Went to Philadelphia and got Oléd.
But seriously, folks, was that a long-overdue off-night for your Montreal Canadiens or a statement game by the hottest team in the playoffs?
We’ll have to wait until Tuesday to find out.
If Game 2 is a replay of Game 1, with the Flyer faithful derisively chanting the Canadiens’ cheer … well, they say you’re not in trouble until you’ve lost on home ice, but a repetition of this mess would be big trouble.
How do you outshoot a team 28-25 and lose 6-0?
How do you dial up such a stinker that the last 20 minutes of a Conference final game have all the intensity and excitement of the exhibition season?
Let’s not sugar-coat it: the Canadiens sucked.
Their 15th playoff game was the team’s worst.
As Michel Bergeron said on L’Antichambre, in their six losses to Washington and Pittsburgh, the Canadiens competed.
They didn’t in Philadelphia.
And sadly, there are no mulligans in hockey – unlike that other game 26 NHL teams are playing.
But chillax, everyone.
Unless they’ve changed the rules, it still takes four wins.
Here’s the game in microcosm:
With the score 4-0, the Canadiens get their fourth power-play of the game eight minutes into the third period.
As they did in their three previous PPs, the Canadiens are able to control the puck and work it around the perimeter, setting up a point blast by Marc-André Bergeron.
MAB is accurate, and rebound comes to Tomas Plekanec on ther lip of the crease to Michael “Bernie Parent” Leighton’s left. Pleks is flattened from behind by Kimmo Timonen and gets off a weak shot while falling on his face.
Philadelphia scored on two of their six power-play opportunities. In each, there was traffic in front of the Canadiens’ net. And all the swarming orange jerseys managed to remain upright.
Jaro Halak gave up four goals on 13 shots. Two of them, by Braydon Coburn to open the scoring and by James van Riemsdyk to make it 2-0, travelled a total of maybe three feet.
The Canadiens got away with letting Mike Knuble, Brooks Laich and Michael Rupp crowd the crease.
They can’t do that with the Flyers. They’re too talented – especially their French connection.
Daniel Brière, Simon Gagné and the spectacular Claude Giroux accounted for half the Flyers’ scoring. They outplayted the Canadiens’ skill guys – badly.
Scott Gomez was minus-2 and took two undisciplined penalties, the first of which gave the Flyers their winning goal, less than four minutes into the game.
Brian Gionta was minus-2 and uncharacteristically careless on D. The Canadiens’ hardest-working player had an up-close view of the first two Philadelphia goals.
Tomas Plekanec was minus-2 and lost 10 of his 15 draws.
Mike Cammalleri was held to one shot on goal and had four blocked. The playoff’s leading sniper was kept safely to low-percentage areas of the offensive zone.
Yes, the Flyers are still tough. Daniel Carcillo, Scott Hartnell, Arron Asham, the Dickensian-named Darrell Powe.
But the thumpers play supporting roles to talented forwards who are lightning-fast in transition and lethally dangerous from the blueline in.
Philadelphia has scorers on three of its forward lines. That was a problem for the Canadiens’ defence, which couldn’t load up like it did against Ovechkin, Backstrom, Crosby and Malkin.
Patient with the puck, waiting for good chances, the Flyers danced around the slot, unchallenged by the Canadiens’ D or undersized backchecking forwards.
P.K. Subban played his worst game since the call-up and was minus-3.
What the F., the kid is 21 years old!
What’s the other guys’ excuse?
MAB was brutal, and the others weren’t much better.
But hey, it’s one game.
The Canadiens lost the opener in Pittsburgh, giving up six goals, four of them on the PP.
They were shut out by Marc-André Fleury in Game 3.
Through two series in which they were prohibitive underdogs, the Canadiens bounced back from adversity – including the devastating loss of their best player in the opening minutes of the Pittsburgh series.
The Canadiens have a couple times to rediscover the spirit and CHaracter that brought Cinderella this far.
• • •
Jaro is 7-1-1 career in starts after being pulled.
He’s 2-0 after yanks in the playoffs, allowing one goal each time.
• • •
Because the game was out of reach early, Peter Laviolette was able to rest his Top 4 D.
Chris Pronger played 20:10 – practically a night off for him, and a night shortened by a high stick he caught.
Timonen, Coburn and Matt Carle were in the low 20s.
Ryan Parent and Andreas Nodl, who were in the low single digits in Game 7 against Boston, played 14:26 and 9:44, respectively.
If wearing out the Philadelphia D was part of the Canadiens’ strategy for this series, I hope there’s a Plan B.
• • •
Spare me the second-guessing on Ryan O’Byrne.
Would the big galoot have made any difference?
But maybe MAB should be playing fewer minutes … like 0:00.