Don't have to tell you that this game is going to have a Playoff atmosphere around it. Two teams tied in points and games played. The Canadiens are on a 7 game streak where they have gotten points and the Senators have only once since the Olympic break. Needles to say, Ottawa's going to be as desperate as a World of Warcraft player the day before Prom. The Habs cannot give up the first goal and whoever is in nets must shut down the Sens' high flying forwards. The Canadiens will need about 88-90 points to clinch a playoff spot and that means 5 more wins.
So naysayers, let's look at all the terrible moves made by the Canadiens that got them to this point.
1. Trade Chris Higgins, Ryan McDonagh and Pavel Valentenko for Scott Gomez and Tom Pyatt.
So what if Gomez has 3 times as many points as Higgy. He has been so valuable that he's had the chance to shine for two teams this year! As for Pavel Valentenko, no goals in two years in the KHL? No problem! And Ryan McDonagh will soon join the ranks of the great Ranger prospects of all time, right with Hugh Jessiman and Stefan Cherneski.
2. Do not sign Saku Koivu, Alex Kovalev, Alex Tanguay, Mathieu Schneider or Mike Komisarek.
Awful call by the management here. Koivu and Tanguay's 22 combined goals are missed dearly. As for Kovalev, we never gave him the chance to give him a leadership role, and now he's making us pay as his Senators terrorize the league with a 1-5-1 record since the Olympic Break. Mathieu Schneider's booming shot on the point really payed dividends for the Manitoba Moose and Mike Komisarek is still bruising and intimidating, on his couch as he rehabilitates from a season ending shoulder injury.
3. Sign guys like Mike Cammalleri, Brian Gionta, Travis Moen, Hal Gill and Jaroslav Spacek, Marc-Andre Bergeron.
This team is so small! What is this? A franchise for ants? Ignore the fact that Hal Gill is 6'7. And that during the Penguins playoff run, he lined up on the blue line against Richards, Carter, Ovechkin, Semin, Staal, Zetterberg and Datsyuk. How did they do again? Cammalleri's almost 30 goals in 55 games? Bush league, I don't care if his leg basically did a full 360 when we has taken down against the Senators, I can't believe we gave that guy 4 Mil. All the other guys are just downgrades from stars like Stephane Quintal, Darren Langdon and the great Pierre Dagenais.
4. Trade for players like Benoit Pouliot and Dominic Moore.
I mean, come on how can you like these deals. Pouliot's not even a real Quebeccer?
And Dominic Moore? I mean how can anyone who went to Harvard play tough gritty hockey? Give me Steve Begin, who went to Ecole Polyvalente de Trois Rivieres, now that's an Alma Mater to be proud of!
Everyone who gave the Canadiens shit, it's nice to prove dumb people wrong.
Wow, did not think I would say that this year. With all the injuries and inconsistency the Team has faced, it would be a miracle if we would still be in contention at this point of the year. It's almost unthinkable that they are the hottest team in the league post Olympic break. No granted many wins have been close, and downright ugly, but two points are two points whichever way you slice it. The Habs take on the Rangers at MSG tonight, and according to NHL.com, they will have Tomas Plekanec in the lineup, even though Ben Maxwell was called up today from Hamilton. Jaro Halak will play yet again tonight as the Canadiens brass will try to get him into a Playoff groove, and no timetable has been announced for the return of Mike Cammalleri and Marc Andre Bergeron.
The Rangers are in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff battle, and they will hungry for a win tonight. This should be a helluva game!
And if anyone at the game today is able to hit Sean Avery in the head with a plate of Nachos while he's in the box, I will buy them a steak.
I guess this cements the hypothesis that the Canadiens' play to their opponents level. Even when that opponent has the worst record in the National Hockey League.
POSITIVES: The Pou-Gomez-Gio line is still producing, and Tom Plekanec and Andrei Kostitsyn got back to their scoring ways. The bottom lines continue to create energy and surprisingly timely offence, and the Habs now have won 4 straight and can breath a little easier in 7th place.
NEGATIVES: Other than the fact that we almost lost to the Oilers, Jaro Halak did not play a very good game, but let's be fair, even though many of you are ready to jump off the Jaroslavwagon because of this shaky game, Halak has been stealing games at times when our team did not show up. No one's perfect, and hey, we got two points. I was actually happy to see Edmonton play well, because lord knows their fans have been waiting to see them play some competitive hockey. I just hope they do not start playing TOO well, to make sure that Toronto does not finish last in the league. Do we really want to face Boston next year having to worry about an Offensive dynamo like Taylor Hall?
Let's be happy, times are good, Spring is right around the corner, and Les Boys are making a run for the Playoffs.
Well that 5-3 was sweet, especially since yours truly was right there in row DD to see it happen. This win couple with the Thrashers loss gives us just a bit of breathing room in this tight Eastern playoff race, but to solidify a spot they need to keep up their winning ways. This means we need Scott Gomez to play as well as he did last night, he has been a monster since the Olympic Break and lately has been earning every cent of his lucrative contract. His line of him, Gio and Benny Pou have been tearing it up, and when Mike Cammalleri returns to the line up, we should have two lethal lines. As for the D, it was also up to snub, unless you count Hal Gill's tape to tape passing, right to the stick of Steven Stamkos...
Matt Darche played a strong game, so did Glen Metropolit.
Great game all around, let's keep it up and make a strong push for the playoffs.
The Canadiens embarked on a West Coast expedition this week and came away with 4 out of a possible six points. Now this doesn't give any of you idiots any reason to celebrate. A great showing by a scrappy team, and goaltending that keeps us in the game, even though Carey Price kind of shat the bed last night.
Now I'm not going to lie, I was switching back and forth between the game, which we were losing, and the Academy Awards.
Or 3-1 Ducks?
I switched back in time to see the Habs equalize the score, while people were dancing interpretively to some of the Best Picture nominees.
I then saw Tommy Pleks score the winner and the Canadiens take another step to clinching a playoff spot.
I still have hope for this team, they just need to come together at the right time.
Let's pray that Mike Cammalleri gets out of the 'Hurt Locker' quick.
I'm going to be honest, I fell asleep before the start of the third period last night. Let's face it, it was was damn late and I had a headache. Before I went to bed, the Canadiens had played a hard fought game and through some amazing goaltending by Carey Price, we had a 2-1 lead on the San Jose Sharks, one of the NHL's elite teams. When I woke up, we had lost, and Max Lapierre was Public Enemy #1 on TSN. Now the outcome of the game was disappointing, but it was nice to see the Habs skate with a great team, and have Price put on a show in nets. The one thing I am shocked about, is that Maxim Lapierre is still on this team. I know many of you love Mad Max, either because he is scrappy, or because he is a home town boy. If you evaluate his year, you will see that he has not produced and has been pestering some of the NHL's best fighters, only to run away when it came time to drop the gloves. This last stunt he pulled, pushing Shark forward Scott Nichol into the boards when he no longer had the puck and was skating full speed, was cowardly at best. Now, don't get mad at me, because I am calling out a Canadien fan favorite, I am not a blind homer. To all of you who say that it wasn't so bad, just look out how one of the Greatest Canadiens of all time, Howie Morenz ended his career and life. He was pushed into the boards by Babe Seibert, broke his leg, and then proceeded to drink himself to death in the hospital. Am I being dramatic? Absolutely, but when you figure that a collision into the boards like that could break your leg, putting you out of commission for at least 6 months, you understand that what Lapierre did was spineless. Hopefully once Mike Cammalleri returns from injury, it will be Lapierre and not Tom Pyatt who has been playing exceptionally since his call up, who we be sent down to Hamilton.
Well I think I speak for many of you, who did not realize the Canadiens restarted their season until about 6:30 last night. I'm sure even a larger group of you were confused when our fourth line combined for 3 goals. It was definitely not Olympic caliber, hell, it wasn't even a good game for NHL standards, but it was great to see the Habs open the homestretch with two points. Then, this morning I check out the unusually dormant Trade Deadline page on TSN, and see that the Canadiens have shipped yet another young underachiever. Yes Matt D'Agostini was dealt to the St. Louis Blues for prospect Aaron Plushaj, and it was not a major trade by any means. But I do like it, Plushaj was a College Star in Michigan, and was nominated for the Hobey Baker award for the best player in the country. He was a 2nd round pick who is having a very good year for the Peoria Rivermen of the AHL and will be a contributing factor on the Bulldogs until he is ready to make the step to the pros.
All for now, I will update you on any other trades that show up, if you want some entertainment throughout this over-hyped day, read Jay Onraits blog on TSN, there is a funny dude right there.