After watching the Canadiens fall behind the Ranger by a 5-0 deficit at the 5:03 mark of the second period, I must admit that I kept the TV on RDS but proceeded to my computer to check the latest rumours from the GM meeting in Naples, still within eye and ear shot of the TV. I was discouraged as most Hab fans probably were about the Canadiens play but a part of me didn’t want to turn off the TV or turn my back on a team which deservedly has had my attention and admiration for the entire season.
I diligently read and posted articles about how Bob Gainey was aggressively pursuing the Hossas, Sundins and Tanguays of the NHL world while simultaneously watching his team do the same against a stunned New York Rangers team. As the goals kept going past a helpless/less than stellar Henrik Lundqvist, I was enthralled by every Habs players single-minded desire, heart and will to fight back when they could have simply gone through the motions.
It was an uplifting moment when Alex Kovalev tied the game with only 4:22 left in the game and even more amazing once Saku Koivu scored the game winner in the shootout. The historic comeback victory demonstrated to all Canadiens/hockey fans around the world that this isn’t the same Montreal Canadiens of the past 10 years who would have never made this win possible.
There were some amazing performances by the players, coaches and the truly unbelievable Bell Centre crowd. Let’s take a closer look at these performances:
- Mike Komisarek will be the Montreal Canadiens next captain after Saku Koivu……his leadership on/off the ice is very apparent and he appears to thrive with it. Komisarek may not have Larry Robinson’s offensive talent but he certainly has everything else that Robinson had.
- Every player was focused and contributed to this great victory but I was amazed by how determined and single-mindedly focused Saku Koivu, Alex Kovalev and Andrei Markov were when they started to smell “blood” in the water with the Rangers thrashing in the water helplessly. The leaders of the pack led the attack or “hunt” against the Rangers which is what good leaders do………lead by example!!!
- I think Michael Ryder is finally over his scoring slump and he did it with Begin and Streit on his line. He was one of the reasons why the Habs were able to create the big M…….Momentum!!!………if he can continue playing well until February 26th then he will allow Gainey to get a slightly better return in a trade. I might sound cruel/insensitive by saying that but we have to be realistic about Ryder’s future with the organization and the reality that he is as good as gone. He can be replaced by either a UFA or a young prospect (Matt D’Agostini comes to mind) for next season.
- Carey Price did not get much support from his teammates as he wasn’t to blame for any of the three goals. The first goal was not his best effort but there was no back checking by any of the forwards.
- Comeback games like these are huge for the development of young players like O’Byrne, the Kostitsyns, Lapierre, Latendresse and Gorges. It can only help them during stressfull situations in the playoffs!!!
- Speaking of Mr. Gorges, I really think we can finally give the Canadiens the edge in what some Habs fans called the Rivet for a “bag of pucks” trade. Josh Gorges has been a pleasant surprise and has rightfully earned a spot in the lineup with his solid play. His defense partner, Francis Bouillon seems to be rubbing off on Gorges as he has become much more physical with on rushing forwards, hip checking and rubbing them out along the boards. The strongest part of his game is outleting the puck quickly up the ice with good decisions and playing a sound positioning game.
- There is no place……I repeat: NO PLACE in the world that is as exciting to watch or play a hockey game than at the Bell Centre just ask the Ranger players and coach, ” My ears are still ringing,” Rangers defenseman Michal Rozsival said 30minutes after the game had ended. And from Mike Komisarek: “My ears are still ringing from that crowd.”
“I give the Montreal fans a ton of credit,” Rangers coach Tom Renney said. “They did what you’re supposed to do.” . Canadiens fans are the most passionate, knowledgeable and craziest hockey fans on this planet. They make the ACC look like an Italian funeral parlor………dark, depressing and very quiet!!!!!!! The ACC has empty seats until the second period and the fans sit on their hands most of the night.