It was a banged up Canadiens’ team that lost their first-round playoff series against the Ottawa Senators Thursday night. Max Pacioretty was among the injured, playing with a separated shoulder that he suffered in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series.
But he wasn’t using that as an excuse.
“We had tons of injuries during the year and it was just an opportunity for guys to step up and that’s no excuse for the playoffs,” a sombre Pacioretty said after the Canadiens were eliminated by the Senators 6-1 victory.
The Canadiens were without goaltender Carey Price, Lars Eller, Brandon Prust, Ryan White and Brian Gionta–all of whom suffered injuries during the series.
Despite the fact that the team was missing a lot of players, coach Michel Therrien said they started the game on the right foot with an excellent first period and played well in the second.
“You’ve got to give a lot of credit to the Senators,” Therrien said, adding they really played well.
“(Senators goaltender) Craig Anderson was, as far as we’re concerned, the best player in the series,” Therrien said.
“He gave them a chance to stay in the game and gave them a chance to get some momentum with key save after key save.”
Therrien praised the post-season play of Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher. He noted that he’s coached a lot of young kids and sometimes because they’re nervous and don’t know what to expect it can change their game in the playoffs. But the two rookies haven’t changed their game, the coach said.
“I was really impressed with the way that those kids played in the playoffs.”
The playoff loss puts an end to a remarkable turnaround this season for the Canadiens who finished second in the Eastern Conference after their last-place finish last year.
“We made a step in the right direction,” Therrien said. “We’re very aware that there’s a lot of work to do.”
You can hear what Max Pacioretty had to say below:
And you can hear what Andrei Markov had to say below:
You can hear what Peter Budaj said here:
And you can listen to Brendan Gallagher below:
(Video: Brenda Branswell)