Rememberin​g Nos Glorieux – Greatest Comeback

photo Boily/AP

Written by Effie,

“Sixteen days after mounting their most stirring rally of the season, the Rangers committed the greatest collapse in their franchise’s eight-decade history on the very same sheet of ice. Utterly swept up in a cauldron of noise from the stands and a cascade of speed rushes and crunching hits from their opposition, the Rangers couldn’t hold a five-goal lead with 35 minutes to play.” — NY Daily News Wednesday, February 20, 2008

MONTREAL, QC – – Tuesday February 19, 2008. Game night. The chatter in the office was all about the Canadiens. How will the Habs do? Will they win?  They lost the last game against the New York Rangers at home, so the anticipation for puck drop was great.

Georgia wished she was going. Her friend Chris is a lifelong Rangers fan and he had tickets to the game but they were all accounted for. Georgia knew that this was going to be a good one. She just knew it.

She just wished she could go.

Her day at work was done, and she was getting ready to go home to watch her beloved Habs on TV when Chris called her.

A cancellation.

She was going to the game!! The tickets were in the reds, right behind Henrik Lundqvist in the Rangers goal. That meant she was going to see the Habs attack in the first and the third period.

She was in heaven!

She rushed home to get her Habs jersey. Cristobal Huet. Number 39.

She arrived at the Bell Centre, met up with Chris and in they went. They were all handed “Go Habs Go” banners. Georgia held hers close to her heart. She couldn’t wait to take her seat and watch the warm up.

Puck drop and Georgia was on the edge of her seat!

Eight minutes in and Brandon Dubinsky scored the first goal of the game. Only 14 seconds later Sean Avery scored another goal. Almost five minutes later with Alexei Kovalev in the penalty box for high-sticking, Brendan Shanahan scored goal number three.

Carey Price was pulled and Cristobal Huet came in.

That was the first period. Georgia was having heart palpitations. She was constantly yelling “Let’s go boys! You can do it!”  waving her banner wildly.

The second period began and just over two minutes in Chris Higgins got a double minor for high-sticking.  As he was sitting in the box, Brendan Shanahan scored again. Less than 30 seconds later on the same powerplay, Chris Drury put in goal number five.

The crowd was devastated. Georgia was still chanting and waving her banner wildly. As people started to leave, Georgia was telling those around her “Don’t go! They’ll come back. I know it. I believe in them.”

She was right.

Three minutes after the Drury goal, Michael Ryder scored, assisted by Mark Streit and Andrei Markov. The crowd erupted in cheers. Ryder scored again at the 12-minute mark, assisted on that goal by Ryan O’Byrne and Streit.

The second period ended with the score 5-2 for New York. The fans continued to leave. Georgia was hyperventilating. She couldn’t believe that some fans would abandon their team at this point. It was the moment the team needed their fans the most.

She was telling Chris that she had a feeling the Habs would win. He scoffed at her.

Remember Chris is a Rangers fan.

The third period started. Alexei Kovalev scored goal number three at the six minute mark. He was assisted by Andrei Markov and Andrei Kostitsyn. The Russian connection!

Nine seconds later Mark Streit scored goal number four, assisted by Ryder and Maxime Lapierre.  Everyone thought that Ryder had a hat trick.  The play was reviewed and Streit was awarded the goal.

Georgia was cheering without abandon, taunting Chris. The fans that stayed were getting louder and louder. The score was 5-4 for New York.

Georgia had no nails left.

At the fourteen minute mark, Marek Malik was sent to the penalty box for hooking, putting the Habs on a power-play allowing Alexei Kovalev to score goal number five.

The crowd exploded. The game was tied 5-5. The third period ended. The game went into overtime and there was no further scoring.

A shootout.

Georgia was standing and jumping wildly, screaming and praying.

Brendan Shanahan was first. Huet saved his shot. Markov was next. Lundqvist saved that shot. Drury went third and Huet saved that one too. Captain Saku Koivu went fourth and scored!

Saku Koivu scoring the SO winner - photo Boily/AP

The crowd erupted in cheers and chants. Everyone looked at each other in disbelief.

One more shooter. Jaromir Jagr shot fifth and Huet made the final save.

The Habs won!

Georgia started to breathe again. She looked at Chris and said “I told you so.”

As the crowd dispersed and left the Bell Centre, Georgia was left with this sense of pride and love for her team. She had faith and the boys came through and won putting that game in Montreal Canadiens history as the greatest comeback of all time.

The highlights from the game:

Georgia is a faithful Habs fan. She hasn’t missed a single game since the lockout and she is the friend who came to the Skate with the Habs with me and three out of the four games I saw this past season. Her desk at work is a shrine to Le Bleu Blanc Rouge and she can talk stats with the best of them. Georgia is my partner in crime.


  1. What I remember most about that night besides Kovalev on his arse after his tying goal, is a bunch of fans throwing their banners on the ice after a really bad penalty call on Komisarek. Stuck with me for some reason.

    That was one. good. hockey. game.

  2. when I was watchng the highlights of this game….what struck me most was how much I miss Koivu and Kovalev…….it was exciting when they were on the ice….The other thing that I remember, is how this highlight video went viral on Facebook and how we were all talking about this game the next day and the days that followed. This is by far my favourite moment of the Habs and my best friend was there!!
    Thanks for reading Chantal :)

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