Really quick, because I have to sleep on this one … and start thinking about next season.
Shall we deconstruct the winning goal?
Jeff Halpern, who was 9-4 on faceoffs, got booted.
Tomas Plekanec, who was 6-24, lost the draw to David Krejci. The puck ended up in the corner to Carey Price’s left. Adam McQuaid, pinching deep, won a battle and the puck popped out to Milan Lucic.
The Bruins’ leading goal-scorer during the regular season had done nothing during the series. But Lucic made a good pass to Nathan Horton, a long shot changed direction on Carey Price … and that was the season.
89 games came down to a lost faceoff.
And the Canadiens on ice for Horton’s winner were players who had excelled in this series: Plekanec, notwithstanding his faceoff problems; Michael Cammalleri, who carried the Canadiens’ sputtering offence on his back but was minus-3 in the deciding game, Hal Gill and the Canadiens’ best player against Boston: P.K. Subban.
“We battled till the end,” a subdued – like, more than usual – Jacques Martin said in his postgame press conference. The Canadiens coach cited his team’s “character and determination” in battling back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits.
The Canadiens had the best of the early going in overtime, but …
Ah, hockey is a cruel game.
Ask the Rangers, Sabres and Ducks.
Ask the Penguins.
Ask the defending Stanley Cup champions, who also took a favoured team to OT.
This being Montreal, the bones of the Canadiens’ season will be picked over long into the night and through the summer.
The bottom line: This team played its heart out, with very few lapses from October to late April.
This may be my bitterness talking, but I think the Bruins are crap and will be demolished by Philadelphia.
How would this series have played out if Andrei Markov, Josh Gorges and Max Pacioretty had been available to Martin.
As it was, the Canadiens lack of depth ultimately did them in.
The team did not have a Top Six … and two of the putative Top Four, Scottt Gomez and Brian Gionta,were not great against Boston.
The ravaged defence corps was too old and slow to compete in a seven-game series that had three overtime games.
The Canadiens could not score at even-strength, Boston could not score with the man advantage – they became the first team to ever win a seven-game series without a power-play goal.
With mutual ineptitude on offence, the series resembled two bald guys fighting over a comb.
But Carey Price exorcised the ghost of Jaro Halak’s playoff excellence.
And the Canadiens’ core of young talent – Price, the amazing P.K., Lars Eller and David Desharnais – offered tantalizing hints of some good hockey to come.
But not till next season.