PK Subban isn’t lacking confidence.
Down 3-1 to Ottawa in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals following a stunning 3-2 OT loss on Tuesday, the Montreal defenseman is anxious to get back out for Game 5 — and beat a Sens team he thinks Montreal is better than.
“We can sit and talk about [Game 4] all we want, but it’s over with,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “Quite frankly, I want to beat these guys. We have another opportunity tomorrow to play, and we can beat these guys.
The Canadiens feel that, despite trailing in games, this series is closer than it appears. They’ve been besieged by injury (Lars Eller, Brian Gionta, Carey Price, Ryan White, Brandon Prust) and lost Game 1 despite out-shooting Ottawa 50 to 31.
After bouncing back with a win in Game 2, they were throttled 6-1 in Game 3, but rebounded to build up a 2-0 lead in Game 4 — then watch it evaporate in the final 8:05.
Senators forward Mika Zibanejad cut the lead to one on a controversial skate-directed marker, and Cory Conacher scored with 23 seconds left to send it to overtime.
In OT, Kyle Turris scored on replacement netminder Peter Budaj to push the Habs to the brink of elimination.
Game 5 goes on Thursday at the Bell Centre, which should be raucous.
“We’ve got to turn the page and get ready for tomorrow,” Subban explained. “Like I said, we’re a better team. And I think we know that in this dressing room.”
There’s another Raffl in the NHL.
On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.
Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.
“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.
With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.
For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.
Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.
Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.
Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)
Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.
But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.
They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.
Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.
Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.
Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?
So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.