Miracle Completed! Canadiens Remove Caps

Not many gave them a chance, these Montreal Canadiens. Studio analysts laughed and smirked at the mere thought of it. There was no way the Habs, a team who had just squeaked into the playoffs by the skin of their teeth, were going to stop the mighty Washington Capitals, who most thought would go all the way with a high-powered offence of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin, Mike Green and a cast of thousands. 

But the Canadiens fought back from down three games to one, winning three straight, and a miracle has happened which won’t be forgotten shortly. Thank you, Montreal Canadiens, you made us proud tonight.

The Canadiens won this game 2-1, they held on in the end while down two players, and I’ve just set a new record for holding my breath – 60 minutes. They blocked and stopped and didn’t panic, and carried out a game plan that has – and I’m still in shock just saying it – slayed the big machine.

They did it and it’s time to celebrate. And we’ll enjoy it now and remember how Jaroslav Halak performed in this series, how Hal Gill and Josh Gorges blocked shots, and how the team – everyone – did what they had to do to stop the Goliath that is the Washington Capitals.

What a difference between last year and now. The Canadiens bowed out four straight to Boston, and we kind of knew they might. They went quietly, and we waited for another year to see if things would change. And how it has. This is a team with personality now, with heart, and the whole episode stirs the souls of Habs fans everywhere.

Christopher said all along the Capitals could be had, and Danno swore it would be won in game seven. All Habs fans hoped and believed, and we all knew it was a formidable task at hand. I also remember watching Sportsnet Hockey Central, and Doug MacLean and the others laughed a hearty laugh when the question was raised if the Habs could pull off an upset.

They’re not laughing now. No one’s laughing except us. Canadiens eliminate Washington, and I’m going for a beer.

Random Notes:

Marc-Andre Bergeron opened the scoring on the power play, and Dominic Moore notched the big, beautiful mother of a game-seven winner.

Jaroslav Halak did what we needed him to do. Elevate his game, and provide some of the greatest goaltending seen in a long, long time. It’s what the playoffs are all about.

It’s not going to get any easier, because now it’s the defending champs, the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are up next on the menu. Game one starts Friday. Bring ‘em on.

24 thoughts on “Miracle Completed! Canadiens Remove Caps”

  1. Dennis,

    People laughed at me when I said the Habs would take it in seven after we were down three games to one. My friends laughed at me, my wife laughed at me, perfect strangers laughed at me. Mimes in the park laughed at me. Even dogs laughed at me.

    But HO HO HO!

    Who’s got the last laugh now!!!!

    Us guys!

    I am so happy this wild and crazy ride continues and Dennis; your merry bunch of mojo-makers deserve all the credit for this incredible season.

    Jusqu’HALAKoupe!

  2. Three cheers! And 3 more for Halak the incredible 8th round draft pick with the uncanny Dryden/Tretiak traits of hockey past. Y’all should be proud (and I know you are!) I would sure like to know what he’s been eating the last few days…Dennis, have you been sharing recipes??

  3. Danno, you and all the others who found my site and who have been contributing so nicely over the season, I just want to say thank you.

  4. TV analysts (though Craig MacTavish picked Habs) forgot the Caps always push things to seven games. Caps played right into the trap. Habs know how to win a game 7. Frankly I think the Caps derailed immediately after that 5-on-3 kill by Gorges, Gill and Pleks/Pyatt where they didn’t allow a shot on goal until the puck rolled slowly into Jaro to cover up. They got frustrated just like I thought they would. They played like individuals just like I thought they would. Our guys buzzing gave their D fits. And who doesn’t know how to read that team yet? Video replay was well studied that even Price was giving lectures about how to play that team to the radio press two days before game 1. Never mind the playoff “difficulties” Green and Semin have. My bigger worry was with Fehr (scored), Knubble net crashin (did it), and Backstrom (their best player).

    A bounce here. A smarter defensive play there. Habs would have won this in 5.

    Pens will be much harder even if Fleury is a little shakey these days. And prepare to hate Matt Cooke more than you might already hate him. I just hope he doesn’t hurt anyone…

  5. Important points:

    – no injuries and less than two games to next game. Habs will be on a high.
    – ability to block is simply amazing.
    – still no captain but now the Habs know they have at least 6 captains to choose from
    – Pittsburgh on same level with Washington so next will be tough but now Habs believe
    – Halak story of the playoffs and everyone knows it
    – Spacek will be back, hope PK stays
    – Incredible game, too stressfu though

  6. Just before Moore’s goal, I was wondering what happened to Montreal’s forecheck. I was getting really worried watching them just dump the puck out and waiting for the next wave of attack. Right on cue, Lapierre showed a lot of hustle and out worked the defence allowing Moore to pick up the puck unchecked.

    Is there any precedent for a team declining a penalty? Washington was creating more chances 5 on 5 than 6 on 4. 1 for 33 overall, ouch.

    To everyone who predicted Washington in four, did you feel that jolt? That was the result of millions jumping on the Montreal bandwagon. The more the merrier, the better the atmosphere. Oh to be celebrating in the streets of Montreal. What a party it’s going to be for the next few days.

  7. Hey…we’re now the greatest threat in the league. . We’re also a big scare to the other guys. Hey,,,We’re Habs fans and we don’t give up. In addition, we still offer a chance for thay Cup to come back home along wilh the CANUCKS so … regardless of the end result, I want to hear ”We Are The Champions ” and ” GO HABS GO” in the stands. I’m a die-hard “Habs” fan but as long as the Cup gets back to where it belongs, everything’s okay.By the way…I did say that I was going to make special preparations for this game and I did. I’ll let you all know tomorrow.
    Cheers everybody,
    Mikey D.

  8. I did actually pick the Montreal Canadiens to win this series on my blog, so at least you’ve got one pundit who believed in the Canadiens. Lo and behold, I was right, with Montreal winning just as I thought they would- defence, structure and goaltending. The Washington Capitals were too predictable in their attack, their defence outside of John Carlson was abominable and their goaltending was atrocious, and the Canadiens picked those weaknesses apart. This series was closer than it should have been (I agree with Number31, this should have been a five-game set), but Montreal won in the end and that’s all that matters. Jaroslav Halak was sensational, so much so that I’m going to pick up TSN’s James Duthie and start using “Halakian” myself, because his performance was epic. As soccer pundit Andy Gray would say, “take a bow son, take a bow”. He deserves it.

    I’d also like to point out- lost among Halak’s sensational stats- is that he never once gave up the lead in the last three games. Sure he didn’t post a shutout, but not relinquishing the lead is most important. If that’s not the definition of clutch goaltending, I don’t know what is.

    What a series this was. I’ll remember this for a LONG time. Hope there’s more in the future.

    -DG

  9. DG – For me, game two said a lot. First, that Montreal had a 4-1 lead, and although they blew it, it showed that they were in it in a very real way. I started to really believe after the split in Washington that hey, maybe it’s possible. And you’re absolutely right. Washington was very predictable, especially Ovie. I think Crosby has many more dimensions to his game. I think the Canadiens showed the league how this Russian can be neutralized.

  10. This is amazing, they’ve done the improbable, I’m so proud of the boys!

    Bring on Sidney Crybaby

  11. Dennis, Sister Nancy and I were screaming and cheering for CH! Unbelieveable!! The look on Ted Leonsis’ face was the best part.

    Go Habs Go!!!!!!!!

  12. This Sens fan wanted the Penguins first round matchup. But missing 2 top 6 forwards and a top 4 d-man was to much to overcome.
    But you guys are healthy and on a roll. And if Halak can continue to play out of his mind and Fleury be nothing more than ordinary…you’ve got a shot. GO GET EM!!!!!!! JW.

  13. I was so impressed with how our guys helped out Halak by blocking shots and clearing rebounds. As usual, I had my burger, beverage (not tea) and wore my special hat and shirt. Because it was game seven, I didn’t want to watch it alone so I had Dryden on my right, Saku Koivu on my left and two smiling Habs fans in front. Actually, it was a cap on a Habs cushion, a mini jersey and a photo of Mr. Kane and myself. The panel members are probably still choking on the crow they ate, especially “Big Mac”. I bet those birds from Pittsburgh wish they could fly because after we take care of them, they could just flap their wings and head upwards rather than shake hands on the ice in Montreal. Habs in six. YEAH !

  14. Don’t miss this exciting sequel coming soon to the Bell Centre…

    March of the Penguins II ——> To the golf course with Crosby & co.

    Also, here’s another video for your viewing pleasure. Originally from the official NHL.com site but now making the rounds…

  15. Dennis- I loved how Hal Gill called out Alexander Ovechkin and his “signature move” (drive on the wing, cut to the inside and shoot) after a game earlier in the series (Game 4 I thin) and Ovie *still* did it many times afterward. Yeah this team scored a lot during the regular season, but the Canadiens series showed they benefited a lot from the lapses in focus that defences are prone to in the regular season as well as the greater opportunity to play against weaker defences and goaltending in general. Plus, you have to wonder how good the Capitals really were- of their 121 points, 40 out of a possible 48 came out of the weak Southeast Division, tops in the NHL (Montreal, by the way, had 26 points, 20th in the NHL and second-last among playoff teams). It’s things like that and Montreal’s superiority in defence and in goaltending that made me believe the Canadiens had a real chance against Washington- and I was right.

    -DG

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