Dennis Kane’s Excellent Montreal Canadiens Blog

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Montreal Remembers Their Game Just In Time And Puts Stake In The Bruins April 21, 2008

 GAME 7

 It wasn’t their best game of the season, but it was certainly their best game of the playoffs. By far their best game. A beautiful 5-0 shutout. It’s like getting rid of a big boil on your nose.

Monday night, game seven, we saw the Montreal Canadiens we had become used to throughout the regular season. They attacked. They skated. They played with poise. And that’s the way they should have being playing all along in this opening round. 

Maybe they’ve learned something from this stressful seven game experience with the Bruins. From now on, we do the attacking, not the other guys. 

So what happened for the Montreal Canadiens, down and out after blowing a three games to one lead, with the Bruins carrying all the confidence and momentum going into this deciding game? How could they come out in game seven, find the game they were desperately looking for, and skate away with a mouth-watering 5-0 shutout to eliminate the pesky Bruins?

Carey Price kept them in it early in the game, and then it was like a lightswitch went on. The Canadiens suddenly remembered how they won the eastern conference. Everyone stepped it up, they attacked, and the Bruins became no match.

Alex Kovalev was flying, so were the guys who had been in a funk – the Kostitsyn’s, Tomas Plekanec, Chris Higgins, Mark Streit, and about ten others.  Carey Price, who went from giving up ten goals in two games to none when it counted the most, in game seven, was fabulous, and showed he doesn’t rattle in a pressure cooker.

Guy Carbonneau was no longer outcoached by Claude Julien, and whatever he did to get the team to open it up like they did, he’s got to bottle it and feed it to his players in the second round.

And what a difference Saku Koivu makes when he’s in the lineup.

The Bruins were good, fought hard, they stressed out me and most Habs fans, and I’m glad they’re out of there. I’ve had enough of Zdeno Chara and his shorter teammates. They were good, but Montreal showed that when they’re firing on all cylinders, they’re better. 

So it becomes this – If Philadelphia eliminates Washington, then Montreal plays Philadelphia in the next round. But if Washington wins, Montreal takes on Sean Avery and the New York Rangers.

I don’t care who it is. Bring em on!

Just play every game like Monday’s game, boys, and you’ll take out either one of them.

 

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5 Responses to “Montreal Remembers Their Game Just In Time And Puts Stake In The Bruins”

  1. newfcollins Says:

    Nice blog.

    I like the Habs chances against Philly better. They can match up better since they both like to use speed, and Philly’s goaltending isn’t as strong as New York’s. Plus, New York has a lot of veterans that have been there, and that makes me nervous.

    Montreal would be better off if they played Philly next round, and then, if they win, Pittsburgh the next.

  2. der Habinator Says:

    DK,

    Yeah, we won – the second game of the night. We expected to win. We played better. We were the better team. So what? We still played well below even the level required to win the second round. We were damn lucky not be down let alone up after the first game, the first 30 mins. I have never, in all my years Habbing, seen such abysmally shoddy puck-handling, such egregiously bad defensive zone play, such horrendous passing/receiving, such wimpy checking. It sure wasn’t our great play that kept us in it – we got a huge break on that first goal and break after break after break when the Bruins were unable to exploit our horrendous clearing attempts. It was only after Streit’s goal, which was a beauty, that we began to play hockey again. After that, no contest. It was visibly manifest that the Bruins were broken, that they no longer were able to step it up and play with the necessary intensity at a competitive skill level. It is in this respect that I found the game most interesting. This is one aspect of hockey that I think all hockey fans are acutely aware of – call it what you will: momentum change, loss of intensity, fatigue, breakdown of the will, whatever, in hockey this is a tangible phenomenon that recurs with regularity and, I think, is one of the elements that sets hockey apart from other sports and, I also believe that this is one area where the sport generalizes to other domains in a meaningful way. So, I am surprised that military historians haven’t tuned into hockey because they are very much concerned with the causes and timing of such collapses in fighting groups. For example, what factors underlay the breaking of will/cohesion then precipitate flight of Napoleon’s Old Guard at Waterloo? How much abuse can a man take? (cf. American Civil War accounts, amazing what we can endure) Why can a man win a VC for bravery one day and charge for the rear the next? What are the psychological pressures at work in times of ultimate stress? How do they affect our individual and collective ability to respond physically? To what extent are leaders revelevant? Is there a predictable point at which will and ability are exhausted? etc etc. Also, will the flip side work in our favour? Will the Habs rally around their rejeuvenated captain? Will they keep the bar up and maintain their intensity so it can be bumped up again? And that’s gotta happen if we expect to be there at the end. We’ve gotta play like the Romans fought: implacable, relentless, flexible, cohesive, absolutely confident that whatever happens, we can and will respond with increased ferocity.

    That said, I disagree with DK in that I would rather face the Flyers than the Rangers, right now. Not that I like the idea of the effing Flyers beating the Caps. Still, given our less than stellar play, I think that we need more games to get our act together (I hope I’m wrong about this) and I think this could be done against the Flyers but against the Rangers, who are peaking at just the right time in just the right way, we would be in for more than perhaps we are ready for now. Also, it would be better for the Pens & Rangers to whale away on each other first. So, I hope the Flyers win, that in doing so Briere falls on his pointy little head, that Richards and co. trip over their own laces.

    Hehehehe, gotta luuv Don. Yes, he does know his hockey and yes I do enjoy him, but like the tragic hero he has a tragic flaw, only in his case it’s multiple: his hockey sense goes awol whenever the Habs meet his Leafs/Bruins. Sigh, Habs fans are elevated by our commitment but other fans, are, well, I leave the choice of terms to you …hehehehe, are U still with us Danielliea? Course, he is right about the Montreal English media, they are meally-mouthed, they are cheap shot artists, they are a collective bully of little character; of course he has every right to be a Bruin fan and pull for them … hmmm, maybe that’s why we luuuv him …hehehehe, he’s not perfect?

    Sigh, I absolutely hate it when the media shills hold forth and `tell’ us about what is true. The utter lack of respect for our intelligence by pompous self-annointed `know-it-alls’ is, to say the least, irritating. For example, when they were first shoving (now, I guess they figure it’s a fait accompli, that the suckers watching have swallowed their schtick hook, line and sinker) that idiotic shoot-out down our throats they had the unmitigated gall to inform us that it was the most exciting play in hockey? UH? UH? UH? What a load of effing bs! There are a lot of `exciting’ plays in hockey but the shootout sure isn’t one. Give me a good sequence of passes, a hit or two, a sweek feint, an unexpected save, most anything is more exciting than that cartoon shootout. Hockey is a team game, five guys and a goalie vs the same on the other side. The shootout has sweet dick-all to do with hockey except inasmuch as they’ve tacked this side-show event onto the end of games. One thing for sure, saying a team won by shoot-out is bs. What they did was win an extra `bonus’ point after the hockey game was over. Most exciting play in hockey, HA! what a pathetic contemptible betrayal of the game! So, what does the talking head tell us last night: Price made `miraculous’ saves and that Kovalev was `spectacular’. UH? UH? UH? Price was methodical and efficient, he made a couple of good saves but that was all. As, for Kovy, lol, he was gritty – for a change – but not even close to being outstanding let along spectacular. Damn, why haven’t we evolved/developed a kind of meta-media that watches over the media and clobbers the smarmy twerps whenever they start up with the various kinds of nonsense they so regularly spew out? It’s called accountability and it is invaluable – that’s why Don is valuable, he is held accountable unlike the card-carrying media guild members.

  3. Dennis Says:

    I think both you guys are right. The Rangers might prove more of a problem than the Flyers. Sean Avery knows how to get under people’s skin, and would a young team like the Habs be bothered by him? And yep, the Rangers have more veterans, and a goalie on fire.
    So we need Philadelphia to beat Washington tonight.

  4. der Habinator Says:

    DK,

    Forgot to add this re your comments on European players in the playoffs. I think you have a legitimate query there. Sure, some euros play hard and intensely and seem to realize what playoff hockey is about, but I agree with you that far too many don’t seem to get it although this does seem to be changing. For example, our own p’tit viking, Mats Naslund, as well as S. Kostitsyn last night and, dare I hope?, Kovalev. Hmmm, Sergei played in the OHL, eh? Look, it’s not a question of mano a mano or courage or anything of that nature, what matters here is `culture’. Hey, most of us were/are disgusted with Avery’s antics, especially with the crappola he pulled on Brodeur (not shaking his hand said it all, eh?). We were outraged but for the most part the euros found if funny. Yeah, the Canadian/NA hockey culture differs from that (those?) in Europe in many ways and in this crucial way home-bred players are imprinted with the ethos (cobble it together) that governs the play-offs whereas euros must not only learn it, they must internalize it (anybody who’s learned a second language knows the difficulties involved in this respect) and, in all fairness, many do. Sigh, one of the many tragedies in hockey is the fact that Borje Salming was marrooned with the Leafs. And, hey, people are poking fun at Forsberg, but he’s showing and has showed that he `gets’ it. One aspect that may very well be a reflex of the cliche that NA is young and vigorous vs the tired cynical old world of Europe is how `fatalistic’ euros seem to be about hockey -which attitude enrages us – but about all things. I remember being in Germany years ago when a very good German side was playing in Italy and were clearly the better team but wow! talke about biased reffin! LOL, I was outraged by the blatant favouritism but my German friends merely shrugged, said that’s the way it was and, besides, there was a return game in Germany. This was just before the 72 Series and, believe me, they gave me a whole new perspective on what to expect and, they were right – I mean, is there anywhere in the annals of hockey, even of sport in general, of anybodys as utterly contemptible as Joseph Kompel? So, go figger. Me? I say it’s about the sports culture in particular and the larger encompassing culture that conditions it. Thus, what euros must do when they come to Canada is learn another code, another set of meanings re hockey and not only how it is player but why. The how and the why = the what.

  5. der Habinator Says:

    And Koivu. Koivu! Hmmm, the Finns are different, eh? More like Canadiens, I hear. Make good Habs. Why? Hmmm, historical reasons?


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