The Canadiens won when they absolutely had to, beating the New York Rangers 4-1, and so many players stepped up to the plate and hit it out of the park, it was like watching Warren Cromartie and Andre Dawson take batting practice.
It feels good to be proud of the guys instead of wanting to send them all to Calgary.
The line of Max Pacioretty, Erik Cole, and David Desharnais combined for nine big points – Max with 2 goals and an assist, Cole with 3 assists, and Desharnais with a goal and 2 assists. And at the end, after the siren had sounded, the fans gave them the three stars and deservedly so.
But a couple of others also had big nights, two whom we might never have guessed. Peter Budaj in nets was solid, and came through in fine fashion. He could’ve been a star if Max’s line wasn’t so darned dominant.
And another who could’ve been a star was none other than Scott Gomez, who was flying all over the place, skating miles, making nice plays, and setting up Michael Blunden beautifully.
If Gomez can play like that every night, his sins will eventually be forgiven. But I’m not going to get carried away here. It was one good game for the much-maligned Alaskan, and I refuse to get hoodwinked. (what a great word – hoodwinked). I also don’t like his laughing and kibitzing, which he does even with opposing guys on faceoffs, and I think the Rocket would like to punch him in the face if he could.
Newcomer Rene Bourque also played well, and it’s nice what he brings. He’s big and strong, is good with the puck, and he’s a powerful skater. When he gets motoring he reminds me of Cole, and he changes the look of the team in a great way. Suddenly the Montreal Canadiens got bigger and stronger. It’s what I’ve been praying to Sprague Cleghorn for, for months now.
Of course, for every yin there’s a yang. Travis Moen injured his leg and hopefully it’s not serious. And Randy Cunneyworth showed he means business when he sat Lars Eller for all of the second period after Eller’s weak coverage near the goal led to the Rangers scoring. You gotta play tough and wrap up your man, however it takes. It’s not Woodstock/peace and love out there. And Andrei Kostitsyn also felt the wrath of Randy after lacklustre play.
That’s fine. These are grown men. They know their team needs an all-out effort now, and they’ll pay a price if they don’t give their all. I mean, if I’m caught sleeping at work I hear about it.
Eller saw ice time in the third, and on one occasion his rising shot struck Mathieu Darche in the throat that looked serious for a few minutes. Thankfully Darche was back out soon after.
The guys played well tonight. Travis Moen and NY’s Stu Bickel tangled after the draw for some reason, Hal Gill sprawled to break up a play and hopefully he’s not too sore in the morning, and PK Subban gave Tomas Kaberle shit for making too many passes back to him on the power play.
It was such an important game to win, and it’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
Okay, that’s a bit much, but you know what I mean.
Shots on goal – 29 each.
I have Cole and Desharnais in my pool.
Next up – Wednesday, when Alex Ovechkin and the Caps come to town. Once again, no problem, right?