Tuesday, 12 May 2015

'15 Playoffs Round 2, Game 6: Canadiens 1, Lightning 4

Let's get this over with.  Which may have been what some Canadiens had in mind in this game.  Certainly once they were behind in the score, at least.

The Canadiens were eliminated from the post-season with a 4-1 loss to a Lightning team that found its bearings again, and played more like the edition we saw in Game 2 and 3, fast, skilled, scoring goals that left no doubt.

In fact, the final game was a microcosm of the series: Tampa being fast and lethal on offence, featuring pinpoint passing and sure snipers, while the Canadiens came up short when generating opportunities, hitting a post, leaving pucks in the crease uncashed.  For the Canadiens to win, they had to dominate Tampa, hope that they didn't get lucky once or twice, and for all the chaff left around Ben Bishop's net to find its way into his net.

Tampa's first two goals, a beautiful deviation by Nikita Kucherov on a sly setup from Ondrej Palat, and a wrist shot from Steven Stamkos from directly in front of Carey Price's net, were no-doubters.  No luck was involved.

Meanwhile, Tomas Plekanec was slamming his stick to the ice after a miss, P.A. Parenteau hit a post but this time didn't bank it in.  The powerplay failed to connect on its two opportunities.  So it goes...

As Habs fans, we may have underestimated the difficulty of winning a Game 6 on the road in Tampa Bay, where the Lightning held the best home record this season, in our haste to imagine a Game 7 at the New Forum where we'd hold all the cards, the momentum.  We may have looked beyond the sixth game.

We'll dissect the corpse over the next couple of weeks, get ready for the draft and free agency, build our funeral pyres and gallows, but until then, it's appropriate tonight that we congratulate this group of men for a great season, where they quieted the naysayers yet managed to inflate their expectations, a neat trick all in all.

To the management team, the coaching staff, the support staff and the players, a job well done.

Now get to work and find us some snipers.  With character.  And size.  And grit.  But don't sell the farm.

Get to it.

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