I remember when I used to like roller coaster rides. Up and down, arms held high, trying not to fall out while copping a feel. That was then.
I hate roller coasters now. At least the kind we get from the Montreal Canadiens. And this kind of up and down has been lasting all year. Play well, don’t play well, get a lead, blow a lead. And tonight, after Maxim Lapierre had split the defence a la Jean Beliveau and put the Habs up 3-2 midway throught the third, it looked as though the roller coaster was making an upward climb again.
But it wasn’t to be. The Islanders scored late to tie it, almost won it with the man advantage in overtime, and then made Jaroslav Halak look very ordinary in the shootout, and Habs fall 4-3 in Unionville on a shocking night when could have sealed a playoff berth because of the Rangers losing in Buffalo. They didn’t, and the other key team on the bubble, the Flyers, beat Toronto, so nothing’s decided whatsoever. It just continues to be depressing.
And roller coaster? Habs were flat in the first, good in the second, not bad in the third, took a bad penalty in overtime, and were feeble in the shoot-out.
Canadiens will try again to seal this thing when they travel to Raleigh to tackle the Hurricanes on Thursday. If they don’t get it done there, they’ve got one last chance, and that’s when the Leafs, of all teams, visit the Bell Centre on Saturday.
Other goal-getters for the Habs were Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta.