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Therrien: Canadiens have had to defy expectations all season

May 21, 2014, 9:05 AM EDT

Dustin Tokarski AP

The Montreal Canadiens lost two straight home games against the New York Rangers to open the Eastern Conference Final. That in itself is problematic, but not a crippling hole to dig out of. The bigger problem is that goaltender Carey Price is out for the series.

Without their star netminder, not many people are betting on a Canadiens comeback, but Montreal coach Michel Therrien argued that puts the team in a very familiar position.

“When we started the season, there were a lot of people not even putting us in the playoffs. Or, if they wanted to be polite, they’d give us the eighth spot,” Therrien told the Toronto Sun.

“We caused a surprise to make the playoffs. We caused a surprise against the Tampa Bay Lightning to win in four, and we caused a bigger surprise to beat the Boston Bruins.”

Therrien asserted that his players believe in themselves though, even if that optimism is rare outside of their dressing room.

Rookie goaltender Dustin Tokarski wasn’t bad in Game 2 or the reason they lost that contest. The Canadiens can certainly win games with him. But can they win four of their next five contests against a Rangers team that’s clicking with Tokarski instead of Price?

Well, let’s put it this way: If they do, Therrien will be able to say that it was Montreal’s biggest surprise yet.

  1. stepanup - May 21, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    Shut it Therrien. Montreal always has to go to the media to talk about how they aren’t respected. Man up and stop trying to play the victim.

    • idonthavethebloodyoucrave - May 21, 2014 at 9:18 AM

      The fat lady has already sung.

      She just hasn’t sung the chorus in French yet …

      • stepanup - May 21, 2014 at 9:29 AM

        Not going there yet. That’s what Montreal wants you to say. They swept Tampa and beat Boston because they are a good team. Don’t let them up off the mat, skate blade to the jug in game 3.

      • idonthavethebloodyoucrave - May 21, 2014 at 10:05 AM

        Don’t get me wrong. I’d love for Montreal to make a series out of this because it would be great hockey and good for hockey. But let’s be real, the loss of Price is enormous, the massive shift in morale from eliminating the Bruins to getting absolutely embarrassed by the Rangers is still heavily lingering, and the Rangers’ defense is suffocating them into frustration.

        It’s too too much to overcome and expect this team to win 4 out of 5 games. Like I said, I’d love to see it. Considering everything that has happened, it would be one of the greatest comebacks in NHL history.

        However, I’m gonna side with the overwhelming odds on this one and say that this series is done.

    • stakex - May 21, 2014 at 10:18 AM

      Yeah, every time you hear from Montreal it sounds like they are trying to create some sort of fake chip on their shoulder. A quick search of predictions from the start of the season shows that in fact most people DID pick the Canadians to make the playoffs…..

      I get that he’s just trying to fire up his team, but there are far less whiny ways to go about it.

      • stepanup - May 21, 2014 at 10:46 AM

        They thrived on that chip against Boston. And now trying to create a new one. One thing I love about our Ranger team this year is how we don’t play into that at all. Philly tried, and almost succeeded, in getting the Rangers to play emotionally instead of intelligently. The Habs are trying to conjure up some drama to feed off of between the Kreider “reckless” remarks, and now these comments.

  2. terrier92 - May 21, 2014 at 9:18 AM

    Whistling by the graveyard

    Habs are toast

  3. dropthepuckeh - May 21, 2014 at 9:27 AM

    Blah blah blah. This guy sounds like a used car salesman and I’m not buying. Celebrate making the conference finals and pack up the locker room.

  4. kovodisc - May 21, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    Montreal’s playoffs ended after they beat Montreal.

    Even if they had Price, they threw the kitchen sink at the B’s to beat them and they are paying for it now.

  5. kovodisc - May 21, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    Montreal’s playoffs ended after they beat Boston

    Even if they had Price, they threw the kitchen sink at the B’s to beat them and they are paying for it now.

  6. 19to77 - May 21, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    You can always gauge Therrien’s panic level by the amount he plays up storylines like this. “Underdog” this, “disrespected” that, and now “Hey, even making the playoffs was a surprise to some people, okay?!” It says a lot about him as a coach – you think a fatalist like this inspires the locker room with motivational speeches? Guy’s too busy working on his I’m-almost-crying face for the postgame presser. Maybe spend a little less time s**t-talking your own team and more time inspiring it, Michel.

  7. barkar942 - May 21, 2014 at 11:58 AM

    One thing I have noticed about Therien in the close ups of him behind the bench.
    The Rangers keep scoring on Montreal in game 1, and they zoom in on him and he has his chin in his hand with a deadpan look on his face.
    In game 2, they score first, and they zoom in on him and he has his chin in his hand with a deadpan look on his face.
    He looks the same way in press conferences.

  8. sixchr - May 21, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    They get credit for doing it and making something positive of it but holy hell has there ever been a team that has made more of nothing? God would you crybabies just shut up for once second? This disrespect nonsense is getting ridiculous.

  9. 7mantel - May 21, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    YADA YADA YADA

  10. dannyboy1313 - May 21, 2014 at 7:28 PM

    Too bad the expectations were to stop whining…

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