Audio: Ailing Spacek to miss Game 5

AUDIO: Jacques Martin | Michael Cammalleri | Brian Gionta | Josh Gorges

Pressure-off approach for Habs in do-or-die: Hickey

Still troubled by a stubborn virus, defenceman Jaroslav Spacek did
not take this afternoon’s charter flight to Washington for Friday’s Game
5 in the Canadiens-Capitals Eastern quarterfinal.

Head coach
Jacques Martin said it’s GM Pierre Gauthier’s decision as to whether the
team dips into the Hamilton Bulldogs with its final callup of the
season to import, say, P.K. Subban to give the six-man blueline some
depth, but late this afternoon the Canadiens said that no roster moves
were imminent.

On Wednesday, Subban scored two goals for the Bulldogs, including the winner in double overtime, to lift his team to a 3-1 first-round AHL playoff series lead over the Manitoba Moose.

Stubbs’s Canadiens notebook is below:

DAVE STUBBS
The Gazette

The six defencemen used by the Canadiens Wednesday in Montreal should see action again Friday in Game 5 with an ailing Jaroslav Spacek not having made Thursday’s trip to Washington.

Spacek, suffering from a virus, missed Game 4 and after meeting a team doctor Thursday afternoon was held back from the trip.

Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin was asked at his daily briefing at noon in Brossard whether he might call up a blueline reinforcement from the Hamilton Bulldogs, say, the highly touted P.K. Subban.

“That’s a decision of management,” Martin said, volleying the ball into the court of general manager Pierre Gauthier.

The team said late Thursday afternoon from Washington that there were no roster moves on the horizon.

The Canadiens have one farm recall left until the playoff elimination of the Bulldogs, who are nowhere near that. Hamilton leads the Manitoba Moose 3-1 in their first-round AHL playoff series.

Subban scored twice Wednesday night in Winnipeg, including the winner in double overtime.

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Sixteen times in their history have the Canadiens faced a 3-1 playoff deficit in a best-of-seven series. Only once have they rallied to win, that coming vs. Boston in the 2004 Eastern quarterfinals.

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The NHL confirmed Thursday that there will no further discipline for goaltender Carey Price, who tapped Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom from the bench with his stick after the latter had scored the Capitals’ sixth and final goal with 11 seconds remaining in Game 4.

Price was assessed his second unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty of the period for that gesture, Backstrom having scored into an empty Montreal net. The frustrated goalie had been penalized after the Capitals’ fourth goal for firing a puck into a crowd of players celebrating in the corner, striking one in the seat of the pants.

“You need to have emotion, it’s really important to play with it in a game at a high level,” Martin said Thursday. “At the same time, you have to have controlled emotion. I know that (Price) cares. He’s made some progress through the year. It might not have shown statistically, but I think he’s grown as an individual and a goaltender.”

Said forward Michael Cammalleri: “I’ve said it all year, I love Carey’s passion. There’s nothing better than when he shows it.”

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Cammalleri made a point of sending a message to those fans in the Bell Centre who have booed the U.S. national anthem, just in case there is a Game 6 on Monday.

“I would say that we really appreciate our fans and the respect they show us,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s right that we boo anthems. We should be a little bit more respectful.”

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Brian Gionta laughed Thursday about his Game 4 rumble with Washington’s Tom Poti, who already has dropped his gloves this series with Canadiens centre Scott Gomez.

“Once you do it, you’ve got to commit to it,” Gionta said of the wrestling match that went unpenalized. “It was the fourth game. Things start boiling over after playing the same guys for a long time. That’s the fun of the playoffs. You build that kind of hatred for the other team.”

Gionta acquitted himself well, finally bulldogging Poti like a rodeo cowboy. Even more impressive: he gave away eight inches and 24 pounds.

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The Canadiens held a team meeting Thursday, choosing not to practice before chartering to Washington.

“We went over some stuff, some of the obvious and some good things we did,” Mike Cammalleri said. “There were a lot of positives that came out of (Game 4), for sure.”

The Canadiens were mostly excellent through the first 39:53, yielding a shorthanded equalizer with 6.3 seconds left in the second period. They were swarmed by the Capitals in the third, outshot 20-6 and outscored 4-1.

About frustration being felt by the Canadiens, who now are on the brink, he said, “You don’t avoid it, you accept it. You appreciate what it is. You don’t fight it, you acknowledge it and do your best to move forward in a productive manner.

“You think, ‘OK, we’re frustrated. Good. We’ve got a little bit of fire in our belly. Let’s go play a game where we don’t have to be frustated.’ ”

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