After sweeping the Tampa Bay Lightning in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, Canadiens coach Michel Therrien rewarded his players by giving them a couple of days off.
The Canadiens won’t practice Wednesday or Thursday, with a Friday practice schedule to be determined.
The Canadiens could have as many as 10 days off before starting their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the winner of the Boston-Detroit series. The Bruins lead that series 2-1 and if it goes the distance Game 7 would be played on April 30.
“We’re really happy for what we’ve accomplished so far,” Habs forward Lars Eller told reporters after Tuesday’s Game 4 victory, singling out the work of coaches and the scouting staff. “But this is a really humble group and we don’t look too far ahead. . . . It shows we’ve been able to have a game plan and execute it really well.”
As for the days off, Eller said: “Rest is a weapon right now. I don’t see it as a disadvantage. Boston or Detroit, it doesn’t matter. We’re going to have to beat one of them, or any other team, to keep advancing, so we’ll just sit back and see what happens.
“Anything is possible now. On a good night we can beat any team, on a bad night we can lose to any team. We have all the components to be successful in the playoffs, I really believe that.”
Added Max Pacioretty, who scored the winning goal in Game 4: “Personally, it’s good to have the time off. We had a lot of battles in this series and the time off will be good. We’re all professionals in this room and we’ll handle it right.”
(Photo by Pierre Obendrauf/The Gazette)
(Locker-room videos by The Gazette’s Brenda Branswell)