In the Habs' Room: Hard-working Canadiens push Penguins to the brink

Montreal plays a disciplined game and roars back from a two-goal deficit to take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five qualification round series.

Canadiens' Carey Price stymies Penguins' Zach Aston-Reese after defenceman Xavier Ouellet made a diving attempt to alter the shot.

TORONTO — The Canadiens are one win away from upsetting the Pittsburgh Penguins in their best-of-five qualifying round series, but coach Claude Julien said his team has to continue to work hard in Game 4 Friday.

“At the end of the day, we know where the experience is and the only way you can counter that is to work hard and show commitment and desire,” Julien said after the Canadiens rebounded from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Penguins 4-3 Wednesday night at Scotiabank Arena.

“I think we’re a good skating team and we have a lot of potential,” Julien said. “We lack experience compared to the other team and we’re trying to make it up with our compete level. It’s given us a 2-1 lead but I’ll say it again, we’re playing a team that knows exactly what to do to get back into a series and we’re aware of that, so we need to be playing our best game in Game 4.”

There were two occasions Wednesday night when the Canadiens displayed their character.

The Canadiens are still looking for their first power play goal in the series. They are 0-for-10, but things are looking up. Paul Byron and Petry both scored goals shortly after a power play ended.

“They’re not power-play goals, but they came at the end of a power play as a result of momentum,” Julien said. “If you look at where our power play has been, it was much better tonight. We created some chances, we just didn’t get the results.”

Petry’s game-winner was the prettiest goal of the night as he threaded the needle with a shot over Matt Murray’s shoulder from a sharp angle.

“The puck got lost on the outside and I got it,” Petry said. “I was looking for somebody going backdoor, but I saw a little opening around his shoulder. There’s no bad shot at this time of the year and I was able to pick my spot.”

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The first was in the second period when they fell behind 3-1.

“Things went Pittsburgh’s way for a while, but we just stuck to our game,” said captain Shea Weber, who led the Montreal offence with a goal and two assists. “They got a couple of (power-play) goals early, but we thought we were playing well 5-on-5. The guys battled no matter what the situation was tonight. In the playoffs that’s what you need, to stay on an even keel whether you’re up or down.”

The second time was when the Canadiens were up 4-3 in the third period.

Jeff Petry scored at 5:33 of the third period to put Montreal ahead, but there was a lot of time left and the Canadiens knew they were going to be facing a push from the Penguins.

“I think we responded well,” Julien said. “We still had a few more scoring chances. I thought we kept playing our game. It’s important we build some confidence with our group. There’s no doubt they had their push. They were playing with desperation.”

The Canadiens took two penalties in the first period and the Penguins scored on both of their power plays. But the Canadiens played a more disciplined game after that and stayed out of the penalty box until Paul Byron took a penalty with less than four minutes to play.

“We were on the PK and then they threw out the extra attacker but we were still aggressive, jumping on loose pucks,” Petry said. “We were making it hard for them to have a little bit of time to make plays and we frustrated them. They were forcing plays and we were able to get the puck out a few times.”

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