Hey, maybe they can have a Presidents’ Trophy parade.
Your Montreal Canadiens won game 7.
Even better, the Boston Bruins lost.
Hockey fans can look forward to an Eastern Conference final that doesn’t include Brad Marchand’s stick work or Claude Julien’s whining.
Bonus: The most annoying fans in the NHL can spend the rest of this spring watching their Red Sox.
Meanwhile, 500 km north of the dark and lonely TD Garden, the playoffs continue.
And it’s beginning to smell a little like 1993.
One note before we bid a not-so-fond farewell to Bruins: Milan Lucic talked smack to Dale Weise and Alexei Emelin in the handshake line. He reportedly told Weise: “I’m going to fucking kill you next year.”
Such a classy bunch.
And now they’re en vacances.
But enough about the losers.
In his postgame press conference, Michel Therrien lauded a “great accomplishment.”
“We just beat the best team in the league,” the coach added. “We showed a lot of character and a lot of passion.”
When someone asked Therrien about the pump-up speech Carey Price gave his teammates between the second and third periods, the coach sheepishly admitted he’d missed it. But the dressing room oratory, Therrien said, was evidence of Price’s leadership.
To update a stat cited in the live game blog, Price has played in five elimination games in 2014: three at the Sochi Olympics, plus Games 6 and 7 against Boston. He’s faced 127 shots and stopped 125 of them.
Price under pressure: 5-0, with a goals-against average of 0.40 and a save percentage of .984.
Yeah, pretty good goaltending. And having beaten Tuukka rask, Price moves on to face Henrik Lundqvist in a duel of goaltenders who were snubbed as Vezina Trophy finalists. Lundqvist hasn’t won in Montreal since March 17, 2009. He is 4-5-2 with a 3.87 GAA and .876 save percentage lifetime at Bell Centre.
The Rangers series will also be a battle of number 67s: Max Pacioretty vs. former Canadien (and Bruin) Benoit Pouliot.
And P.K. Subban,the Canadiens’ second-round draft choice (43rd overall) vs. their first-round, 12th overall pick, Ryan McDonagh.
And Therrien vs. the coach he succeeded in 2000, Alain Vigneault.
Plus the class of the undersized old guys, Brian Gionta vs. Martin St. Louis.
Oh, the Eastern Conference final is going to be fun – not least because the Canadiens and Rangers are fast, skilled teams that stick to hockey. We may see Brandon Prust and Derek Dorsett joust a bit, but George Parros won’t be needed in the series.
Nor will Douglas Murray. Nathan Beaulieu has played two NHL playoff games and won them both. He should be in the lineup against the Rangers, along with his D partner Mike Weaver, who was heroic in the Boston series.
Therrien praised the work ethic and attitude of his team in Game 7. The Canadiens were outshot 30-18 and territorially dominated for agonizingly long stretches of the game. But they didn’t panic , and the only mental error was Max Pacioretty holding Dougie Hamilton’s stick in the Bruins’ zone, drawing a penalty during which Jarome Iginla deflected a Torey Krug shot past Price to make it a 2-1 game.
With a chance to seize momentum, however, the Bruins took a penalty late in the second period and another in the third, setting up the Daniel Brière goal that drove a dagger into their season.
The latter infraction was Johnny Boychuk’s interference on Michäel Bournival, a kid whose speed bedevilled Boston. early in the series, Bournival also got in a good whack on Zdeno Chara’s hand. The Bruins’ defenceman rarely flashed his Norris Trophy finalist form thereafter.
With Dennis Seidenberg out of the lineup and Chara playing hurt, Boston was left with a young, inexperienced defence corps that had a very difficult time coping with the Canadiens’ speed and forechecking tenacity – both qualities showcased on the Brandon Prust and Daniel Brière plays that produced the game’s first goal.
It was scored by Dale Weise. The late-season acquisition – Thank you, John Tortorella, for not liking this guy – has scored three times in the playoffs; and the Canadiens have won each game.
Marc Bergevin was in the hallway leading to the dressing room after the game. The jubilant general manager hugged each player as he came off the ice.
Bergevin has a right to celebrate. In the second year of this proud franchise’s latest rebuild, the Canadiens are among the Final Four vying for the Stanley Cup.
Beating the Rangers won’t be easy. They’re a fast, talented and well-coached team.
Lundqvist was spectacular against Pittsburgh. St. Louis is inspirational. And McDonagh …
Ah, why spoil a warm, happy mid-May day in Montreal by thinking about Ryan McDonagh – except to say if he were paired with P.K. …
OK, I’ll stop.
A happier note: On L’Antichambre, Vincent Damphousse said this year’s postseason is starting to remind him of 1993.
The Penguins, led by Sidney Crosby, are out – as were Mario Lemieux’s Pittsburgh team in ’93. Ditto the Bruins, who had Raymond Bourque then and Chara now.
Can Carey Price duplicate Patrick Roy’s 1993 heroics?
At least he’ll get a chance to try.
• A not from my man Mike Ziegler: Danny Briere had 2 points tonight on 9 shifts (8:06 TOI). That’s a point on 22% of his shifts. Also has 7 points in 5 career game 7s, and has a 4-1 record.
• Is P.K. happy?