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Game 5: Habs/Caps

  • My feeling going into this game 5 of a playoff series which has been very good at points is that its hard for me to be too angry at being down 3-1. Not that I’ve become a gracious loser at some point over the past week. Every loss still stings as bad as the last. But the fact that I never expected the Habs to compete in this series, and that my expectations were for an early exit for our team have numbed the emotion that would normally surface with the impending elimination of my favorite team. Though we all have our opinions about the potential of particular players or the direction this club should take to regain its former glory, none of us expected Montreal to upend the Capitals who have shown us that the flashes of brilliance that we’ve shown during this series are not yet enough to make us a contender in this league. Most pundits argued that it would be difficult for Montreal to win 1 game in this series let alone 4. A few argued that anything is possible come playoff time. In the end its hard to say which camp was right. This series has been closer than most would have predicted – although if you simply look at the 4 game tally you wouldn’t believe it. I expect that Montreal will once again come out flying trying to extend the season for at least one more game. Its difficult to predict the outcome will be any different however. Washington is a fantastic team and has shown all season long that they have an ability to score at near-will when the situation beckons for it.

    The only thing I can add to maybe the final game blog of the 09-10 season is that when thinking about what I wanted to happen tonight as I was getting ready for work this morning I decided that even though I do not expect to win,  I still hold out a hope that Montreal can find a way to be victorious tonight. I don’t hold any delusion that over-night our problems have been solved. But I’ve been a fan of this team since I was old enough to notice, and I like the rest of you have seen my share of ups and downs.  My favorite player growing up was Mats Naslund, the small, skilled Swede who is the last Canadiens player to have recorded 100 points in a season (110) and was one of the catalysts to the first Canadiens Cup win in my lifetime. Tonight I’m hoping that some little bugger goes out there and shows me something similar. Gorges wears 26, maybe he’ll be the unlikely hero? Its been a crazy season, and tonight might be curtains.  This team has been full of surprises. Tune in just after 7 to find out if they have any left.

    Go Habs Go!!!

  1. #1 Senet1 says:
    April 23, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    One interesting note about these playoffs, cone cannot help but wonder what might have been had we got the one more point and finished in 6th or 7th. Look how easily Philly handled NJ, a team that we had some luck against as well. To me it is obvious we cannot handle OV for an entire game. But when you consider that we have won as many periods of hockey has the Caps, the only difference has been the periods that they win they score more goals than we do. So if we had played a team like NJ who does not have the firepower, would we in fact have done the same to them that PHilly did as well. Likewise against Buffalo. So are we really that bad or is Washington that good?

  2. #2 Donnie says:
    April 23, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Sad thing is…we really coulda won this series 4-1 ourselves if not for Martin’s line mismatching blunder in game 2 and Hamrliks 2 SH gola giveaways in games 3 and 4. Halak is playing his heart out, and I will take this win tonight for sure. But we are still playing with fire in playing no offense for 2 periods. This defensive shutdown crap works about once in every 10 tries for us. And we just had our ‘once’. This will not work 3 times in a row against a team like Wash. If playing a nice mix of defense and offense works in the 1st…why do we stop, and go to total D? How many times were we burned on this this year?

    We were lucky tonight that Halak played a monster game and that a lot more pucks didnt bounce Wash’s way in front of our net. You can’t try to protect a 1 goal lead for 2 periods…esp against the Caps. Have we learned anything from this past season.
    Hail to the troops tonight…but Martin is stil a BIG problem. His system is weak and pitiful…let our offensive boys do there job. Do we not like 4 goal leads or what?
    We will pay for this IF we attempt it again in game 6….mark my words.

  3. #3 Senet1 says:
    April 23, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Well on to Monday night, why Monday and not Sunday?

  4. #4 Mats Naslund says:
    April 24, 2010 at 8:27 am

    It feels good to finally see the hard work of this team pay off. Incredible game considering the bleak outlook prior to the puck dropping – in that it seemed like no matter how well the Habs played, Washington would find a way to emerge victorious. Though it wasn’t reflected in shot totals, Montreal once again carried the play early taking a 2-0 lead before 10 minutes of the game had been played. As you knew they would Washington came on strong – especially in the third, but Montreal was able to shut the door. The too many men on the ice penalty for Washington with just over a minute to go was a welcome sign for Habs fans who were no doubt all cringing at the thought of Washington’s pressure once the goalie was pulled.

    Halak had a fantastic bounce back game, but he did not, nor was he put in the position where he had to steal the game. The Habs put their boots to the neck of the Caps by jumping out to an early two goal lead and maintaining a solid offensive attack. The powerplay showed signs of life, although I have to admit I was cursing MAB more than a few times as his inability to control the puck at the blueline killed our chances. A goal in the 2nd period on one of our 3 powerplays would have been exactly the kind of insurance we needed, and would have served to stifle the crowd who was urging the Caps to tie the game.

    It wasn’t the perfect game by a long shot. While I would normally jump down the throat of Martin for allowing the team to settle into a defensive shell with 11 minutes to play in the third, I have to mention that up until that point he was still sending 2 forwards in deep on the forcheck which is much later than in past games.

    You have to wonder at what point the hard work and ability to ‘take it to them’ becomes habit for the Canadiens. It is crazy to expect the Habs to come back with wins in the next two games, but they have shown for most of this series that they are capable of beating the Capitals. Monday night will be a huge game (outside of the obvious season ending implications) in whether this team can pull a home win off in the playoffs. We have the makings of a curse here, and it would be fantastic to see them squash it to force a game 7.

  5. #5 Senet1 says:
    April 24, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    One thing that this series has shown me is that we have the horses to play a good game and rataher than totally dismantling this team like some would like I still think a couple of players in the right positions could go a long way to making this team a true contender. Two power forwards and one extra defenceman other than PK who is already pencilled in as far as I am concerned. A little tinkering on the third and fourth lines depending on who we sign. Oh and one big change, the coach.

  6. #6 Senet1 says:
    April 25, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    I have had a number of favourite players over they years but my all time favour was Guy LaFleur. Unfortunately he had alcohol problems and it was because of that he did not last as long in the league as he should have.

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