I’m not going into great detail about numbers. I’m too tired for that. It’s better to leave that to the beat writers at the Gazette and La Presse and the Philadelphia Inquirer who get paid to go into great detail. And really, the only numbers worth mentioning is the score, a Canadiens 4-3 overtime win over Philadelphia, and how this score has changed the landscape ever so slightly in the eastern division.
As we all know, Montreal has been hanging on to fifth or sixth place by the skin of their teeth lately. Any false move and they catapult themselves right out of a playoff spot. It’s that close. But this win now lets the Habs breathe short breaths instead of being choked by a giant pair of hands.
Have a look at all this breathing space. And considering how tight it’s been lately, this looks like we should almost be doing cartwheels. Montreal now has 73 points, with Florida and the Rangers miles back with a measly 70. And Buffalo and Carolina aren’t even on the same planet with a lousy 69 points. And Pittsburgh – they’re way over on the dark side of the moon with a piddly 68.
When was the last time Montreal actually outshot the other team? Was it this year?
Alex Kovalev, the new Alex Kovalev, had three assists tonight.
Jaroslav Halak was great again. Without him, the team would’ve dug a hole so deep they’d be ordering chicken nuts and dumplings from a Beijing restaurant.
Mathieu Schneider scored the overtime winner. With Schneider coming in and playing so well with the team, now we know for sure just how much Mark Streit was missed.
Glen Metropolit didn’t play a lot but showed signs he’ll be a good addition. He had an early-game breakaway but didn’t score, and even came close in OT. Metropolit began the day as a Flyer and ended as a Hab. In another unusual but unrelated occurrence, years ago, Billy Reay realized he was fired as coach of the Chicago Blackhawks when Bill Wirtz had the pink slip put under Reay’s hotel room door on Christmas Eve.
Patrice Brisebois only gave the puck away once tonight. Unfortunately, it resulted in a breakaway for Simon Gagne who promptly tied the game.
The Canadiens once again took way too many penalties. But I have to say, a lot of penalties throughout the year, for every team, have been silly, chintzy, absolutely borderline calls. Referees call the slightest thing. It’s like getting a speeding ticket for going one lousy kilometre over the speed limit. I say we take to the streets and protest against chintzy calls by the officials.
I’m going on a trip tomorrow and I’m pretty darn excited. More about that later.