It’s an idea whose time has come.
Actually, the time will come Wednesday evening – and I wish it were my idea.
Riding down in the elevator toward dressing room level after that amazing game, Arpon Basu suggested the Canadiens do something special for Game 7:
“Show it in here.”
Would that be cool or what: the deciding game of this crazy series, up on the league’s largest high-definition scoreboard.
Charge $10, sell a tanker-load of beer and donate a good chunk of the money to charity.
Too bad they can’t do it, because as J.Ambrose reminds me, Peter Gabriel is playing the Bell Centre.
I bet his fans won’t be as hyperstoked as the deafening crowd who waved white towels and yelled themselves hoarse through one of the greatest goaltending performances in the history of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Jaro Halak faces 54 shots. He stopped 53 of them.
The most dangerous and prolific attack in the NHL also fired 17 shots that missed the net. The Canadiens blocked 23 (including five by the masterful Hal Gill).
That’s a mind-blowing 94 occasions when the puck left a Washington player’s stick and Jaro Halak had to be ready for it.
My friend and colleague Red Fisher has been covering the Canadiens since the Richard Riot. I asked him if he’d ever seen a better goaltending performance in the playoffs.
Red had to think for a minute.
“Patrick Roy,” he said. “Against the Rangers in overtime. He made 13 saves before the Canadiens got their first shot, and Claude Lemieux won it.”
It was 1986, a Cup year. Bert Raymond recalled Jean Béliveau saying that night that Roy’s performance was the best he’d ever seen.
So Jaro moves into runnerup territory.
I don’t remember who the Rangers had in 1986.
Anyone to compare to Alex Ovechkin, who fired eight shots at Jaro?
Or Alexander Semin, who had seven?
After Jacques Martin’s press conference, I saw him having a quiet chat with Canadiens’ general-manager Pierre Gauthier.
Do you think the subject of goaltending may have come up?
Jaro is making life difficult for Gauthier. The Canadiens will re-sign only one of their young goaltenders, and the consensus opinion – heading into the playoffs – had Carey Price as the organization’s favourite son.
Price is younger. He was a higher draft choice than Halak. Most scouts think Price has more upside.
On the other hand …
With his team facing elimination, Jaro has held the NHL’s highest-scoring team to two goals in two games.
His save percentage is a lights-out, unconscious 97.8.
There have been many heroes in this improbably playoff series:
Hal Gill and Josh Gorges have been brilliant, particularly on the PK, which has been perfect in the two Ws and has shut down the league’s best PP.
Mike Cammalleri is playing like his hair on fire and has five goals in the series.
Andrei Markov played 28:58, most of it with Washington buzzing around him in the Canadiens’ zone.
Maxim Lapierre displayed the speed and combativeness we’ve waited for all season.
The vets with Cup rings – Gill, Travis Moen, Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez – have provided leadership and a steadying influence in the face of the relentless Washington attack.
Crowd favourite P.K. Subban had an assist, looked like he belonged and flashed the puck-moving skills and right-handed PP ability that will wow the Bell Centre for many years to come.
The team has displayed the grit and character too often overlooked during this injury-riddled, storm-tossed and frustrating season.
But Jaro got them into the playoffs.
And he’s keeping them there.
Best since Roy?
Who am I to argue with Red Fisher.
• • •
In the matter of diving:
Three calls, two of them stand-alones, is absurd.
I think because the officiating is so inconsistent in everything but its piss-pooredness, the players feel they have to sell everyting t get a call.
We can only hope that Bill McCreary and Steven Walkom will be assigned to Game 7.
But just watch: Chris Lee.
• • •
A Washington beat writer:
“I’ve been to the Indianapolis 500. They get 400,00 fans.
“I’ve NEVER, at any sports event, heard a louder crowd than this one tonight.”
Good on ya, seventh man.
Fourth star of the game: La Foule.