MONTREAL — Following their 4-2 loss in game 5 in Boston that put the Canadiens on the brink of elimination in a do-or-die Game 6, Canadiens star defenseman P.K. Subban was crediting his teammate Max Pacioretty — who at the time hadn’t scored a goal in nine games and had just one in the playoffs.
“That’s what we’re going to need from him in Game 7. …oh sorry Game 6,” Subban said of Pacioretty after Game 5.
Well the Habs got just that as Pacioretty scored the second goal of the game and added an assist in a 4-0 win that forces a do-or-die situation for both teams now in Game 7 Wednesday at TD Garden. After Game 6, Subban was asked if his Game 7 reference after Game 5 was just a slip of the tongue or a subtle prediction that his team would indeed force a Game 7 as they did.
“I’m pretty sure it was an accident,” Subban said with a laugh. “But I’m a pretty confident guy. I never try to put the carriage before the horse.”
The 2013 Norris Trophy winner was then asked again to make it clear that there was no ‘Mark Messier’ prediction after Game 5, with him guaranteeing a Game 7 as Messier did for the 1994 Stanley Cup Champions New York Rangers when his team fell behind 3-2 in the Eastern Conference finals. The Rangers and Messier fulfilled his promise and forced a Game 7 that they would win to advance to the Stanley Cup finals. Subban though downplayed the post Game 5 interview and wasn’t about to take credit for the win or any predictions.
“We’re confident in our group here and we don’t need to play head games,” Subban said. “We’ve tried to do that all series and we’re not going to start now. We’re going to continue to play and be classy like the Montreal Canadiens organization is and always has been. Play the game on the ice and leave all the crap off of it.”
But while Subban and the Canadiens for the most part have taken the high road, his post-game interview on the bench with NBC Hockey analyst Pierre McGuire was borderline confidence and prediction.
“I love it,”Subban told NBC’s McGuire after Game 6. “That’s what playoffs is all about. I hope the crowd [at TD Garden] is louder than in here. I hope it gets nasty. I hope it gets dirty. At the end of the game, when you’re shaking hands, whoever wins, that’s what the feeling is all about. Knowing that you battled, knowing that you went through a war. You know what? We’re gonna be there at the end standing tall.”If that’s the case and the Habs pull off the monumental upset of the President’s Trophy winners, then just as Messier got the credit for calling a win in 1994 or even as ‘Broadway Joe’ Namath predicted a Jets win in Super Bowl III, Subban should go down in history for his subtle yet bold predictions and confidence. He might even end up in the same folklore as those champion athletes.