MONTREAL (AP) - The Canadiens are choosing to look on the bright side as they return to Montreal after earning a two-game split in Boston.
Sure they could be leading the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series 2-0 with the next two games on home ice, but the Canadiens are putting the 3-1 edge they squandered in Game 2 behind them.
It was Montreal’s first loss of this postseason.
“We went to play two games where it’s tough for any team to play in the NHL and we’re out of there with the series tied,” Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said Sunday during a conference call. “That’s the big picture.
“I think it’s a boost of confidence for our players that we’re able to compete with that team and play with that team. One thing for sure, playing at the Bell Centre, with the fans and support we’ve got, is a tough place for the other team to play. I’m sure the players will feed off our fans.”
The Canadiens pulled out a 4-3 overtime win in the series opener on Thursday, but let a lead slip away under relentless Bruins pressure in a 5-3 defeat on Saturday.
Games 3 and 4 of the series will be played Tuesday and Thursday respectively, in Montreal.
The Canadiens were given the day off on Sunday and will practice Monday at their suburban training center.
While the Canadiens took home-ice advantage away from Boston, the Bruins seem to have grabbed momentum in the series with four third-period goals on Saturday.
“Momentum, yes it’s a part of hockey, but there’s nothing you can do about the past,” Therrien said. “What’s important is the moment.
“Our preparation for the next game has already started. From the coaching standpoint, there are going to be things we’ll apply during practice and make sure we apply them in the next game.
“Momentum starts when they drop the puck.”
Therrien denied that the Canadiens were just trying to protect their lead in the third period before the Bruins stormed back. He said Boston had only one scoring chance in the first half of the third period and scored on their first real chance of the final frame.
Defenseman Josh Gorges said the players want to put Game 2 behind them.
“There’s no sense in celebrating too much after a win or beating yourself up after a loss,” he said. “It doesn’t do anything for you for the next game. We know where we stand. We know we have to be better.”
Therrien wouldn’t discuss any potential lineup changes.
He said forward Brandon Prust, who looks to be struggling, is “totally healthy,” and that he liked what he saw from rookie winger Michael Bournival, who returned to the lineup after sitting out a game in favor of veteran Travis Moen.
“He had a really good first round,” said Therrien, who used Bournival in every game of an opening-round sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning. “We put him back in the lineup. I wanted to use his speed. I thought he did a good job with (Tomas) Plekanec.”
Therrien also said he hopes that popular singer Ginette Reno would be back to sing the Canadian anthem in Game 3. The Canadiens scored early after she sang in both home games against the Lightning.
“We’d welcome her with open arms,” he said.
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