Tanking? Habs play like tanks in win over Oilers, roll on to Vancouver


A bedsheet becomes an editorial comment for Habs fans in Rexall Place last night.
Andy Devlin, NHLI via Getty Images

So, Canadiens fans went to bed with smiles on their faces last night and cried themselves to sleep. Such is being a Habs supporter this season, the team 14 games from its offseason and every win that defends club pride potentially damaging chances come the entry draft.

The Habs’ 5-3 win over the Oilers in Edmonton Thursday night was Montreal’s first victory in the city since the outdoor Heritage Classic in 2003. Max Pacioretty scored twice Thursday, his empty-net 30th of the season making him the franchise’s first American-born player to score 30.

The dark cloud, and you knew there’d be one: centreman David Desharnais left the game in the second period, returned for one shift in the third, then disappeared with a lower-body injury. Update to come today; on the tube last night, he appeared to be favouring a leg, perhaps a hamstring.

The Habs chartered to Vancouver after the game and have a 1:15 p.m. PT practice scheduled. Colleague Mike Boone is hitchhiking across the Rockies as we speak in an attempt to get there. (This just in: Boone has encountered a Sasquatch that looked exactly like Zdeno Chara. Thinking quickly, Boone yelled “Max-Pax has 30!” and the ugly critter ran back into the woods.)

As for tanking: Fans saying the Habs should roll over to improve draft position shouldn’t kid themselves: with the physical and mental pounding these players have taken this season, and will take for another 14 games, they’re not going to lose intentionally. Having been groomed since novice hockey to win hockey games, they’re not simply going to lose to ultimately benefit what might be the Canadiens’ most dysfunctional management team in club history.

Béliveau update: I spoke Thursday night with Élise Béliveau, who said her husband, Jean, continues to make slow but steady progress in hospital from the stroke he suffered Feb. 27.

Mike Boone’s game report

More from Boone on the game

NHL.com recap, game summary

Director Philippe Falardeau (left) of the film Monsieur Lazhar, poses with actor Viggo Mortensen of the film A Dangerous Method as they hold their Genie awards behind a  Canadiens flag at the 32nd Genie Awards in Toronto, Thursday night. Mortensen, a huge Habs fans, said his team would be back “with a vengeance” next season.
Mark Blinch, Reuters

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