While Mike Ribeiro was dissing his former captain in the pages of La Presse, Saku Koivu and the Montreal Canadiens were still battling hard in a tougher playoff race than we predicted at the start of the season.
This is the time when the men will be separated from the boys.
We are season-ending minus two weeks—and for the first time since the All-Star Break, the Habs have shown good vital signs.
The body temperature: If the new first line keeps on giving and the No. 1 goalie keeps on saving, this team can be hot.
The pulse: Thankfully, the arrival of the playoffs seems to have awakened a few, but if it drops once again, we might run out of defibrillators.
Blood pressure: There is currently no better pressure than the Panthers and the Sabres.
And finally the respiratory rate: There is certainly no room to breathe anymore; but there is no fun if there is no struggle, right?
Talking about the first line—this was one of those decisions that Bob Gainey got right. It was, nonetheless, a tricky one.
Although it is logical to have your best players on the front row for the tough battles, will one give enough room for the two others?
But two wins and one OT loss later, the T-K-K line has been responding well to the desperate call from the coach and the entire Habs nation.
Indeed, nine of the 12 goals scored by the team came from the first line alone.
Now, we have seen enough this season to know that everything might crash when we least expect it, but I will take the five points with open arms.
However, it would be wrong to rely on them alone. We have to expect more consistent support from the other three combos.
It has been a busy week, and things will continue to get more intense.
The team has one game at hand, as compared to the Rangers and the Panthers. So, technically, there is still a chance to end up seventh. But who are we kidding here? This is “technically speaking!"
The Chicago Blackhawks are in town for an Original Six matchup when the Habs will once again sport their “pajama” jerseys. So, beware of those wild stripes—you might end up dizzy, or even high!
Notes from Aside
Francis Bouillon is close to a return, probably after the game against the New York Islanders. He has been out five weeks with a groin injury.
What happened to George Laraque?
Guillaume Latendresse’s hit on Henrik Tallinder was pure gold.
The Rangers blanked the Devils Monday night, while the Panthers will meet the Senators. The race is getting tighter.
Check out Mike Ribeiro's amazing goal against the Panthers!
Our video of the week, from the Hockey Day in Canada commercial: