I think it’s safe to say that there wasn’t a Habs fan on the planet who expected a 7-2 thrashing of the league-leading Detroit Red Wings.
We hoped for a win, of course, because that’s what we do. But a lopsided, dominant performance by a struggling team trying to claw back into things, over a team sitting pretty up in the clouds? What a surprise. What a nice freaking, beautiful surprise.
To me it shows character. It shows that the Canadiens, embarrassed on too many nights of this year, just might be sick and tired of the ridicule, the analyzing, and the 1000 word essays about how far a once-great team has fallen.
I’ll bet they’ve had enough, and tonight at the Bell Centre, they played like it. It was all business, almost from start to finish, beginning with Carey Price between the pipes, and every man in front of him. And they were so dominant, in fact, that although they led 4-0 after the first period, it could very well have been 5 or 6 goals.
This was a night that gives us hope. It’s just too bad that the All-Star break is going to give pause to the all-important momentum the team seems to be building upon, but at least it becomes a pleasant break for a bunch of guys who’ve been experiencing a gradual tightening of the noose.
Montreal had a 6-0 lead by the time the second period had wound down, with Wings starting goalie Jimmy Howard chased from his net after the first, and with the Habs’ first two shots beating Ty Conkin. Overall, although Detroit managed two goals before Erik Cole scored his team’s seventh, the Canadiens were in control throughout, and as Crowbar sang, “Oh, what a feeling, what a rush.”
Hab scorers on this big night included Rene Bourque, Tomas Plekanec, Max Pacioretty, Cole, David Desharnais with two, and Alexei Emelin, who notched his first NHL goal and made my heart soar like an eagle as he celebrated and smiled as his happy teammates shared his joy and handed him hearty congratulations.
Lastly, PK Subban will be discussed plenty in these next few days by just about everyone, and I only want to mention it now and be done with it. PK sat for the entire second period after giving up a puck in a weak clearing attempt, and then executing a silly elbow to a head that forfeited his team’s power play, both of which secured him his lengthy stay on the bench.
PK finding himself in the doghouse for this is not a big deal. He’ll learn from it, it’s good coaching, and it’s probably not the last time our young buck will screw up. It’s all part of the process as he moves up the ladder to stardom.
What a great night for the Canadiens and fans. It’s a big two points, and after hearing on TSN that San Jose Sharks were 12 points out at this stage last year and came back to not only secure a spot but also go all the way to the western finals, it shows that things aren’t impossible for the Habs, who now sit at 8 points from their target.
They can do. They just have to keep playing like they did tonight.
Shots on goal – Detroit 28, Habs 25
Scott Gomez assisted on the Habs first goal, scored by Rene Bourque.
Now we wait until next Tuesday, January 31, when the Buffalo Sabres come to town.