The Canadiens held an optional morning skate in Brossard before facing elimination in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final Tuesday night at the Bell Centre against the New York Rangers (8 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690).
The only player who didn’t take part in the skate was Tomas Plekanec. Goalie Carey Price, who has been sidelined with a knee injury suffered in Game 1 of the conference final, was on the ice in full equipment for about 30 minutes before the morning skate with goalie coach Stephane Waite and Graham Rynbend, the team’s head athletic therapist.
After the skate, Canadiens coach Michel Therrien told reporters Price would not play in Game 5 or any time soon and that him skating in full equipment was “part of the process” in his recovery.
No changes to the Habs lineup are expected for Game 5.
“Tonight is a game that we’ve been there, and we need everyone to be at their best,” Therrien told reporters after the morning skate. “Tonight, we’ve been there two weeks ago, and it’s about preparation. It’s about attitude, and we need everyone to make sure they’re well-prepared and they’ve got the right attitude to face the challenge.”
This will be the third elimination game for the Canadiens this postseason, following Game 6 and 7 wins over the Boston Bruins in the conference semifinals. Max Pacioretty was asked if the Canadiens could take any lessons from those two games against Boston.
“Yeah, it’s definitely possible,” he said. ” But we’ve got to focus on one game at a time. We’ve got this win tonight, and then we’ve got to say to ourselves we’re in the same position we were in against the best team in the league and we came out victorious. So at the end of the day you want to worry about the end picture, but the only chance we have is one game, one period at a time.”
Alex Galchenyuk said that the Canadiens can feed off the Bell Centre crowd in Game 5.
“They give us a lot of great energy and we have fun playing here, obviously,” he said. “We’re getting energized from the crowd, and I’m sure the crowd will be fully into the game, and I personally can’t wait to go – I mean, we’ve got to win this game as simple as that. We all know that and can’t wait. ”
Galchenyuk was also asked if the Canadiens have played their best hockey yet.
“If we were playing our best hockey, you wouldn’t be losing this series right now,” he said. “Again, they’re a good team, but we can’t be focused on them. We know we can play better, and we know we will, so we’re confident in that.”
The Rangers held their morning skate at the Bell Centre and Derek Stepan, who suffered a broken jaw when hit by Brandon Prust in Game 3, took part while wearing a plastic faceguard. Stepan had surgery on Friday to repair the broken jaw.
“There are a lot of things that have to happen for him to play tonight,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault told reporters about Stepan after the skate. “We are going to talk to him this afternoon and see how he reacted to the practice. Nutrition, obviously, is an issue at this time, so later on today we’ll talk to our doctors and we’ll talk to him and we’ll see how it works out.”
Vigneault was asked about how tough it is to get that final win in a playoff series.
“You know, the NHL 2013-2014 started the first of October with a game between Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens in an Original Six matchup,” he said. “Today is the 27th of May, you know? We’re the first team this year that has an opportunity to win one and move on to the Stanley Cup final. We’re going to be ready.”
If the Canadiens win Tuesday night, Game 6 would be Thursday night in New York (8 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690).
(Photo by John Kenney/The Gazette)