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Pregame Primer: Habs in Driver's Seat, Will They Trip on Their Dog Too?

MONTREAL- APRIL 3:  Jaroslav Halak #41 of the Montreal Canadiens makes a glove save on the puck during the NHL game against the Buffalo Sabres on April 3, 2010 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Canadiens defeated the Sabres 3-0.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images
Kamal PanesarCorrespondent IApril 6, 2010

As I took my dog, Chanel—a cute as a button, 23-pound Cocker Spaniel—for a walk yesterday, everything seemed like it has always been.

The weather was nice, the dog was happy and my back—which up until recently has been giving me tremendous problems due to a herniated disc—was feeling great. The last few months of physiotherapy have done wonders!

So, as the dog started becoming excited, I decided to try out my back by picking up the pace and turning the walk into a run.

Much to my surprise, my back felt great! The dog, seemingly sensing my comfort level, started to increase her speed, and I matched it.

Then, just I was hitting my top running speed she randomly decided to dart from my left to my right, between my legs.

Needless to say, this was a very bad thing for yours truly.

In an effort NOT to step on and crush this little dog, I lifted the foot that I was about to put weight on, almost by instinct.  The result was a head first tumble that sent me flying a good six to 10 feet across the concrete.

While I don't really remember the fall that much, I do remember falling kind of like a stunt man; rolling with it instead of landing with a thump. 

The result was that while I was dazed and injured, I didn't hit my head, but was left with a pretty badly sprained wrist, lacerations on my back, elbow and thigh. Otherwise, I am fine.

So, as I limped back to my house cursing the dog the entire way, my immediate thought was the Montreal Canadiens.

Ummm, ok, well maybe that's a lie. I think my immediate thought was something like "must...get...to...couch. Must...lie...down."

But after that passed, I thought about the Habs and how their 10-4-2 record is the second best in the league since the Olympic break.

I thought about how by winning two games over the weekend, they have put themselves in a favourable position heading into the last week of the NHL regular season. With 86 points in 79 games, the Habs likely need two or three more points to lock down a playoff spot.

Given that they are playing the Islanders tonight, Carolina on Thursday and finishing the season in Toronto on Saturday, it looks like the Habs should be able to easily qualify for the postseason dance, right?

Likely. But if there is one thing that we have learned from the new hyper-parity NHL, it's that any team can beat any other team on any given day.

So, while the Canadiens shouldn't have too many problems picking up those extra two or three points out of the remaining six that are up for grabs, there is always the possibility that they will trip and fall.

The possibility that their dog will also decide to dart between their legs just when they are feeling good, and take them down too.

The Canadiens would do well to win their game on Long Island tonight. Win tonight—and avoid the proverbial dog—and the Habs make their lives easier.  Lose—and trip over their metaphorical beast—and they will start feeling the pressure.

Tune in tonight to see who wins this round of Man vs. Dog.


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