On this night in Philadelphia, there would be no Erik Cole scoring three goals, or PK Subban skating like he was on crystal meth. There would also be no power play goals in five tries, no outstanding goaltending from Peter Budaj, and just a tad of toughness when Ryan White decided to be rambunctious and ornery.
And officially, there is now no chance of making the playoffs, as the Habs, in losing 4-1 in Philadelphia, become mathematically eliminated.
It was only a matter of time, of course, we all knew it, and Montreal did it the way they have so many times this season. They came out flat, managed 4 shots on goal in the first period, and played that uninspired game that we’ve come to know and not love. And it came just 24 hours after displaying an excellent and spirited effort against Ottawa.
A big and successful game one night, and thud the next. It harkens back to February 11, when the Canadiens waltzed into Toronto and blew out the home team 5-0, creeping to within four points (I think), of the eighth and final playoff spot. We were feeling that maybe they were actually coming around, and then pffft. The Habs would lose 7 of their next 8 and the season was over for all intents and purposes.
I’m used to this sort of thing now, only I’ve never heard a decent explanation why they can be wonderful on one night, and suck immediately after. And the only thing I can take away from a game like this is that it seems Philadelphia would handle Ottawa if they met in the playoffs, judging by these last two Habs games.
Daniel Briere scored a couple of power play goals for the Flyers, (they would have three odd-man goals in total on this night), and Briere is a fine player, at least whenever I’ve seen him play, which isn’t that often, I’ll admit. He would have been such a nice addition to the Canadiens’ lineup, could”ve been very much a hero in Montreal, a French-Canadian sharpshooter, but he wasn’t interested when the Canadiens wooed him in 2007. Maybe I don’t blame him. Maybe there’s something to be said for peace and tranquillity far from 24 hour a day hockey madness.
Tomas Plekanec scored Montreal’s lone goal when he deked Ilya Bryzgalov out of his jock strap. Plekanec had another couple of breakaways, but that’s not news. He gets several every game. And once in awhile he scores on one.
Next game – Tuesday, when the Florida Panthers pay a visit.
I suppose now that the Habs are officially done, maybe it’s time to screw around with lines and let some of the young guys like Louis Leblanc move up and enjoy more ice time. Blake Geoffrion seems to have played himself out of a spot right now, and maybe some big minutes might help him turn a corner. Or at least give the coaches a better idea of what to do with the young fellow.
And if I were a coach, I’d be reading the riot act to Rene Bourque. This guy is becoming a bigger version of Scott Gomez, and it’s unacceptable. We’ve had it up to here with underachievers.