It was payback time for the Montreal Canadiens. And in the process a statement was made by all concerned that the Habs are indeed a good team, a team that has every intention of moving up the standings, and a team that isn’t nearly as bad as they’ve looked recently.
It was only last Sunday when the Canadiens went into New York after losing badly in Ottawa, and the Rangers were not gracious hosts. Montreal grabbed a two-goal lead and promptly proceeded to fall apart in an embarrassing and rock-bottom 6-2 whipping.
But how things can change. First it’s a solid 3-1 win in Newark, New Jersey against the tough Devils, and tonight, back home where the crowd loves you, win or tie, the Canadiens blasted Henrik Lundqvist and his New York Rangers 6-0, with Jaroslav Halak playing like a, well, number one goalie in a well-earned, solid 32 shot shutout.
I hate to repeat myself, but I feel the release of Georges Laraque has re-born the club. There’s less talk about not eating meat and loving your brother and more talk about ramming the enemy through the boards and spitting out some chicklets. Just business at hand. Everyone showed up for work, yesterday and today. Mike Cammalleri scored two and added two assists in this lop-sided win that makes Habs fans smile for a change. Benoit Pouliot banged home his 12th and continues to remind us of just what we had needed all along – a big, French-Canadian scoring sensation wearing the Montreal Canadien colours. If he can keep it up and be the special player we’ve craved for through these dark days, Pouliot will go from being half-buried in the frozen tundra of Minnesota to hero of a province and Habs fans everywhere. It’s what Daniel Briere had a chance to become but declined.
Pouliot can be all this and more.
Scott Gomez and Tomas Plekanec also scored along with Pouliot’s one and Cammalleri’s two. Seeing Gomez and Plekanec getting it done makes me want to twist and shout.
Habs head to Florida for a Tuesday tilt with the Panthers and then a Wednesday visit to Tampa Bay. After that, it’s payback time again when they go to Ottawa to take on the Sens and club some Capital keester.
Canadiens put themselves back in a playoff spot, holding down 8th in the east. It’s now the Boston Bruins sitting in 9th and on the bubble.