Thursday, 7 May 2015

'15 Playoffs Round 2, Game 4: Canadiens 6, Lightning 2

Okay, are the chairs suitably re-arranged on the deck of the sister ship of the Britannic?  Did the expired feline rebound appreciably after hitting the tarmac?

Or was the decisive 6-2 win by les Canadiens, one in which we saw perennially lucky Ben Bishop be chased from the net, more than just the final throes of a combative head injury patient?

Whatever the case, this was a refreshing, redolent shower for downtrodden Habs fans, rinsing away the grime from three bitter losses in a row.

One meme which sprang up in Vancouver during the first round was the '18-year-old-Sam-Bennett' joke, with local fans tiring of the Hockey Night in Canada crew harping on the young player, using this precise nomenclature.

Well, Jim Hughson and his boys had me climbing the drapes with their adoration of 'Undrafted-Tyler-Johnson' this whole series.  But with his relatively nondescript showing tonight, we got to hear a little more about the Canadiens, our players, our stories.

Props to Michel Therrien for sticking to his guns, and resisting the pressure to make wholesale changes to his roster.  He told the media after Wednesday's game that he couldn't fault his team's effort, that he was satisfied with how they played.

True to his word, he returned the same lineup, the same line combinations to the ice, and was rewarded for it.  He would have been mercilessly second-guessed if he'd lost the game for not adjusting, for going back to the same well after three straight losses.

And if I'm the coach, I tell my guys to fire every puck at Ben Bishop weak, weak glove hand.  That guy might as well be holding a cast iron skillet, or wearing an oven mitt.

I'd made the witty observation today that, never mind the secondary scoring, we needed some primary scoring today, and that's what we got, with goals by Andrei Markov, Max Pacioretty, David Desharnais, and Brendan Gallagher, some of the guys who need to produce offence.  Jeff Petry and Brandon Prust also chipped in a goal each.

The Lightning seemed stunned, almost down and out, but they had some bite left, you could see how easily they could get back in the game with their speed and effortless puck movement.  So maybe that's the trick: jump on them early and break their back, put up three or four goals on them in the first period.  Let's see if we can employ that strategy on Saturday.  It would be madness not to, when you think about it.

But how obvious was that dive and embellishment, that pretend-head injury suffered by Braydon Coburn following that phantom clothesline by Dale Weise?  Does that paragon of professionalism, integrity and respect, Mr. Colin Campbell, spring into action and launch the ponderous 14 secret warning letters before the issuance of a fine system he concocted to deter diving?  Or does Mr. Coburn get fast-tracked, get the P.K. Subban treatment?

We saw Alex Galchenyuk show encouraging signs, firing many pucks at the net, being dangerous, connected.  He took a penalty late in the game, but it's the kind I don't mind, an offsetting one, for cross-checking a Lightning and sneering at him to let him know he wasn't buying his tough guy act.  Good job kid.

Same with Lars Eller.  I liked his effort on the last goal, he didn't overthink, just skated hard and took a good low shot on net that generated a rebound for Brandon to cash in.  Keep it simple Lars, play hard and tough, go to the net, and dare others to contain you.

Carey Price wasn't miraculous, but he didn't need to be.  He was just effortless, effective.

So all I want on Saturday is another win, and for someone to crush Brian Boyle, dislodge the mustache from his villainous face.

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