I wont get too into the emotion of last night because everyone who watched clearly understands what a painful loss that was. The loser point really doesn’t begin to soothe the burn of losing a game in which we held a two goal, shut-out advantage late in the third period. Rocky said it best last night: Carey Price should sue this team. If we were in the US, he may even have a case. The kid makes 40 stops and is within 4 minutes of an incredible bounce back win after a prolonged sit on the bench. I wont even speculate the benefit to our team a win would have been last night – to re-energize BOTH goalies, as well as the rest of the club.
IF we had won we’d be talking about the influence Mike Cammalleri had in stabilizing the Plekanec line. We’d be talking about maybe the streakyest player ever: Andrei Kostitsyn who ONLY scores in bunches. We’d be talking about the fantastic defensive play of many forwards including but not exclusive of : Gomez, Gionta, and Moore. We’d be talking about how the team played an effective, simple road game that witnessed our defenders play big time minutes and successfully stifle division rivals.
Instead we watched in abject horror as a parade of Canadiens marched into the penalty box in the third/overtime which left the Canadiens killing off 1 and 2 man advantages (once Miller was pulled) for extended periods of the final minutes. I have to commend Price for doing all that he could to keep the puck out of the net, but there is only so much that a guy can do when pucks are pin-balling their way through sticks and legs and are left sitting on the doorstep for open players.
Last night I watched the game online, and had the fortune of seeing a European feed of TSN which did not cut to commercials. I was able to hear the comments and set up that Pierre Mcguire, and Gord Miller made once the cameras and mics were “off”. It was interesting to hear what you normally wouldn’t. McGuire remarked in the third that the Habs were playing a solid road game and that if they could stay out of the penalty box they really deserved to win. Before overtime started, Miller exclaimed “this may be the least deserved point in the history of the Buffalo Sabres!”
Maybe so, but you don’t always get what you deserve in the NHL. For 57 minutes the Habs did exactly what was necessary to win the hockey game (save for two knucle-head penalties by O’B and SK74). They kept the game simple and for the most part were the better team. Thats where the positives stop. They gained a point, but have left the door open for Boston to pass them if they continue their (recent) good play. Atlanta is still 5 points back, so the playoffs are still ours to lose, but we all know that they are no guarantee.
Tonight we have a critical game against the Panthers in Montreal. It was a stinker against the Panthers before the Olympic break that sent shrieks of panic through the Habs’ blogosphere about the team’s post-season chances. You only hope that last night ticked the Habs off enough that they come out strong against a team that is out of playoff contention, but has played well of late.