One Play Sucked The Life Out Of Montreal

It was their best 39 minutes and 53 seconds of the year. For what it’s worth.

The beginning of the end came when Montreal allowed a devastating, frustrating, mind-boggling shorthanded goal with seven seconds left in the second period with the Habs leading 2-1 at the time and playing their finest game of the year. Seven seconds. Seven lousy, stinking seconds.

I hate shorthanded goals against the Habs more than anything else in hockey. I hate shorthanded goals that tie games. I hate them when things are going so well up until then. And I hate them when there’s just seconds left. 

That goal, by Mike Knuble, loaded the gun. And the trigger was pulled in the third.

A 6-3 disaster on home ice, and the end is near.

Should we blame Roman Hamrlik for allowing the Capitals to pull away with a two-man rush with time winding down when the Habs were dominating and on the power play? I’m just going to come out and say yes. That goal killed them, sucked the soul out of them, and gave Washington extra juices that were almost as good as steroids.

With only seconds left until the end of the period, conservatism is the key word.

Theoren Fleury, on TSN’s Off The Record a few months ago, was asked how he would describe Roman Hamrlik. “A gutless puke,” replied Fleury, as obviously something had happened in the past which I have no idea of because I haven’t read Fleury’s book. And although “gutless” doesn’t describe Hamrlik tonight, maybe “game-killing decision on the ice” might. 

For more than 50 years I’ve agonized and suffered deeply when the Canadiens lose a big playoff game. Even when they were the class of the league I could never stomach it. It ruins my day, and the next. And tonight, especially with the shorthanded goal, this loss ranks right up with any of them.

36 thoughts on “One Play Sucked The Life Out Of Montreal”

  1. another thing. why does jm go with 4 lines with the game on the line when he should shorten the bench? of course we all know the answer.

  2. Despite what the shot counter indicates, I thought the Habs out-played the Caps for most of the 3rd period. Washington started strong for about a minute, but Montreal had control until a couple small mistakes ended up in our net.
    How with seconds left, did Moore turn into Lafleur and show us how easy it is to score? Where was that impersonation before it was too little too late?

  3. Agreed Dennis, the Capitals made much more of their opportunities. For me Montreal was full of life for at about 17 minutes of the third period. It was their ability to finish plays that sucked and had no life, but that was true for most of the game.
    I’m also discounting 2 of those 4 goals. Not sure why, since the plays leading up to them were half-hearted.

  4. Chris. When that shorthanded goal was scored I just couldn’t believe it. Especially after it had happened in the previous game. But this one, to tie it with seven seconds left, just killed all concerned. I sprang off my couch and walked around in circles for several minutes.

  5. While I was playing a gig last night…. I had my head turned to the right quite a bit… watching what I could on the big screen TV.

    I was quite optimistic going into the 3rd… at break time I was sitting with some people I know.

    A very charming (and cute) Leafs fan…. who felt it necessary to remind me that we (the Habs) were loosing…. she was however nice enough to wipe away the tears from my eyes (ok, I was just pretending).

    I don’t know. At times in this series the Habs have come out with more jump then I’ve expected.

    But you just can’t give Washington ANY offensive chances. Because they’ll burn you quick.

  6. Hey Dennis, I find myself saying the same as you,after the shorthanded goal was scored the Habs could not come back.I thought they had a handle on the play leading up to that goal,and even in the third period,I thought Carey played well,not great though.I think that he could have played better but there were some terrible passes in our end which caused havoc.I was all set to celebrate victory last nite ,I went to bed early instead.

  7. I think the turning point of the game was when one of the commentators said “Martin is playing lines similar to the ones he put on the ice when they were up 4-1 in game 2”

  8. Dennis, there is nothing to say to make you feel better. Drink heavily and avoid driving and operating equipment. Salut!

  9. Varlamov was the deciding factor. He closed the gate on us in the second, and we would have come out ahead by a lot if he wasn’t playing so well.
    In the playoffs, it all comes down to goaltending.

    And now it’s time for me to update my prediction:

    Habs in seven.


  10. DK, in my opinion I think Price is trying to play himself out of Montreal. The assinine penalty he took for shooting & hitting a Cap’s player after a nice goal has proved to me he as yet not grown up & I’m wondering if he ever will, stupid I can only guess what his teammates thought of that childish act! Like I said in an earlier post we will be looking back to game 2, we lost the series then!!
    From the East !!!

  11. @Christopher Cordahi – Don’t know which game you had on but the shot counter was a true reflection of how badly the Habs were out played in the 3rd. Unfortunately, after the SH goal the writing was on the wall. The Caps have the incredible ability to turn the power on at will. Like a cat with a mouse, plays with it for a while then snaps its neck!
    Diane S. has the right prescription for what ails us.

  12. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Hamrlik had money on the Caps to win, absolutely brutal, I’d sit his ass next game.

  13. I was pretty pissed at end of second. i too sprang off the couch and walked around. lol. I think Halak will get start in DC. He can pull it off I think. Price I thought came and played well but weak when we needed him most. The boys played well apart from a couple of huge mistakes. the caps can be beaten. One game at a time. If they get by tomorrow and extend it will become more and more difficult for the caps to win. They can be beaten. Habs in 7!

  14. Yves, you rock guys get all the chicks. And I agree the Habs have come out with more jump than expected, but their jump only lasts for a period or two. Then it’s lights out.

  15. Derry, For me, Price made me nervous. You know the feeling when you see a goalie and he’s in the zone so much it’s going take a real lucky bounce to beat him? I haven’t felt this way about Price all year. But I’m still a supporter. I just think he’s not ready yet.

  16. Diane, I’m feeling bad for you. You come over from the Bruins because they were underachieving and now look at them. And look at the Habs. If you stay a Habs fan, I’m surprised and also happy.

  17. Danno, I like your prediction. They just need one little bit of tweaking. QUIT BLOWING FREAKING LEADS.

  18. Mike, Price isn’t ready. He might become an all-star, but he’s a couple of years away at least. I admit he makes me nervous.

  19. Another Chris – Diane always comes up with the best suggestions. She was a staunch Bruins fan and joined us this year and she’s a lovely gal. If Montreal could hold a lead they’d not only be in better shape now but they would have ended up with about ten more points in the season. Thanks for your comment. C’mon back!

  20. d – it was so brutal I might have thrown a brick through my TV if I had one. Geez I’m glad I didn’t have one. The TV’s pretty new. And Hamrlik? I’m with you – brutal. He’s way too slow now and the sun is setting on his career.

  21. I had the same feeling about Hamrlik. “He’s being paid to throw the game” was indeed the thought that went though my head. The next thought, after Washington scored, was “bench that idiot for the entire third period, and bring up Subban for Game 5”. If you taped the game, you should go back and look at the Caps’ go-ahead goal. Hamrlik. Again. Don’t know why he was getting so much third period ice time after that botch with time running out in the 2nd, but I guess Martin figured he couldn’t afford to sit him. Personally, I think he could have given O’Byrne more minutes instead. I also notice Hamrlik plays worse when he plays in front of Price.
    In an effort to end on a positive note, Hal Gill has really stepped up his game in the playoffs, and has surprised me with some really smart moves game after game.

  22. Hi John. Not only is Hamrlik very slow but his days as an NHL’er are coming to a close. I hate repeating it but that shorthanded goal sucked the life out of both the team and the fans. I’m also very curious to know what happend with Theo Fleury and Hamrlik for Fleury to call him a “gutless puke.” Thanks for your good comments.

  23. John, you are right about Hal Gill stepping up his game. But did you also notice how Gill was standing next to Price after he got pulled and was talking to him in what appeared to be a very positive and encouraging manner? The big guy looked every inch a strong leader. There he was, proud and stoic, beside the kid for him to lean on at a difficult point in time of their hard-fought battle. I was kind of touched by it to tell you the truth.

  24. Gill took alot of criticism…. as soon as he was signed.

    I heard and read alot of people crap on Gainey for that signing…. but this really seems to be Gill’s time of year. He’s really stepped it up and by all accounts he’s a great dressing room guy.

    I can see why he and Scuderi were so strong in the Pens cup run last year.

    Dennis, I don’t get all the chicks…. but I’ve been able to meet a few… lookin’ for a nice girl!

  25. Yves, any chicks you’re interested in must be approved by us first. She must be a Habs fan, she must let you write your blog, and she must also read my blog.

  26. haha.. that sounds like a fair test. Quietly reading Habs blogs to one another at candle light…. sound like a date or what??

  27. I think coaching makes a huge difference i.e. Phoenix, LA, Bulldogs,Wash, Sens, Pitts. Hope we don,t lose Guy Boucher to another team.

  28. Hey Zak. Yeah, Martin’s been questionable all along. Coaching is so important. It’s knowing which players to put out when. If they put the wrong guys out there, they’ve been outcoached. Thanks.

  29. Defence was flat, like Keira Knightley. it was a disgrace to watch. We played great offensively, but no one tried to stop Ovechkin. All we can do is hope for a miracle.

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