Sadly, the Montreal Canadiens will not be challenging the 1979 Philadelphia Flyers’ astonishing record of going unbeaten in the first 35 games of the season. They were on their way, mind you, but got stalled at game three. One little game has screwed up the whole record-breaking process.
Montreal played a great game at the Saddledome in Calgary Tuesday night. Yes, they lost 4-3, and yes, they had a letdown in the second period, but overall, they skated hard. I was proud of them. Fans got their money’s worth. For many of the Saddledomians, there were times when it was even more exciting than chuckwagon races.
Jaroslav Halak was in goal for the Habs, and as an official armchair quarterback, I think Carey Price should’ve been in goal. This was a big game, Calgary’s a strong team, and it’s only game three for gawd’s sakes. Price could’ve played in both Calgary and Vancouver, and then Halak could’ve stepped in in Edmonton Saturday night. Why not go with Price? He’s young, he’s in shape, he’s not burnt out, and he’s been hot. Why change? You think Ken Dryden or Jacques Plante only played two straight and then sat?
Three players earned their first goals in this game – Scott Gomez, Guillaume Latendresse, and Tomas Plekanec. The Gomez line, with Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta, skated miles. They were part of the reason the crowd got their money’s worth. There’s going to be lots of thrills and spills this year with these three. Some good old fire-wagon hockey. Stay healthy, boys.
The Flames wore their old uniforms and it looked like Patterson and Peplinski out there. But on closer examination, it was only Prust and Pardy. And naturally, Montreal fans were scattered throughout, as will be the case in Vancouver Wednesday and Edmonton Saturday. It goes without saying that when the Habs come to these western cities, it’s a big night for their fans. It’s a beautiful thing.
Of course, it’s much more beautiful when they win.
The Vancouver game is now getting into my territory, with Vancouver only two ferry rides away. It’s one of my big nights, a game I check first when the schedule comes out. It’s very important the Habs win this one. Not just for them and the standings, but for me. I need to have some bragging rights for a change. I’m a goldfish in a sea of carp.
Montreal has done very poorly in Vancouver, at least since 1996, winning just four while losing nine to the Canucks. I can’t stand it. This needs to be changed and I can’t think of a better time to start than Wednesday night.