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.