It’s peculiar how games develop different characters. Some are like long slogs through peat bogs at midnight, where anybody getting any kind of goal feels like an unrepeatable miracle, and you just know that that one fluky 2nd period deflection is going to be the end of it. Others, however, are so light and loose that teams pick up points like snatching feathers out of the air, and the only thing that decides winner and loser is the clock- who happens to have snatched more when the time runs out. This was one of the latter. As tense as it was at moments, I (nor apparently many of the people watching with me) seemed to feel much doubt that the Habs would come back from their deficits, it was only a question of whether they’d do so in time. It didn’t feel like a playoff game. For half a second at the end of regulation I caught myself thinking, “Hey, at least we got the OT point…” Even if they’d lost, I don’t think there’d be reason to be overly anxious about their chances for the next game. Still, I called Habs-in-5 in my lame two-person playoff pool, so thanks Canadiens for doing your part to salvage my pride.
1. If I was a ninja, I would use my powers to cleverly sneak into the Habs dressing room before the next game, stand in the doorway, and shriek “THE REBOUNDS!!!!! GET THE FUCKING REBOUNDS!!!!!” Because although I love Pleks and Kovy and the Kostitsyn boys (see #2), I think nothing hurt ahbabi so much in the series against Boston, or in the game tonight, as the fact that they rarely have anyone in position to get the second chance when the puck takes a juicy bounce off the opposing goalie. The Smolinski line is good at that, as evidenced by Kostopolous’s overtime game-winner tonight (on not just a rebound but a 2nd rebound), and the Koivu line is increasingly on top of it, but it breaks my heart to see a puck go merrily hopping through the slot for eons before being picked up by some belated Flyer and chipped out of the zone.
2. Fath Ali Shah Qajar had 158 wives and 260 children. It’s too bad that these days the world is so much more hostile to mass polygyny, because I want the Kostitsyn boys to spend their retirement on a comfortable ranch in
3. We in
4. Briere, on the other hand, I thought might slaughter us. But based on the overall quantity of booing per shift, he wasn’t much of a presence tonight. Good omen.
5. Here’s a question for speculation: given that Carbonneau usually doesn’t like to change a winning lineup, what are the chances that all of Brisebois, Dandenault, Streit, and Lapierre play in the next game? Breezer is probably hoping that everyone will forget that he opened the scoring by deflecting a puck past Price, but it was an all-around unimpressive (look how polite I am) game for him and Hamrlik’s value is compromised if he has to be watching his partner’s ass all the time. And if part of Carbo’s strategy is to roll four scoring lines, it doesn’t look like the current Lapierre line is going to help with that. Streit is obviously important for the power play, and can be an offensive force at even strength, but Lapierre has been more theoretically good than actually good thus far, and Dandenault seems to be a break-even proposition at best. If the coaching plan is really to press the attack as much as possible, the obvious question is whether Ryder gets another go. It’s unlikely, but I don’t think that line could have been much worse, so a little tweaking might not go amiss.
6. Certain of my Oiler-oriented readers will be pleased to know that Thoresen (Go Norway! Go Intact Testes!) and Smith acquitted themselves well. They may be more ambivalent about Lupul, who did score, in spite of not acquitting himself particularly well. Between all the ex-Sabres, ex-Oilers, and ex-Predators, Philly still seems to me like a Frankenstein monster cobbled together from the discarded limbs of other teams. Damn you Gainey, you’ve made me uncomfortable with rosters built through trading and free agency.
5/16. Again the Habs are heavily favored to win the series, again it might prove more difficult than anticipated. We’re going to find out what the team really learned from the ups and downs of the long first round, although it’s all the more interesting because Philly went through a very similar initiation. The Flyers don’t have the vengeful spirit of Claude Julien hovering over them with a shift chart planned out like a train timetable (although there is something about their coach suggestive of an accountant with a poorly concealed cocaine problem), so I doubt they’ll be quite as adept at shutting us down, but that’s probably not the only strategy that could beat us. The games could be heart attacks on ice, but I have no idea whether that’ll translate into roughly even wins and losses. Still, better these guys than the Rangers.
[A note to all the readers who left concerned comments: shukran jazeelan, I’m very touched and grateful for the encouragement. I realize that my reaction to the riots was petulant and somewhat naïve, but I appreciate that y’all seem to understand where it came from. A further explanation will follow. In the meantime, I have decided to keep doing this as far as the season lasts. After that… well, that’s going to be complicated.]