The Montreal Canadiens season ended abruptly last night with another 2-1 overtime loss to Carolina.
What was hands down the most exciting playoff game of the series and of any series so far this year ended suddenly in overtime with a long slapshot that changed direction and caught just enough of the inside post to deflect into the net and end the game. A typical broken goal ends an excellent goaltending series.
The deflection was definitely a Craig Rivet error that should not have happend. As he strided towards Cory Stillman elongating his stick I thought to myself ‘there’s no way he’s going to put his stick in front of that puck’ but he DID and the second he did it was bad news. Clang and in the net.
You could also argue that Michael Ryder didn’t get the puck deep and that the play began on his error. You could also say that even if deflected Huet should still have had time and been in position to block that shot. But how far do you go back? You could blame Tomas Plekanec for missing his breakaway earlier in the game and hitting the post. For that matter you could blame him for missing chances 1 or 2 games earlier.
The blame can’t fall on a single player or single play. It was a team effort and a team loss and took 6 games not 1 deflected shot.
The Canadiens losses were all by one goal and twice in overtime. This was a very close series and sometimes you just come up short. That’s the nature of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and sudden death overtime.
That’s a lot more than you can say for the Flyers who were pummeled 7-1 at home in their 6th game and horribly outplayed all series long.
It’s a lot more than you can say for the Rangers who were swept away like hair on the barbershop floor. A better run than the defending Champion Lightning, and a better run than mighty Detroit, Dallas and Nashville. All teams who were supposed to be ‘better’ than the Canadiens.
Maybe best of all, far better than the Toronto Maple Leafs who failed to even reach the post-season.
A painful loss today but a successful season overall and a lot of off season and future potential lay ahead for the Habs.
The Habs are a better team than they were in October and will only improve further with Gainey and Carbonneau getting fresh starts.
Congratulations to the 05/06 Habs.