In storybook fashion, Max Pacioretty, with the captain’s C meaning more than just about any game this season, buried the puck in the shootout to give the Habs a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the curtain closes, at least for one night, on a tremendously dismal time in Habsland.
But it’s the kind of thing that can right a ship, this clutch goal, and when it happened, Max’s teammates piled on him like teenagers celebrating at the World Junior Championship.
A beauty of winner it was too, with Max putting a couple of cool little dekes on netminder Ben Bishop, who’s still unraveling his jock strap from his testicles, and with that the Canadiens put an end to something called a six-game losing streak.
Max has been on the hot seat lately as folks haven`t been happy with his play. They say he looks lazy, floats, and isn’t trying like he should, which is all the same thing I guess. But as I mentioned on Twitter, it’s exactly what people said about Frank Mahovlich when he was with the Leafs.
For a few hours at least, fans can start planning the parade once again. I personally feel the Trans Canada Highway from Montreal to the West Coast would be a terrific route.
One win doesn’t guarantee anything except two points, we know that, but how it would’ve sucked to see yet another loss in this December to end all Decembers.
Now we see light, and it will shine even brighter if the boys handle the Florida Panthers in a few hours time. Big game, that one. Imagine a two-game winning streak?
The Canadiens opened the scoring in the first period when PK Subban fed Tomas Plekanec in close, and Pleks made no mistake.
How big was this goal? The Habs took the lead, which hasn’t happened much lately, and Pleks finally scored, which hadn’t happened since that night in ’36 when he beat Montreal Maroons backstopper Alec Connell.
Maybe not 1936, but it’s been a while. Twenty-one games in fact since Plekanec lit the lamp, which is completely unacceptable and one of several huge reasons why the team has spiraled out of control.
Scorers haven’t been scoring, and tonight, the nasty little monkey was wrenched from Plekanec’s back. It has to feel good.
Tampa would even it at one apiece in the second, but four minutes later, Alex Galchenyuk would wrist a puck from 20 feet out, and the boys took the lead once again.
In the third period, after the Lightning had shocked everyone with two quick goals to jump ahead, Dale Weise sent the puck over the line, and although Tampa called a Coach’s Challenge, the goal stood and the game was tied.
The Canadiens were less than great on the 3-on-3, aside from some flurries as the clock ticked down, but held on regardless. And onto the shootout we and they went, with Max getting it done in style.
A fine enough evening, and best of all, the team looked like they wanted to win. Mike Condon was sensational, especially in the middle frame when he made several sprawling saves.
The team as a whole showed more energy than lately, they were alive and gunning for a win, and although it took a shootout, the sigh of relief is one big honkin’ beautiful sigh.
Tampa outshot Montreal 39-34.
Next up – across the state to Sunrise to take on the Panthers Tuesday evening. If ever another win is needed, it’s now.
There’s only one way to drive a stake into a pathetic, unending slump, and that’s to win a handful of games in a row.
One down, a handful to go.