People – okay my pal Avi Goldberg – are already grumbling online Thursday morning. ‘Where the hell is Kelly’ they’re saying. Where are the tweets, the blogs?

Hey it was a late night and a late rising this morning. Guilty as charged. I was at the bar watching the game, so I couldn’t tweet with my usual prolific style and it’s a been a slow start today.

But I’ve got a couple of lattes in me and I’ve already congratulated Xavier Dolan on his making the Cannes Film Festival competition with his movie Mommy, so I’m finally ready to weigh in.

First things first. Carey Price has to be better. Four goals on 16 shots? Not good enough. That goal from Steven Stamkos to make it 2-1? Pricer has to have that one. (Note that I am NOT making a Halak-would’ve-stopped-that-one joke here!) Now he did come up big in the overtime on a couple of occasions but fact is he seemed nervous, as if thinking way too much about his mediocre playoff history.

If Montreal had lost in OT, this city would be in full-on let’s-fire-Price mode – and it almost happened. Josh Gorges miraculously dove and pushed the puck out of the way with Teddy Purcell set to bang it into an empty net after Price had made the first save and had no chance of getting back into position.

But I am not going to join the chorus of crazed anti-Price ranters who’re clogging up the phone lines of sports radio in Montreal. He had his first-ever full solid season, he has a Gold Medal in his back pocket and I believe he’ll be back with a better game Friday. If that’s not the case, it’ll be 1-1 going back to Montreal.

Second thing. The playoffs are all about character guys and it was the character guys who came through to win it all. On that play, the aforementioned hero Gorges kept the puck in at the blue-line, sent it behind the net to Danny Brière, and then Danny B sent it out to fourth-liner Dale Weise who potted the winner (apparently forgotten by the entire Tampa team). That was all that was needed. Result – 5-4 Montreal.

Let’s have a look at Brière’s all-time playoff stats. 109 points in 108 playoff games, including 50 goals. And he’s on the fourth line? Listen, you can’t argue with a 100-point season but crap like this is why I remain – how do I put this politely – a Michel Therrien skeptic.

Third point. Thomas Vanek. Just that. Need I say more? This guy adds so much to the team. He’s the most exciting forward to wear a Habs jersey since The Artist (aka Alex Kovalev) and whenever he’s in the line-up, you have a chance to beat any team.

Last point. The pub was going nuts during that overtime – cheering wildly, shouting, screaming, ooohhhing and aaahhhhing, chanting ‘Carey Carey Carey’ and, in the end, raising our glasses and singing ‘Ole Ole’ as if we’d just won the Cup. It was effin amazing. It’s the playoffs, the Habs are in the hunt, it’s almost spring in Montreal, and everything is right in the world. Bring it on. This is just what we need after the sh– this city has to put up with over the last year!

And let’s end with GM Marc Bergevin getting all funky on us after that OT winner! Could you picture Pierre Gauthier shaking it like this?


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