‘This isn’t something that can’t be done,’ Habs’ Gionta says of a comeback

The Canadiens returned home after Sunday night’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Rangers in New York and held an optional practice at 1 p.m. Monday in Brossard.

Both goaltenders – Dustin Tokarski and Peter Budaj – took part in the practice along with 11 skaters. Tomas Plekanec was the first player on the ice and was joined by Brandon Prust, Rene Bourque, Michael Bournival, Francis Bouillon, Jarred Tinordi, Travis Moen, Ryan White, Nathan Beaulieu, Douglas Murray and George Parros.

The Rangers lead the best-of-seven Eastern Conference final 3-1 and the Canadiens will be facing elmination in Game 5 Thursday night at the Bell Centre (8 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690).

“It’s a challenge, but this isn’t something that can’t be done,” captain Brian Gionta told reporters in Brossard after Monday’s practice.

In fact, the Canadiens have rallied back from a 3-1 playoff deficit twice in the last 10 years.

In 2010, with Jaroslav Halak in goal and Gionta as the captain, the Canadiens rallied from 3-1 down to the Washington Capitals in the first round of the playoffs and won the series. And in 2004, the Habs were down 3-1 to the Boston Bruins in the first round before coming back to win that series.

Gionta was asked if there is anything the current Canadiens can draw on from the 2010 comeback against the Capitals.

“Well, the guys that were here, you know, you remember the situation and you remember the feelings that you had,” he said. “At no point in that series did we feel we were out of it, and the same holds true now. We believe in the team that’s in here, and we believe we can win this series.”

Tomas Plekanec was also part of that 2010 Canadiens team and was asked if the confidence was always there during that series.

“I think when your back’s against the wall, anything after that is playing kind of loose,” he said. “Just going out there every shift and going hard and trying to get, like I said, trying to do everything you can to keep the series going.”

Meanwhile, Canadiens goalie Carey Price – who suffered a knee injury in Game 1 and was ruled out for the rest of the series – skated without equipment for about 20 minutes Monday in Brossard before the team’s optional practice.

“He’s not going to play, like I said before,” coach Michel Therrien told reporters after the practice. ” He’s not going to play in the series, you know.  It’s just part of the rehab, that’s all.  It’s a great sign.”

Therrien was asked if he spoke with goalie Dustin Tokarski after Sunday’s overtime loss.

“I let (goalie coach) Stephane Waite deal with the goalie, so …” he responded.

In New York, Steve Zipay of Newsday reported that Rangers centre Derek Stepan is accompanying the team to Montreal, but his status for Game 5 is uncertain. Stepan suffered a broken jaw when he was hit by the Canadiens’ Brandon Prust in Game 3. Prust, who wasn’t penalized on the play, was later suspended for two games by the NHL for the late hit.

(Photo by John Kenney/The Gazette)

(Video by The Gazette’s Brenda Branswell)

St. Louis scores in OT to put Habs on brink of elimination, by The Gazette’s Pat Hickey

Rangers hold dagger at Habs’ throat, by The Gazette’s Dave Stubbs

Broken play breaks Montreal hearts, by Jack Todd for The Gazette

New York’s love affair with Prust is over, by Dave Stubbs

Canadiens lose game of inches, face elimination, NHL.com

It takes four, canadiens.com

After much talk, Rangers quiet Canadiens with their play, New York Times

Tokarski had St. Louis’s number, then lost it, New York Post

King Henrik 60 minutes from chance at wearing crown, New York Daily News

Rangers bench mic’d up, newyorkrangers.com



  1. CHicoHab says:

    After tonight we will be either 9-7 these playoffs and off to join 26 teams on the golf course. Or will we be 10-6 and off to MSG on Thursday night? 10-6 sounds so good!!!! GHG!!!!

  2. habstrinifan says:

    Calling it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    HABS 5 NYR 1.

    Vanek hat trick!

  3. BJ says:

    Come on over new thread….

  4. UKRAINIANhab says:

    Habs 6 (Lundqvist Chased)
    Rags 3

    Vanek, Desharnais, Plekanec, Plekanec, Weaver, Briere

    —- Plekanec and Markov, Canadiens for life —-

  5. CJ says:

    Regarding the comments re: Vanek and whether or not he is hurt, I’m going to say the answer is no. I am basing this on the fact that I have watched Vanek, live, on a number of occassions throughout his career and what we are seeing now, is fairly consistent with the style of play throughout his career.

    Bergevin himself said, following the trade, that you do not notice Vanek all game, but when you check the score sheet he has a goal and assist. This is the kind of player that if he is not putting up points, is of little or no value otherwise. He is not a great skater. He does not engage physically and he is not strong defensively. His value is putting pucks on sticks, creating scoring chances and finishing plays around the net.

    The trouble with a streaky player like this is not knowing when or if he will break out. Vanek could end up in the press box tonight, or he could end up scoring two goals. I have no clue and am not sure how you could possibly make the decision. As such, I am inclined to say that you leave him in the lineup.

    Gionta on the other hand is the player who, Captaincy aside, should be removed from the lineup. I don’t see any possibility of an offensive explosion, nor do I see anything of great value from #21. What is hurting Gionta more then anything is his promotion to the second line. He does not have any offence left in his stick, so the only way to get value is to have him on the third line in a checking role.

    Lastly, perhaps I live in a fantasy world, but I don’t see anything wrong with sharing opinions on this site. We really ought to be kinder to each other. No, my opinion is not better or worse than anyone else’s. It’s just an idea. My goal is promote conversation and get ideas flowing. Again, good, bad or indifferent, I think that there is room for comments on a message board.

    Just my two cents…. CJ

    • Forum Dog says:

      One of the reasons I like your posts is because they are balanced and do not attempt to ram a particular position down other people’s throats. As you point out, this is an opinion-based board, and there is no such thing as right or wrong – at least when it comes to hockey talk. Everyone is free to post their interpretation of what is going on with the team, or where they see it going. If others disagree, they should do so respectfully, or just not respond.

      Regarding Vanek, I was listening to McGuire (queue the boos and hisses) this morning on Ottawa radio and he made a point about Gaborik that I think applies equally to Vanek. He is a guy that requires some coddling. He does not want to be treated like a third or fourth line player. He wants a prominent role, and if he doesn’t get it he tends to shut things down. Therrien does not treat his players with kid gloves, and generally attempts to employ a “one size fits all” approach to player management (though some may dispute that). This has benefits in that everyone probably feels that they get equal treatment. But it can also have drawbacks in that a uniform approach will not inspire all players to the same degree. Guys like Vanek need the puck, and need to feel like the play runs through them a bit. Getting bumped to the 3rd and 4th line is not going to help Vanek’s confidence, and probably hurts his game. I say this because I don’t think his play is injury based either. If it were, there would be no reason to run him out there for 12 minutes a game.

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