Have you forgotten completely about the regular season yet?
What a night at the Bell Centre as the hometown heroes edge the Ottawa Senators 4-3 in game one, with bangs and bruises and rapid fire goals the order of the day.
A hard-fought win by the good guys in an emotional and mostly bitter contest that has me chomping at the bit for game two on Friday. My back is sore from sitting on the edvge of the couch. And I can yell loudly now and not scare the cat because, and I say this with a heavy heart, she died recently.
Props to the Canadiens fourth line – Torrey Mitchell with a goal, Brandon Prust an assist, and Brian Flynn with two assists and a big goal which proved to be the winner.
The trio caused havoc all night, they skated miles and crashed and thumped while doing so, and ain’t life grand when the grinders step up and get it done with our 37-goal scorer on the shelf.
It didn’t begin well, as we saw Andrei Markov shovel the puck into his own net after P.K. misplayed things. It was a downer for sure but it was still early, and over that first frame, both teams hit hard and skated hard, and any good Habs fan knew that the game was far from over.
We also saw Brendan Gallagher blatantly mugged with no penalty called, and Devante Smith-Pelly rattle bones like we knew and hoped. Overall a fine first period, except for the mugging, but nothing like what was to come.
The second period was as wild and wooly as can be, and the goals came quickly. Torrey Mitchell would first tie things on a wraparound, and just 15 seconds later, Tomas Plekanec buried it after coming in from the left side, making it 2-1 Habs and life worth living.
That was good. But then P.K. got kicked out of the game with a 5-minute major and a game for slashing Mark Stone on the wrist, which sent Stone sprawling to the ice like he’d had acid thrown in his face.
Five minutes later, Stone was back. Soon after he left again. Then he was back. And to show how badly hurt he was, he also managed to get into a scuffle at the end of the game.
But no matter. Embellish. Sort of hurt. Maybe hurt. I don’t care, as long as the league does the right thing and not punish P.K.
Stone and his team lost the game, and it makes my heart soar like an Asian Ground Cuckoo bird.
Second period scoring didn’t end with Pleks’ marker either. The Sens would score on the power play to tie things. Then Lars Eller, our playoff weapon, put his team ahead with a delicious shorthanded goal. And shortly after that, Ottawa, still on the same power play, would tie things at 3.
Five goals in 4:43. And soon after, Brian Flynn would score one of the biggest goals of his career.
No goals in the third frame, although, on a good Habs power play (their only one), Jeff Petry bounced one onto the top of the net and Smith-Pelly hit the post.
The team held on with the goalie pulled, and game one is in the books. With no Max and only half a game from P.K. And four goals on the saintly Andrew Hammond, who might need a hamburger to ease the pain.
Best of all, the team was alive and rugged and played a brand of hardworking, hard-driving hockey we rarely saw in that now-forgotten regular season.
Carey Price came up with some huge saves, but this was a night when others stepped up for a change.
Watching Flynn, Mitchell, and Smith-Pelly on this night, and along with the always good Jeff Petry, makes me think that Marc Bergevin is an absolute hockey genius.
Shots on goals – Habs 39, Sens 33, with Montreal outshooting the other guys 19-17 in the second period alone.