Such a dramatic game to be represented by such low numbers. I wish I could type 'Bruins 635, Canadiens 634', just to give it a sense of grandeur. But I suppose 2-1 has the advantage of brevity- tells you the most important thing you need to know with a minimum of units. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the playoffs.
1. They (and no, I’m not going to tell you who ‘they’ are, my sources are confidential) tell me that this is the way playoff hockey is supposed to be, by which I assume they mean that playoff hockey is fucking weird. Fast but claustrophobic, conservative but chaotic, tidy at the core and sloppy around the edges. Imagine a ballroom dance competition being attacked by a legion of zombies; everyone frantically trying to fend of the ravenous undead with folding chairs and feather boas while simultaneously struggling not to miss a step in their foxtrot routine. This game was a lot like that, only weirder.
2. The Bruins certainly came out harder, but I don’t think you can fault the Habs’ effort. What you might be able to fault is their stamina. Second game in as many nights, it’s understandable that they’d be a hair slower than usual, but with
3. As is his wont when a game is going unfavorably, Carbonneau did a lot of juggling, including breaking up the no-longer-sacrosanct Plekanec line at times. The only consistently good combination, again, was Begin-Smolinski-Kostopolous, which makes sense, because it was a night that favored those who do their best work in close quarters. Lapierre, Hamrlik, and Komisarek (later in the game, anyway) were also effective. Ryder had his best game of the postseason to date- I think the lack of space triggers his ‘JUST SHOOT’ impulse, which in this case is a good thing. Streit got pounded. S. Kostitsyn is a lovable little mess, isn’t he? Tons of talent and all the self-control of a rabid squirrel in heat.
4. If Saku and Cube didn’t feel sufficiently missed from the lineup, they should now. And will O’Byrne get a chance in the next game? True, he’s a rookie, but they’re going to push even harder, and we’re going to need to push back- Ryan’s awfully pushy and none too stupid. I like Gorges, but sitting him a game might not be a bad idea. Of course, I have no idea if there is a customary playoff rule against changing your lineup for any reason other than injury. (Speaking of which, what do the healthy-scratch players do the night their team wins the Cup? Presumably at least some of them have been on the roster long enough to ‘count’ as part of the winning team, even though they weren’t dressed for that game. Do they just sit up in the pressbox in their suits and look down wistfully as the rest of the guys hug and party on the ice? Do they eventually come down and get a few hugs of their own? Does anybody care?)
I’m not panicking yet. It was an exceptionally close game that could have gone either way, OT was basically a goaltending exhibition, and I think it’s good for the Habs to lose now. We need to see how this team reacts to real pressure, when an opponent plays like a real threat and has some momentum on their side. We’re going to learn a lot from how they come out on Tuesday, having had time to physically rest and mentally pore over this loss. If the next game is a good effort, then praise Gainey, all is right with the world.
If they suck, than I think we have no alternative but to throw a motivational riot.