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The Montreal Canadiens simply didn’t want to go home in a wild Game 5

Call it character, call it desperation, Montreal didn’t back down.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Montreal Canadiens at Philadelphia Flyers John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens had every reason to be a fragile team heading into Game 5. After being shut out in their previous two games, there was a thinking that Montreal couldn’t fall behind.

They did score first, and after 20 minutes held onto that lead. The feeling changed when Jesperi Kotkaniemi was ejected and given a five minute penalty. It changed once again once the Philadelphia Flyers scored twice on the power play to take a 2-1 lead.

Something happened, though. Less than four minutes later, Joel Armia tied the game. It was only the second time the Canadiens tied a game in this series after trailing. The first time, Philadelphia scored 16 seconds after that goal. It ended up being the winning goal. Keep that in mind.

Less than a minute after Armia’s second goal, the Canadiens went to the power play. They scored quickly on that to re-take the lead at 3-2 on Brendan Gallagher’s goal.

It was almost 4-2 Montreal, but an offside challenge took the goal away. That allowed the Flyers to tie the game midway through the third period. Another opportunity to fold. The Canadiens scored the winning goal 22 seconds later, turning the tables on the Flyers from Game 1.

The team that many people thought was fragile heading into Game 5 proved they were anything but.

“The thing I really liked was our response,” Canadiens coach Kirk Muller said after the game. “I don’t think we allowed them to get momentum because of the timely goals. Everyone dug in and we earned the win tonight. We played hard.”

Jonathan Drouin and Carey Price also talked to the team’s attitude.

“We’re a character team,” Drouin said pointing out they don’t have superstars to take over games. It takes the full team playing 60 minutes.

“Throughout all the adversity, we responded well and continued to battle,” Price said. “It’s a great sign.”

The Canadiens proved that they are able to come back from trailing the Flyers, which was something they failed to do in two straight games. There were some tweaks to the system that were made prior to Game 5, but Muller isn’t taking the credit.

“This group is made up of great character guys. Great leaders,” Muller said. “They could have come in here and said ‘we’re the underdogs, we could go home and people would say it was pretty successful’ but we’re not happy. We want to keep playing. You can put a game plan together but if the players don’t play with heart and desire and that enthusiasm then they don’t get a win. That shows the group that we have here. They don’t want this to end. They want to keep playing. They love playing for each other and it’s a fun group to be a part of.”

Montreal wanted to keep playing. Because of that, they’ll get another chance on Friday night.