shootout, Boston goaltender Tim Thomas had played deep in his net.
"Everybody has their favourite moves," Koivu said. "I’ve done mine, and sometimes you want to come up with something new."
Koivu recalled he’d hit the post in the Canadiens shootout loss to St. Louis. He speculated that Thomas "didn’t know what to expect."
"(Thomas) didn’t challenge us much," Koivu added. "When a goalie plays deep in his net, there’s not a lot of room for deking. You want to get a quick shot."
Koivu lauded Canadiens’ six defencemen, a corps depleted by the loss of Mike Komisarek.
"We knew those guys would come out and play desperate and they did," said Josh Gorges, who played 25 solid minutes and nearly ended the game when he was sent in alone in OT.
"They pushed real hard and we were able to overcome it. I thought we played a real good game.
"We kept fighting,"" Gorges added. "It takes 60, 65 minutes plus a shootout sometimes."
Looking ahead to Monday, Koivu pointed out that to the extent that Canadiens’ have had Boston’s number this season, Ottawa has had theirs: five wins in six games.
"It’s a huge challenge," the captain added. "Obviously we know the situation. If we win, it’s a seven-point lead.
"I don’t want to think too much ahead. We’ll focus on Monday’s game.