It was going to be such a night of sheer joy for Canadiens fans throughout the land. A comeback against a big and solid Flyers team. A tie late in the third after being down 3-1. Everything in place and the roof poised to blow off.
And then, like a bad dream, two late goals by Philadelphia in just over a minute and the wind got sucked out of us like a punch in the gut from Mike Tyson.
Habs fall 5-3, their third straight loss. And it was going so well too.
It began horribly enough as we had to suffer through Pierre McGuire say, in describing the Flyers, that “size matters” not once, not twice, but five times in the first period. He was obviously very proud of himself for coming up with this little catchphrase.
And even worse, PK Subban, working on a confidence problem, turned the puck over with just 18 seconds left in the first and just like that, the home team was forced to play catch-up. Falling behind is bad enough. Falling behind with 18 seconds remaining after a PK mistake has a taste similar to the grotesque moonshine my friends and I used to make.
Subban made up for it however, in the second period, when he blasted one home with the Canadiens enjoying a two-man advantage, and I suppose the old confidence thermometer rose again.
In the third, Philadelphia took a stranglehold 3-1 lead before Tomas Plekanec, in what has been a sad rarity lately, scored and the gap was narrowed to 3-2. Brian Gionta finally tied it, the Bell Centre went wild, and my living room was like having the Beatles play live in front of me.
A magical and dramatic comeback win was in the works and it reminded me at this stage how hockey can be so beautiful when the favourite team is doing the job.
Unfortunately, the cold rains came. PK was too soft with the puck in clearing, a goal resulted from this lackadaisical faux pas, and the old confidence thermometer dipped again I’m sure. And with the Flyers scoring another shortly after, it didn’t even give us a chance to pull Carey Price and continue the dramatics.
This loss is about as heartbreaking as it can get.
Max Pacioretty was a force in his first game this season, and he should be a great addition. I’d like to add here that although David Desharnais in Hamilton may be a solid point-getter and is probably a fine person, do we really need another little forward in the lineup? Desharnais, bless his heart, is 5’7, like Brian Gionta.
Shots on goal – 41-30 Montreal. It’s somewhat similar to the Detroit game in that the Habs show they can compete with the big teams, but lose anyway.
Next up – Boston visits on Thursday night. There’s no need to mention how a win is crucial here.