The Ottawa Senators had no shortage of confidence during their second-half playoff push, though some self-doubt may have crept in after three consecutive playoff losses.
A dominant showing in Game 5 against Montreal quickly resolved that issue.
Two wins shy of extending their spectacular run, the Senators may have stolen the momentum from the Canadiens as the series shifts back to Ottawa for Sunday night's Game 6.
Ottawa suffered three one-goal defeats to open their first-round tilt with the Canadiens - two of them in overtime - but has rebounded nicely with a gritty 1-0 victory and a 5-1 rout Friday in Game 5.
"Stringing together those two wins, that brings a lot of life to this club," Marc Methot said. "It asserts ourselves. We know now that we can do this. ... When you come out of the gate and you're down 3-0 in the series, a lot of stuff runs through your mind.
"It shows how resilient this group is. How mentally strong we can be, and tough. I like our chances."
Craig Anderson, who took over Ottawa's goaltending duties in Game 3, earned the 1-0 shutout Wednesday before stopping 45 shots Friday in Montreal.
For a matchup in which Canadiens star Carey Price figured to be the marquee attraction, Anderson has been the most dominant goaltender of the series, allowing only three goals in three games with a .976 save percentage.
His stifling play finally got under the Canadiens' skin in the third period Friday. With 2:03 left, Brandon Prust speared Anderson to set off a scuffle with the netminder.
"There's certainly frustration on their part," Senators coach Dave Cameron said. "A sure sign of frustration is when they're taking cheap shots at your goaltender, who's a real good player for us."
Price snapped a string of impressive starts with five goals allowed on 25 shots Friday - an .800 save percentage that matches the third-worst playoff performance in his career.
Price, who was named a Vezina Trophy finalist earlier in the day, had surrendered just one goal in each of his previous two games.
"The solutions can be found in this room," Price told the Canadiens' official website. "We still have room to maneuver. They're still the ones with their backs against the wall. You can't really talk about pressure just yet."
The Senators received an offensive boost in Game 5 from Bobby Ryan, who scored two goals to snap a 16-game drought that dated to March 21. The four-time 30-goal scorer netted only 18 this season - the fewest for a full season in his career.
Erik Karlsson also scored Friday to continue his stellar play. The former Norris Trophy winner has tallied a point in four of the series' five games, and had three goals and three assists in four regular-season matchups with Montreal.
Montreal's offense has gone cold following its 2-1 overtime win in Game 3, scoring just once over Ottawa's two wins. Although the Canadiens' shot totals remain high - 46 in Game 5 - they're aware that they'll need activity in front to beat the red-hot Anderson.
"We have to take away his eyes," said Price. "When you go up against a hot goaltender, the recipe isn't a complicated one. You have to create traffic in front of him and capitalize on rebounds. It's no secret to anybody."
The Senators won both regular season meetings with Montreal in Ottawa.