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.
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.