I might have chosen a different start…
OK, so here’s the thing. I don’t have a lot of time to write here as the Habs take on Pittsburgh in game two at what can only be described as stupid o’clock today and I have pregame rituals to get started.
With the restraint on time I’m currently experiencing, I won’t get too far into this 2 p.m. ET start time for a playoff game. But I will say, catering to the needs of a country whose fans are grossly outnumbered by those who’d rather watch half-retarded people drive in a counter-clockwise circle is not just annoying, it’s flippin’ useless.
But, that’s just the way it is (my LEAST favourite cliché statement on earth by the way) and I have no choice but to rearrange my routine.
Before I offer my thoughts on Les Glorieux, allow me to say a few words about the rest of round two as well, seeing as this is NOT a Habs blog.
Really, it’s not.
How many of you out there are zip-for-four after game one as far as teams you are cheering for? I know it’s not just me because the four teams to lose in game one are ALL either my favourite or my best friends’ favourites and we are all – at least publicly – rooting for each other. For now, that is.
San Jose and the people who actually still believe in this club after a decade of ‘even-funnier-than-the-Buffalo-Bills’ are probably feeling pretty confident these days. After all, you might too if you were all-too used to being upset by someone 20 points your inferior.
But after sneaking past a pile of rookies in Colorado, the Sharks outplayed Detroit for 1:19 the other night and tiptoed away with a win. Good for them. I’m not sold. Heatley got his FIRST of the playoffs that night and he’s THE guy brought in to put them over the top.
Nabakov stinks whenever it matters and the Wings are full of those who smell terrific. If San Jose actually wins the Cup this year they’ll have to do it with me kicking and screaming the entire way.
I’m not too surprised the Boston Bruins were able to beat Buffalo – a group carried by goaltending this season – and advance to round two. And now that they have their best player back in the lineup, not to mention the early series lead over Philly, the Bruins have to be considered a threat.
They have some scoring, some toughness, some big strong defensemen and a good goalie. These are all the things necessary to win in the spring and with the favourites almost all falling in the East, I’m no longer betting against Beantown.
I just REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY dislike them. Go Flyers.
The Canucks killed Chicago last night. Antti Niemi was hung out by his Hawks teammates and a very skilled group from Vancouver handed them their ass for it. Everything I just said the Bruins have, the Canucks have more of and that’s a scary thought for Chicago. There isn’t much to say here. If the Hawks think they can play like that and rely on Niemi to give them a Halak-esque performance, they are screwed.
On to the Habs.
Had I posted immediately after their game-one loss to the Pens it might have looked something like this:
Um, crap. The end.
Let’s recap: Absolutely everything the Canadiens relied on to get past Washington missed the flight to Pittsburgh. Halak was clearly much too exhausted to be playing game one so soon after round one – thanks scheduling morons – and got lit up five times on 20 shots and the most talked about penalty kill in the playoffs put up a goose egg in the wrong category for two periods.
Oh and just for good measure Andrei Markov, the Habs best player, went down with his second weird-ass injury of the year and most likely won’t see the ice again this series.
With all that on the mind, it’s hard to imagine many Habs fans out there were feeling to good after that game. But after I sat and thought about it for a bit I realized, aside from Markov’s knee, we should feel pretty good about this series.
For starters, I’m not worried about Jaro and neither should you be. If he doesn’t make another save this season, he’s still the reason we are watching them play in May. I’m sure he’ll bounce back this afternoon but if he doesn’t, yet another look at Price this season couldn’t hurt. I mean, deciding between which of these young studs to stake your future on deserves as mush research as possible if you ask me and seeing as how the Habs are on borrowed time anyway, who could complain?
As far as the penalty kill is concerned, while I know the Pens are much smarter about their man advantages than the Caps, they WON’T get four power play goals again. And more importantly, the Habs won’t get such dumbass penalties again either.
Of the first four Pittsburgh power plays – all goals – the Habs had a too may men, a delay of game and a roughing call from Gomez jumping Cooke as result of a clean hit on Markov. I’m not saying Gomez shouldn’t have done it, I’m just saying we shouldn’t be shocked they scored as a result of it.
It’s kind of like a leadoff walk in baseball. They ALWAYS seem to come around to score.
I thought aside from shorthanded situations the Habs completely controlled that game and showed the Pens’ lack of invincibility. Fleury is not Miller or Brodeur either and if the Habs continue to shoot they WILL continue to score.
And I like Montreal’s chances of tightening up their discipline and consequently their penalty kill, as well as showing up with a superstar goalie again. So, even if they don’t win this game today and don’t get back the services of Markov this entire series, I believe the Habs can comeback and win this one.
Of course, I picked Pittsburgh to take this in six, but that’s beside the point.
Enjoy the games.