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Canadiens coach Julien defends Pacioretty, mild reaction to Nash hit on Price

21 April 2017, 01:45 | Joan Schultz

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens expect to have defenceman Alexei Emelin back from injury for Game 5 of their first-round playoff series against the New York Rangers on Thursday night.

The NHL playoff game between the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers will be broadcast on NBCSN and CBC in Canada.

"I kind of saw a hole to the net right way", Nash said of his uncontested presence in front. Montreal has struggled in the offensive zone all season long and while they have had some key contributions through the first four games they are going to have to be better in the final third the rest of the way as they have some tough team to focus on if they can get through the Rangers in this series.

So though Julien was referring to the context of his captain's consistent status as a top goal-scorer and a good leader, there also is the context of Pacioretty's past playoff performances.

"You've got to do it verbally in the playoffs", said defenceman Nathan Beaulieu. You've got to shut a guy like that down. And suffice it to say, the victor will big-time be in the driver's seat entering Game 6 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. He can't control it. While I know a good portion of you don't like advanced stats, the table below shows how the Game 4 lines played in the regular season 5v5 and is a good visual as to why the changes were wise.

Pacioretty is also a streaky scorer, going stretches without a goal and then potting them in bunches. We go on the road and, I guess, at the end of the day, we prepare and just go out and play. "That's what life's all about".

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Game 5 is Thursday night in Montreal.

He wasn't made available to the media on Wednesday, but Julien leapt to his captain's defence.

"I think he puts a lot of pressure on himself because he wants the team to win and he wants to be part of the reason for that", forward Paul Byron said. "In the second and third period we tried, but we weren't able to find the back of the net". While outside chatter on his drought increased after Wednesday, his teammates know it's just a matter of time. "Getting the first (goal), the monkey comes off your back and you start playing a lot better after that".

If there is one part of Pacioretty's playoff history that is encouraging for the Canadiens, it is that once he sheds that monkey, he tends to produce at a high level.

The Rangers started strong in Game 4 but their first goal was the result of a fortunate bounce on a seemingly harmless play. There's been plenty of scoring in this series, but each game has been decided by just one goal. Kevin Klein played Game 3, so he is likely next in lines, followed by Steven Kampfer and Adam Clendening.

Pacioretty needs to remember that now more than ever, because the noise surrounding him is becoming nearly impossible to ignore.



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