The Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs will clash In Game 6 of their first round series on Saturday and, given that it will be an elimination game for the Canadiens, as you would expect the predictable questions were on the docket from the reporters who spoke to the players ahead of the game.
In spite of the fact that many would have liked to hear a veteran member of the Canadiens locker room offer up a guaranteed win ahead of the big game on Saturday, no member of the Canadiens took the bait or was willing to offer the Mark Messier style guarantee. Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher specifically referenced Messier when he was asked about his confidence ahead of Game 6, but refused to step into the shoes of the former New York Ranger who infamously guaranteed that his team would beat the New Jersey Devils in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals back in 1994.
"Nothing's a guarantee," said Gallagher on Saturday. "I don't think you're going to get a Mark Messier quote from me."
Now that might be viewed by some as a sign that Gallagher lacks confidence in his teammates, but at the end of the day the only thing that making such a comment would really do is place additional pressure on his shoulders and that of his teammates. St. Louis Blues captain Ryan O'Reilly expressed confidence that he and the Blues would "beat" the Colorado Avalanche in their first round series and the resulting sweep on the part of the Avalanche in that series has only served to make those comments look a little silly.
In spite of his unwillingness to issue the guarantee, Gallagher did express that he and his teammates were confident in their ability to win out in this series.
"I've said it all year and I wouldn't lie to you guys, belief has never been an issue," said Gallagher. "We've had some issues that we've been able to sort out along the way but the belief in this locker room will always be there."
I will say though that Gallagher's final words on the matter were certainly considerably less inspiring than Messier's own.
"Show up to the game tonight with the same mentality we had last game, really try to block out all the others things that could be going on inside your mind, and win a hockey game. We've all done it our whole lives, we know what goes into it, do what it takes and find a way to survive one more day."