Montreal Canadiens coach Claude Julien wanted to keep things in perspective heading into Game 5 of the playoff series with the New York Rangers, Associated press reports.
Regular season scoring leader Max Pacioretty has yet to score in the first four games does not mean he is an underachiever, Julien said. And the team's failure to start a battle when goalie Carey Price was run over by Rick Nash does not mean the Canadiens are timid or don't care.
"I know history makes it a little sensitive when you see that happen," Julien said Wednesday, a day after a 2-1 loss evened the series at 2-2. "There's a difference between running a goalie and going hard to the net. It's part of the game. You have to read the situation. If it was intentional, I think you'd see a different reaction."
Game 5 is Thursday night in Montreal.
Price was not injured when he was bowled over as Nash took the puck hard to the net in the first period, and it was immediately compared by some to an incident in the opening game of the 2014 conference final when New York's Chris Kreider took the all-star goalie out of the series in a skates-first crash. Nash took a goalie interference penalty and that was about it.
"Obviously, we're here to protect Carey," Canadiens center Steve Ott said. "We're here to protect each other as well. But you have to be smart in tough situations."
The Canadiens-Rangers matchup, featuring two teams known more for speed than muscle, has been surprisingly physical so far. The Rangers are 0-for-12 on the power play.