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Habs need to put Game 1, Price injury, and Boston series behind them

May 19, 2014, 3:17 PM EDT

New York Rangers v Montreal Canadiens - Game One Getty Images

Somewhat lost in all the speculation and controversy surrounding Carey Price’s injury (culminating with today’s announcement that he’ll miss the rest of the Eastern Conference Final) has been the fact that the Montreal Canadiens were downright bad in losing Game 1 to the Rangers, by a score of 7-2.

Consider: not only were they beaten by five goals, the Canadiens were outshot, 28-22, on home ice, and actually got increasingly worse throughout the game in terms of puck possession.

From Extra Skater:


Now, full credit to the Rangers for keeping the pedal to the metal (so often teams go into a defensive shell when they get a lead), but this will be a short series if the Habs don’t regain their focus.

“Good thing it’s a seven-game series and we have a chance to get back in it on Monday,” Habs forward Ren Bourque said. “I think we had a little bit of an emotional letdown after the Boston series.

“We talked about that to going into the game. Obviously, it didn’t click.” (Note: We talked about it too, last week in PHT Extra.)

On the bright side, according to Montreal’s Thomas Vanek, “when you lose 7-2 like we did,” it’s “easy” to put the loss in the rear-view mirror and get ready for the next game, which goes tonight at the Bell Centre.

“If you lose a close one, that one stings maybe a bit longer,” said Vanek.

Still no word on who will start in goal for the Canadiens; Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston thinks Dustin Tokarski should get the nod over Peter Budaj, but we’ll have to wait and see what coach Michel Therrien thinks.

Lastly, even without knowing who will replace Price, gamblers have been all over the Rangers, according to online bookmaker Bovada.

“Today’s news of Montreal Canadiens’ goaltender Carey Price being out for at least the entire series against the Rangers has had a profound impact on the odds,” said a spokesperson for the sports book. “In the Rangers game tonight, New York has gone from +110 underdogs to -120 favorites and we are seeing money pouring in on the Rangers regardless. The Rangers also have gone from 9/4 (+225) to 9/5 (+180) to win the Cup.”

  1. sixchr - May 19, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    Well this is what happens when you think and act like beating your rival in the conference semi finals is equivalent to winning he Cup.

  2. gnashty - May 19, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    Carey Price is a massive blow, but don’t count the Habs out yet. I thought they would win in 7 but now I think they’ll lose in 6. Just don’t count them out yet

  3. xdj511 - May 19, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    As a Rangers fan I hope the Habs get it together and make a series out of it. Mostly because the alternative is that they turn goonish and spend the rest of the time running Hank and trying to take out star players. They already knocked out Brassard on a borderline hit. Their only focus going forward should be getting back into the series and not trying to do collateral damage on the Rangers.

  4. stepanup - May 19, 2014 at 3:46 PM

    They even made a chart from that game? The Habs lost their heads. I don’t expect it to happen again. I don’t see the point in analyzing that one.

  5. dboldave - May 19, 2014 at 4:02 PM

    I think Price is easily one of the best goalies in the league. But if their defense plays like they did in the Boston series, they have a great chance to win this. It’s going to be interesting to see how the Habs respond tonight.

    • justinhbhb - May 19, 2014 at 4:09 PM

      Well said. I regret my analysis from last game, but in the end… I still wouldn’t have a problem with the Rangers winning and advancing. Solid, respectable fan base and ownership and players. I do think some fans need to be a bit more mindful of how they would feel if Lundquist was injured at this time. Either way…

      I think your right. If they can get back to playing solid defense, which is possible- they can still win the series. I do hope Tokarski is in and not Budaj.

      • dannyboy1313 - May 19, 2014 at 4:30 PM

        The Rangers have a back-up goalie.

  6. afrancis55 - May 19, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    Now the Habs get to go through what the Bolts had to go through in the first round.

  7. gbart22 - May 19, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    The series is pretty much over without pricey be they can steal away two games but that’s it.

    I really hate this nonsense with running goalies by players. They are like the quarterbacks in the nfl when you’re watching the backup it’s just not the same thing and the team does not stand as a good a chance in most cases. We’ll see

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