Canes: We’ve been a bit shakey these days, maybe it’s time to try a new style of game?
Habs: Hey, you know what used to work really well for us? Perfectly disciplined special teams, a divinely-inspired goalie, and lots of empty-netters. Oh, and it helps if you can get outshot by at least 10, more if you can manage it.
Canes: Really? What about 5-on-5? What about offensive production?
Habs: Eh, you can do without them, because, see, if you’re doing badly, you just take a silly penalty and score short-handed with your really good PK, and all the empty-netters boost your overall stats so that it looks like you’re scoring more than you actually are. Trust us, it’s great.
[After the game]
Canes: Wow! You were right, that did work!
Habs: See? It’s brilliant, because nobody ever sees it coming!
Canes: Yeah really, not even you! Speaking of which, why’d you give it up anyway?
Habs: [Burst into sobs and run away].
Yes, it’s true, the Hurricanes stole the Canadiens’ game, and then proceeded to beat the poor Habs over the head with it. I suppose you can’t blame them, I mean, it’s not like
1. Pop quiz: You have two lines: Begin-Koivu-Samsonov & Ryder-Plekanec-Higgins. Which is really the 1st and which is the 2nd? First right answer wins my eternal respect and undying admiration.
2. The latest
3. Notes: Thankfully, Johnson is back, but Rivet is still out sick in an increasingly suspicious way. Ward gets called for high-sticking Lapierre, which strikes me as odd, only one week after the Emery incident. Haven’t seen the replay yet, but Lapierre has clearly found the key to infuriating the goaltending community. Maybe it’s his game, maybe it’s his haircut, maybe he just smells funny. No idea. Begin’s spirit is infectious, he makes those around him happier to be playing, if not necessarily better at it. Koivu was behaving more like his December-self, getting into the play, hovering close to the net, looking for rebounds and tip-ins. It didn’t work for him tonight, but I hope he keeps it up, because he got more shots-on-goal out of it than he has for a while, and it’s exactly what the Canadiens need right now. Bonk’s goal, also, was entirely gorgeous, one of the few times in recent memory when a beautiful set-up has come to an equally beautiful end for the Habs.
4. You know what my favorite thing is about the Hurricanes coming to town? The Justin Williams personal soundtrack. Habs fans boo a lot of things, especially lately, but they put a special effort into booing Williams, and it’s just hilarious for the home viewers- it’s almost as if he’s the one making the noise, every time he touches the puck.
5. A good night for Ward, and a very bad night for Canadiens goalies. Aebi let in some really terrible goals, and it’s a safe bet that we’ll be seeing the debut of Halak tomorrow in
6. And finally, elsewhere in the NHL, here’s hoping Shanahan’s alright. He’s one of those guys that I sort of like on principle for proving that it’s possible have a very long, very good career in this game. Insha’allah it's one of those things that looks worse than it is.
The Canadiens are toying with us now, showing flashes of a really, really good game that they can’t sustain. They played a very fast, very offensive 1st period, and there were a few authentically inspiring plays. Early on, it looked as though they were going to build some momentum and maybe even run away with the thing, but then again, it looked a bit like that at the beginning of the
Here’s my prediction: they’ll do the most dramatic possible things- stretch the losing streak until it seems like all hope is lost, and then go on a tear that will make it just barely possible for them to squeak into the 8th seed, but only if they win and select other teams lose on the very last day of regular season play, such that no one will know if they’ll make the playoffs until literally the last moment of the season. It’s all part of their master plan to kill off their own fans via the combined effects of bipolar disorder, high blood pressure, heart burn, and aneurysms.