For as long as there has been and will be Montreal Canadiens-Toronto Maple Leaf hockey games, there will be barnburners, surprises, see-saw battles, and spirited play. Seems like it’s always been this way. Like tonight. And in the end, it took a shootout to decide the outcome, after one team blew a late-game two-goal lead, only to pull it out in dramatic fashion.
It was back and forth, with goal posts hit and bodies flying and intensity oozing through every crack. It was Charlie Conacher and Toe Blake, Bill Barilko and Rocket Richard, Guy Lafleur and Darryl Sittler. It was squeals from the crowd and no one leaving early.
It was also not perfect, and both coaches, Jacques Martin and Ron Wilson, are now checking their scalps for patches of hair loss.
The Canadiens won the shootout with goals by Mike Cammallera and Scott Gomez, and the team gains two points, but kudos also to the Toronto Maple Leafs who didn’t take a back seat at anytime, who almost won the thing, and walked away with an important point. The final score was Habs-5, Leafs-4. And fans got their money’s worth.
What else can I say? The Habs blew a late 4-2 lead and had to settle for a shootout win. The outcome is good, the situation isn’t great. They made the Leafs and Mike Komisarek look extremely respectable. And that’s unacceptable.
You have no idea how much I hate the barber pole uniform the Habs have been forced to wear. With every breath I take, I wish these uniforms would be eaten by moths the way Roch Carrier’s Toronto Maple Leafs sweater was. It took me most of the first period to even associate those barber poles with the Montreal Canadiens.
For me, and for most Habs fans, there’s only one jersey, and that’s the classic CH. These Ottawa 67′s, (Ottawa’s junior team who wear a similar style) as Chris described them as and he’s dead-on, were fine last year – once – as part of the centennial celebrations. Now it’s time to take them out to the back and burn them.
Secondly, the goaltending decision.
Jaroslav Halak let in four goals on Wednesday against Pittsburgh before Carey Price replaced him, and then Price played the next game against Chicago, a game he played well in. Price deserved to start this game tonight and I was completely taken aback when I heard Halak was playing. I am, as they say, befuddled.
Two players I’ve been a little critical of lately, Hal Gill and Guillaume Larendresse, both scored.
Habs host Atlanta on Tuesday.