(Photo: Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)
Maybe Rene Bourque put it most bluntly.
“We got our asses kicked all over the ice, plain and simple,” he said after the Canadiens 7-2 drubbing by the New York Rangers on Saturday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final.
“They came out strong. We were just not sharp (today…I don’t think anybody really played well,” Bourque said.
“They got all the loose pucks. They out-competed us and took some penalties and they capitalized. That’s basically what happened.”
Bourque said he thought the Habs had a bit of an emotional let down after winning their series against the Boston Bruins.
“We talked about that too going into the game (this afternoon) and obviously it didn’t click. But we’ve got to just forget about this game and move on,” he said.
Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban also talked about turning the page after the embarrassing loss at the Bell Centre.
“We have to be better for the next game,” he said.
“That’s not our hockey team that played today. We know we’re a different team than that. We can be a lot better,” Subban added.
“I think all over the ice they beat us. They worked harder. They were on the puck. They were aggressive. They were hungry.”
They knew the Rangers were a fast team, Subban said. “We’ve got speed, too.”
Habs fans held their breath when Carey Price appeared to be hurt when Chris Kreider ran into him in the Canadiens’ net in the second period. But the Canadiens goaltender stayed in the game for the rest of the period that saw the Rangers score back-to-back goals within a 50-second span.
Back-up goaltender Peter Budaj replaced Price at the start of the third. Things didn’t get any better for the Habs. The Rangers scored three power-play goals in just over three minutes early in the third.
When Canadiens coach Michel Therrien was asked if pulling Price was injury related, he said: “That was more to protect him than anything, because we were not sharp in front of him.”
“We were not ready mentally, physically… to compete for a game like that with the result that we saw,” the coach said.
“We’ll put that game behind us. We’re going to move forward, but that’s a good lesson.”
You can hear more of what Subban had to say here:
You can listen to what Bourque had to say here:
(Video: Brenda Branswell)