It had to be one of the coolest nights of live hockey I’ve experienced in years. And it wasn’t only because the Habs began slowly with just five shots after the first period, would fall behind 1-0 in the second, and then come back and win the thing 4-1.
It was so much more than that. Starting with our seats.
They were dead-on behind the net, fourth row, directly behind the goal judge, and was almost like being on the ice. Possibly the nicest seats I’ve ever had, and I could see the stitching on Price’s name and number, and watch as players talked to each other and to the officials.
Hell, I even managed to see Scott Gomez pucker up his lips and make a kissing motion to a male Canucks fan sitting near me. I’ve no idea.
It took awhile for the Habs to find their legs, and I learned months ago to not try and figure out why they do what they do. But they would come on, capitalize on a weak night in goal by Roberto Luongo, overtake the home team, and make an entire city and most of a province question once again the hometown goalie, and maybe not smirk quite so much, at least for a day or so.
“Go Habs Go” filled the rink, and it warmed the cockles of my heart. Especially when it was much louder than the feeble “Go Canucks Go” chant.
All around us it was party time for the thousands of Habs fans who came from all over to see their team on this one night on the West Coast, and the air was filled with whooping and hollering as folks with the CH tattooed on their hearts left the building.
Just a night to remember. So much to take in, and I’ll never forget it.
I watched Andrei Markov closely on this, his first night back in more than a year, and although his shifts were short, his passes were smart and crisp. Maybe more importantly, he talked to fellow countryman Alexei Emelin constantly, and how great that must be for Emelin, and for the team in general, to have Markov settling things down and directing traffic. If this guy had been around since the start, we wouldn’t be in the pickle we’re in. He’s forceful, smart, an absolute impact player, and the climate of the team changed drastically with him playing tonight.
Wait till next year. This won’t be a last place team.
Eight feet in front of us, Blake Geoffrion finally notched his first goal as a Montreal Canadien, and it was a big one, one that evened the score at 1-1 with just 17 remaining in the second after Carey Price had held the boys in as the team was outshot 15-5. The combination of Price playing like he can, Staubitz taking on goon Zack Kassian, and Geoffrion getting his big one, and the boys were awaken from their slumber and they began to take the play to the Canucks, a team, I must say, that is as annoying as any in the league.
In the third, it was Erik Cole with a pair, Subban with a power-play marker in between, and the Canucks were done like dinner. This, after the local media had reminded us all day that it was a premier team taking on a last place team.
What a night. What seats. Lousy hot dogs, but whatever. And what a packed Shark Club afterward. The season has been a disaster, but on this night, I’m singin’ in the rain.
Alex Burrows is Brad Marchand in blue. If only Brad Staubitz could’ve laid his paws on this hot head. But Staub’s knuckles might still have been sore from pounding on Kassian’s head.
I also paid close attention to PK Subban, and this guy is as intense as there is. It’s like he’s about to explode. And he played a wonderful game. Subban is a star, and he was booed constantly, which of course means that Canucks fans would dearly love to have him on their side.
When PK scored his goal, Price in front of us pumped his arms and fists and went for a big skate. Beautiful.
Shots on goal – Montreal 35, Canucks 33.
Next up – Habs in Buffalo on Monday. I believe we’ll see a much different Canadiens team now that Markov is back. It’s just too bad it’s too late.