Now, the playoffs have started about a week ago. The Montreal Canadians were facing off against a strong and extremely underrated New York Rangers team, as the media were favoring Montreal to have it easy in this series. Do you believe in karma, because the Canadians were shut out in the first game 2-0, letting the Rangers dominate them on their home ice.
Heading into game 2, the Habs desperately needed to win, as going to New York down two to nothing in the series was not an option. A very exciting and intense game, the Canadians kept their fans on their seats, whether it was at the Bell Centre or in your living room, you couldn’t take your eyes off the game. They left it late, but Pleckanec, scored with 17 seconds left in the game, bringing it to overtime. A hectic overtime period was ended by a beautiful play by the captain himself, Max Pacioretty, where he set up Radulov, the Radiator, who was so determined to make sure that puck passed the line, thus trickling in. The series 1-1 heading to Madison Square Garden.
The Habs played an amazing road game, frustrating the Rangers in front of their home crowd. Tactically, Montreal were flawless. They won the one on one battles, kept possession of the puck, played a physical brand of hockey and kept control of the game scoring two goals that really silenced the MSG. To put the cherry on the cake, Radulov, Montreal’s best player of the playoffs by far, scored a beautiful one handed goal to seal the deal and sink the Rangers. Final score 3-1.
Now, after a performance like this, you’re telling yourself if Montreal manages to steal the next game, they have a really good chance of winning the series. Well, the next morning, as I was listening to TSN 690, the analysts were talking as if Montreal were granted a free pass to lose the next game, as the Rangers desperately needed to win. I couldn’t believe the comments I was hearing. “The Rangers need to win, or else it’s over for them” or “If the Rangers win, it doesn’t matter, Montreal has the next game on home ice, and game 7 too.” This is the playoffs, there are no free passes, no make-overs; it’s do or die, pass or fail. I knew what was coming, and this is exactly what happened. The Canadians lost game 4 by a score of 2-1. New York came out strong and deservedly won the match, although the Habs did hit the post late in the third period. The only problem here is, the Rangers have the best away record in the league 27-12-2, having a better record on the road than at their beloved Garden. I knew this was going to come and hurt Montreal, as they had a great opportunity to take the series away from the Rangers and seal the deal in front of their home crowd. Instead, they go home with the series tied at 2-2.
If you thought this was bad, game 5 was even worse. Despite starting off strong, and playing one of their better periods of the playoffs, the Habs took an early 2-1 lead in the game, but lost control when Brady Skjei scored late in the second. The Rangers dominated the third, and for the second time in this series, we were going to overtime. With momentum on New York’s side, they came out flying, dominating the extra inning, thus putting the game to bed with a Mika Zibanejad winner.
You see, this is where I personally get frustrated, as Montreal once had the lead, and the series could have been in their control, but no, they just love complicating their lives, something we’ve seen from Montreal in the past. They had a great opportunity and blew it. Now done 3-2 in the series, they are on the brink of elimination and must win the next two games to advance.
I guess this is the beauty of hockey, you never know what could and will happen in the playoffs.
Written by: Brandon Brini