Canadiens Push Tampa To The Edge

Whew. That was stressful. But the boys prevailed, edge the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2, take a 3-0 lead in the series, and I’ll bet the bars and restaurants in downtown Montreal were rockin’ afterwards.

Of course, more will be said about a controversial non-goal by the Lightning than the fact that the Canadiens never panicked and held the fort when Tampa picked it up a few notches in the second and third period.

Frankly, the disallowed goal was a tough judgement call, there was some interference with Carey Price, although it might have had nothing to do with the puck going in.

The bottom line for me is, the Canadiens have their fair share of calls go against them in games over the years. Every team has. It’s hockey, the game is over, the boys won, we feel good, and that’s that.

It was a barnburner for sure. From the pre-game light show that began with the Stanley Cup banners lighting up one by one, to the amazing display on the ice of past and present players and voices, of Rocket hugging the Cup, Beliveau celebrating, Lafleur charging up the ice, and guys on the present team going full-tilt.

There was the kid wearing number 9, lighting things up with the torch. And legendary Ginette Reno belting out Oh Canada.

It’s the kind of thing only Montreal can do. With Habs haters grudgingly admitting it’s done well here, although complaining about the Cup banners and Habs fans stuck in the glory days sort of thing I suppose.

Just eleven seconds in, after Madame Reno had belted out the anthem and the puck was dropped, Rene Bourque burst in and beat Anders Lindback and it was 1-0.

Pre-game goosebumps and an early goal that latecomers missed because they had one extra beer at the Peel Pub.

Bourque once again played a fine game, used his size and great skating ability, and was dangerous often. It only took him 83 games to wake up. Is that an NHL record?

Every year the playoffs produce an unsuspecting star, one we would never predict in a million years.

So far in this series it’s been Rene Bourque, the one many of us wanted out of town on the next stagecoach. He’s gone from dreadfully ineffective to hugely effective. Who knew?

The biggest problem on the night was the Canadiens inability to bulge the twine on a big four-minute power play in the first frame, although they looked good and moved the puck around well.

Looking good and moving the puck around doesn’t guarantee goals though. But it kind of bodes well for the future.

They couldn’t score on that four-minute power play, and in the second, Tampa, newly-invigorated and playing with desperation, would tie it up. And it was after that that the controversial no-goal decision was made that would have given the visitors a 2-1 lead but didn’t.

P.K. Subban then dazzled with a rush that brought him around the back of Tampa’s goal, sent the puck over to Brendan Gallagher, and it was a 2-1 Habs lead instead of the other way around.

Absolutely exciting period, edge of the seat type stuff, and the third would be too.

Tomas Plekanec would send his team into a two-goal lead but a Tampa long shot flew by a screened Carey Price, which made for a seriously nerve-wracking finish, ending with a sigh of relief for everyone except Lightning fans as the Canadiens squeeze it out 3-2, and the noose is tightened.

The vibes around Montreal today were extraordinary, even in St. Hubert. Hockey was in the air. The flags were flying. I can only imagine what it’ll be like leading up to Tuesday’s game four.

A  stranglehold on the series. Finish it off in four and practice the power play. It’s the one achilles’ heel on a team that is playing well overall. The Canadiens went 0-5 in this game, which is just about the norm nowadays.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot TB 31-29.

Max had some great chances to break out of his scoring drought, but remains snakebitten. It’s coming though. We know how it works with him. Often it’s a flukey goal that lights the fuse.

Injured Alex Galchenyuk must surely be wishing he was out there being a part of this.






27 thoughts on “Canadiens Push Tampa To The Edge”

  1. Who are these boys anyway?!! Guess I’d prefer a ho-hum season w/exciting play-off then reverse. But I’m not ready for this, it’s too nerve wracking– help me to believe this is for real!!! Can P.K. put on a show!!!!!How many good passes leading to a goal! Price standing there leaning on his stick during a scrum—-vintage Mr. Dryden for the moment!!! For balance, we seen Price get involved in a scrum late in season— so he GOOD. I must add this too after the other day—I had reason too dislike Therrien[calling him by his name signifies a compliment!!] during the season if for no other reason then I WANT RESULTS not another drought–which is MY problem. Is the coach saving his “results” for a playoff run? Is he finally getting the guys to play his game their way and HAB-land way—- OH GLORY BE are these boys fun to watch!!! Did a season of Subban bashing result in P.K. bringing The Bell to their feet!! Rene being possesed. If this is the ” proof is in the pudding” I’ll send coach a Valentine ‘s card. PS is it normal for a Habs fan to have a love ’em-hate ’em life? Enjoy your day intermingling with Sens and Leaf fans At work BUT don’t get TOO cocky.

  2. In deed, the Habs haters are now armed. But the last fews days have been an eye opener to me, the anti-Canadien crowd is all over the media!

    Driving to Tampa Thursday, we had on HNiC radio. They spent two hours harping on the Make Believes and how they are just a player away from winning big. Is that player Ben Schrivens or Reimer, because Healy said they was the goalie of the future? Or was it Gustavsson? Offensively, Frattin had been mentioned as the up-and-coming… and MacArthur… I hope they’ve cleared Yonge Street because the parade is a year away!

    At the game… the Tampa folks put on a good production. Their staff is nice and helpful and the arena may not have a bad seat. We sat by a group from Nova Scotia, confirmed Habs haters! And they didn’t know the game…

    I haven’t read anything about Prust destroying Gudas in their fight. That was a huge turning point. You could feel the air being sucked out of that place as Canadien fans cheered Prustie’s decisive victory.

    Bourque has been amazing, probably the best forward so far. Although it’s close to a record, he has a ways to go before equalling the Scott Gomez streak of nine seasons of not showing up.

    On to Tuesday and a SWEEP!

  3. I was so happy that that I didn’t get the CBC’s “Toronto cheering section” broadcast because I knew that it would probably be worse than the Lightning home broadcast (and by all accounts, it was). Still the Lightning broadcasters managed to finally get on my nerves. Once the goal was disallowed, that was all they talked about for the rest of the game. Honestly, this situation wasn’t as egregious as Ottawa’s ALLOWED goal in game four of the Sens-Habs series last year, a call so obvious that even a blind man could have seen it. I did think that the goal should have counted, but as the broadcasters said, it was a discretionary call, not subject to review. Kerry Fraser was adamant on his Twitter feed that the ref made the RIGHT call.

    That game was Tampa’s best of the series, and in particular, the second period was ALL Lightning.

    I don’t know if my heart can take this!

  4. This is so exciting. One more to go .

    The Habs are playing like a team, everyone chipping in. And yeah, Bourque, what’s with this guy? It’s funny what the playoffs do to some! What to do with him now post-season…that will be interesting. For now he’s ours, keep taking shots Rene, we love you!!

  5. Ian, I turn down the sound and listen to TSN690. There is a 30 second lag, but it beat listening to the other teams announcers and Bartlet and Sergio do a great job…

  6. Mike, they honestly weren’t that bad until last night. But, between the constant complaining about the waved-off goal and then the suggestion that the hit on Stamkos’ head was intentional (at least one member of the broadcast crew suggested that it was), it was annoying.

    And, as an aside, count me among those who really want Stamkos to be okay. He’s too important a player to the sport in general.

  7. I was at the game and as many of my friends can verify I have been a big advocate of John Cooper as a head coach to be aware of and in his post game press conference he was very honest. I would have loved to of seen him hired and pushed for it over 2 years ago before anyone even knew who he was. I wish him great success in T/B but not against us. As to the game wow did we ever finally get some calls to go our way especially the way C/P sold the skate issue to the refs to buy time during the icing. GO HABS GO!

  8. dra, you must have had a blast.Bet you loved the light show too! But as far as the Price/skate issue goes, I don’t think it was a sold type of thing. Yes it was a fake way of getting a breather, and everyone including the officials knew it, but a repair is a repair and nothing could be done about it. An old trick and a very timely one.

  9. Oh definitely. We want Stamkos to be fine. He’s a class act, a great player, and so good for the game in many ways. And Emelin? That member of the broadcast crew was way off. Emelin isn’t a headhunter, he was simply flying over him and hit while in the air. Just one of those things.

  10. Marjo, if the Canadiens were to go deep and Bourque continued to play like that, he just might have earned himself another year. He was on his way out, the “buyout” word has been tossed around for months, Chris Nilan wanted to take him out behind the barn and clobber him. And now this!

  11. Ian, I’m proud of the team for not panicking and getting out of sorts when Tampa was playing well. It’s the mark of a good team. Just carry on through all kinds of situations and come out the other end with a win under their belts. Very proud of them.

  12. For sure, Mike M. The Prust fight was a turning point. Exactly the type of thing you would see when John Ferguson got riled up. The momentum would switch. Geez, I forgot about the Gomez not showing up awesomeness. You’re right. Bourque was only one season (maybe a couple). Gomez is the world’s best not show up guy.
    Imagine if Bourque continues like like this. We would have a new and dangerous power forward who’s been hibernating.

  13. For sure it’s understood, Peter. We want our team to be great and win, win, win. So we find things we’re not happy about. You’re not the only guy who’s been on Therrien. Millions have. But right now, the boys are going great guns. The playoffs are such fun when the favourite team is making noises.

  14. DK, Mike McKim beat me to it. I was going to bring up the Gomez fiasco. Great pre-game as only we can do , the Team sticking to the game plan. I’m getting great satisfaction out of listening to the HNIC goofs try to explain away our total Team efforts! GO HABS GO!!!!

  15. That pregame show was absolutely amazing. Someone really earns their money! Bourque is playing with confidence and what a difference that makes. Not totally unexpected because Ron MacLean has always backed the refs in the league but it was nice to see him adamantly agree with the no goal call. Finally, Subban, what a game he had and I hear Therrien was piling on the praise, about time!

  16. Mike, I think I’ve been blocking the “Gomez Years” out. Just hated that time. And the difference with Bourque is, he has the tools and size to be a terrific power forward. Gomez had the tools to be a gardener.

  17. What a beautiful night, eh D-John? All round, including a sensational PK. That call has people on both sides – agree and not agree, which says loudly that it was such a tough call and not a blatant horrible call Habs haters will pounce on. I’m so glad there’s two sides to the story. Wow, a 3-0 lead in the series. It’s like heaven on earth.

  18. I too like peter jab got sick and tired of coaching and management. It was painful year after year. Especially after 2011 which I thought was our year but unfortunately those kids were too young. This is what I should have been waiting for. I get frustrated with idiots like Scott Cullen ranking us 10th each and every week when I know we’re a contender. No one has listed the Habs as a contender so I stopped listening to commentators. It does not help to get angry so I just watch now and turn down the volume. The results speak louder than any words I can type.

    I thought vanek didn’t play well last night. What’s impressive is we can win by balanced contributions. Unsung heros like Weiss, bournival, gally r going to make a difference. Wait til galchenyuk gets back. He’ll be hungry. Enjoy!

  19. I actually disagree about Scott Gomez, Dennis. When he is/was motivated (you know, before he signed that huge contract with the Rangers which they then happily unloaded on the Habs), he played with grit and determination, not to mention quite a bit of skill. However, he really went downhill when he was traded to Montreal–he made no secret of the fact that he was unhappy about the trade from New York and that he didn’t want to play in Montreal. He then proceeded to steal money from the Canadiens for several seasons, while in return, the Rangers got an all-star and Olympic caliber player in Ryan McDonagh.

    Back to the present, though. The Habs MUST close the series out tomorrow night. When you have a team down, you need to finish them off. Right now, the Lightning have to feel disheartened after the breaks yesterday all went against them. Montreal needs to score one (or more) goals early and show Tampa that this is just not its season.

  20. That’s what I was talking about Ian. Gomez’s Habs years. I know he was a good player when he was in New Jersey. Even won rookie of the year, but it’s all about the Montreal years for me.

  21. Vanek didn’t have a great game Mayo but the line was still a force at times and like you say, others stepped up. It’s awesome. Four contributing lines. Just love what we’re seeing right now.

  22. *OR* they sell Bourque while he’s hot…in case he goes in to “oblivion mode” again during next season’s regular games.

  23. Hi Dennis, it’s me, one of the guys you mentioned in your article “Singing Dylan’s Praises” July 16, 2003. I love how our Habs have climbed the ladder. My neighbours are probably tired of hearing the song, “House Is A Rockin'” by Stevie Ray Vaughan because it’s played every time we score. I’ve got a gig coming up where I’ll do it live for our Habs. That stone from you and Luciena is still glimmering. Miss you and wish you all the best. Cheers my friend and . . . GO HABS GO!!! Yahoo!

  24. Nice to hear from you Mikey. Hope all’s well in Powell River and I know you’re enjoying what’s going on with the Habs. Please say hi to everyone there for me.

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