With a 2-0 series deficit and no Carey Price, Michel Therrien expects nothing less than a positive response when his club takes on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final.
While the team lost 3-1 on Monday night - a relative improvement from their 7-2 drubbing in Game 1 - the Montreal Canadiens' head coach was impressed with the effort his players gave against a tough Rangers squad.
"I want to give credit to the Rangers for what they did well," he told reporters in a conference call on Tuesday.
"The Rangers' defence did a good job of boxing players out, blocking shots and preventing second chances. We just need to keep working the way we did yesterday. Things can change very fast if we keep creating chances. The most important thing is that players follow the game plan and stay alert. If we keep doing that, things will turn around."
The Canadiens - trailing by two games for the first time in these playoffs - have held the lead for just 17 seconds over the first 120 minutes played. Henrik Lundqvist made 41 saves in Game 2, including 19 in the third period.
"I liked the engagement level of our team in Game 2," Therrien added. "The first game was emotionally and physically tough for us, but we regrouped really well. On Monday, we played with energy and we pushed the pace. I'm anxious to see the guys tomorrow and I feel optimistic for the rest of the series because of the way we competed."
The Canadiens will now try to become the 20th team in Stanley Cup playoff history to win a series when losing the first two games at home.
Fittingly, the Habs and Rangers have been a part of last three instances it's happened - Montreal lost 4-2 to Carolina in 2006 after winning the first two games in Raleigh, the Washington Capitals beat the Rangers 4-3 after New York took the first two games at the Verizon Center in 2009 and Montreal won the first two games at Boston's TD Garden before losing 4-3 in their 2011 series with the Bruins.
Still, Therrien is a full believer that his team can win once they're reset in a couple of days. "It's a challenge to play in New York, but we've won many games throughout the years at Madison Square Garden," he explained.
Therrien did not say which goaltender - Dustin Tokarski or Peter Budaj - would start in Game 3.