Gregory Stewart said he’d never heard anything like it in his life.
The 21-year-old rookie grew up a Bruins fan in Kitchener. Last night, he was in the Bell Centre, 13 shifts and trading late-game punches with veteran Toronto defenceman Bryan McCabe and listening to roars of appreciation from the Canadiens’ 141st straight sellout crowd.
The kid used "electrifying" and "unbelievable" to describe the atmosphere in the raucous building. The crowd was on its feet with 70 seconds to go, the ovation engulfing the building and lasting until the Canadiens gathered at centre ice to wave their sticks and acknowledge the adulation.
"My body was just tingling when we first went out on the ice," Stewart said. "I watched the game on Thursday and I wanted to be out there so bad. It was a dream come true.
"This is the best place in the world to play hockey."
In addition to his fight, Stewart had a few scoring chances. He did not look out of place on a line with Maxim Lapierre and Mathieu Dandenault.
"They’re in the right position all the time and making the right passes," Stewart said. "You’ve got to be in your position and focus on your job. Our whole line kept it simple and created a lot of energy.
"I can stay at this level if I skate hard and work hard."
Stewart said he finished his check on McCabe, who responded with two slashes and a spear.
"I asked him if he wanted to go," Stewart said, "because I don’t take that."
• • •
Unless Detroit scores nine tomorrow, Canadiens will end the regular season as the NHL’s highest-scoring team with 262 goals.
"I don’t think most people thought we’d have the offensive explosion we’ve had this year," said Christopher Higgins, who scored twice to raise his season’s total to 27. "It seems we’ve had scoring from all different sources and, of course, the power play.
"I think it’s the balance. It’s such an advantage for our team."
Higgins had five shots, as did Alex Kovalev and Andrei Kostitsyn. In addition to his two goals, Higgins hit the post twice.
He would not comment on the upcoming playoff series against Boston – we’ll talk about that on Monday " – but Higgins is looking forward to "a fun time of year, especially in this city."
And especially in this building.
• • •
At least Toronto tried.
Playing at home agasainst a team that’s out of the playofffs, Boston lost 3-0 and had 17 shots – three in the third period.
The no-show guaranteed Bruins will play Canadiens. Is that what they