Just for fun – which is the kind of mood I’m in after a game like that – I looked up stats on the last Great Comeback.
You remember Feb. 19, 2008, don’t you?
New York Rangers at the Bell Centre. Chris Drury’s goal, five minutes into the second period, gave the visitors take a 5-0 lead.
By then, Carey Price was on the bench. Guy Carbonneau had yanked his rookie goaltender 13:56 into the first period, after Price had been beaten three times on the first 11 shots he faced. The Rangers fourth and fifth goals were scored on Cristobal Huet.
So five down, game over, right?
Remember who got the Canadiens going?
Michael Ryder – the Bruin whose genius tripping penalty, 200 feet from his own net with his team up 2-0 and 3 1/2 minutes, led to Scott Gomez’s power-play goal last night. Ryder scored twice in the second period against Henrik Lundqvist, and the Canadiens had life.
The rest, as Red Fisher likes to write, you know.
Or maybe you don’t. So here it is:
An Alex Kovalev goal, 6:43 into the third period, made it 5-3. All of nine seconds later, Mark Streit got another one. Then Kovy tied it on a power play with less than five minutes left.
After a scoreless OT, Saku Koivu won it in a Shootout.
The Bell Centre was a madhouse – just like it was after 57 minutes of being a mausoleum last night.
Three years later, none of the Canadiens who scored in that amazing game are still with the team.
Of the players who dressed that night, only Tomas Plekanec, Roman Hamrlik and Andrei Kostitsyn played last night.
The departed include Ryder, Kovalev, Streit, Koivu, Huet, Christopher Higgins, Mike Komisarek, Guillaume Latendresse, Maxim Lapierre, Steve Bégin, Sergei Kostitsyn, Mathieu Dandenault and Francis Bouillon.
Over the last three star-crossed seasons, your Montreal Canadiens have been remade.
Your question, awaiting another two NFL playoffs games: How do you like his edition of the Comeback Canadiens?
The 2008 edition certainly had more firepower.
If these Canadiens fell behind 5-0, I think we’d all be safe in changing the channel.
On the other hand, this team has never fallen five goals behind. The 2010-’11 Canadiens have given up five goals on only two occasions, at home against Philadelphia and in Dallas.
Are they as exciting as the Koivu/Kovy Krew?
Probably not, but the Bell Centre was rockin’ and rollin’ pretty good last night.
Bob Gainey, the quintessential defensive forward, hired Jacques Martin, and the coach istalled a system that stresses D and protects the team’s most valuable asset.
Playing behind a defence missing two of its best, Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges, Price made 27 saves last night and chalked up his 21st win. He needs three more to match his career best (in that ’07-’08 season).
In that comeback win against the Rangers, Andrei Markov played 23:20.
P.K. Subban’s ToI last night was a team-high 26:27. It’s probably safe to predict that P.K.’s TiP (Time in Pressbox) between now and the end of the season will be 0.
P.K. was not on the ice for either of Patrice Bergeron’s goals (James Wisniewski and the woeful Alexandre Picard were on for both, and it wasn’t pretty.)
Subban had a neatly symmetrical 3:58 on the PP, 3:48 on the PK.
So tell me again how Jacques Martin is destroying this kid.
The most promising young players on that 2007-’08 team were Komisarek, Higgins, Guy! Guy! Guy!, Pleks and the Brothers K.
In terms of potential, I’ll take the Four Ps:
Price, P.K., OT hero Max Paciorett and Benoit Pouliot (who played well on his own line, with David Desharnais and Mathieu Darche, and when pressed into Top Six duty by the absence of Mike Cammalleri).
I also like this team’s leadership.
With all due respect to Koivu, I’ll take Brian Gionta and Hal Gill as inspire their teammates to a high standard of hard work and intensity.
And with Markov and Gorges gone for the season, I’d like to nominate another leader to wear the A:
Not the most talented player on the roster, but Darche never stops working, rarely makes a mistake and offers constant counsel to his younger linemates, DD, Benny and Lars Eller.
My man from McGill will make a good coach some day.
Savor a big win, and enjoy some football.
• • •
Sergei Kostitsyn scored the winner last night as Nashville beat he Sharks 2-1 in San Jose.
It was the 11th goal of the season for SK74, who played 19:08.
Brother Andrei, who has 10 goals and hasn’t score since Dec. 23, played 14:30 last night. AK46 was not used during the late-game power-play or during OT.
This is AK46′s contract year, and the 2003 first-round draft choice is so outta here.
• • •
Guest Comment, from RGB:
Battling through it, that pretty much sums up the game tonight.
Boston came into our barn and played a fantastic road game for 57.3
minutes. Habs were not playing poorly, first period was a stalemate,
second period they got burned by some unlucky bounces. But as they say,
Tonight showcased how important Carey Price is
to this team. People have been ragging on him lately but he stepped up
against a division rival in the biggest game of the year so far. Carey
was fantastic when he had to be. And full value to Tim Thomas, who
played one heck of a game too.
It’s easy to say that the Habs
didn’t deserve this game. But I disagree, in the end hockey always evens
out. Some nights you get what you deserve, others you don’t. Habs have
played way to many games this year where they deserved better, and
tonight we were finally allowed to rope-a-dope one from the boys from
This is the team we have, and when they are on, they are
one hell of a team to play against. If I was the opposition, I would
dread the Habs every time I saw them on the schedule. Like it or not,
we will live and die by Jacques Martin’s system. It isnt easy to accept,
but it works. Theres a reason why our coach has so many W’s.
is the kind of game that can change a season. The Habs can look at this
game and hopefully reclaim some of their lost “swag”. It goes along
way, especially when the faithful expect a long run this spring.
• • •
A Bruins fan, posting on NESN:
We’re not a bad team; we’re just Montreal’s bitches, that’s all.
Sooner we all accept that, better off we’ll be. I mean, what, 85 years
now? It’s time we accept it and just concentrate on other teams cause
we’re never gonna beat these guys. They punk us every time and it’s
gettin kinda monotonous so to hell with’em. Just bend over and let’em do
it to ya cause that’s all the Bruins are good for in this “rivalry”, it