Carey Price and his crew came back for the first time to the city of brotherly love since the Philadelphia Flyers orange-crushed them right back to the golf course last spring.
After a so-so start with an OT win in Game One at the Bell Center, the Habs dropped four in a row to Martin Biron’s beautiful eyes. Summer came before expected, and the hard truth of the postseason’s poisoned surprises filled the “hockey city” of Montreal.
And we thought it would be easy! Silly us!
Price said he was mentally burnt after almost two full years of play. Although he made an Oscar-winning performance in the role of Santa Claus, distributing generous goals to whoever came by to say hi; Santa Price—oops, Carey Price wasn’t the only one to blame.
With a little more effort, we could have transformed the Bell Center into a giant confessional room! Stop blaming the kid—he wasn't even allowed yet to drink away his pain!
Once the Flyers figured out how to get the Canadiens out of focus, the rest of the playoffs were written wide in the sky. Add a tremendous Biron to the mix, and we’ve got ourselves a knock out! "I kicked out Price and I liiiked iiiiiiit, 'hope Le Quebec don't mind iiiit."
Tonight, they met again. Price said he wasn’t nervous, during his pre-game interview given to La Presse. Good for him, because I was!
He looked confident, as always. Rare are the times that we see Price in a state of complete breakdown, emotional that is! You have to be named Alexander Ovechkin to force him to show some emotions! (Recall that game in December, late last year?)
Of course, the context is not the same. In fact, if I had to make a choice, I would have wanted them to lose tonight, but go back in time and win some last spring! Still, 79 games from now, we will realize how important those two points are.
In the first period, Price looked strong, unshaken, with a good game read. I couldn't help but notice those blinding orange shirts that were my nightmare—actually, the colour isn’t bad, I just had to cope with it more times than I wished.
His teammates weren’t playing bad either, but Biron seemed to be sharp. No goals in the first.
The second started to give me flashbacks of a part of the season I tried to erase from my mind!
Montreal scored once, thanks to Andrei Kostitsyn. But the Flyers slipped two in a row behind Price. The Canadiens were trailing 1-2, and the nightmare was back again! It was like the Chainsaw Massacre, but with a hockey stick instead of a saw!
The “orange curse” seemed to keep on going, and Montreal had to find a way to get over it.
Roman Hamrlik, Mike Komisarek, Robert Lang, and Steve Begin finally proved to Price that the 29 saves he made weren’t to be thrown to the dogs—but in the third place of the game-stars scale.
Although the Flyers brought the game to 4-3 with one minute to go in the third, the Habs held on to their win with Begin’s security goal in an empty net. Final score, 5-3.
We’re not even close to the playoffs, and we don’t even know what the season holds. Last year, we swept the regular-season series versus Daniel Briere and his guys, which obviously helped in no way other than making the playoff loss even more humiliating!
But, you know, it’s one of those games that feel special. It's a hockey rivalry!
“It is in the back of your mind that it’s still the team that put you out last year, and you’re going to have a bit of a grudge. But it’s a new year,” declared Price.
The Habs are now two and a half for three. They stole a point form the Sabres, freed their frustration on the Maple Leafs (for the loss of the other point!), then showed to the Flyers that Montreal's pride hasn't been dropped with Price's 25 lost pounds during summer!
The Montreal Canadiens will host the Boston Bruins for another one of those games that feel special Wednesday! However, the Habs haven't won a home opener for a few years now. But we never know, right?