The story of this series is hard to believe.
Everyone was clamouring for a Habs-Leafs series, for the sex appeal of it all. But we all knew the toll that matchup would take on the smaller Habs could be a dear price to pay.
Well, the toll this series with Ottawa has exacted on the Habs is astounding.
The first round has wiped the boys out and nothing can make even the most hopeful soul believe the Habs can turn the tide and win the series.
Eller, Prust, Gionta, White, Price. All gone. After 4 games. It’s almost unfathomable. Pacioretty, playing hurt, is a non-factor.
And the weirdness of it all.
Game 1 – as dominating a performance you can ask for. 50 shots. Overwhelming dazzle by Montreal. And then 10 seconds after the Habs’ first goal of the series – Eller goes down in a flashback to the wind sucked out of the building when Zednik and Pacioretty both looked like their life was hanging in the balance. And then Carey gave the Sens the win in the third, in yet another display of shaky goaltending.
Game 2 – Logic prevailed. Another great performance by Montreal, with less fanfare and blitz. Series tied.
Game 3 – Total deflation. The weird 6-1 score in a game that was 2-1 Ottawa to start the third. Another terrible third period by Montreal. Sans Gionta and Pacioretty.
Game 4 – 2-0 to start the third. Excellent road play by the Habs who had taken over the game in the second. Another horrible third period. OT, sans Price lasts a few minutes and a terrible goal floats by a cold Budaj. Series nearly over. Kicked in goal. Groin pull. 20 second tying heartbreaker. I mean the floodgates aren’t open, they’re inviting.
Game 5 – Waiting on the World to Change. Robert Mayer may see some ice time tonight if things go bad. Robert Mayer. Like Waiting on the World to Change, Mayer. Like your body is a wonderland Mayer. Ay caramba.
What Montreal has failed to do this series is develop a killer instinct. Finish the Sens off when they had them down and beat. That 5 on 3 at the end of the second period in Game 1. The poor showing in the third when the game was still theirs. I don’t think Montreal fully recuperated from that loss – from the way they lost that game. Because they’ve done it over and over again.
Tonight is a game that sees the odds stacked highly against Montreal. Budaj is going to have to get the job done, which isn’t impossible. But how resilient can you ask a team to be? What’s coach Therrien going to tell them? OK boys I know half of you aren’t here. I know you saw your boy Eller almost die there last week. I know our number one goalie is gone. Your captain can’t even lift his harm to smell his armpit and he’s also done for the rest of the year cause he’s having surgery in like 8 minutes. I know the only guy on the team who can actually fight moderately well won’t be here because every part of his anatomy has taken a blow in the last week. Yeah, yeah, that’s Robert Mayer over there in the stall. Yes, yes, it’s him. But I don’t know, boys, something tells me you’ve got a chance on any given Sunday. I know it’s not Sunday.
Whatever happens, stand up tonight and salute the home team at the end of the game. Hoooooah!