Longtime readers will be surprised to hear this from me – the Nabob of Negativity, the Dark Voice of Doom – but yes it is too early to panic.
Yes our beloved Canadiens have lost four of the last five, they’ve lost two in a row, ruined our last weekened by dropping two straight to the lowly Sabres, and are 4-5-1 in their last ten. None of this is very good. And in the first period of Friday’s night Blackhawks Canadiens bout, they looked like a team with that kind of record playing against one of the league’s powerhouses.
The Habs outshot the Hawks 14-12 in the first third but Chicago was clearly the dominant team, playing a way more confident, structured game than the Canadiens. As my pal Rob Naylor put it, first period was the men playing the boys.
Let’s just say that for this year’s Habs, the first period is not their time of day. Marc Antoine Godin in La Presse notes that the Blackhawks lead the League in first-period goals, with 30, while Montreal have the worst first-period goal total in the League, with a totally pathetic 8 goals. Think about that for a second. Montreal has played 28 games and they’ve only scored 8 goals in the first period all season. That’s not worrisome. It’s psychotic.
But I am not in panic mode because Les Boys showed real character fighting their way back from that 2-0 lead. First our personal hero Brendan Gallagher snapped one past whoever that goalie was we’ve never heard of in the Chicago net – I know, I know, it was the anti-star Antti Raanta – then Sergei ‘Old Man’ Gonchar scored his first goal as a Hab – and his first since the early ’90s – on a slapper and P.K. ‘No Norris This Year’ Subban briefly transformed himself into his old superstar self and scored a beauty, just ripping it past the Antti-Man with a Howitzer of a blast. All of a sudden it was 3-2. Have to give big-time credit here to Carey Price as well, who was just brilliant in the second period, almost Halak-like for heaven’s sake.
That was character stuff. All heart. Blah blah blah. Then they threw it all away in heartbreaking fashion, sort of like Elvis in Vegas in the early ’70s. A bogus call on No Norris Subban led to a Captain Serious goal and then Brandon Saad sucked the air out of our city with the winning goal with 27 seconds to go.
So yeah tough night. But I’m not panicking. I’m just a little depressed. But I’ll get over it. Right? Pour me another pint.