There was no rational reason to believe that the Habs would win this game. An afternoon game, on the road, against the hottest team in the conference- that’s not a situation to inspire a whole lot of confidence, even for the 3rd hottest team in the conference. Now, in theory, as Komisarek pointed out beforehand, the difficulty should have been a bit of an inspirational factor- beat a team below you and you just hang on to your position, but beat a team above you and you advance in the world. But, just like the beginning of last year, it looks like the Habs, no matter how hot they start, are not going to get any better than 4th place by virtue of sharing a division with an unholy successful team.
1. One might point out that the Habs were probably the better team in this game for at least 30 minutes, and possibly as many as 50, but that (as in the case of the game against the Panthers a couple of weeks ago) only illustrates how precarious their success can be. Sure, you could criticize them for getting a 1-0 lead in the first and trying to hold it all game long- that doesn’t always make for the most exciting hockey, and it certainly doesn’t make for comfort and security amongst the fans. But although the Canadiens’ scoring seems to be better than it was last year- certainly it has a lot more potential to be better- the fact remains that they’re not usually a team that attracts goals like dryer lint. If they’re going to keep this up, they damn well better learn to cling to a one-goal lead against some high-powered opposition. Which I realize, now that I say it, makes us sound like
2. The Sens, on the other hand, spontaneously generate goals like mushrooms from the damp. Bitches.
3. I’m beginning to wonder if there’s a correlation between terrible officiating and entertainment, because it really does sometimes seem like the games with the worst calls can be the most fun to watch. Granted, part of this is that whining about refs is endlessly diverting for any sports fan, but sometimes I think it’s more than that. Maybe bad officiating creates some sort of imbalances that gives the game more momentum. Maybe what we want out of a game is not so much fairness as reciprocally compensating unfairness, which was definitely the rhythm here- a serious case of calling minor or even nonexistent offences early, only to ‘make up for it’ by not calling egregious things later on. However, for the record, I don’t think that there was any particular favoritism in it- both teams were allowed to get away things they shouldn’t have. But the interesting energy that resulted made up for the sense of injustice.
4. If they’re going to sit Begin, much better to sit him in favor of Latendresse than
5. J spent the entire game yelling Tir d’Higgins! Tir d’Higgins! at the television. See, apparently Higgins is on pace to set an all-time Habs’ record for shots-on-goal in a season. According to some recent interviews, he’s doing this because he believes he’s got the potential to score 40 this year, but with his current luck, it feels like he’ll get maybe 25. Maybe some sort of stick-mounted laser sight?
6. Further signs of the coming Apocalypse: Huet celebrates stopping an Alfredsson penalty shot and…. Koivu fight. No, seriously, really, Koivu fight. Kind of a half-assed fight, as he himself was first to admit, but still… I wouldn’t be all that surprised if we all woke up tomorrow morning to find ourselves swathed in locusts.
Two missed points, certainly something to be disappointed about, but nevertheless a good effort by ahbabi and great watching experience on both sides. They didn’t win, but for a good 2/3 of the game, they made it look like they could. And for a game they had no reasonable expectation of winning, this early in the season, that’s enough for me. On to