No matter where you were watching that game, whether from the comfort of your lazy boy, at a bar with nervous supporters or in Washington witnessing history be made, we all felt it. We watched as our under-dog Habs set out and did exactly what they did in games 5 and 6 – outwork the Caps, score timely goals, and sacrifice body and limb to keep the puck out of Jaroslav Halak’s net. It was as exciting and glorious a moment as Habs fans have had in nearly 20 years when the final whistles blew and the players raced off of the bench to congratulate their goaltender who’s arms were held raised in victory. Habs fans around the globe celebrated into the wee hours of the morning.
A curious thing happened next. First it was the papers.. Then the networks. It has since been echoed by countless bloggers and commenters since, who have tried to make sense of the comeback. It shouldn’t surprise me that there would be those who would not see the Habs victory, rather a Capitals loss. They talk of an implosion. They speak of how the Canadiens got ‘lucky’ to face the Capitals who were built for the regular and not post-season.
Almost overnight, those outside of the enchantment of the Canadiens victory began stripping the luster off of the series upset. I’ve heard countless times now that it was “all Halak”, as though somehow that removes the validity of the victory. What a ridiculous notion given that the Habs blocked a mind-boggling 40+ shots in the final game alone in an attempt to defend a 1 goal lead. Halak’s performance was equally as impressive, and yet I can’t help but wonder why no one questions how Pittsburgh would have fared without Crosby, or where the Bruins would be without Raask?
Incredibly, it seems as though the Canadiens have been given even less of a chance to win the 2nd round as they were given in the 1st when Washington was supposed to sweep 4 games. I said after game 4 that I’ve seen way too much playoff hockey to think that the series was over – and I meant it. I can’t predict that the Habs will win this series. The Penguins are the reigning champions and have earned every inch of respect that I have for them as a club. But there is a reason that you play the games. The pundits were shown just how much their predictions are worth when the team that would “struggle to win 1 game let alone 4″ did just that. All we can do as fans is watch and hope that the warriors that we’ve seen emerge in 7 playoff games thus far continue to battle in the manner that has made them so successful.
There’s always a little extra excitement against Sid the Kid. Take it to them.
Go Habs Go!!!