About last night …

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.


  1. B says:

    From TSN’s web page today:

    They were called three times for diving — Brian Gionta once and Lapierre twice. Lapierre declined to comment on the calls, which looked warranted.

  2. Clay4bc says:

    Just so we understand…you’re going to “give it up” to the team that allowed 54 shots??? Interesting…but how about putting the credit where it belongs, which is squarely on the shoulders of Jaroslav Halak…


    Don’t argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.

  3. Clay4bc says:

    You do indeed dare, and I second your dare.


    Don’t argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.

  4. Clay4bc says:

    The thing about McGuire is that he jumps on whatever bandwagon is in vogue at the moment, and then just won’t shut up about it. Well, that and he is an annoying idiot. The rest of the TSN crew, however, I have always found supported the Canadiens (and the Canadians).


    Don’t argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.

  5. Jbird says:

    Best thing I’ve heard on here in a while. 😉

  6. TripleX says:

    OK….I get it.  LMAO

  7. Mike Boone says:

    Melrose. There’s a name synonymous with excellence in hockey.

  8. Mike Boone says:

    What, EIGHT defencemen? maybe not.

  9. Mike Boone says:

    Yes, Tarik El-Bashir

  10. J. Ambrose says:

    I hope you shot them the finger.

  11. J. Ambrose says:

    I gotta admit, even McGuire has suddenly caught the Habbie bug, and is pouring praise on our players, instead of just giving effusive accolades to the Caps.

  12. HardHabits says:

    Timo and I are sharpening our knives as we speak.

  13. spoonfullofjelly says:

    Once again, why would he let the opposing goaltender know he’s in his head that much?
    Secondly, it may very well be a language thing.

  14. Xtrahabsfan says:

    Maybe cause George W gave us Stephen F Harper,lol

  15. Norm0770 says:

    Happy with the win, but the officiating and Boudreau’s pouting are keeping me pissed.  Well that and the beer.

  16. Norm0770 says:

    I don’t have a problem with what he said, but it is pretty arrogant.   Maybe it is a language thing, but saying “we make Halak feel good” isn’t quite right.  It isn’t like they’ve been making him “feel good” by burying shots in the crest of his jersey.

    He isn’t respecting the play of Halak who has beaten teams with Ovechkin in big games 4 times in the last 6 years. 

  17. forskis says:

    Not just the well-rested Stanley Cup Champions…but also the entire might of the NHL marketing and propaganda machine….and if that were the case, it would be Bruins vs. Flyers….if that went seven games, there would not be much left for Round 3.

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  18. habsfanmandy says:

    Expresse on RDS right now and tsn.ca already has the full game go to videoplayer, video library, NHL games on demand you’ll see it. Enjoy reliving it!

    Bring the Cup home Boys! I Will Always Believe

  19. PattyBoy31 says:

    I know me and my buddies would love to watch the game there! I wonder if it would be remotely possible in this timeframe… (with beer of course)

  20. habsoul says:

    When Boone posed the question of the greatest Habs goaltending performance of all time I immediately thought of Saint Patrick’s incredible OT game against the Rangers. That’s #1 but Halak’s command performance tonight isn’t far behind.

    All that said, you have to give the Caps the edge at home in Game 7. It will probably be more of the same. Habs jump out to a lead and Jaro must stand tall against a withering Capitals attack. (It’s interesting that Montreal has led in every game of this series except Game 3.)

    And should the Canadiens beat the best team in hockey? Why, they get to face the well-rested Stanley Cup Champions.

  21. forskis says:

    I agree….should they lose on Wednesday, the entire team, coaching staff, management and ownership will be thrown under the bus…

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  22. Off-side says:

    re: filling up the Bell Centre on Wednesday…you have more pull than we do, make it happen if you can!

  23. habsfanmandy says:

    Someone said we won’t be able to keep Pleks at 5 or 6 mil next year. That would suck. Can we sign him reasonably?

    Bring the Cup home Boys! I Will Always Believe

  24. spoonfullofjelly says:

    Some people near me were booing.
    That’s bush league.

  25. avatar_58 says:


    My neighbour was over and I missed a lot of plays 🙁 I didn’t get to see much of Subban 🙁


  26. habsfanmandy says:

    Oh please… “This year we make Halak feel good?” BS! Obitchkin doesn’t know WHAT to say!


    Bring the Cup home Boys! I Will Always Believe

  27. forskis says:

    I also find that it is still disgraceful that they have to name the Habs players from the US in order to keep the booing down…first, it kinda embarasses those players, plus the non-booing is insincere…

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  28. spoonfullofjelly says:

    Definetly up there. I also gotta give it up for the team which let him see the puck for the majority of the night,

  29. Go Habs Go Theme Song Guy says:

    David and Goliath. Spartans and Persians. De Sallaberry and his little 

    crew vs. the Americans’ manifest destiny. 

    I still can’t believe it. Holy f@#*$!!

    Go Habs Go!!!


  30. naweed235 says:

    Dare I say that this was right there on top with the biggest of
    legendary goaltending performances any Habs Goalie has given us during the last 100

  31. forskis says:

    JM lost it on the Gionta diving call….so at least he picks his spots…where they actually might be effective instead of spouting for spouting’s sake.

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  32. The Juice says:

    Nice to have TSN on Montreal’s side for a change. I think the reason for all those diving calls was the Habs players complaining so much to the officials on the ice earlier in the series (not that the complaints weren’t justified…just sayin’)

  33. longtimehabsfan says:

    Or Michel Therrien.

  34. habsfanmandy says:

    lol I shoulda put ‘mistakenly’

    Bring the Cup home Boys! I Will Always Believe

  35. punkster says:

    Just for the giggles I found this clip of the movie “The Battle of Britain” perfectly suited to the Caps post-game dressing room tonight. Starring Bruce Boudreau as the inimitable Hermann Goering and the Habs “little people” as the squadron of Spitfires. And we all know how that battle ended.


  36. longtimehabsfan says:

    This series reminds me of the 1982 Oilers-Kings [was a best of five first round back then].  Oilers badly outshot the Kings in that series and lost.  They even blew a 5-0 third period lead in one game.

  37. sidhu says:

    Boone, who was the DC writer, Tarik?

  38. The Juice says:

    For those that think JM doesn’t show enough emotion, I think that trait came in handy tonight. In the 3rd period after the THIRD diving call against the Habs, he remained cool as a cucumber and his demeanour had a calming effect on the players. Can you imagine if Guy or god forbid Mario Tremblay were behind the bench? The whole team would have come unglued…

  39. sidhu says:

    Bob McKenzie:

    Diving was called only 35 times this season

    In 32 out of 35 of the diving calls, the other player went with the player called for diving

    Tonight, 3 diving penalties against Montreal, twice when the other player didn’t accompany the alleged diver.

    The TSN panel all agree that the last two diving calls were b/s.

  40. spoonfullofjelly says:

    The only thing Jack Todd is mistaken about is his knowledge of hockey.

  41. Mr.Hazard says:

    lol, Boone last night after the 1st period: “Can’t give a team that good 18 shots in every period.”

    18 x 3 = 54. You can when your GOALIE becomes a superhuman.

    “love cannot drown truth, Nefertiti”

  42. spoonfullofjelly says:

    we have scored 18 goals in 6 games that’s an average of 3 a game, I like our chances if we continue that average.

  43. habsfanmandy says:

    Hey, Jack Todd actually had the score right!!! 4-1 but he mistakenly wrote Caps 4 Habs 1 HAHA Eat your words you pessimist!

    And I loved the AntiChambre guys all wearing Habs jerseys! It was really cool

    Bring the Cup home Boys! I Will Always Believe

  44. forskis says:

    What he said is pretty fair…the Habs got a couple of goals and then decided to just hold the Caps off…

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  45. forskis says:

    That would mean the team dresses 8 D….the last time that happened, HIO dumped all over the coaches for that idea…so I have no opinion…

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  46. spoonfullofjelly says:

    I have absolutelly 0 problem with what he said,

    What do you want him to say “Well there, he’s the best goalie in the planet, we’re not going to beat him, he was a wall in there, he’s been a wall this entire series, blah blah blah.”

    No he’s gonna say that they played good din’t score and will find a way to score, what’s the problem>?

  47. Habsfan_jay says:

    I’ve never really liked Ovechkin, but after this series, all his smugness and s**t talking, I HATE him now.


  48. longtimehabsfan says:

    Boonie, the best offensive player that Rangers team had was Tomas Sandstrom, whom, you will recall, Roy tortured again in the 1993 Finals when Sandstrom was with the Kings.

  49. Lafrich says:

    Is Ovechkin the biggest piece of c— ever, or what.

    Read this.


    Then imagine Crosby saying the same things. Not.

  50. spoonfullofjelly says:

    Iwas at the game tonight…it was intense.

    I was wondering who counts shots, some dude at the Bell centre or somebody from the NHL?

    Secondly the Habs did a good job, even though he saw alot of rubber, of allowing Halak to see the puck. It seemed like he saw 98% of the shots tonight.

  51. Chris says:

    On one hand, I share some people’s concern about the Habs conceding 92 shots over the last two games…those are not defensive numbers to be proud of, particularly against an offensive juggernaut like the Capitals.

    But on the other hand, the pressure is now ALL on the Capitals:  they were the overwhelming favourites coming in and the team that could score at will.  How much is Halak now in their head, having stopped 90 of those 92 shots in Games 5 and 6? 

    The Canadiens can clearly play much better as a team.  The Capitals threw everything they had at Halak tonight and only got one goal (off a perfect deflection play) past him.  That is certainly cause for optimism.

    The Habs had better be ready for a very noisy and raucous building in Washington on Wednesday night…an early goal would be really key in that game to take the crowd out of it.

  52. TripleX says:

    Pouliot played ZERO shifts in the third.  Should he sit if Spacek is good to go in order to keep PK in the lineup?

  53. thepriceiswrong says:

    I was at the game tonight. Props to everyone for the amazing atmosphere, it is by far the best habs game I have ever been to!

  54. forskis says:

    Glad for the win….but the TEAM apart from the goalie needs to play better….50+ shots is not conducive to going far in the playoffs….they better be ready for the Caps on Wed.  I have a feeling the Caps are going to kick it up another notch if that is even possible.

    Also…it is funny to see all the people who picked the Caps or frowned on the Habs predict the following:

    “Caps in 4”
    “Oh, Montreal won one…Caps in 5”
    “Oh, Montreal won another…Caps in 6”
    “Oh, Montreal won another…Caps in 7”

    At least this beats CBC’s prediction of “Caps in 3″….also, watched the ESPN recap…Melrose still believes in the Caps, he said, “I didn’t think Halak could win two games facing 50+ shots, I don’t think he can win a third…”

    The Habs better be ready for Wed….and better push from the start….they will need a 2-3 goal lead by the halfway pointof the game if they want a chance.



    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  55. Hammer says:

    Watch every game in 1986&93, and those two goal tending exhibitions were the best I have seen of a Habs goaltender as well as Dryden coming up to stone the Bruins years back, but tonite was right up there!!

    Must grudgingly give credit to laps for a spirited effort!!! 



Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.