So Close And Now So Far

The Canadiens fall 3-2 in overtime when Martin St. Louis beat Dustin Tokarski, but the Montrealers absolutely made it a game, although it took two and a half periods before it clicked in.

Imagine if the Habs’ non-contributors were contributing? But when a team gets by with just a handful playing well and still takes it into overtime, it says a lot.

The Rangers aren’t that good. We’re playing without half the team.

Too many periods in these 2014 playoffs when the Canadiens have been outplayed. And yet, another game that was so close, that could’ve gone in their favour.

How close? A puck rang off the inside of the post and out again from Alex Galchenyuk with three minutes left in the third that would’ve won it.

The series only a fraction of an inch from being tied, and now it’s a 3-1 lead for New York going back to Montreal. But many good things happened in that third to give us hope, because finally the boys in general came alive and pushed.

Not everyone, but many.

Just so disheartening. Losing in overtime. And seeing guys still not showing up.

One thing’s for sure. This isn’t the same P.K. Subban we saw in the Boston series, although he tied the game in the third on a shot from the point that appeared to deflect off Brendan Gallagher.

But he doesn’t have that swagger, that dangerous flamboyance that causes fans in other buildings to boo him. The MSG folks have had no reason to let him have it.

Maybe at some point we’ll hear why PK has slowed down. Maybe he’s burned out.

Again Thomas Vanek did very little and there’s no sense dwelling on this. He is what he is.

But having said that, if you haven’t yet come close to showing up and you’re in the third round of the playoffs, it’s a serious problem. And Vanek hasn’t shown up. We need him, and that’s why it’s so maddening.

DD showed up. Gally showed up. Francis Bouillon, inserted into the lineup in place of Nathan Beaulieu, tied the game at one in the second period with a nice shot. Weaver sacrificed his body for the team.

Lots of guys showed up, although for many, not until the third. But lots haven’t yet. The clock’s ticking, and if we don’t see all hands on deck on Tuesday, with everyone giving their all, then we know for sure this team has a ways to go yet before we start thinking about the big prize.

There are no passengers on teams that go all the way. That’s not how it works. It takes blood, sweat and more sweat from every guy. The young Edmonton Oilers found that out when they lost to the New York Islanders in 1983 after the Islanders, banged, bruised, and exhausted, had just won their fourth straight title.

The Oilers learned from the Islanders that it takes supreme sacrifice, ridiculous amounts of hard work, and the willingness to do whatever it takes, even if it hurts like hell.

We’re not seeing that from a number of Canadiens. Although there’s still time. Not much though.

All we can do now is hope we see every single guy give his all from here on in. If we don’t see that, then the time definitely isn’t yet here to even think about Lord Stanley.




18 thoughts on “So Close And Now So Far”

  1. There were a few bright spots —the Toker being the 500 watt type. As the powerplay goes downhill, so does the hopes of the next round. The ineptness of clearing the zone is depressing , the absence of the Bruins as opponents is our downfall. I just can’t understand the difference in the Habs this series from the last two—-they were on a mission with seemingly nothing able to distract them. Let them NOT give me the Price injury as an excuse, ’cause they have a above average replacement in the kid. We as fans did not start the season’s rallying cry –No Excuses Can they come back??— not the Habs from THIS series—— the Habs from the previous two series?—no problem!! Maybe there’s things happening that I don’t understand about team sports, fatigue, momentum,whatever[Rangers face same things though] but 0 for 8 on the powerplay SUCKS! I sadly admit that this team in it,s current state would be run outta town against the Kings or Hawks so if we’re going for # 25, LOTS has to change, and Many have to change. Am I ticked at our team— yes and no. The yes part refers to the yapping by coach and players. I see these playoffs as an opportunity for Bergeron to get some clarity on who-who not to sign or chase this summer. Let’s not go out with a wimper!

  2. I am absolutely sick.

    Vanek and Gionta sealed their fate with me. The captain’s lack of fire this round has been appalling; YOU ARE THE LEADER! Act like it.

    It’s not over, but the effort this round indicates some players want the season to end tomorrow. That’s so disappointing…

  3. For a moment, we had it.

    And just like that it slips throughs our hands…

    We need to win three in a row against the Rangers. Not an impossible task, but they will have to have all hands on deck to do it.

    Other teams have done it during these playoffs. The Rangers overcame a 3-0 deficit against the Penguins and the Kings rallied when they were behind 3-0 to defeat the Sharks.

    The Habs will have to dig deep and demonstrate character. They will have to play like there is no tomorrow. Because if they don’t, there won’t be any tomorrow.

    Can they pull it off?

    Stay tuned.

  4. Danno, they won’t win this series if a third of the team doesn’t show up. We saw this problem for much of the season and it’s back now when everything’s on the line. I completely agree with Mike McKim about Gionta and Vanek. There are others too. Where’s Plekanec? Where’s Eller? Where’s a bunch of them?

  5. For sure, Peter. They’d be run outta town by the LA or Chicago when only some are showing up and others aren’t. It’s so frustrating to see. When all the guys are going they’re a great team. But way too often, including this entire series, there’s been passengers. It’s inexcusable.

  6. I was furious after last night’s game. Toker played so well, to watch the shambles in front of him blow it for him. Subban has disappeared, I honestly think he’s overtired – suck it up for chrissakes ! Oh and next season — Vanek – GONE, Gionta our great cappy – GONE. Gionta’s play out there been pretty close to horsepiss. Eller, who did so well vs. Boston is all of sudden invisible, and Plekenecs has been more concerned how his turtlenecks look.

    Trying to move the puck out of our own end, we look like old women, seriously, and New York knows it ! The instant Montreal d-men get the puck in their own end, Ranger forwards are on ’em like flies on shitpaper. And half the time it usually ends up in a cough-up in Montreal’s end. Bloody awful.

    Unless there is a radical shift in Montreal’s game, there is no way I see this Montreal team winning 3 games in a row against this Ranger team, from what I have seen of the past 4 games. No way.

  7. You named some of them for sure, Travis. And there’s more too. The playoffs are too tough for some guys not at the top of their game. Gionta tries tp score from the blueline with his very mediocre shot. This isn’t a captain leading his troops and I never thought he was. I disagree with him being captain. Pleks has been mediocre, Vanek terrible. So many. How do you win the Eastern Conference Final with passengers on board? It doesn’t happen. Lie you say, unless there’s a radical shift……

  8. It’s easy to be discouraged after a heartbreaking loss like that. But even though they didn’t play their best last night they came within a hair of tying the series up. And this is with their AHL goalie, who has been spectacular. Tokarski is the only reason the games have been as close as they have been since Price got hurt.

    I still believe the Habs can come back and beat the Rangers. But that’s only if everyone plays like they are capable of playing. If they win tomorrow at the Bell Centre, anything is possible.

    Wouldn’t it be poetic justice if the Habs do to the Rangers what the Rangers did to the Penguins?

    All I’m saying is – let’s not count them out just yet.

  9. They’re still in it, Danno, as long as the full team shows up. With a handful of passengers, it’ll be tough.

  10. I really hate to say it, Dennis, and it pains me to my very core, but they are done. You will not win a Cup with hangers-on like Vanek, and pretend cappys like Gionta. This team blew their wad against Boston, truth be told. I’d love to see a 3-game miracle just like the next Hab fan, but it ain’t gonna happen.

  11. This team needs to play for Toker the same way they would play for Price. Yes, losing Price was a devastating blow, but move on. The veterans are not holding up the team as they should and as some of you have pointed out, this is unacceptable. It’s surreal that they would come this far and “quit”. And this is why I have a hard time trusting them in the regular season. It’s this Dr. Jekll and Mr. Hyde thing they got going on. So listen Habs: if you ever come here and read Denis’ stuff, PLAY FOR TOKER WHO’S stepping up at the plate and play for US. That’s right, your FANS who have been here through thick and thin. Lost sleep, bought t-shirts, Molson beer, expensive tickets, watched every single game and who go to watch you at the Bell Center EVEN WHEN YOU’RE NOT THERE. We’re pissed because we know you can do better. You can’t bring us up like this and then drop us.

  12. Still my team, still believe, but won’t cry July 1 to see some of these ship out. And Rene Bourque, I apologize. You do have a heart and you do get it…

  13. I’m not giving up on any of these players. They’ve got 3 games to show us what they’re truly made of. And then another 4+ games, but for now, just get to the Finals.

  14. All series they have been one or two steps behind. Never in control of any game. look we had 9 power play chances and for the first 6 they looked very confused. For me, Pleks is the first one gone, Gionta, Eller, Vanek…. this is not a case of picking on your team when they are losing but the reality is these guys are floaters and cannot seem to pick up their game another notch. Pleks thinks his figure skating style is enough but it isn’t. There doesn’t seems to be any battle in him…… the defencemen seem very slow……. This team cannot compete with the big boys. Now they may win one in Montreal but they can’t seem to get back to the effort they had against Boston. They seem very confused.

  15. Frank, unless they really decide to play their hearts out, which, disturbingly, they haven’t yet, they’ll be gone. I’m not giving up on them but I am angry at many of the players’ efforts so far. They have this great chance and some have been passengers. And the power play is ridiculous.

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