During a conversation about last night’s game with a fellow Habs fan today I blurted out that I felt relieved for that win in a way that I hadn’t since game 7 in Washington two years ago. A little dramatic to compare the 9th game of the season to the one which sent the under-dog Habs to the 2nd round of the playoffs against the Penguins – but that is how I felt. Not happy – but relieved.
Frankly, the Habs are nowhere near being out of the woods. What they have given themselves however, is a sorely needed shot of confidence.
Poor results over the first 8 games led some people to overlook the positives in the Canadiens game. The fact is – the team deserved much better. I count the Buffalo and Florida games as games that should have been victories. The Colorado and Toronto (V2) games were ones which the Habs could have won. We all know that should and could count for nothing – but had the Canadiens won ANY of those 4 games – the season would look much different today.
First of all – Montreal would be 1- 2 points out of a playoff spot. Secondarily, the issues that have plagued this team – not being able to score when needed, giving up goals at inopportune times etc would not feel as drastic.
The feeling last night was one of sheer panic when the Canadiens gave up the first goal – and then failed to register a shot by a forward at even strength. And yet, the Habs came alive in the 2nd period. They got some good bounces on defense and out-worked and out-shot their opponent, which despite their record – has NOT been much of an issue over the first 9 games.
The result was that Montreal got rid of an 800 pound gorilla riding high on their shoulders.
And so they head to Boston. It would be good if they could win another. Its going to take winning streaks to get them out of the cellar of the conference. They’re going to lose games – but if they continue to have the type of effort that we saw for the final 40 minutes last evening – they’re going to win more than they lose. Boston has also had a rough start, and they’re not going to give up easy. I expect that Montreal will need to play the best defensive game of the season to date in order to steal a road victory from a very desperate Bruins team.
Go Habs Go!!!