Through the turmoil of recent days – the dismal losses, George Laraque being released and calling Bob Gainey and Jacques Martin “classless”, big Jean Beliveau suffering a stroke and taken to hospital, and Mike Cammalleri and Maxim Lapierre jawing at each other in practice, the Canadiens went in to New Jersey in a miserable state of mind.
That’s an understatement if there ever was one.
And as long as big Jean is okay, which reports say is the case, then maybe the recent string of bummers was a blessing in disguise. Because the Habs, although not flawless, played a solid, hard-working game and were full marks for a 3-1 win against Martin Brodeur, Jacques Lemaire, Mario Tremblay and those, yawn, New Jersey Devils.
It didn’t start well. Almost two weeks ago when these two met in Montreal, Zack Parise won it for the Devils when he took a long pass, went in alone, and made no mistake in overtime. In this Friday night tilt, Parise once again took a long pass, once again waltzed in, and once again scored. Deja freakin’ vu.
(Zach Parise is a beauty of a player, a swift and dangerous young stud with an incredibly bright and star-studded future. He was born 12 years after his dad Jean-Paul threatened to decapitate a referee in Moscow during the 1972 Canada-Russia Summit Series.)
But the Habs persevered. Benoit Pouliot’s stock continues to rise, notching his 11th and doing what we thought Vincent Lecavalier would do in a Canadiens uniform; newcomer Mathieu Darche scored the winner- his first for the Habs; and Mike Cammalleri iced it. Hopefully Max Lapierre gave him an extra high-five shortly after.
I don’t mind saying it: I’m proud of the team tonight. They played like they wanted it and in the end, they got it.
Wouldn’t it be a beautiful thing to see something good come from something bad?
Habs host the Rangers tomorrow night. Who knows what we’ll see. I’m thinking big thoughts, though.