Ginette Reno will be in the spotlight again when the Canadiens and New York Rangers square off in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final Saturday afternoon at the Bell Centre (1 p.m., CBC, NBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690).
Reno has become a good-luck charm for the Canadiens, singing the national anthem before every playoff game at the Bell Centre this season.
Heading into the Eastern Conference final the Canadiens had a 4-1 record at the Bell Centre with Reno singing the anthem. Their only loss was 1-0 in overtime to the Boston Bruins in Game 4 of the conference semifinals.
“These days it’s like I can’t walk on the street right now,” Reno told The Gazette’s Brenda Branswell on Friday.
“If I just take a walk — two streets, I take about 50 pictures. Everybody wants a picture.”
And fans always have a question for Reno:
“Are they gonna win, Madame Reno?’ Are they gonna win?’” she said. “I say ‘Yes! They’re going to win.’ Go Habs Go!”
Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin met with the media 90 minutes before Game 1, telling reporters: “We have a lot of respect for the Rangers. They want the same thing we do. I believe our guys are ready for this series.”
He added: “I see a special team. When times are tough they roll up their sleeves and go straight to work. I’m proud of this group.”
You can listen to Bergevin’s press conference here:
When asked about Dale Weise and Mike Weaver, players he acquired through trades this season, Bergevin said: “There are players that get you in the playoffs, and players that get you through.”
When asked about coach Michel Therrien, Bergevin said: “Michel Therrien was a good coach six months ago, and he was good even when we lost five games in a row.”
Therrien knows his team will be in for a battle against the Rangers.
“Any team that’s part of the final four gets confidence, and that was a good accomplishment for our team to beat Boston,” Therrien said after Friday’s practice in Brossard. “But I have to tell you something: that was a great accomplishment for (the Rangers) to come back from a 3-1 deficit and beat the Pittsburgh Penguins. They’re coming in and they’re really confident. So I pay a lot of attention to their game, especially their last three games. They were phenomenal.
“This is a good hockey team. They’ve got depth up front. They play four lines. They’ve got solid defencemen and they’ve got a great goalie. So this is a really good hockey team that we’re facing right now.”
The NHL has released the complete schedule for the Canadiens-Rangers series and it looks like this:
Game 1: Saturday, May 17, at Montreal, 1 p.m.
Game 2: Monday, May 19, at Montreal, 8 p.m.
Game 3: Thursday, May 22, at New York, 8 p.m.
Game 4: Sunday, May 25, at New York, 8 p.m.
Game 5 (if necessary): Tuesday, May 27, at Montreal, 8 p.m.
Game 6 (if necessary): Thursday, May 29, at New York, 8 p.m.
Game 7 (if necessary): Saturday, May 31, at Montreal, 8 p.m.
(Photo by John Mahoney/The Gazette)