Well the 2010-2011 edition of the Montreal Canadiens have a lot of heart and have showed a lot of character, given the amount of injuries this team has been forced to endure this season.
The fact they're solidly in the 6th spot in the Eastern Conference goes against everyone's picks for the team at season's start, with most giving them a slight chance to even make the playoffs.
Probably Guy Boucher will deservedly win the Jack Adams award as coach of the year, but Jacques Martin is right up there to get at least a nomination.
That said, the team can't win every game unfortunately, and with their top player in Tomas Plekanec out, Halpern out, Gill at home with the flu and their long list of other injuries, the team just hit a very determined and motivated wall called the New York Rangers last night in NYC.
Coming off a nice 3-2 SO win at home against Tampa, which saw newly acquired Nigel Dawes score in the shootout, the Habs came into last night's game having won 5 straight against the Rangers dating back to last season.
So the odds were in the Rangers' favour and they took complete advantage. After a pretty even first 10 minutes, the wheels started coming off for the Habs after a lucky goal for the Rangers. Price made a save and then the rebound but the puck fluttered into the air, over Price and landed on edge just past the red line, then spun back into him. Phil Mickelson couldn't have sucked it back any better! The ref initially called it off, but the replay clearly showed the puck was over the red line.
The Habs seemed a bit rattled after the goal and the Rangers were able to score 3 more in less than 2 minutes. 5-1 after the 1st period -- the only time the Habs have given up 5 goals in a period this year.
If you want to look at the bright side, the Habs won the rest of the game 2-1, with goals coming from Wisniewski and Gionta. The Rangers kind of sat back and the Habs actually made a game of it. David Desharnais had Lundqvist at his mercy but couldn't get the puck up and over the sprawled netminder -- a key play in the 3rd because that would have made it 5-4 with plenty of time left on the clock. But Lundqvist made the save and the Rangers finally beat Alex Auld who came in to replace Price at the end of the 1st period.
Auld gave the Habs the chance to get back into this one. Some thought Auld should have started given he's never lost to the Rangers and beat them at home back in January. But how can you argue against starting Price???
Habs now travel to Minnesota to face off against the Wild and Guy Latendresse, who are playing this afternoon. So hopefully they can enact some revenge against this team and walk away with a win. Game time is early, 6pm.
On another note: What is up with Ron Wilson?? Sitting James Reimer in a playoff race!? Are you kidding me??? Giving him a rest??? The kid's 20 years old!!!! The Leafs wouldn't even be close to a shot in hell without this kid, and Wilson sits him!? Wilson's a goof and if the Leafs really want to progress next season, Burke should get rid of this guy.
Also: Guess who I saw yesterday but Shawn Thornton of the Boston Bruins!! I work downtown and was just leaving work when I saw a guy in dress pants and holding a blazer walk right past me who looked strangely familiar. For once I was able to put the face to a name right away and figured, well if it is him, the Bruins must be in town. And guess what? They are, to face the Leafs tonight at the ACC. Too bad Chara wasn't with him. Not the biggest guy. Don't get me wrong, he's big and has large shoulders, but not overwhelming or anything. He must have been looking for the Brass Rail :)