MONTREAL — Corey Perry has seen plenty throughout his 16 NHL seasons and 160 playoff games.
Exhilarating victories. Crushing defeats.
Contests his team should have won and didn’t. And vice-versa.
So the 36-year-old’s message to his Canadiens in the wake of a disappointing Game 4 result in their Stanley Cup semifinal against the Vegas Golden Knights — a 2-1 overtime loss where Montreal dominated long stretches, but was unable capitalize on enough of its chances — was straightforward and simple.
Turn the page.
“Put it behind you,” the 36-year-old winger said in the wake of Sunday night’s setback. “Just move forward, think about the positives.”
That could be difficult.
Montreal put in its best showing of the series, taking it to Vegas from the opening faceoff and continuing for long stretches.
According to hockey analytics website www.naturalstattrick.com, the Canadiens held an 18-0 edge in high-danger scoring chances — grade-A opportunities from the slot — before the Golden Knights buried their only effort from the same area in the extra period.
“We played a good game,” Montreal defenceman Joel Edmundson said. “Just need to find a way to score more goals.”
The Canadiens couldn’t find the range on Robin Lehner, who replaced Marc-André Fleury in the Golden Knights’ crease following Fleury’s disastrous giveaway in Game 3 that led to the tying goal and paved the way for Montreal’s 3-2 OT triumph.
While it wasn’t a must-win for the Golden Knights on Sunday at the Bell Centre, there’s a massive difference between heading back to Vegas for Tuesday’s Game 5 with home-ice advantage tied 2-2 instead of being down 3-1.
“A huge swing game, but it’s only a swing game if we take advantage of it,” Golden Knights head coach Pete DeBoer said Monday morning. “It’s a two-out-of-three now with two of the games in our building.
“We have to take advantage.”
Vegas winger Jonathan Marchessault said Sunday felt like Game 3 of his team’s second-round matchup with the Colorado Avalanche, when the Golden Knights were trailing 2-0 in the series and 2-1 in the third period before pushing back.
“Those two wins are unbelievable,” he said. “They were huge.
“We gotta carry some momentum … and keep going.”
The Canadiens didn’t have the same feeling as they boarded a plane to Sin City, but they’ll want to duplicate their showing — save for the result.
“Continue to look at that and the way we played at the start of the game,” Perry said. “That’s our style of play where we’re quick, we’re on pucks, we’re on top.
“If we keep doing that, we’re just gonna keep wearing them down.”