Hamrlik: Habs have shown more heart

The Montreal Canadiens celebrate after scoring against Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas (L)...

The Montreal Canadiens celebrate after scoring against Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas (L) during the second period in Game 2 of their NHL Eastern Conference quarter-final hockey game in Boston, Massachusetts April 16, 2011. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:08 PM ET

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Roman Hamrlik has a simple explanation for his underdog squad’s 2-0 series lead on the Boston Bruins.

“We wanted to win more than the Bruins,” the 18-year veteran told journalists at practice as his team prepared for Game 3 at the Bell Centre.

“There’s not much difference between our team and the Bruins. In the playoffs, winning is a matter of desire and will.”

It’s not the kind of statement one usually hears in the playoffs. In fact, it’s the kind of comment that might end up as bulletin-board material in the opposing team’s dressing room on game day.

Hamrlik was the only one who dared to risk waking up the sleeping Bruins, who beat out the Habs for the Northeast Division lead and a #3 seed.

Canadiens Head Coach Jacques Martin and his captain, Brian Gionta, said all the right things about playing from out in front.

When asked whether the Bruins have a huge challenge in winning four of their next six games, Gionta replied: “No, no, no - we don’t see things that way. Carey Price gave us a chance to win the first two games.”

Martin, asked whether his team could now be considered the favourites, replied: “Our situation is the same. We’re facing the team that finished first in our division. The first two games were tight. The victory could have gone either way.”

He agreed with Gionta that Price’s stellar play made the difference in Boston and that “we will have to play better.”

But Price wasn’t the only factor.

The Canadiens first two lines overcame a significant size disadvantage and got the better of their matchups. They avoided cheap penalties and didn’t back down when challenged.

Defenseman James Wisniewski threw down the gloves against Boston’s Shane Hnidy in the second period on Saturday night and won the fight, much to the delight of his teammates.

They said the battle was a turning point in the game, but Martin cautioned that his team won’t win the series by turning it into a boxing match.

“The (Wisniewski) fight broke out in the heat of the moment, it was not premeditated,” he said. “We know we can’t win with that style.”

Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien says his guys aren’t afraid of trying to climb back into the series in front of a hostile crowd, despite the fact his team was 0-3 at the Bell Centre during the regular season. The Bruins enjoyed success on the road this year, posting a 21-12-5 mark away from the TD Garden.

“We play well on the road and we will take the games one at a time,” he said just prior to boarding a plane to Montreal. “That's why it's a best of seven series.”

NOTES

Bruins defenseman and team captain Zdeno Chara, took part in the Monday morning skate after missing Game 2 with flu-like symptoms. It wasn’t immediately clear if he would be a go for Game 3. … Canadiens forward Andrei Kostitsyn remains doubtful for Game 3. He injured his foot on a Chara shot in Game 1.


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