What could have been.
The Canadiens could’ve gone back to Montreal with a seriously surprising 2-0 series lead. But they aren’t. Like a bad dream, they relinquished a 4-1 lead, and then a 5-4 edge late in the game, and in the end, the Montreal Canadiens settle for a split in Washington after losing the damn thing 6-5 in overtime.
But one thing’s for sure. The lucky people in the stands at the Bell Centre on Monday night should stand and applaud long and hard for the heroic Habs. They’re scaring the wits out of the Washington Capitals and their fans. They’re in the series in a big way, and I’m proud of them.
And it’s sure nice to see the scorers coming to life after a season of stops and starts.
But this one hurts. Almost as much as Jaroslav Halak hurts after the referees allowed the Capitals to storm the crease, pummelling the Habs goaltender with body shots and head shots and knocking him around so much that on any other night, in any other rink with any other team, the penalty box would’ve been packed with interfering players.
Sure, they got this one, these Caps. But they know they’re in a dogfight, Montreal knows for sure now that they can win this series, and Habs fans should be a disappointed but very proud bunch right now.
Andrei Kostitsyn had three big goals on this night, adding to the group of offensive guys on the team who have finally started scoring. Brian Gionta and Tomas Plekanec also lit the light.
Montreal is playing well but needs to tighten up even more. No lead is safe, it seems.
There had better be some serious discussions with the powers-that-be about the roughing up of Jaroslav Halak. The cynic in me says if all that roughhousing in the Montreal crease was at the other end instead, there would’ve been a steady stream of Habs skating to the box.
As much as I disliked New York Islanders goalie Billy Smith in the 1980’s, you can be sure that he wouldn’t have taken any of that nonsense. Several Caps players might be nursing broken ankles right now.