Congratulations Montreal. An unbiased hockey fan would rightfully say that the Canadiens deserved the series victory, especially after Wednesday’s 5-2 game seven triumph in Pittsburgh. (I’m not unbiased by the way and think that the Pens totally BLEW it.) Reenter rationality: Combining a scrappy never-say-die attitude with gritty talent and excellent goaltending pushed the eighth-seed to another upset in their inspired run to the Eastern Conference finals.
Remember when we were rejoicing after Montreal shocked Washington? A believer in fate, I think we now taste our own medicine.
Although I’m not willing to cede Sidney Crosby’s title as world’s best all-around player, his exploits were certainly pedestrian compared to Mike Cammalerri’s superstardom and the lock-down defense of Josh Georges and Hal Gill. The Canadiens had just enough answers to end Pittsburgh’s three-year successful run through the playoffs.
The Pens came out with reckless abandon in the all-or-nothing series finale. There was little doubt that the goal was for everyone dressed in black & gold to decapitate anyone dressed in Red, White & Blue. Unfortunately for the home team, the disciplined style of the visitors allowed the upstarts to capitalize on unnecessarily rough and selfish actions by Crosby, Brooks Orpik, and more.
Jaroslav Halak out-dueled his counterpart Marc-Andre Fleury who is sure to be thrown back into the uneasiness of the media and fan’s judgment. He will still have a Stanley Cup ring to wave, but his less than stellar ability to plug the holes several times in this series allowed momentum to slip away.
It is easy and tempting to pick apart the Pens for their faults in this series and perhaps that will come in time. For tonight, I think it is safe to admit that this team was missing something(s).
Several times during the regular season this team showed frustrating signs of boredom and shallowness. We all hoped they would turn the switch to “on” for the second season, but the light bulb blew out in the second round. Montreal took it to the defending champs and knocked them from their perch.
We have been spoiled by advancing to the finals each of the last two seasons. It is hard to handle this early of an exit. I can’t remember being this disappointed since losing another game seven on home ice, that time to another heavy underdog, Florida.
I feel the worst for the Igloo, or Civic Arena as it should officially be known. The venerable facility deserved a better send off into oblivion.
Since there is a good chance I am going to check out for the rest of the playoffs, I’ll give my final predictions now. Granted, they mean nothing and I am never right. Hawks over Sharks in 6. Flyers over Habs in 6. Hawks win Cup in 5. Kane and Toews become Hockey’s new cherubic darlings, leaving Crosby and Malkin to stew the entire off-season.