About last night …

Magic.

That’s what Dany Dubé was calling it on the CKAC post-game show. But for me and maybe for 21,000 deliriously happy fans in the Bell Centre (there were a couple hundred Rangers supporters), it was more of a 21st century religious experience:

Woodstock Meets Triumph of the Will

"Olé! Olé! Olé! Olé! …. and BTW, Avery sucks!"

The revivalists and I bore wiitness to something that had never happened in the long and often glorious history of the Montreal Canadiens. The team had never come back from 5-0 to win a hockey game.

Not with Maurice Richard.

Not with Jean Béliveau.

Not with Guy Lafleur.

The greatest comeback in 99 years of Montreal hockey was keyed by …. organ flourish, please … Michael Ryder.

There is a God – and He loves Newfoundlanders

Bob: About that trade …

To be honest, I still don’t understand what I saw last night. Maybe I’ll have figured things out in time for the Habs Inside/Out podcast, later today.

For now, here are a few scatter-shot observations.

• The seventh man deserved the first star. The crowd was frenzied last night – exhilarating and a little scary. Canadiens were still buzzing about it after the game, as was Rangers coach Tom Renney. In how many NHL rinks is there a thunderous ovation for winning a dying-seconds faceoff?

• Cristobal Huet is number one … again … for now. Three brilliant stops in the shootout, and then the low-key Frenchman leapt into the waiting arms of Mike Komisarek. It was the hockey version of Yogi Berra and Don Larson.

• Komisarek is a journalist’s delight, always candid and quotable. After last night’s comeback, he was as happy and voluble as I’ve ever seen him. When fans littered the ice after his second high-sticking penalty (let’s be thankful the promotion wasn’t Stick Night), the penalty box timekeeper told Komisarek "I haven’t seen anything like this since the Forum."

• Steve Bégin had EIGHT hits, each one a thunderous affirmation of a simple message: "We’re not done yet!"

• Maxim Lapierre was plus-3 and may have found his offensive groove with Michael Ryder and Mark Streit.

• My man Josh Gorges, a clean slate (he was not on for any of the five New York goals) and huge in OT.

• Canadiens need a team award for the player who handles adversity with the most courage and class. Name it after Job or Bob Gainey, and the winner is … Michael Ryder.

• Another great night in Moscow on the St. Lawrence: Alex Kovalev (introduces the feet-up goal celebration), the brilliant Andrei Markov, the Fabulous Flying Kostitsyn Brothers. 5-0? BFD. These people trailed by four touchdowns at Stalingrad.

• Roman Hamrlik for the Kipling Award: If you can keep your head while all about you …

• I felt bad for Tom Kostopoulos, Bryan Smolinski and Patrice Brisebois. They missed a game their teammates will be telling their grandchildren about.

• The thumpers who usually bedevil Canadiens – Blair Betts, Jason Strudwick, Ryan Hollweg – were each minus-2.

• Say what you will about Sean Avery – and what was said, at high decibels in the upper reaches of the stands, cannot be printed, not even in a blog – but the little s— can play hockey: six shots, four hits, plus-2. I’d trade for him tomorrow – unles the Rangers asked for Michael Ryder.

OK, I have to go put on my makeup for the podcast. So one last crazy thought after an insane evening:

This is beginning to look like a team of destiny.

The prospect of late May/early June hockey in Magic City is no longer preposterous.

 

 

 

 

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