Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Landscape of Loss: Sens 3 - Habs 1

For 54 minutes yesterday, the Montreal Canadiens reduced the Evil Empire that is the Ottawa Senators to an obedient colony. Then came the uprising.

The Putsch toppled a Canadiens grip that seemed to have taken too much out Les Glorieux by game's end. The strike came in the appearance of 3 goals in 6 minutes by a team unfazed by Montreal's determination to add a third defeat to the Sens' loss column. In this game of do or do not, there is no try, almost amounts to nothing. And so Montreal carried only pride aboard the bus down the eastern stretch of the Trans-Canada. They made it hard for Ottawa, an effort worthy of almost-satisfaction, but again almost doesn't pad the stats.

If the Habs didn't collect their harvest on this day, they may have planted a seed. A seed of doubt in the minds of the Senators who saw a team deliver the full package to Kanata.

As the Canadiens were coming out with the passion that transforms regular season play into playoff intensity, Cristobal Huet was slowly writing the storyline that was meant to see the Habs upset the Senators. As the simmering emotions enveloping this game rose to a furious boil, Huet was at the top of his craft foiling Ottawa's onslaught with unbelievable stops from all sides of the crease. After a beautiful save on a Daniel Alfredsson penalty shot, the game pried a jubilant fist pump out of a usually bland and unresponsive Huet who proved incapable of containing the excitement that had taken over this game.

Because don't fool yourselves, this was the best game of the season. Evenly matched teams led by sublime goaltending, solid defence, relentless forechecking, swift skating and a will to win.
The Canadiens showed that their record this season is one of merit. After yesterday's game they deserved more.

Let it be known, however, that despite what was beginning to look like another shutout performance for Huet, that is until Alfredsson's tally opened the gates, the Senators probably had every spectator in the building, in the country believing in what eventually happened: they could find a way to beat Montreal. In containing the natural talent to be found everywhere on a team performing at an improbable record setting cadence, the Canadiens' pace slowed to a point of physical and mental fatigue. Cue a tiring and predictive defensive shell that Ottawa soon found ways around. Followed by the Alfredsson marker that pinned the Habs on the ropes. Then came the Neil knockdown that caused irreparable damage to Montreal's fleeting hopes. The empty netter, an unnecessary reminder of what was amply evident, Ottawa will decide when and how a game ends no matter how close they are pushed to the edge.

Montreal pushed them close, but in doing so they also followed the Senators to the brink. And by that time, in the bat of an eyelash, Ottawa catapuled around Montreal and simply needed what seemed like a flick of a finger to send the Canadiens to their fatal fall.

Sens win. Get used to it.


Bryan said...

im diggin the harvest analogy

Senators Lost Cojones said...

Well, you certainly have our attention now. This little rebellion calls for closer scrutiny.

What? I'm just trying to stay in character...