About last night …

 

It’s somehow refreshing to be reminded, on a fairly regular basis, that I’m a dunce who doesn’t know anything about hockey.

Case in point: Game 1 of the Canadiens-Capitals playoff series.

I looked at the numbers and concluded there was no way the number eight seed was beating the top-seeded team in the NHL. Certainly not in a best-of-seven series, and probably not in the opening game in Washington.

Well … wrong again. Pending the result of the L.A.-Vancouver game, underdogs have won five of six opening games.

Included was a Number 8, Colorado, beating a number 1, San Jose, on Wednesday night.

But your Montreal Canadiens topped that – if only because we are no longer surprised by anything the Sharks do to crap the tank in the playoffs. 

 

 

I was one of the Gloomy Guses who, when asked for a view of this series, confidently predicted Capis in three.

There was just no way a team that stumbled and bumbled and scraped into the playoffs by virtue of the one lousy point they finally earned against lowly Toronto could compete with an NHL juggernaut whose star-studded lineup includes the league’s second-best player.

(I’m a Sid guy.)

Let’s outline the assumtpions that the game proved utterly wrong:

• Jaro Halak, who was not good against the Leafs, has hit the wall. He’s a small goaltender whose regular-season and Olympic load is finally taking its toll. We’ll see Carey Price in Game 2.

Oops! Jaro made 45 saves, including 18 in the first period. He held the Canadiens in the game until they found their legs and played the Caps even through the last 53 minutes of the game.

• Tomas Plekanec is too frail for the number of minutes he’s played this year. He faded down the stretch and won’t be a factor in the playoffs.

Oops! Pleks has five shots on goal, the last of which is a 40-foot laser that beats  José Theodore to win the game.

• Jacques Martin is an old-fashioned coach, freeze-dried in the 1980s and incapable of in-game adjustments.

Oops! Martin somehow sold the virtue of forechecking to his troops between the first and second periods. He even used a timeout to rest hius players after an icing call.

After dominating early, the Capitals found themselves under pressure in their own end, a relentlessness – keyed by the Canadiens’ third and fourth lines – that took its toll on the Caps D, notably Mike Green.

The Norris Trophy candidate kind of sucked.

And the perennial Hart Trophy contender totally sucked.

Through almost four complete periods of hockey, Alexander Ovechkin was held pointless and did not register a shot on goal. The Canadiens D, primarily Hal Gill, Jaro Spacek and Josh Georges, did a superb job of taking away Ovie’s time and space, confining his frenzied bursts to areas of the ice where he could do the least damage.

Bruce Boudreau said his superstar “didn’t play good”. On the rush leading to the winning goal, Ovie played bad, lollygagging on his way to the bench for a line change as Pleks zoomed up ice.

• Marc-André Bergeron is too small to play against the Washington beheomoths. The Canadiens should have dressed Ryan O’Byrne.

Oops. MAB played 27:37 – one second less than Andrei Markov. Bergeron was aggressively forechecked by the big Washington forwards, but he shook off the abuse to make adroit first passes and clear the zone with surprising ease.

I wasn’t wrong about everything.

I thought Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta, with their Stanley Cup-winning experience in New Jersey, would excel. And they did, along with linemate Benoit Pouliot, who has snapped out of his late-season slump to display the skills that excited fans when he was acquired.

The line’s passing, to set up Gomez for the second goal, was exquisite.

I thought Mike Cammalleri showed signs,m against Toronto, of finally recapturing his pre-injury form. He scored the first goal of the game on a power play, skated miles and battled hard on every shift. Cammalleri’s industriousness was matched by linemate Andrei Kostitsyn, whose strength, speed and rarely-seen determination bedevilled the Washington D.

Like the Flyers, Senators and Avalanche, the Canadiens have seized home-ice advantage.

I still can’t see them beating the Capitals four times – in Washington, at the Bell Centre or on the dark side of the moon.

But what do I know?

257 Comments

  1. Clay4bc says:

    You’re right, Priceberg! How could I have  not seen it before – it was clear to anyone who watched the game – Halak played terribly, and had nothing (NOTHING!) to do with the victory. Thank you so much for enlightening me – I am in your debt.

    _________________

    Don’t argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.

  2. punkster says:

    All that assuming BG would have played Price more? Giant leap there MA considering the number of starts he got up until BG left.

  3. ManApart says:

    I think we all know, the Habs are not even in the playoffs if BG was still GM. For sure Price would have gotten many more starts down the stretch. Halak may still have been the back-up. With the Habs squeaking in by 1 point, that means no playoffs and no game 1 win. It is BECAUSE Gainey left, that Halak got his first shot in 3 years to play as a #1 and because of his MVP performance the Habs made it to the 2nd season.

  4. Chuck says:

    Without a Forum Ghost looking over Jaro’s shoulder and willing a puck that was on trajectory to go into the net to bounce to the left, we lose.

    _____________________________________

    Cheer for the crest on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.

  5. Clay4bc says:

    You should also be happy that the Caps are facing a diminant goalie, because without Halak playing great, we likely lose.

    _________________

    Don’t argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.

  6. Danno says:

    Hey! Great Avatar Ayan!

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  7. Mr.Hazard says:

    Nah, but Miller was 2nd! Man I’m happy we’re not facing a dominant goalie like him or Brodeur!

    LOL

    “love cannot drown truth, Nefertiti”

  8. SeriousFan09 says:

    They were an inspired move to play up the history of the Stanley Cup and the amazing stories behind some of the teams that have taken the Cup. The NHL needs to sell the emotion of the game, the amazing stories and the stars who made it all possible for their teams. NHL wants to sell the game to the casual sportswatcher, they have to give them a reason to watch, stories like Roy in 86, Lemieux in 91 and Messier in 94 are pretty compelling examples of why the NHL has the best sports post-season there is.

     

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  9. Richrebellion says:

    Finally someone who actually see’s what Gainey did for this team and how in 1 year was able to weed out the bad seeds and rebuild them even better.

  10. RudeMood19 says:

    LOL

    WOW that’s actually well-made.

    Although I think the video would’ve been better released after the series at least. Hopefully this isn’t like unlucky or anything.

    As a side note, the NHL commercials this year are pretty good I must say.

  11. Ayan_SB says:

    Tonight, the Montreal Canadiens held Alex Ovechkin both shotless and pointless for the first time in his career.

  12. Richrebellion says:

    Wait what just happened? Did the bandwagon just fill up again? Last time i checked this whole city didnt give this team a chance! Now all of a sudden everyone knew they could do it? Everyone says theyre habs fans but a true fan sticks with them through everything and all ive heard in this city was we had no chance and we’d be out soo quickly why play…. Well welcome back! You know who you are!

    As for the game they played with them stride for stride.

    Yes the team that scored 98 more goals.

    Yes the team that won the presidents trophy.

    Yes the team that finished with 33 more points in the standings.

    Yes the team with Ovy the 50 goal 109 point player and Backstrom the 101 points.

    This is a new season all those stats mean nothing now. The new stats Mtl 1 – Wsh 0, thats all you need to know!

    Gainey built a hell of a team and if it wasnt for injuries, this team would have easily finished alot higher. They will prove all the haters that they are for real and when they beat washington in 6, the streets will riot once again. I hope all you hab not-fans will stay inside on that night and let us true fans relish the moment!

    Through thick and thin habs fan for life. DO YOU BELIEVE?

  13. Norcal Habsfan says:

    Great to see Boudreau throw Ovie under the bus. It seems a little early to start calling out your stars but I welcome the panic. One more loss on home ice and watch them start eating their young.

  14. SeriousFan09 says:

    Was Ovechkin the 1st Ghost of the Night?

     

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  15. Mr.Hazard says:

    Halak 3rd star of the night on NHL.com.

    “love cannot drown truth, Nefertiti”

  16. DearyLeary says:

    I’m not sure anyone in my neighborhood (Ontarian suburbia) is asleep because of how hard I was yelling over that non call.

  17. badbalance says:

    Gomez is a beast, wow that goal he scored…. never knew he had it in him

  18. Ian Cobb says:

    Bob put this team together and they have come together. A lot more fun to watch than the rejects of last year! Thank’s Bob.

  19. Willy the bum says:

    I just love this spoof, and hope if there’s something like this in this round.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byJj7MJwQ_c

  20. MikeL says:

    Habs on the front of ESPN.com.

    http://espn.go.com/

  21. phillyhab says:

    Luckily Mr. Boone, they only have to do it 3 more times!

  22. FSUPhi1584 says:

    I thought that was a pretty nice rebuttal by Pleks. I wonder if Theodore thought that shot was Jagr-esque? But in all seriousness I thought Spacek played very well against Ovechkin. The trick is to play with a good position staying close enough where he can’t deke you, and far enough so that he can’t run you over. That is what Scuderi did last year. Its also very important to keep your body in between him and the net and try to get your stick on his because he always tries to shoot and he will take bad shots thereby eliminating any offensive setup. Most of the Caps chances came off rebounds and most shots were not quality scoring chances.

  23. habsfanmandy says:

    I know, it was ridiculous.

  24. habsfanmandy says:

    I’m sursprised Boone didn’t mention the site crashing due to Pleks goal. I’m still in shock. 

  25. Xtrahabsfan says:

    dido..

  26. light_n_tasty says:

    Way to go Boone.  Good job on reversing your reverse jinx.  Now we’re screwed. Thanksalot.

  27. MikeL says:

    I know it’s irrelevant now, but how insane was that non-call on Gionta? I was absolutely screaming at the television in anger. Glad it didn’t make a difference.

  28. andrewberkshire says:

    It’s been posted several times, but there’s no need for apology. That can be included in every post everyone on this site makes and I’d never get tired of it.

  29. Bob Barker says:

    Yeah I’ve been guilty of ripping Spacek and MAB also. Spacek was great but I knew he was capable of playing well. 

    MAB really surprised me with his composure. He probably played his best game defensively as Hab. 

  30. MikeL says:

    He scares me as well. Always seems to wait till the last second to make a decision. He lives on the edge, that’s for sure.

  31. RudeMood19 says:

    In light of tonight’s unexpected win, and because I saw it on the TSN broadcast, and because it’s just awesome, I think it’s appropriate for this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UumpTDdwHJg

    And I apologize in advance if this was already posted.

  32. Bob Barker says:

    Good post. 

    AK had a pretty solid game. He was skating. He was especially solid along the board and won a lot of puck battles. Hopefully a sign of things to come because when he gets on a roll he scores in bunches. 

     

  33. RetroMikey says:

    This is going to be a long and physical gruelling series.  I was not surprised we came out flat in the first period but we slowly progressed to play better and with confidence as the game progressed.

    Halak is the man!  We won the first game which is great and let’s keep playing hard and make our speed come into play the next game as well.

    Martin is outcoaching Boudreau and we won the first game, however Ovechkin is either injured or we are shutting him down.

    Let’s take it game by game, Washington are a very good team and this series could go either way.

    If Plekanec did not score or rack up several points tonight,  I would have been very vocal on this site saying he is playing like a little girl whch he had been in a slump and I did not want this carried over to the playoffs along with Cammallerri.

    The 4th line of Darche, Lapierre, and Pyatt are worth of stars selecions in my books, fighting hard in the corners, making the plays and finishing their checks.

    Congratulations boys, a well deserved W.

    Rest those aching bodies, the series is going to be a long one.

    I can sleep better tonight knowing the boys played a hard fought game.

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  34. habs fan from stonyplain says:

     i agree with you primetime people like timo are going to want to jump on the band wagon then twist there angle jumping off

  35. captaink4life says:

    In my opinion, the most important games in a playoff series (other then an elimination game of course) are games 1 and 4. Winning the first game bodes very well for the mental state of les Boys. 

     

    You will always be a Canadien in my eyes, Saku

  36. Shiloh says:

    What a great game to watch. The Capitals are a skating team and we are too. Once we found our legs in the second period we played them even or better. I llked Moore and Darche tonight – they don’t seem to mind getting into it along the boards. AK46 was good too. Now that Cammalleri is dangerous again AK should get more room to wheel.

    Our guys may not win the series, but they don’t look like they’re going to slink off to the golf course with their tails between their legs.

    Jaro squared (Halak and Spacek) and Tomas Jagr! It looks good on the Capitals.

  37. punkster says:

    OK. Great game though, wasn’t it? Love this team.

  38. sidhu says:

    I don’t know about y’all, but I feel an immense sense of pride in being a Habs fan tonight, and an immense sense of appreciation for the boys.

    I’ve slammed Spacek, Gomer, MAB, and others at various points this season, but they all brought it tonight.

    Go Habs Go!

  39. Ian Cobb says:

    The light switch was definitely turned on in the 2nd and we had them on the run. We have them thinking now for sure!

  40. Mr.Hazard says:

    Hey Boone: I couldn’t see them beating WSH four times either. But look: now they only have to beat them 3 times! And they got 6 games to do it.

    Also: “lollygagging”. Hahaha!

    “love cannot drown truth, Nefertiti”

  41. Ian Cobb says:

    Coaching the bench during a speed game is tough, well oiled and coached teams screw up less than teams not as well oiled Dave.

  42. Ian Cobb says:

    Parkinson’s sorry!

  43. Ayan_SB says:

    Maybe because he grew up in Russia? Yeeah, Ovechkin obviously must not respect and love hockey as much haha. Damn those Soviets.

  44. Merc_Roswell says:

    Giants will fall

  45. Ian Cobb says:

    He is very slow moving the puck out of our end and gives it up. Scares me also Doug. But the alternative is O’Byrne and he is still trying to fit into his large body.

  46. NLhabsfan says:

    You could feel it change in the second..The Habs weren’t under pressure.They created there own….This team is for real.This series is going to fun to watch now. Watch the caps panic.Should be a factor in the series.

  47. punkster says:

    Just before the site went down I tried to post something tongue in cheek. It went like this:

    Yep, they’re too small. And Spacek and Hamrlik are too old. And Gill is a useless pylon. And Pleks plays like a little girl when it counts. And our goaltender (either one) lets in softies. Yep, they haven’t got a chance.

    Well, wrong on all counts tonight. Somehow these guys found the spark. They’ll have to keep the pressure on Saturday, carrying the puck out of our zone, forechecking, and working the corners again.

    Negatives? First, unlike Boone I couldn’t find any love tonight for AK but maybe I just wasn’t looking hard enough. Second, what’s up with those line changes? It’s like a Mexican Hat Dance out there. Last guy to the bench has to buy the beers or what? Disorganized.

  48. PrimeTime says:

    Nice to read one doomsday crier come out athough Boone always awards credit where credit is due in his postgame comments unlike the others here who just hide until the next opportunity comes to cry.

    One game isn’t a series but we sure can be proud this one night. Hopefully it isn’t the last road win!

     

     

    Bipolar or Manic-Depressive Disorder is a disease than can treated.

  49. forskis says:

    Since with that winning goal, Pleks is slowly getting more expensive to sign…is there any way we can sign Tomas Jagr for the League minimum?

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  50. smiler2729 says:

    Boone, I’m a Sid guy too. The Ovenchicken is a little too in love with himself… Sid respects and loves hockey, the NHL and everything growing up in cold Canadian winters gives you, Ovenchicken hasn’t a clue.

  51. doug says:

    Great game. Anything more than a Habs loss in six would still be shocking. One team can be loose on Saturday, though. As for MAB, still scares the crap out of me.

  52. forskis says:

    One thing the Habs did that helped shut Ovechkin down…THEY HIT HIM…every player who was near him and therefore, had him as their defensive responsiblity hit him…not some weak or half-hearted stick check…they actually hit him, whether it be a bump, a hit, a little shove…they threw him off his game.

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

About last night …

It’s somehow refreshing to be reminded, on a fairly regular basis, that I’m a dunce who doesn’t know anything about hockey.

Case in point: Game 1 of the Canadiens-Capitals playoff series.

I looked at the numbers and concluded there was no way the number eight seed was beating the top-seeded team in the NHL.

Certainly not in a best-of-seven series, and probably not in the opening game in Washington.

Well … wrong again.

Pending the result of the L.A.-Vancouver game, lower seeds – who, with the arguable exception of Detroit, are underdogs in each series – have won five of six opening games.

Included was a Number 8, Colorado, beating a number 1, San Jose, on Wednesday night.

But your Montreal Canadiens topped that – if only because we are no longer surprised by anything the Sharks do to crap the fish tank in the playoffs.


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.