It’s the final game of the regular season, the Leafs are in town, making the playoffs for the home team is on the line, and the Canadiens know what they need to do. But will they do it?
How will the Habs play? Will it be a lacklustre effort, or will all four lines come out and play with burning desire?
The first puck dropped and although the Leafs were playing hard, I could feel the Habs would not be denied tonight. They didn’t look as flat as in previous games, and when Andrei Markov banked one in off Mikhail Grabovski’s skate, life was good if you were a Habs fan.
Good right up until the time Jaroslav Halak hesitated with the puck, and suddenly the game was tied.
Is a bad goal a killer tonight, or will the Habs regroup, continue to play hard, and fight through this miscue? Only time will tell.
And in the end, time didn’t tell much at all. Montreal played well in general, although folks might say it certainly wasn’t the case with Jaroslav Halak and Roman Hamrlik, but others came to play and it was nice to see. Benoit Pouliot dinged a couple of posts and continues to be snake-bitten, but otherwise played a dangerous and effective game. Scott Gomez enjoyed his best night in weeks, maybe months, Andrei Markov played like an all-star, Maxim Lapierre played one of his better hard-working plumber roles, Marc-Andre Bergeron blasted away, and indeed, the team managed a point to enter the playoffs after an exciting, back-and-forth show at the Bell Centre.
But they lost the game in overtime, 4-3 to the pesky Leafs, and now enter the playoffs backwards. Should we rejoice?
Jaroslav Halak played like he’d never handled the puck before, and was nonchalant on a couple of occasions when he should have been bearing down. He was definitely out of sorts on this night.
Roman Hamrlik shows everyone that it’s not only Hal Gill who’s a slow-footed defenceman. Hamrlik got burned in a race a couple ot times tonight and showed big signs that his career is winding down.
Montreal blew the lead three times on this night, and blowing leads is what they do best. This will spell disaster for them in the post-season.