Category Archives: Boston Bruins

R.I.P. Elmer

Lach

Elmer Lach has died at age 97, and like the old names slowly being removed from the Stanley Cup to make room for new, Elmer’s passing is another chapter closed.

He was a junior star in Saskatchewan, invited to Toronto so the Leafs could see what he was made of, and following a practice that Conn Smythe in particular wasn’t impressed with, Elmer hopped on a train and headed back to Moose Jaw to play senior hockey.

The Leafs weren’t thrilled about Elmer bailing out, and promptly traded his rights to the New York Rangers, who wrote Elmer and told him to bring his skates and make sure they were sharpened.

But Elmer didn’t go, he became a free agent instead, and signed with Montreal, the only team he would play with (from 1940 to 1953), and where he made his mark as part of the legendary Punch Line with the Rocket and Toe Blake.

The Punch Line. Crafty elder statesman Toe Blake. Scoring machine overdosing with desire, Maurice Richard. And hard-working, never give up, aggressive, sometimes dirty, always talented playmaker Elmer Lach, who scored the Stanley Cup winner against Boston in 1953, causing a jubilant Rocket to jump into his arms and break his nose. The hardest check I ever received, said Elmer.

Elmer was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1966 and his (and Henri Richard’s) number 16 hangs from the rafters at the Bell Centre. Well deserved honours for this legendary Hab.

So long, Elmer. You’re gonna have a great time meeting up with the old gang again.

 

Tonight In Nashville

The Canadiens are in Nashville on this late March day, hoping to keep the ball rolling with a fourth straight win.

They also want to stay firmly planted at the top, as opposed to the Boston Bruins, who have fallen out of a playoff spot and which makes Habs fans everywhere feel tremendous sympathy for bummed-out Bruins supporters.

As a side note, isn’t it funny how Max Pacioretty put Ex-Lax in those “Max 67″ burgers he fed Bruins fans the other day in Boston. What a crazy jokester Max is.

The Canadiens and Preds clashed just one other time this season, on January 20th when a PK Subban blast in overtime gave the good guys a 2-1 win.

In reading my notes on this game, it seems that Carey Price was responsible for the Canadiens win, as the boys were thoroughly outplayed for two periods.

Imagine that. Price saving the day. Has this ever happened before?

Our man Price will be working on a third straight shutout tonight in Music City, which is a long way from the NHL record held by Ottawa’s Alex Connell back in 1927-28 when the Sens goaltender shut the door for 461:29 minutes, adding up to six shutouts in all.

But that was then and this is now. In 1928-29, players’ shots were far from the 90 mph missiles let loose now. No curves, sticks that didn’t bend, pucks shot by men standing 5’6” and weighing 150 pounds.

Of course, equipment worn by goaltenders back then didn’t come close to what Price and the rest wear now, but no matter. Different worlds. And 6 blankings is certainly nothing to sneeze at. It’s a tremendous feat accomplished by Mr. Connell, who was ultimately inducted into the HHOF in 1958.

I’ve got nothing against the old Ottawa Senators. It’s the new version I can’t stomach.

With nine games remaining for the Habs, Max needs 5 goals to hit 40, so we’re hoping he’ll pop at least one tonight. Alex Galchenyuk has 19 and looking to reach 20. Manny Malhotra, if he plays, will continue to win faceoffs and remain at 1 goal.

Below, Alex Connell. And below Alex are the ingredients for the Max 67, minus the Ex-Lax of course.

Ottawa Senators Goalie Alex Connell in Uniform --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Max

 

 

 

 

Lots To Read (If You Want)

I once phoned Hall of Famer and ex-Hab Bert Olmstead in Calgary (he was in the phone book), hoping to get him to talk about the old days with the Rocket and Stanley Cups etc. He hung up on me.

When I had my sports bar in Powell River, Frank Mahovlich and Red Storey came in while on an oldtimers tour. Frank told me the Montreal organization was so much better than the Leaf organization. We fed them a spaghetti dinner. That night, referee Storey, with a microphone, told the crowd that the spaghetti at Kane’s was the best.

I spoke to the Habs’ Jim Roberts after a game at the old Forum when I was about 13 , several years before it was renovated in 1968. He was nice to me and I decided to start a Jim Roberts fan club. I didn’t because I figured it was too much work and he wasn’t a good enough player.

I met the Rocket when he was refereeing an oldtimers game in Calgary. I told him he’d sent me a Christmas card when I was about 8 years old and he said he used to send out lots of cards but didn’t remember much at all about the old days. My sister took a picture of him, then the Rocket said he wanted me to take a picture of him with my sister.

My dad took me to a Montreal-Toronto game back in the 1950s. Somehow he corralled coach Toe Blake in the lobby and asked him to take my hockey book into the dressing room and get Doug Harvey to sign it. Blake did.

My peewee coach in Orillia, Jack Dyte, played 27 games for the Chicago Blackhawks during the 1943-44 season. He had one goal and 31 penalty minutes.  He played alongside Punch Imlach for the Quebec Aces in the old Quebec Senior League and against the Rocket before Richard joined the Habs.

When I lived in Ottawa, it was well known that a somewhat down-and-out Doug Harvey was living in a railway car (which was once used by Canadian PM John Diefenbaker) at the race track across the river in Hull. And what did I do? Nothing. Didn’t go there. Didn’t bring him any smokes or a bottle. Didn’t invite him home for a turkey dinner. Nothing. It’s a big regret.

I had breakfast with HOF goalie Glenn Hall when he came to Powell River for the Allan Cup back in the late-1990s. After breakfast I drove him around the area in my Hyundai Excel.

Butch Bouchard didn’t own a pair of skates until he was 16, and just four years later he’d made the NHL.

I grew up just down the street from Rick Ley, who was a solid defenceman for the Leafs in the late 1960’s and into the ’70s. He also played for the New England Whalers in the WHA and has his sweater retired in Hartford. He then went on to a coaching career in Vancouver and Toronto. He and I would sometimes skate on an outdoor rink before school, and in the summer, during a pickup baseball game, with him pitching and me catching without a mask, the batter tipped one of Ley’s pitches and the ball knocked my front tooth out. I’ve had plastic in my mouth ever since.

In the late 1960s, Rick Ley’s older brother Ron and his buddies threatened to take me behind the pool hall and cut my long hair.

Bep Guidolin played his first NHL game in 1942 with Boston. He’s the youngest player ever to play in the league, at 16 years old.

Floyd Curry attended his first Montreal Canadiens training camp in 1940 at just 15. He didn’t make the team but it’s still quite a feat.

Bobby Orr played for the Jr. A Oshawa Generals when he was just 14.

Hall Of Fame goalie Johnny Bower didn’t play his first NHL game until he was 30 when he was called up from the minors to the NY Rangers. He played one season, then three more in the minors. After that he was traded to Toronto when he was 34 years old (maybe older). Amazingly enough, Bower played goal all those years with poor eyesight and rheumatoid arthritis.

Claire Alexander, who played defence for the Leafs in the mid 1970s, came into the league when he was 29. Before that, he was a milkman in Orillia, Ontario (my hometown).

In the early 1960s, when I was about 12, my parish priest, Monsignor Lee, was somehow connected to the Toronto Maple Leafs. I think it had to do with St. Michael’s College. At one point he took my buddy Ron Clarke and I to Peterborough to see an exhibition game between the Leafs and Chicago, and the afternoon before the game, we had dinner at the hotel with the Leafs’ brass. The players were in an adjoining room. Ron and I had dinner with the Monsignor, King Clancy, and Jim Gregory, who is now in the builder’s category of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

In the 1950s, New York tough guy Lou Fontinato (who later was traded to Montreal), got into a scrap with Rocket Richard. Fontinato got Richard’s sweater off and proceeded to rip it to shreds with his skates. A few weeks later, Fontinato received a bill from the Canadiens for $38.50.

I was a milkman in Calgary for awhile and Doug Risebrough was one of my customers. His wife, who looked after the milk situation, gave me a small tip at Christmas. Risebrough played 13 years in the NHL, with both Montreal and Calgary. When he was eating his Cheerios with the milk I had faithfully delivered, he was coaching the Flames. I remember years before, in Ottawa, when the Habs played a pre-season exhibition game at the old Civic Centre, the buzz in the papers was the new promising rookie who would be playing that night in his first NHL game. That player was Doug Risebrough.

I played on the same Midget team as Dan Maloney for one game in Barrie after our Orillia team got eliminated and three of us were loaned to Barrie. I remember he was big, and a real leader even then. We were about 16. I also spent an afternoon with him hanging out and playing pool. Dan Maloney played for four teams (Chicago, LA, Detroit, and Toronto) over 11 seasons, and eventually went on to coach. He was truly a great guy and a tough bastard.

Toe Blake’s real first name was Hector. He got the name ‘Toe’ from his younger sister who pronounced the last part of Hector as toe, as in “Hectoe.”

Turk Broda, who was the Toronto Maple Leaf goalie from 1936 to 1952, had the nickname “Turk” because as a child, his neck would turn red like a turkey when he got angry. His real name is Walter.

During the time I owned my restaurant in Powell River, the Hanson Brothers (from Slapshot) came to town for a promotional thing at the arena. Afterwards, two of them, the Carlson brothers, came into my pub and at midnight, I locked the doors and drank beer and talked hockey with them until about 5AM.

When I was 12, my peewee baseball team played in a tournament in St. Catherines, Ontario. For one game, goalie great Gerry Cheevers, in his early-20s at the time, was the umpire.

When I was about 11 and at the opening of the Hockey Hall of Fame at the CNE in Toronto with my dad and sister, I asked Foster Hewitt for his autograph. He signed for me, but because he was in a deep discussion with someone, he kept my pen. I was too shy to ask him for it so my sister had to get it for me.

Howie Morenz was Toe Blake’s hero when Blake was a boy. He said he even called himself Howie. Years later, in 1937, Blake played for the Habs alongside his boyhood hero Morenz. This was the same year Morenz died from complications from a broken leg.

Toe Blake used such terrible profanity, he was barred from the Forum Billiard Hall.

In the early ’60s when I was about 13 or so, my previously mentioned buddy Ron Clarke and I went to Barrie, Ont. for an exhibition game between the AHL’s Buffalo Bisons and the Rochester Americans. We were there early and somehow got talking to the Buffalo trainer, and he let us be stickboys for the game. The team gave Ron and I sticks, although I broke mine later playing road hockey. And Don Cherry played that night for Rochester, although I only know this from the lineup sheet I still have.

Toe Blake said “Hockey has been my life. I never had the opportunity of getting one of those million dollar contracts, but hockey was worth more than a million to me in plenty of ways.”

1950s Habs grinder Marcel Bonin would at times eat glass (probably after several pops), and also wrestled a bear or two. And once, while at training camp in Victoria, BC, Bonin broke his thumb during some horseplay off the ice. He kept it a secret from Toe Blake, then during the next practice, pretended to hurt his hand on the ice and kept himself from getting into hot water with Blake. It worked.

Two NHL players who were notorious for treating rookies on their own teams badly were Steve Shutt and Dave Keon. Shutt’s reasoning was, “Hey, it happened to me so it’s gonna happen to them too.”

Jim Pappin, who won a Stanley Cup with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1967, lost his Cup ring years ago. But it was found several years ago in the Gulf of Mexico when a diver using an underwater metal detector came up with it.

I saw Bobby Orr twice in my home town of Orillia. Once when I was sitting in the park down by the lake, he and his wife strolled by. He had a hockey school with Mike Walton in Orillia at this time. The other was out at one of the local beverage rooms, and he and a bunch of people I knew a little, sat near us. There’s a strong chance my table drank more beer than their table.

Gary Lupul, a great ex-Canuck and a good friend of mine who passed away several years ago, introduced me to goaltender Richard Brodeur, who was in town on an oldtimers tour. Gary told Brodeur I was a Habs fan, and Brodeur said “Oh. I don’t want to talk to you.” (He was joking. I think.)

I was also introduced to the Hanson Brothers’ manager when the Hansons came to town. I held out my hand and he asked “Do you wash your hands when you take a crap?” I said of course, and it was only then that he shook my hand.

A kid I played minor hockey with for four or five years, John French, ended up getting drafted by the Montreal Canadiens and played a couple of years with the club’s farm team, the Nova Scotia Voyageurs. But it was the early 1970s and extremely difficult to crack the Habs line up, so French signed with the New England Whalers of the newly-formed World Hockey Association instead. He played with Gordie Howe and another good Orillia boy, his old friend Rick Ley, who had played for the Leafs before jumping to the WHA.

The best seat I ever had at a game was in the first row at the Montreal Forum in the late-1970s, behind the net, just to the right of the goal judge.

The worst seat I ever had was at Edmonton’s Northland Coliseum for a game between the Habs and Oilers, and we were in the very first row behind the Oilers bench. John Muckler and his two assistant coaches stood right in front of us, so the only time we could see was when the play was down at either end.

Canada’s greatest pool player, Cliff Thorburn, is a long-time Habs fan.

The first two artificial rinks built in Canada were in Victoria and Vancouver.

From a documentary I learned that Russian Czar Peter the Great would often go incognito to Europe, with a shaved mustache and old hat, and from a painting of him shown in the doc wearing these,  he looks a dead ringer for deceased Russian hockey star Valeri Kharlamov.

When the Rocket was playing for the Verdun juniors in 1939, he took boxing lessons in the off-season. He became so good at it that he was entered into a Golden Gloves competition, but a damaging punch in the nose by his coach prevented him from participating.

Leaf star Darryl Sittler and his wife Wendy were staying at Paul Henderson’s house and looking after their three daughters when Henderson scored those big goals during the 1972 Canada-Russia Summit Series.

Team Canada had a six-hour stopover in Paris on the way to Stockholm. Goalie Ed Johnston said this about Paris: “What’s wrong is the same thing you find with all these European cities. Too many old buildings.”

While in Stockholm, a Swedish fellow at the press conference mentioned that maybe Bobby Orr, who was injured and didn’t play in the series, wasn’t as good as Russian Valeri Kharlamov. “He’s good in the NHL,” said the guy, “but in Europe he’d be only average.” A Canadian who overheard this said, “Put this down. Bobby Orr-healthy-would eat any Czech or Russian alive. And he’d spit out any Swede.”

In Moscow, the Canadians were seen coming back to their hotel at all hours of the night. While some of the boys were sitting around the lobby of the Grand Hotel, someone mentioned hearing that the Russians had put street crews with jackhammers outside the Canadian team’s windows in the early morning. “No problem,” said one player. “We won’t be in anyway.”

Coach Harry Sinden celebrated his 40th birthday while overseas. “Ten days ago I was 29,” he said.

Some Canadian fans who arrived in Moscow found out there were no tickets available for them. These included Maurice Richard, Punch Imlach, former referee-in-chief Carl Voss, and legendary wrestler Whipper Billy Watson. Those left out were given three options: they could take an all-expenses paid 10-day tour of Copenhagen; they could fly home and be refunded; or they could stay and take their chances on finding tickets. Most chose the third option.

Dennis Hull, after a tour of Moscow, gushed, “I really like the place. It reminds me of Buffalo.”

 

 

 

An Old Collier’s Shows Up

A friend of mine, James Duncan in Toronto, mailed me a gift which came yesterday.

It’s a Jan. 4, 1957 edition of the American magazine Collier’s, featuring Princess Grace on the cover, and inside, along with stories about the princess and teenagers and fictional crime, is a nice piece on 25-year old Jean Beliveau.

Wikipedia says the magazine was founded in 1888 and the last issue was on Jan. 4, 1957, which is this particular one. (It would start back up in 2012).

So it’s the final issue, with a beauty of a three-pager on our Jean Beliveau, which mentions that only four men in the league match Jean’s 6’3″, and no one equals his 205 pounds.

Gump Worsley, playing with the Rangers at the time, is quoted as saying “With Beliveau, you don’t bother to figure. You just wait, knowing he’s simply going to overpower you.”

The writer, Tom Meany, compares Jean and teammate Maurice Richard, saying the Rocket “has the flamboyant showmanship of Babs Ruth, while Beliveau has the effortless grace of Joe DiMaggio. And between them, the Rocket and Le Gros Bill leave Montreal’s knowledgeable – and rabid – fans limp”.

It also has a paragraph on legendary Montreal sportswriter Jacques Beauchamp, who donned goalie pads for some of the Canadiens practices, and who says, “I happened to tell Boston goalie Terry Sawchuk recently that Beliveau’s shots were so terrific I closed my eyes when they came at me.” Sawchuk replied, “I got news for you. We all do.”

I can’t thank James enough. He’d found this old mag somewhere, thought of me, and sent it out. Such a nice gesture.

collier's 1

coll. 2

collier's 3

Hockey And Other Great Coins

These complete sets of 1961-62 and 62-63 hockey coins weren’t rounded up through eBay or the likes. They were lovingly collected by me, back in the day, by buying lots of Shirriff potato chips and wheeling and dealing in the schoolyard.

That and my mom chipping in by stocking up the cupboards with serious amounts of Jello.

The 1961-62 NHL coins are plastic and the shields could be ordered at the time, while the 1962-63 metal coins never had shields.

But hockey coins weren’t all I went after. Around this time, car coins also made an appearance, and although I don’t have the complete set, I have many of them. These coins display cars from the beginning, the late 1800s, and make their way up to the early and flashy 1960s, and were great fun to collect.

The car coins, below, came out in 1961, and were collected after eating dozens and dozens of bags of Hostess (not Sherriff) potato chips, and again, piles of Jello and wheeling and dealing in the schoolyard. They also had a neat poker chip-type holder one could order.

Plenty of other coins were to be had back then too – baseball and football players, airplanes, flags of the world and more, plus the first NHL set from 1960-61. I used to have bunches of these, but alas, not any more.

Rookie Orr Signs The Sheet

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A bit difficult to see because they’re in pencil, but this is a set of signatures from 1966-67 when the Bruins and Leafs played at Maple Leaf Gardens. The autographs are mine now, but I wasn’t the one who got them in the first place.

1966-67 was Bobby Orr’s rookie season in the NHL, and this group of signatures includes Orr (on the bottom right corner), and his dad Doug (two above Bobby’s, on the right).

Joining them are Ed Johnston, Wayne Connelly, Ron Schock, Ted Green, Joe Watson, Tom Williams, and J.P. Parise from the Bruins, along with Leafs George Armstrong, Larry Jeffrey, Brian Conacher, and Ron Ellis.

If you’re wondering how I know these are from 1966-67, it’s something I had to put into practice numerous times when I worked at Classic Auctions. Simply a quick look at each player’s career and find the year that’s common ground for all them. In this case, it’s 1966-67.

Chewed By Panthers

It took six skaters from each team in the shootout before it was decided, and in the end, the Florida Panthers managed to make both Habs fans and Bruins fan unhappy at the same time.

It seems a truly unnatural act – Habs and Bruins fan on the same page. Doesn’t seem right and I never want it to happen again.

The Panthers left town with a 3-2 win over the Habs, with their two points putting them within spitting distance of the Boston Bruins and the final wild card slot in the East. The Canadiens hang onto first place in the East by a thread, tied with the Islanders, who thumped Nashville 5-2 on this same night, but our boys have a game in hand.

It was going so well too. Carey Price was once again allowing nothing. Brendan Gallagher had his team up 2-0 with a couple of nice goals from close in.

But soon after, the walls came tumbling down. Shortly after Gally’s second marker, Florida narrowed it to 2-1. And in the third frame, a shot from Price’s side blew by him and the game was tied.

The Canadiens had two great chances in overtime, first by Tomas Plekanec who swooped in and was promptly denied, and then Max, in the dying seconds, was also in close but couldn’t get a handle on it.

So that’s that. So far in February the boys are five wins and five losses, the first .500 month this season. Although there are still four games left in the month and maybe they can fix that number in a big way.

A couple of players to mention. Jiri Sekac, after being a healthy scratch lately, was a force to be reckoned with. He skated miles, made great plays and had fine chances, and in my mind was his team’s best player. It was much like the last time he returned after being scratched (remember that? His dad was pissed).

Maybe that’s the key with this first-year fellow. Sit him in the press box every so often. Do it again with a few games left before the playoffs start and have him raring to go when it really counts.

P.K. Subban was a bit of a P.K. Most of us have whined at times about our guy not being able to freewheel like he can, and tonight he was full steam ahead. But he also lost the puck on occasion, made some poor decisions, and kept things slightly uneasy and unorganized as he did his dancing and zipping around.

I don’t know what I want from the poor guy. He’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. All I can say is, I’ll take clever over cute, and PK was a bit too cute on this night.

Canadiens outshot the Floridians 39-21, which should’ve translated to a convincing win don’t you think?

Random Notes:

Brendan Gallagher’s first goal of the night marked his 100th NHL point.

Alex Galchenyuk was out with the flu.

Jarred Tinordi found himself in a scrap with Alex Petrovic after Tinordi had sideswiped Tomas Fleischmann.

Word is Alexei Emelin is gone for six weeks or so. I know some Habs fans won’t miss him at all. But I will.

Former Hab Eric Desjardins was inducted into the Philadelphia Flyers Hall of Fame tonight. Fine player, Desjardins. Traded, along with John Leclair and Gilbert Dionne, to Philly in 1995 for Mark Recchi and a draft pick. Not GM Serge Savard’s finest moment.

Are Mad Dog Kelly, Dave Schultz, and Don Saleski in the Flyers HOF?

Next game for the Canadiens – Saturday, when Columbus pays a visit. Once again, time to right the ship.

And one last thing. Even though I mentioned that I might explain my ongoing personal situation, after thinking about it all day, I realize I’m not able to. It’s too sensitive and could affect others, and there’s just no way to write it properly.

 

Habs In Motown, Via Sooke

welcometosooke

Lucy and I saw the Habs and Red Wings clash from a corner table at Buffy’s Pub in Sooke, BC, pop. 11,000, home of nearby Potholes Provincial Park, where, apparently, some great big holes are.

It was a fine experience. A classic West Coast workingman`s pub – chicken wings, cheap beer, loggers, fishermen, a few women scattered about. About as far away from La Cage Aux Sports as you can get.

We watched it online, because, as you can well imagine, there probably aren`t that many bars in BC that subscribe to RDS or pick up Sportsnet East. The quality was pretty darn good, aside from some slight jerkiness, and geez, I could do this more often!

A fine and solid 2-0 win by the boys. Carey Price’s 30th career shutout, which passes Patrick Roy for fifth best in Canadiens history. A much better performance than what we’ve seen lately by those in front of the world`s greatest goalie, which shows us that those bummers against lesser teams are probably some sort of sick team humour thought up by that wild and crazy P.K. Subban, and we just have to play along with the joke, that`s all.

A goal by Tomas Plekanec with 2:30 left in the third to break the scoreless tie, an empty netter from Max, his 26th of the season, to seal it, and a big two points to put some distance on Hotown, er, Motown, and stay just ahead of the pesky Tampa Bay Lightning who lost 4-3 to LA. (Boston lost too!)

The gang stays best in the East. They’re feeling good, I’m feeling good. Buffy’s has cold beer.

Hic. Wish I was still there.

Next up – Canadiens in Ottawa on Wednesday and the Florida Panthers visit the Bell on Thursday. Four big points isn’t too much to ask. And Ottawa and Florida aren’t complete basement dwellers so there’s no reason to lose.

 

Soup Riot

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When Clarence Campbell suspended Maurice Richard for the remaining three games of the season and all of the playoffs in March of 1955, he was not a popular man. To say the least.

Of course Clarence wasn’t popular. His suspension of the Rocket was incredibly harsh, although Maurice did whack Bruins d-man Hal Laycoe a bunch of times with his stick after Laycoe had high-sticked him (which called for five stitches), and there was that coldcocking of linesman Cliff Thompson with a punch or two. But I digress.

Richard fans took to the streets, and as we all know, trashed several blocks of Rue Ste. Catherine, which forever after became known as the Richard Riot, or the St. Patrick’s Day Riot.

But there was more than just smashing and looting. Only ordinary greaseballs simply smash and loot. One disgruntled Habs fan came up with a much more creative protest – design, print and cover Campbell’s soup cans, which was no relation to Clarence, with Maurice Richard labels, and for a short time after the incident, various stores sold their tomato soup this way.

 

Canadiens Drop Preds In OT

They were outplayed in the first period and for much of the second. But it doesn’t mean the Canadiens had to lose.

Because they didn’t.

Outshot 14-4 by the visiting Nashville Predators in the first period, with Carey Price doing what he does best – keeping his team in it.  And shots late in the second frame were in the 14-5 range for the Preds before the boys finally began to shake the cobwebs.

With Price doing his uncanny impersonation of a brick wall, the Canadiens eventually lit the lamp when Alex Galchenyuk deflected a Subbinator blast during a third period power play, and then PK would end it in overtime, again a missile from far out, and again, on the power play.

Preds’ coach Peter Laviolette wasn’t happy that his player (Craig Smith) was called for tripping Lars Eller in overtime, and had plenty to say to the referee as the teams skated off the ice. I hope his mother wasn’t watching.

Unlock a Nashville studio, a sad country song is calling. Your dog dies, your wife leaves you, and you lose in overtime with a man in the sinbin.

Did you ever notice that Laviolette looks a bit like Reggie Mantle from Archie comics? Maybe it’s just me.

Great comeback win against one of the league’s elite squads, and a big two points that gives Montreal a healthy 7 points up on 4th place Boston in the Atlantic Division. It also sees them just 3 points behind Tampa Bay for tops in the East, with the boys having three games in hand.

Great way to head into the All-Star break. Rolling along, feelin’ good, us feelin’ good, Peter Laviolette and Craig Smith feelin’ bad.

Now we wait a full week until the train fires up again, with Dallas at the Bell next Tuesday.

Shots on goal – Preds 37, Canadiens 27. But Pricer was his usual self, and PK enjoyed one of the those games that causes plenty of oohs and aahs from folks at the rink and on couches from Victoria to Vladivostok.

Reggie