Canadiens look to make the unpredictable happen against the Leafs – fr

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Canadiens look to make the unpredictable happen against the Leafs – fr


“Unpredictable for whom?” Brendan Gallagher said of the Habs being big underdogs against Toronto in the first round playoff series.

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The Toronto Maple Leafs (35-14-7) finished first in the All-Canadian Northern Division, 18 points ahead of the fourth-place Canadians (24-21-11).

The Canadiens were 3-6-1 in their 10 games against the Leafs. The Leafs had a plus-39 goal differential for the season, while the Canadiens were minus-9.

So Brendan Gallagher was asked after practice Saturday in Brossard how the Canadiens can make the unpredictable happen when they face the Maple Leafs in the first round of the playoffs with the opening game scheduled for next Thursday in Toronto. (19h30, CBC, SN, TVA Sports, Radio TSN 690, 98,5 FM).

“Unpredictable for whom? Said Gallagher. “I’ve told you guys a lot… the only thing about our band is we’ve never been lacking in belief. We know what we have. We know what we are. We know what we are capable of. Unpredictable for some, perhaps? For us, no.

“We know we have a job to do,” added Gallagher. “Go over there, run and do it. It’s about controlling your emotions, understanding what we’re going through. You know things might not turn out the way you want them right away, but stick with it and just find a way. Each series takes on a new mindset and there will be different heroes every night. It’s the funniest time of year to play hockey and you just want it to last and hopefully we can enjoy the ride for as long as possible.

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If the Canadiens are to beat the Maple Leafs, they’ll have to find a way to eliminate their two biggest stars, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. Matthews is 41-25-66 this season, ranking first in the NHL in goals and fifth in points. Marner is fourth in the standings with a total of 20-47-67. Matthews was 7-7-14 in 10 games against the Canadiens, while Marner was 4-7-11.

Gallagher’s line, with Phillip Danault and Tomas Tatar, will likely face the dynamic Leafs duo.

“This is going to be an important part of the series,” Gallagher said. “We’re going to have to do some work on these guys. Obviously, if they are comfortable and efficient and hurting us every night, our chances of winning this thing drop dramatically. So we’re going to have to do some work. I think there will be a lot of other guys involved in this as well. But when you’re on the ice against them, we’re ready to compete and make things as tough as possible. We know how dangerous they are, these two in particular. It’s a great focal point for the show, obviously, and we’ll try to do some work on them.

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Gallagher said Canadians were “excited and excited” to finally have a healthy roster. Gallagher has recovered from a broken right thumb that forced him to miss the last 21 games of the regular season. Goalkeeper Carey Price (concussion), Danault (concussion) and captain Shea Weber (upper body) are all expected to be part of the roster for Game 1.

“We have experience, we have young people that we rely on,” said Gallagher. “We have the best goalie in the world and we have a lot of guys who will compete. When you put that into a series, we’re confident. I think we have depth in all of the areas where we’re going to compete and compete for these opportunities to be guys. And you’ve got a lot of guys who want to step up and grab that opportunity and when you talk about playoff hockey, it has to be a different hero every night. You can’t count on the same single man to be that guy.

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“I have a lot of confidence in the character we have in this dressing room,” added Gallagher. “This team has been tested a lot this year. Even towards the end when I was watching the games it seemed like every win we had was a win from behind. It would have been easy – the guys were quite tired mentally, physically – it would have been easy enough to just put it away and hope for the next one. But no matter what we’ve been through this year, the team has responded in the right way and that says a lot about the character we have in this locker room and going forward is something we’re going to have to have. trust us.

What we won’t have for this playoff series among fans at Montreal and Toronto arenas for the first playoff series between these two teams since 1979, when the Canadiens swept the Leafs in the quarterfinals en route to their fourth Cup Stanley in a row.

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“You’re really sad that the fans couldn’t be in the building for this,” Gallagher said. “This is the first time since the late 1970s that these two historic franchises have played. I’ve been a part of this rivalry for nine years now and it never gets old. The fans are so passionate, they are so excited. It will be great for us as players to be a part. We know we’re going to feel the emotion of the fans. But it’s a shame that they can’t be in the building because it’s going to be special. It’s going to be really moving, it’s going to be intense, competitive. It’s gonna be fun to watch for sure. But having fans in the building and creating that little bit of atmosphere would make it so much better.

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