BOSTON — With a dramatic rally from three separate deficits and a goal in sudden-death overtime to pull even in the series on Thursday, the Bruins should have plenty of momentum heading into Saturday's huge Game 5 tilt at the Garden.
But maintaining momentum has been a tricky thing in this series. The Canadiens lost their hold on it after winning the opening two games in Boston, only to return home and drop the next two themselves at the Bell Centre.
Even within games, the ebbs and flows have been dramatic, particularly the turnaround engineered by the Bruins after Montreal dominated the first half of Game 4.
"That's just the parity that exists between teams," Montreal coach Jacques Martin said after his club's morning skate on Saturday. "That's why you see momentum between games but also a lot of momentum [changing] during games when you look at the level of competition. You just have to look at our series for instance, goals for, goals against, goaltending, special teams, [in] all the areas it's so close."
Bruins coach Claude Julien is fully cognizant of how fickle the fates of momentum can be. He bristled Saturday morning when asked if he felt "comfortable" with what the club accomplished in the last two games in Montreal.
"I don't know if it's comfortable, I think it's more of a situation that we have got ourselves back into a series," Julien said. "Getting comfortable can be a dangerous word to use, especially in the playoffs. We are more confident, obviously after winning the last two games you have built some confidence and you hope that you can carry that confidence into the game tonight and the momentum that we've had going our way. We also understand that in order to do that you are going to have to play a very solid game because they are coming into this building having won two games and I'm sure they are feeling pretty confident about their success that they have had there."
The Canadiens do have plenty of confidence despite dropping the last two games.
"If you look at the last game, I think we dictated the play for the first half of the game, especially the first period, which I thought was our best period of the series," Montreal forward Mathieu Darche said. "It's not like they took it to us in the last two games and oh, wow they beat us in our building. We had good games. All four games could have gone either way, so it's just a matter for us of get back to what we did.
"We know what we have to do to be successful," Darche added. "How we played that first period. It's just a matter of us getting back to that and getting back to the way we played here [in Games 1 and 2]. That first period last game we played great defense and spent a lot of time in their zone, then we sat back a bit. And they have too many good players for us to sit back."
The Canadiens respect what the Bruins are capable of doing and are under no illusions that winning again in Boston will be easy.
"We expect the best out of them," Darche said. "They're a great team and they finished ahead of us. They're still favorites here. We know they're not going to sit on those two wins in Montreal."
But the Habs are also confident that they can pull out another victory at the Garden.
"Whoever wins has to win at least one more game in this building," Darche said. "Whoever's going to win this series has to win one here.
"All four games could have gone either way," Darche added. "It's not like either team has dominated any game. It's a close series. That's what we expected. And it's going to stay that way until the end."
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