"Fake fans come and go. True fans stick with the team and say, 'til death do us part, Habs! I'm married to them and it's stronger than ever! We've all signed this invisible contract with the Habs. Win or lose, we stick with them. We've been on this road before." -- @jennisamson
Have you noticed? With the Flyers leading the series three games to one, there is suddenly much more room on the Habs' bandwagon as casual fans have bailed. Some playoff beards are being shaved, lucky jerseys are being laundered, and car flags are coming down.
But last I heard, the series isn't over. So, what's the rush?
As Habs fan @jennisamson points out, supporting the Canadiens even when it's not easy is part of the deal.
Preferably, you still have the faith. With the Canadiens sporting a 5-0 record in elimination games this playoff season, they have given you no reason to think otherwise. But even if your hope is fading, it's important that your support stays strong. It's the least you can do.
Given what they have already accomplished in the playoffs, the Canadiens deserve it.
The work isn't done. It will be a formidable task to advance, but at this point, the Habs must focus on winning just one game, Monday night, in Philadelphia.
How can the Canadiens leave the Wachovia Center with a victory? Coach Jacques Martin will certainly keep his game plan secret, but we've prepared an individual player's guide to contribute to a win.
Checklist for a win in ECF Game 5:
Mike Cammalleri—Be a Jedi. Habs have nine wins in the playoffs. You have scored in seven of them. Get the picture?
Andrei Kostitsyn—We like that you have been physical and digging the puck but you have one of the best shots on the team. Shoot the puck!
Tomas Plekanec—Win faceoffs and shut down Philadelphia forwards whether penalty-killing or at even strength. Your offensive contribution can be an empty-netter.
Scott Gomez—Carry the puck and pressure the Flyers' defense. Two assists would help. No dumb penalties. You have almost double the number of penalty minutes of Chris Pronger.
Brian Gionta—Continue to be a leader. Force turnovers. You are second in the NHL playoffs in shots and experienced enough to know to put them where Leighton isn't.
Benoit Pouliot—Get over your allergy to blue ice. How about hypnosis? No more fly-bys. Use your size and park yourself in front of the net.
Dominic Moore—Goals in three Habs playoff wins, four in total. One more would be welcome. Start by winning all your faceoffs, although two thirds is acceptable.
Max Lapierre—The Flyers have their game faces on, you should too. Be physical on every shift but keep your mouth shut and lose the clown show.
Travis Moen—Hit. Block shots. Take up space. Go to the net.
Tom Pyatt—Get well. You're defensive play is needed.
(Note to JM: If Pyatt can't go, his replacement should be Sergei Kostitsyn. He is an excellent penalty-killer, and could be useful on the second line if Pouliot falters.)
Glen Metropolit—Faceoffs. Faceoffs. Faceoffs.
Hal Gill—Be a warrior for one more game. We're thinking that six blocked shots sounds like a good number.
Josh Gorges—Ditch the Kevlar skate guards and flimsy Velcro straps. Play like you are wearing an 'A' on your sweater.
Roman Hamrlik—Remember Game 3 in this series? We would like one more of those please.
Jaroslav Spacek—Find two kids in red Canadiens' jerseys just before puck drop. Bump gloves. Now you're ready.
Ryan O'Byrne—Hit anything that moves and keep the play in front of you. Play with the confidence that you earned in the regular season.
Marc-Andre Bergeron— Bring a good book and volunteer for the press box. With a league-worst minus-11 rating, and only two playoff goals, it's far too risky to have you in the line-up.
P.K. Subban—One-man rushes, high-risk passes, and fancy moves may work in the AHL, but are a recipe for disaster in the big show. Play a simple game.
Jaroslav Halak—Despite all the comparisons to Roy and Dryden, we know you aren't at that level. But, for one night, do your best to resemble your newspaper clippings.
Jacques Martin—Defer to Muller's advice. Implement every one of his adjustments. Oh, and wear the yellow tie.
Kirk Muller—The players on this team respond to you. Motivate them and put them in the best situation to win. Oh, and wear the red tie.
Perry Pearn—Your power play system from your days with the Rangers is not working. Change it up. Demand quicker puck movement. Get Leighton moving east-west.