It was the season in microcosm.
A good start, and then a slump that had us worrying about what kind of team we’ve got in your Montreal Canadiens.
It all turned out well, with P.K. Subban supplying the Hollywood ending.
And maybe the season will have us smiling, come April.
But man, it’s never easy with this bunch …
For the second consecutive game, the Canadiens squandered a lead.
Last night, they squandered a rout.
Blame the Bell Centre fans for premature Olélation, but this team has trouble finishing – goals and games.
But the Canadiens put two points in the bank, lifted themselves up into sixth place and displayed some encouraging signs that the mid-season blahs are behind them.
There was a lot to like:
• The game ended a run of 13 in which the Canadiens scored three or fewer goals.
• Lars Eller played his best game yet on a line with Mike Cammalleri and Tomas Plekanec.
• Cammalleri finally popped one, after a 10-game dry spell.
• Jeff Halpern, whose offence has been MIA, scored for the first time in 18 games.
• The PK pitched another shutout.
• Andrei Kostitsyn scored again, the first time he’s had goals in consecutive games since a three-game run in late October.
• Max Pacioretty continues to skate and hit and look totally at home with his Yankee Doddle Dandy linemates.
• Yanick Weber was plus-2, played smart and did not get slapped around unduly by a big Western Conference team.
• The Canadiens went to the net on a consistent basis. Brian Gionta was penalized for it, nullifying a Pacioretty goal, but Travis Moen and Weber were in Mikka Kiprusoffs kitchen when Halpern scored.
• Carey Price was Mariano Rivera … Yikes, did I just cite a YANKEE? … make that Jonathan Papelbon, back when he was good.
• Roman Hamrlik, Hal Gill and Jaro Spacek continue to provide a safety net for their young partners.
And speaking of young defenceman …
P.K. Subban had more ToI than anyone on either team last night. And his 27:13 included 6:17 on the PK, with partner Gill.
He should have done a better job on the Alex Tanguay goal that made it 4-4. And Subban caused yet another Too Many Men call.
But man, the kid has magic.
And that plays big in this town.
You pretty much have to go back to Guy Lafleur to find a player who lifts the home crowd out of their expensive seats shift after shift after shift.
P.K. does that.
Mike Cammalleri calls the kid Prime Time. And as I wrote in Quick Hits, P.K.’s flamboyance – such as we saw in his winning-goal celebration – deeply offends the delicate sensibilities of the Ontario Orange Lodge spinster aunts who run the NHL and Hockey Night in Canada.
Joke them if they can’t take a $%^&.
Montreal is not Kingston.
We LOVE our hot dogs – steamé and all-dressed.