Habs End the Season with Respect
This pivotable game 5 started before the puck dropped. As a local Montrealer, I am ashamed of the way my fellow montrealers acted by booing the American national anthem. It was disgraceful and disgusting. How this city forgot thatso many players on this very team are American are beyond me. But I digest, this article is to cover the game, not the mess before or afterwards.
The game started with a fast pace. Montreal had a lot of control up until the first powerplay. Even though the lines where juggled for montreal before the game, the powerplay unit remains intact. Koivu, higgens and kostitsyn started off the power play, with Koivu winning the draw and Markov keeping it in before they are forced out and then sent to rush back in. On a huge misplay pass, Richards was sent in on a shorthanded breakaway. Price made a save and a half, literally. Philedelphia showing signs of life, and threat even when down a man on the powerplay. And then like a flash of lightning, the bell center, Montreal and most fo Canada jumped off their seats and Montreal scored the first goal. Plekanec instantly redeeming himself for the mess that is this series at 4:29 ionto the first period. His tip gives the Montreal canadiens the lead for the first time in this entire series. Chants of Biron occurs with more then 15 minutes left in the first period, and you can tell emotions are running wild.
You can see off this first goal between Plekanec and Kovalev that the habs have been practicing with getting traffic infront of biron. You can see an instant change in the beginning of the first period of the play of the Canadiens, they are checking, generating traffic and maintaining puck possesion with even strength. Perhaps the habs of old have returned. Perhaps Price needed that new glove he is using. The thoughts of any Canadiens fan dwells on the above.
Look out, with about 14 minutes left in the first, Prospel will go off for hooking. Koivu takes the draw and wins it again, the draw occuring at center ice. A close call occurs when Kovalev shows how to crash the net with 3 seconds left in the power play. Nothing produces but close calls however. On a 2 on 1 breakaway, Philadelphia scores a goal to tie the game. Umburger gets his own goal as it will be announced. Price makes a first save but the rebound comes on and Kostopulous pops in an own goal to sneak by the inside pad of Carey Price. Instantly right after, the Canadiens take back the lead as Lapierre, the official shitdisturber of Montreal works the back office to shake off Timonen and pulls off the wrap around as it hits Alexei Kovalev for his 5th goal of the series at 11:28 of the first period. The Canadiens take a lead for the 2nd time of the game, and the series. If you're at this game, I pity you. Let me tell you my TV is shaking from the roars of the Bell Centre after the play thus far, I wouldn't be surprised if the Emergency Medical Services at the game is treating multiple cases of temporary hearing loss. The amount of chances by the habs at the 7 minute mark is unbelievable. The flury of shots is sheerly amazing, for the first time Biron has to play stellar to keep the Flyers in this game. The chants continue, "Biron, Biron, Biron" before being replaced by boo's after Kovalev gets called off for a penalty. The flyers powerplay starts off with signs of life, shots zinging and passing Price, testing his angles for the first time seriously in this game. But the Canadiens kill off this powerplay and keep the lead thus far. And at the end of the first, shots 11-7 for montreal, and the lead is 2-1. What a period for Montreal so far, all over Philadelphia.
Enter the second, early on both the Canadiens and the flyers are having their fair share of chances. You can see some of the fire in the Canadiens legs have left them 3 minutes into the second as the flyers manage to keep the puck in the Canadiens zone, or brings it back in after the Habs dump out the puck. Thoresen will go off for interference a little more then 4 minutes into the second to relieve the pressure on the Canadiens and send in the powerplay for the Habs. The question is weither or not the Habs will start pressing and utilize some more fire to pad onto their thin lead. A minute into the powerplay and it seems like the habs have boosted their perofrmance, maintaining control and keeping the puck inside the flye zone. The crowd jumps as the habs mac a tic tac toe play to try to get a goal. But the time winds down and the Habs still remain with a one goal lead with 13:45 left to play.
I don't know what this powerplay has done but the Habs and Flyers have picked up their pace, playing with a style of back and forth hockey with odd man rushes. WOW Higeens gives the bell centre and quite probably Biron a surprise with a shot to the far side making it 3 to 1 in a game they must win at 11:44. Almost immediately after Komisarek is called off for elbowing Briere in the head to see the Flyers powerplay once again. Chants of "Biron, Biron, Biron" continue even with the penalty as the Bell center crowd does not relent in their quest to make Biron's blood boil. Then look out, 56 seconds left, as Price was getting interfered with, he gets called for holding. Video replay shows that Knuble and Price were entabgled with one another, having the announcers question who is holding who. But the penalty kill musts urvive a 5 on 3 for 56 seconds. And the canadiens captain Koivu makes a move on a apss and then tips it out to make the Flyers back out, rush in and then get it dumped out again. The Komisarek penalty expires and Price is forced to make a rediculous amount of saves, Price shines under the pressure. The Canadiens kill these penaltys while producing a shot themselves, a 5 on 3 then a 5 on 4, and kills them all.
The canadiens, Carey Price specifically smother these flyers and their powerplays as if its more then their job, but their hobby. This period is all Habs. The flyers seem to be trying to determine who is it they are playing, as this is not the same Habs they have beaten the pass 3 consecutive games. 7:22 left to go, the shots are tied up 17 a piece and the flyers are going through their hockey manuals to try to solve Price. More opportunities you couldn't ask for, Price came to play is the bottom line.
Just like that at 6:06 Price shows the crowd that his glove hand is functioning perfectly. But about 10 seconds later, the Flyers score a goal as its called into question on the video replay, and the result after a very lengthy debate; its a goal sending the bell centre into a frenzy of boo's as the flyers come an inch short of a tie making it a one goal game with 5:58 left in the second period. And just like that Umburger ties the game shortly after with his second fo the night. Price makes the initial save and the puck goes behind the net. Umburger picks up the rebound and performs a wrap around to send it inbetween the legs of Carey Price. All of a sudden, this Bell center goes deafly quiet. Carey Price must be shaken up, on a 60 feet shot Hartnell takes a slapshop and it rings off the post right off the post and in. The shot went right above the far side pad and just under his glove, a shot that undoubtibly Price should have had. Philedelphia has scored 3 goals in 2:58 of hockey with about 3 minutes left in the second period. Philedelphia all over the Habs before they clear it and try for a small attack in the offensive zone. With 1:23 left Philedelphia has a new life with this lead, keeping the zone and trying to get some more goals. One minute left, Begin gets smacked into the boards as the play is called off sides.
So with the end of the second period, Philadelphia walks out with a one goal lead. They entered at at its peak, with a defecit of 3-1. Now, at the end of the second, the score rests at 4-3 and Biron is entering the dressing room with a smile that sits ear to ear. aviv
Enter the third, and possibly the last period for the Montreal Canadiens. 20 minutes for the rest of the post season. Strictly a must play period. No relenting, no easy goals and nothing but blood and sweat is needed. And they get it, a goal by Kostitsyn on an odd man rush to make this bell centre ring once again. The Canadiens keep pressing, this early third period goal makes the game fresh. A 20 minute hockey game for the rest of the season. The pace in the third 4 minutes in is unbelievable. Back and forth, back and forth both teams are launching whatever they have in their respective cannons looking for that lead, trying to grasp. Flyers want to end it, Habs want to bring it back to life. Philly is all over price before the habs clear it out at 15:04, but the flyers are starting to control more at this point. 7 and a half minutes in both teams are still throwing all they have. Montreal getting a lot of chances, Flyers responding in kind. Words cannot come close to expressing what these two teams are dishing out at this point.
The amount of hits 8 minutes into this period should outweigh that of the rest of the game. Hits, shots, odd man rushes, passing plays this period has it all thus far. Both teams still going full speed and then some. 10 minutes remaining, still the score tied 4-4 and then begin drops to the floor as Hartnell smacks him on the back of his head but no call is made. You see the Canadiens changing their lines rapidly and the Flyers respond in kind, every team wants to have fresh legs on the ice to pounce on that opportunity for the go ahead goal. 8:30 left in the third period and the amount of chances only increase for montreal and Briere has a breakaway but Price pulls the BIGGEST stop of the game stretching his pad far across for a big save. The habs strive off of it to press and manage to get a powerplay as Jason Smyth gets called for elbowing. This is the opportunity the Canadiens need to capitalize on with 6 minutes left and a minute on the powerplay, nothing developes yet.
The penalty expires, 5:00 left to play in the third period and the same exciting score rests as both teams do their best and play at their peak. Latendresse takes a shot and all of Montreal lept off its seats chanting goal. But it was no goal, it was the crossbar, which has haunted Montreal this season more then the play of Michael Ryder. The play is stopped to put the net back on its pegs, as it was knocked off somewhere during this mess of a third period. 4:24 left in the period, the Bell centre is chanting as if they have won despite the tie score.
Again, like game 4, the flyers once again get that goal off a bad giveaway by montreal. Tipped in by Upshall at the last second leaving Carey Price with no chance to make a save. Again the Flyers goal is under video review, and again the decision is a goal with 3:04 remaining in the game. 2:11 left in the game and a stoppage of play occurs. 1:40 left in the period, the Habs see their post season dwindling down the drain. And then Knuble scores on the open net with 49.7 seconds remaining.
The final score is 6-4. But even after this finish ending the season, the bell centre is still in a roar. Cheering their team that gave them a season finishing the First in the Eastern Conference. The cheers don't stop. The faithful fans remain in the seats for the end of the season to cheer their team. Philedelphia will move on to the conference finals, Montreal remains in history as finishing in the second round. As both teams shake hands, the crowd remains cheering with no regrets as their Habs gave it all they could.
All the Canadiens remain on ice, raising their sticks in the air, as their home crowd cheers them on and then as they walk off the ice, ready for their summer vacation.
Philadelphia however, will move on to face the winner of the Pittsburg/Rangers series.
As for myself, I tip my hat to them. A heck of a season boys, a heck of a season.
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