Somehow, when we were least expecting it, the Montreal Canadiens became a playoff team. And very soon, they’ll make believers of everyone. It hasn’t happened yet, but it will. All the team has to do is keep doing what they’re doing, and that’s winning. Gary Bettman and NBC are sick to their stomachs, but Habs fans are thrilled.
The series between the little engine that could and the defending Stanley Cup champions is now, like crazy magic, tied after a juicy 3-1 win in enemy territory. And it was done with a bunch of blue collar defencemen rolling up their sleeves after losing the one star the Habs have on the blueline, Andrei Markov. Everyone - forwards and defence -chipped in in this crucial game two, and they got it done.
And everyone who thinks the Canadiens will fall flat anytime soon and are overmatched by Sidney Crosby and company are slowly-but-surely being proved wrong. Alex Ovechkin and the Caps couldn’t do it. Why does everyone think the Pens will be too much?
These factory workers, minus Andrei Markov and Jaroslav Spacek, worked hard and stuck to what Jacques Martin asked them to do, which was to be patient and not get caught out of position. They got great goaltending from Jaroslav Halak after an off-night in game one, and maybe best of all, penalty-killers kllled a slew of penalties and made Sidney Crosby almost invisible.
This team, with hard-core labour which stamps them as blue-collar, along with Halak standing tall, has a chance to knock off the mighty Pittsburgh Penguins. Just like they did to the other mighty team. It’s enough to make us shake our heads in amazement. Heck, I can almost see people taking them seriously if that happened.
They started slow on this night, and it began to make me wonder why I raced home from work to see it. In fact, it looked like the Penguins might score at will. But they didn’t. They ran into blocked shots, great goaltending, and a team that clogs up the ice and frustrates. Before our very eyes, the Montreal Canadiens have become the New Jersey Devils.
But I’m not complaining. They’re doing what they need to do to win games. All of a sudden I’m a Jacques Martin fan. Maybe he’s the best coach in the league after all! Keep doing this, Jacques, and we’ll love you like a brother.
Brian Gionta had one goal and Mike Cammellari had two. Two small guys who weren’t supposed to be effective in the playoffs, as the experts told us all year.
If the game wasn’t so important and close, it would’ve been almost funny how Marc-Andre Bergeron screws up in his own end. I like the guy, he’s got the big shot and all that, but somehow he’s got to unscrew his head and screw it back on properly.
Onward to Montreal. And will some great doctor please step forward and fix Spacek’s illness that has kept him out of the lineup for six games now.
I had to watch the game later on because I was working and keeping the economy going while you were lounging about on the couch.