Remember this? It's deja vu all over again as Carey Price guarantees Christobal Huet has seen his last start against the Leafs in a Montreal jersey.
Plan the parade - The Christo-Wall might become the first guy to start the All-Star Game while playing back-up for his actual team. The Franchise Saviour (TM) was the difference again, turning aside 43 shots and holding off 4 of 5 Leafs in the shootout. Jason Blake finished the night with 8 shots and a shootout miss, and will be seeing a ten foot tall Price in his sleep for weeks. I'm seriously running out of ways to say the Franchise Saviour (TM) is calm, cool, steady, unflappable, always in position, and brilliant. Canadiens 31 jerseys will be flying off the shelves for Christmas this year.
The "Number 1" power play looked like it at times, going 2 for 5 thanks to brilliant passes by Markov to Kovy and then Smolinski to Kovy. El Dandy showed some jump tonight, using his speed to create chances and frustrate the Toronto defence. He looks comfortable up front. Gui! Gui! Gui! added some muscle to line 4A and potted a goal to boot. After an awful first period the Habs righted the ship and played a desperate Leafs squad to at least a standstill for the next forty minutes and overtime. The penalty kill was solid. The Habs even won more faceoffs than they lost, a remarkable feat considering they were around 30% after one period. Two points in the bank is always welcome, especially against the Leafs.
Special mention to one Michael Ryder. The FHF slams Mr. Milk Carton as much as anyone, but despite all his struggles this year, the demotions to line 4C, the benchings late in games, the calls for him to hit the bricks or sit in the pressbox, Ryder has not quit once this year. He works his ass off every night and deserves credit for that at the very least.
The sky is falling - 46 shots given up to a horrible Leafs team ripe for a beating. A first period that could have been a disaster if not for the Franchise Saviour (TM) and the Leafs tendency to aim right for the big CH on his chest. Our "shutdown" defence pairing of Markov and Komisarek let Chad Kilger pull a Mario Lemieux move for the second Toronto goal. Once again, a team coached by defensive wizards Carbo, Jarvis and Muller couldn't hold the lead with less than a minute to go, with Captain Koivu not getting enough wood on a clearing attempt in the last 30 seconds. Someone needs to look at the conditioning of this team, because they always look more gassed at the end of games then their opponents. Two points is good. Crushing the Leafs and eating their souls would have been better. Giving them a point is a bitch.
The League offices are upstairs? We'll save a stamp sending the tape. - Someone needs to fire every damn official involved in this game. The refs were atrocious in this one, and both sides have legitimate beefs. The next time Hal Gill and Andy Woznewski finish a shift without high-sticking someone will be the first. Stajan set a pick on El Dandy that got the Dandy two minutes for a brand-new on the spot penalty called offensive interference. Koivu probably thought a steel chair was the next wrestling staple someone would try on him, they even fucked up an icing call that lead directly to a Habs penalty. I'm sure there is a Leafs blog somewhere right now rhyming off just as many bad calls the other way. That was a stunningly inept performance. The only guy who had a worse night was the bloody moron on the Zamboni.
Chez Parée bound? - Franchise Saviour (TM). Kovy for the two goals and the shootout beauty. Big Tits for the shootout winner. Ryder, because he works like hell and deserves it after all the bitching and moaning he's heard. Leaf haters everywhere, because JFJ survives another day (and Glen Healy thinks he saw JFJ making a trade late in the game ... 2008 first rounder going where?)
4 lap dances out of 10. - Honestly, this was an awful, awful game to watch. The Habs were listless in the first, and if you take out a four minute span in the second and the overtime, this game was dismal start to finish. The fans were lifeless, the refs were bad, and my hoped-for curbstomping of the Leafs never materialized. Now we get to hear a few days of "Price stole you another one ... you can't beat the Leafs without your goalie stealing it" crap from the mouthbreathers. Deep breaths, everybody. Remind them that Messrs. Belfour and Cujo stole games aplenty for the Leafs over the past decade and they didn't apologize for it once.
Next evil evil foe - Habs travel to Newark to meet the Devils. If you're planning on attending, bring your kevlar and leave your valuables at the hotel ... and don't look Lou Lamariello in the eyes; you'll end up trading your plane ticket home for a Bon Jovi tape and the rights to Alex Mogilny.