The Canadiens played up to expectations for fourty minutes, generally skating well with the puck, and being first on loose pucks, with Carey Price doing what he's been drafted and being paid to do. So far so good.
Then in the third, very quickly, we were transported back to the Jacques Martin-era, with the team collapsing back into its zone, not challenging the opposition but playing rope-a-dope. We didn't forecheck, we didn't provide opposition at our blue line. We clung to a slim lead as if they were the last two goals we'd ever score. And the Sens came back. And tied it. And won it in overtime.
Cue the excuses. It was a kicking motion. They were in our crease, the bad meanie in red threw Josh Gorges on Carey. Carey got hurt. Peter was cold coming off the bench. That guy with the nicotine-yellow moustache behind the bench was kind of offputting.
But it was our fault. We all saw it coming. We turtled and hoped Carey would Halak us out of Ottawa with a win. But a Senator held on to his stick, what are you going to do. The refs refused to call a penalty, interference, in the third period of a playoff game. Unheard of.
The Canadiens players and coaches put themselves in the position where the refs could decide the game. If they'd kept playing, instead of sheltering in place and letting the Sens storm the ramparts, Michel Therrien wouldn't be harping on the location of a faceoff. "Pas d'excuses" indeed.