In the Habs’ Room: Faceoff set up winner, OT hero Subban says

 

Canadiens’ blue-line star credits team’s renewed focus on power play

 
 
 
 
Montreal Canadiens' P.K. Subban follows through on his game-winning goal in the second overtime period against the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of an NHL hockey second-round playoff series in Boston, Thursday, May 1, 2014. The Canadiens won 4-3.
 

Montreal Canadiens' P.K. Subban follows through on his game-winning goal in the second overtime period against the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of an NHL hockey second-round playoff series in Boston, Thursday, May 1, 2014. The Canadiens won 4-3.

Photograph by: Elise Amendola, AP

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BOSTON - The Canadiens’ power play struggled down the stretch in the regular season, but it came alive at the right time Thursday night as P.K. Subban scored two power-play goals, including one at 4:17 of the second overtime to give the Habs a 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal.

“I definitely didn’t expect to be the guy to put us over the top but when you get an opportunity like that with two power plays in overtime, you have an opportunity to make the difference,” said Subban.

On the first OT power play, which carried over from the first overtime, the Bruins effectively kept Subban in check by having Brad Marchand shadow him. But Subban said that everything happened so quickly on the winning goal that Marchand never had a chance to be a factor.

“I got the puck in the slot and (Andrei Markov) made a great pass, but faceoffs are the key, and when you win a great faceoff like that - I think it was (Dave) Desharnais - they don’t have time to react. If we don’t win that faceoff, we don’t get that shot."

For the record, it was Daniel Briere who won the draw, and the Canadiens struggled in the faceoff circle with a 42-per-cent success rate.

“It’s a tough play for (Marchand), ” said Subban. “When you win a faceoff that clean, it’s a tough play for him to come out and block that shot.

“It was the same with the (Johnny ) Boychuk goal for them. When you have a guy that can hammer the puck like he can, it’s tough. It was the same on my goals. I tried to lean into it and it’s a tough play for him. He did everything he could to get there but by the time he got there, it was too late, the shot was already gone.

Subban said the Canadiens have benefitted from extra practice on the power play.

“I thought we did a good job moving the puck and our forwards did a good job down low and getting the puck back to the point,” said Subban. “Between all our centremen and Carey Price, that was the difference tonight.” 

While the win ran the Canadiens’ playoff record this spring to 5-0 and took the home-ice advantage away from the Bruins in this series, Subban said there was no reason for the Canadiens to think they were in the driver’s seat.

“We’ve been in this position more than a few times in the playoffs over the past few years. I remember we won two games to start the series here in (2011) and we ended up losing in seven,” said Subban.

“(The Bruins) are a resilient team and they find a way to persevere. We’re also a resilient team and it’s good that we found a way to win. When there’s a success, you gotta take it and get better. There are a lot of things we have to get better at. I can tell you we can’t keep giving up 50-plus shots for the rest of the series. Pricey shouldn’t have to stop that many pucks."

Price made 48 saves as he ran his lifetime record against the Bruins to 18-8-3. Tuukka Rask, a finalist for the Vezina Trophy this year, continues to have problems with the Canadiens. He made 29 saves and saw his record against Montreal drop to 3-14-3.

“Both goaltenders played well but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think (Price) is the best goaltender in the league,” Subban said.

Francis Bouillon scored a goal, and he and Mike Weaver had another strong performance while matched against bigger opponents. They weren’t on the ice for any of the Boston goals, and they combined for five hits and six blocked shots.

“We just try to play solid defence,” said Bouillon. “We’re not out there to score goals but we’re proud of the way we play defence.”

 
 
 
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Montreal Canadiens' P.K. Subban follows through on his game-winning goal in the second overtime period against the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of an NHL hockey second-round playoff series in Boston, Thursday, May 1, 2014. The Canadiens won 4-3.
 

Montreal Canadiens' P.K. Subban follows through on his game-winning goal in the second overtime period against the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of an NHL hockey second-round playoff series in Boston, Thursday, May 1, 2014. The Canadiens won 4-3.

Photograph by: Elise Amendola, AP

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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