That’s the sound of Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals hitting golf balls.
That’s the sound of Sidney Crosby whining about the officiating following last night’s stunning 5-2, series-clinching victory by the Montreal Canadiens over Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins. A game seven victory. In Pittsburgh. In the final game played at the Mellon Arena. Against the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
Soon, Crosby, who couldn’t understand how the officials had the nerve to call him for boarding Josh Gorges just 10 seconds into last night’s game, will be joining Ovechkin on the driving range. To think that the Canadiens could put Crosby off his game just 10 seconds into this one, was a stunning (there’s that word again) turn of events. It resulted in a power play goal by Brian Gionta, just 32 seconds in, and led to a four-goal onslaught that saw Marc-Andre Fleury pack his bags for the night, and for the season, after giving up those four goals on just 13 shots.
The rest is history. And, like the Washington Capitals, the Pittsburgh Penguins are now history.
Oh, and another thing. Can somebody please tell me what Sergei Gonchar was thinking when he allowed Travis Moen to waltz right by him and beat Fleury with a shorthanded effort that resulted in a 4-0 Montreal lead, and Fleury’s trip to the showers?
Correct me if I’m wrong. But I could swear Gonchar was waiving “bye-bye” to Moen as as he swept past him.
Yes, the Penguins managed to make this one interesting with two goals to make it 4-2 after two. But Gionta sealed the deal with his second of the night midway through the third period to snuff out any potential rally, thanks to Jaroslav Halak’s effort in a third period which saw the Penguins outshoot the Habs 18-3.
But that was last night. This is today. And today, the Montreal Canadiens are back home, enjoying a well-deserved day off, as they look ahead to either the Boston Bruins or the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Final. Or as I prefer to call it: the Stanley Cup semi-final.
Bruins or Flyers? Name your poison.
But first, a history lesson.
The Canadiens dominated the Bruins this season, winning five of six matches, while the Habs split their four games with the Flyers this season: finishing up at 2 and 2. Perhaps the highlight of the regular season for the Canadiens came on the historic and magical night of December 4th, when the Habs officially celebrated 100 years of hockey, at the Bell Centre, by thumping the Bruins 5-1. The Canadiens were working on a four-game losing streak at the time, but Michael Cammalleri had something to say about that. Cammalleri had the hatrick against the Bruins, and he goes into the next playoff round leading all playoff scorers with 12 goals.
Montreal’s 2 and 2 record against the Flyers featured some of their best, and worst, hockey of the regular season. The Canadiens limped into the Olympic break with back to back losses to the Flyers: by scores of 3-2 and 6-2, in a home and home series. Then, in early April, at a time when the Canadiens were looking to secure their footing in the East, they scored a huge 1-0 victory in Philadelphia.
So, what’ll it be: Boston or Philadelphia? We’ll know more tomorrow night, when the Bruins host the Flyers in game seven.
Personally, I’d like to see the Canadiens square off against the Bruins, which would give the Habs a chance to exact a measure of revenge against a Boston team that swept the Canadiens in opening-round playoff action last season.
Remember that series? I certainly do.
Now, I’ve got all the time in the world for Bruins head coach Claude Julien, as a nice a guy you’ll ever meet. A true gentleman in this game of hockey. But I’d love to see the Canadiens hand Julien his lunch in an original six matchup that will reach a fever pitch even before they drop the puck on the series.
Moving past the emotional element, this is a Bruins team that is hurting; physically and mentally. This is a Bruins team that is on the ropes after once owning a 3-0 lead in this series. Now, tied at three, the Bruins are poised to enter the NHL record books for all the wrong reasons: they stand to become only the third team in league history to blow a 3-0 series lead in the playoffs.
Forget the Flyers and all that “Broad St. Bullies” nonsense. Bring on the Bruins. THAT’S the team I’d like to see the Canadiens beat up on, in the next round.