About last night …

Martin Brodeur beaten for three third-period goals.

Roger Federer loses in straight sets.

I don’t know if the falcon can hear the falconer, but surely the Second Coming is at hand. And if the playoffs were at hand, how many teams would want to be facing your Montreal Canadiens?

They’re on fire. And my only concern (because a Habs fan always has concerns) is the team might be peaking too early.

There’s a lot of hockey to be played. But if Canadiens play the rest of their schedule like they played the second 30 minutes of last night’s game, the playoffs are a lock and a deep run is a possibility.

And if there’s happiness to be savoured in April – and, inshallah, May – we can look back to last comeback win as the game that defined the season.

This team has heart. And it has cojones, big brass ones you could hear clanking all the way from Newark.

Down 3-1 to their nemesis team and bête noire goaltender, winless this season in games they’ve trailed after 40 minutes, the Canadiens didn’t quit. The fourth line never quits, And neither, this season, does Alex Kovalev.

The team that had three shots in the first period fired 20 at Brodeur in the third. It was the team in front of Brodeur that had three shots in the last 20 minutes of the game.

For the opening 20 minutes, I thought it was a playoff preview, at least for the home team: in-your-face hockey, battling for every inch of the ice, tight, aggressive checking that gave Canadiens puck-carriers little time to make decisions, most of which inevitably were bad decisions.

But the young, nervous, tentative team didn’t wilt. And after surviving a second 5-on-3 power play, the Canadiens skated, hit and finessed the Devils into the ice.

Brent Sutter probably wishes he could hold a no-pucks practice this morning. The Canadiens enjoy three days off to savor 60 points (second in the East), 17 wins on the road and a cornucopia of positives – not the least of which is character – to take into the break:

• Do you suppose Bob Gainey knew something when he signed Bryan Smolinski? I can’t remember Radek Bonk scoring twice in New Jersey last season.

• And do you figure Tom the Bomb is an upgrade on Mike Johnson?

• Eight names on the scoresheet, 11 Canadiens had hits; 33-21 on faceoffs, Tomas Plekanec 11-4, Maxim Lapierre 4-1; the home team took seven penalties; John Madden, one of the best defensive players in the league, was minus-2

• Andrei K. is turning into one of the most explosive players in the league. That line is a joy to watch.

• Brother Sergei will never see either an NHL pressbox or the city of Hamilton again. And he might be back on the Saku Koivu line.

• The Captain has come to life and will benefit greatly from resting this weekend.

• Christopher Higgins may be ready to break out. He works the corners and gets the chances. It’s a matter of burying them, and that comes with confidence.

• How about that smurf Brian Gionta launching himself off a step ladder at a laughing Komisaurus?

Ah, that was a sweet one.

And maybe the best is yet to come.

123 Comments

  1. NoTinFoilCups says:

    Hi Ian,

    You cut me, man, the last 40 plus years have been a wonderful trip. I’m the youngest of five brothers, 2 leafs fans and 2 wings. They told me I had to choose some other team oh so long ago, I’ve been thanking them ever since.

  2. likehoy says:

    rob blake is goood…and would make out an excellent top 4…but we have a log jam on defence…we’d have to make some room…and expect the kings to be asking for a dman in return…namely o’byrne…

    I think being patient and waiting for O’Byrne to come around would be a safe choice. Then again, Rob BLake has a blast from the point that can remind us of a certain mr. re-injured my shoulder down in edmonton. Maybe Gainey needs a dose of nostalgia? jk

  3. Fer_hab says:

    Price needs to get his confidence up and keep it their after the so called hab fans booing him after the washington. Gainey recognized that was the first time he’d seen Price affected by adversity and along with our schedule and decided its best for him to go down for a bit and get his (for a the lack of a better) “Swagger back”. BTW he has not played badly he just never got any offence (Jersey) and for so called hab fans who want to win the Stanley cup every f’en game his play wasn;t good enough Bhaaa.

  4. The Teacher says:

    That’s because most of us know his stats are completely irrelevant for the most part. (I’m being generous here)


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