It wasn’t easy, for the players and for us, but with Carey Price being Carey Price, the Canadiens move on and the Sens don’t.
A big 2-0 shutout win in game six to end the drama. As tense as can be with the Senators swarming the Canadiens goal, with shrieks and oohs and aahs filling Canadian Tire Centre as the Sens poured it on with the clock winding down.
But Price and company withstood those heart-stopping moments, and now wait patiently for the Detroit-Tampa to end, with the Red Wings currently up 3-2 in the series.
Of course, whenever one talks to a Sens fan anytime over the next eight months or so, the conversation will center around the play being whistled dead when Price bobbled the puck and it was banged home. But from where referee Chris Lee was standing, Price had the puck and that was that.
A good and proper call. Sorry Sens fans.
For the first time in the series, Montreal opened the scoring when Brendan Gallagher batted home a bouncing puck, and overall, the Canadiens as a whole played a fine, hard-working first period.
It’s a beautiful thing when the team is in the lead instead of behind, and not having us wonder if Craig Anderson can be beaten and a game made of it. A much better feeling. Love those leads.
It was just a matter of getting a second goal, which ultimately didn’t happen until Max sent it down the ice into the open net in the dying seconds. We need the Habs to open the scoring more often. It’s much easier on the nervous system and several vital organs. A second goal soon after would be nice too.
The second period saw the Canadiens play their disturbing ‘sit back’ type of game, at one point being outshot 12-1 and totaling 16-3 overall, but Lars Eller rang one off the post and and Tomas Plekanec had an amazing chance to buried it but it sailed over the net instead.
So regardless of the fact the boys were outshot, they still showed slivers of danger. How the air would’ve left the building if Eller or Pleks had buried one of those. It would’ve been a beautiful thing.
In the third period, Canadiens found themselves with a plethora of great chances, including a Parenteau and Mitchell combo on one sequence, Weise on another, and at least two from Brandon Prust. Beautiful chances, and when no light was lit, dark clouds began to form. We knew how these things usually work. Great chances, no goals, and the other team scores shortly after.
That’s how it usually works. Just not tonight. Because Carey Price was Carey Price and his teammates for the most part, stood their ground. Good, grinding hockey while withstanding an Ottawa team that refused to let up.
So nice to be rid of the Ottawa Senators. I’ll spend a couple more seconds thinking about them, and then begin wondering about the Wings and Bolts.
Either will be tough, but nobody said winning the Stanley Cup would be easy. For the players or us.
Ottawa outshot the Habs 43-20.
Andrei Markov was a bit of a disaster, coughing up pucks, looking slow, showing uncharacteristic sloppiness with the puck from start to finish. We need Markov to be the general and in strict control out there, not a Mike Komisarek or Dion Phaneuf clone.
Hard and effective workers included, among others, PA Parenteau, who was inserted into the lineup for Brian Flynn; Brandon Prust, who played a feisty game and as mentioned, had a handful of good scoring chances; Brendan Gallagher, who scored what became the winner and was his usual Gallagher self; Lars Eller, who once again was excellent; and of course Price, who rose to the occasion after not exactly being on top of things the other night.
Maybe it was my ears, but I think I heard the wild and crazy Glenn Healy give us what he called a Beatles reference when he mentioned things being “A long day’s night.” It’s “A Hard Day’s Night” Glenn. Or maybe you were thinking of “A Long and Winding Road”. Regardless, leave the Beatles out of your mutterings.
Tampa and Detroit play game six on Monday. We watch and wait.