It was almost everything one would want from a Saturday night Hockey Night in Canada Habs-Leafs bash.
Guys skating like the wind, back and forth action, some nastiness, pretty goals, tense times. If only we didn’t have to see PJ Stock.
Aside from that and a couple of other things, the night was almost perfect. Leaf fans might not agree but of course that part isn’t important.
The Canadiens win the game 4-2 on two more goals by the red-hot Max Pacioretty, with PK Subban and Tomas Plekanec also bulging the twine. But they led the thing 4-0 before allowing two goals in 22 seconds late in the second period which quickly changed the gleeful merriment and put a quick halt to the tiresome Ole Ole singing.
They did manage to hang on though, there was no scoring in the third frame, and it’s a beautiful thing to see the boys rebound after losing to the Caps Friday night a shootout, which came after a four-game win streak.
Back on track, ending the month of November in fine style. Now it’s December to concentrate on.
Don’t forget, media and fans everywhere have predicted since last season that the Habs will run out of steam as the season unfolds. So it’s one month at a time, get it done throughout, and show these people they don’t know what they’re talking about.
Pre-game saw a terrific little HNIC clip showing Habs-Leafs action from over the years with soprano Giacomo Puccini warbling in Latin or Italian or whatever it was. I’ll take clips of the Rocket and Plante and the gang till the cows come home. Never tire of it, and I always get goosebumps.
The Bell Centre crowd sang the national anthem, Max Pacioretty opened the scoring after receiving a beautiful pass up the middle from PK Subban with Max banging it home with three or four whacks after the initial stop from Jonathan Bernier,
And after David Desharnais won the faceoff back to PK who sent a wrist shot to the back of the net, it was sort of off to the races.
The second period began with the obligatory Parros-Orr staged fight, and then without warning, first Plekanec scored, and then a shorthanded marker from Max Pacioretty, and the Ole singing really kicked in.
I know what the Ole bit is. It’s from European soccer, meant to be a celebration of the game and the happiness involved. I know it’s not supposed to be a smug thing, sung as a “we’ve got it in the bag” sort of thing.
No matter. It is a smug thing whether intended or not. I don’t like it, never have, and I think it rallies the other team. And anyway, we’re in North America, not Europe, it’s hockey, not soccer, so can’t we find another way to show happiness? How about standing ovations instead?
The singing died down quickly when Toronto scored twice late in the second to make for uneasy times in living rooms and at the Bell, but the boys shut the visitors down in the third and skate away with a terrific 4-2 win that had me and I’m sure a plethora of others on the edge of couches, which is why it’s called “the good old hockey game.”
Canadiens outshot the Leafs 39-36.
There was a nice feature about Habs goalie coach Stephane Waite before the game, and when asked if he thought the tandem of Carey Price and Peter Budaj were good enough to be goalies of a Stanley Cup-winner, Waite said “absolutely, without a doubt’ which of course is the right answer.
But Ron MacLean (just kidding he would say) piped in when the clip was done with a “somehow I doubt it” which was uncalled for because (a) he missed the point of the question completely, and (b) he’s a moron.
Canadiens are busy. They played Friday and Saturday, then again on Monday (New Jersey), and then Wednesday (Devils again) and Thursday (Bruins).
More and more I see that George Parros isn’t doing what we’d hoped. These staged fight are ridiculous, and what he does otherwise doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.
PK ended with a goal and assist, Max with two goals, and Carey Price assisted on the first Max marker, tying him with Ryan White and putting him ahead of Parros and Douglas Murray in points, who are stalled at zero..