The last time the Canadiens won a playoff game in the Bell Centre, George W. Bush was still president of the United States.
April 24, 2008.
Canadiens opened the Eastern Conference semi-final against underdog Philadelphia with a 4-3 win in overtime. Alex Kovalev’s second goal of the game tied it with 29 seconds left in regulation, and Tom Kostopoulos scored 48 seconds into OT.
That’s two years and two days – or, if you prefer, an election, a recession and six home-ice playoff losses – ago.
The Canadiens are WAY overdue.
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Seven current Canadiens played in the last home-ice win: Tomas Plekanec, Josh Gorges, Maxim Lapierre, Roman Hamrlik, the brothers K (Andrei scored a goal and missed a penalty shot; Sergei had five hits to lead both teams) and Carey Price.
A harbinger of things to come: R.J.F. Umberger scored the first goal of the series.
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Blogging for the CBC, Arpon Basu has written a really good piece on the contrasting playoff performances of Hal Gill and Roman Hamrlik.
Josh Gorges offered this assessment of his D partner:
“He’s at his best in this type of
situation, in the playoffs. When it’s time to win a battle in the corner
or block a key shot, that’s what he’s here for. That’s what wins games
in the playoffs,” Gorges said.
“You ask guys around the league.
‘Can you get around him one on one?’ No. ‘Is it tough to get shots
through when he’s on the ice?’ Yes, absolutely. He makes it miserable
for guys playing against him.”