Montreal shuts down Mellon Arena – Flyers force game seven

Ole…ole,ole, ole!!!! Montréal est victorieuse!

Incroyable! Les victoires de Montréal sur le mois passé sont… incroyable! Le Habs a fait l’inconcevable… l’inimainable. Je n’ai pas les mots à…

OK… for the sake of everyone’s sanity, the remainder of this blog post will be in English. Besides, my French sucks!

Now, let me see if I have this straight. Not only will there be a Stanley Cup Finals minus anyone wearing a red winged wheel blazoned upon their chest, but we shall see no Sidney Crosby and his Penguin pals either?

Hmmm…will the leagues officials even allow such a thing?

Regardless, the Montreal Canadiens…the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference… a team that won only 39 games and amassed but 88 points…the team that would not have even been IN the playoffs had the Thrashers won but 3 more games this past season…yes, these Montreal Canadiens have made their way to the Conference Finals after defeating the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Washington Capitals in seven games and the defending Cup Champ Pittsburgh Penguins, also in seven games.

Montreal had to fight an claw it’s way throughout as Pittsburgh held leads in all three of their previous defeats to Montreal during the series.

Conversely, the Habs held a series lead after the game-one OT win in the first round… after that, the only other times was when they were shaking hands with the Caps two weeks ago and the Pens Wednesday on night. That’s it.

The Canadiens wasted no time getting on the scoreboard in game seven. Just ten seconds into the match Sid the Kid was sent to the Bin of Sin due to a boarding call. 22 seconds later, Brian Gionta capitalized to put the Habs up 1-0. Then, after taking a 2-0 lead into the break, Montreal doubled their lead with less than six minutes elapsed in the second. Michael Cammalleri scored his playoff-leading 12th goal of the playoffs at the 3:32 mark and Travis Moen’s shorty 102 seconds later put the Canadiens up 4-0.

Gionta added another goal, this one of the power-play variety, in the third period to put his team up 5-2.

Ole, ole, ole, ole! Fans packed Bell Centre in Montreal to enjoy the game-seven victory (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Graham Hughes)

Ole, ole, ole, ole! Fans packed Bell Centre in Montreal to enjoy the game-seven victory (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Graham Hughes)

Jaroslav Halak kicked out 37 of 39 shots to help his team cap off their second upset of the post-season…including all 18 he faced in the third period after the Penguins had pulled to within two before the second intermission. After allowing 5 goals on 20 shots in game one against Pittsburgh in a 6-3 loss, Halak only allowed the Pens more than two goals once more time over the last six games. That came during Montreal’s 4-3 game-six win on Monday.

Halak is now 8-5 with a 2.42 GAA and .933 SV% heading into the ECF.

The loss marks the end of Mellon Arena as the Penuins home. They are scheduled to begin play in the newly-constructed Consol Energy Center next fall. CEC will hold it’s first scheduled event on September 5…a Lady Gaga concert.

And just whom will Montreal face in the next round? Well, that’s something that is yet to be determined as the Philadelphia Flyers have come back from a 3-0 deficit to force a game seven against the Boston Bruins. Wednesday evening they continued there improbable run, beating the Bruins 2-1.

Michael Leighton has now stopped 44 of the 45 shots taken against him since he took over for the injured Brian Boucher in the Flyers 4-0 game-five win. He stopped all 14 Monday night, then 30 of 31 in game-six.

Since falling behind three games to zip, Philly has out-scored the Bruins 11-5.

So…can Boston’s fall be contributed solely on the loss of David Krejci, who hasn’t seen action since Mike Richard’s crushing center-ice check in game-three? Or is it more than that?

Regardless of who wins Friday night, I can already tell you who my pick will be in the Eastern Conference Finals…ce sera les Habitants de Montréal dans sept jeux.

123 comments Add your comment

Tom Lysiak

May 12th, 2010
11:31 pm

Je suis premier

Tom Lysiak

May 12th, 2010
11:35 pm

Couldn’t resist……congrats to the Habs. And, thanks for sending Cindy and glass-jaw Matt Cooke home early!!

Patrick Daisley

May 12th, 2010
11:45 pm

Those remarkable Canadiens.Since 1970 I left that wonderful city,and lived in Toronto.Presently,I reside in Vancouver,BC.It is my sincere wish that they become Stanley Cup champions.GO HABS…

Brendan

May 12th, 2010
11:50 pm

VEritablement stupEfiant. Mais, trEs bien fait, du part des Canadiens. Ils ont, tous, trEs bien rEussit. Vouloir, c’est pouvoir. Its sont tous des croyants, a Montreal, en ce moment-ci.

I took a shot. And I am stunned. My picks suffer another blow. I fall to 1-2 in the 2nd round, and 7-5, overall. And if the Flyers win, I’ll be 7-5, instead of 8-4. Philadelphia deserves a lot of credit for being a the first team in 35 years to force a 7th game, after trailing 3-0.

Remember, an OT winner by Boston makes this series a SWEEP, with a well-rested Bruin team waiting for Montreal in the CF. This is why they play the games.

Rawhide

May 12th, 2010
11:55 pm

Patrick Daisley – Great to have you chime in all the way from British Columbia! I gotta say, I’ve been impressed with what the Canadiens have done over the past month.

Somaatl95

May 13th, 2010
12:11 am

I am loving the fact the sports gods gave me an early Birthday present in ensuring that the Pens go no further in the NHL Playoffs. Finally, a cup final where I don’t have to see how cool the city of Pittsburgh thinks it is :)

RSZ

May 13th, 2010
1:33 am

Cindy Crotchby was seen leaving Walgreens with a bag packed full of Depends.

nfieldr

May 13th, 2010
1:52 am

Hmm…. Lady Gaga is the first “rock” show at the CEC. Springsteen was the first rock show at the little ol’ Gwinnett Arena. I’m just saying….

Nite Owl

May 13th, 2010
1:57 am

What an incredible game. Montreal jumped all over them, then the Pens really put the pressure on in the second period. It looked like they might complete the comeback in the third, but that too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty really did seem to take the wind out of the Pens’ sails. I was just riveted.

Also, the outside of the arena in Montreal looked like they were celebrating a championship. Hope everyone got home okay.

My five-year-old son decided to root for the Canadiens, and he’s been a huge basketball fan, really following those playoffs too. I explained they were like the Celtics of hockey. Not to be too much of a newbie, but is that pretty accurate, or did I insult the Habs?

World Be Free

May 13th, 2010
5:44 am

Thrashers are looking for a goalie-hope they are not looking at Fleury. As much as the Habs BEAT the Pengiuns in the series and deserve to win, alotta the blame will come down to Fleury’s inability to make the big saves in games 6 and 7 when the Pens had Montreal in a position of elimination. Gonchar made me look pretty bad last night too-no idea where his head was at. He had company.

Still can’t root for the Habs since Guy Lafleur isn’t playing anymore.

Dwayne

May 13th, 2010
6:18 am

whah whah whah…Cindy Crotchby crying all the way home. Sweet, no ovi, no cry baby. I could not be happier this morning. Go Flyers!!!!!

Lee

May 13th, 2010
6:47 am

Love upsets in, it’s soooo much more exciting. Habs took the game seriously, pens, and caps, did not. Flyers made a GREAT comeback and I think they can beat those dang Bruins!

GO BLACKHAWKS!

World Be Free

May 13th, 2010
7:38 am

How much does Boston miss Marco Sturm and David Krecji?

Red Light

May 13th, 2010
7:41 am

When the Isles came from down 3-0 to win in 1975 vs. Pittsburgh, they lost the next series 4-3 to the Flyers after falling behind again 3-0 in the next round only to tie it up. In 1942 the Leafs came from 3-0 down vs. the Red Wings to win the series 4-3 in the Cup Finals.

BTW, you have to go back to 1968 to find a team that won its first two series 4-3 and went on to the Cup Finals (St. Louis) but there were only three rounds back then, not four. So, Montreal is swimming in unchartered waters.

GaVaHokie

May 13th, 2010
8:06 am

Red Light… just to drag over the topic… Umberger went for a 19th pick, but Cammalleri went for a 17th pick.

If given the option of Sharp for an 8th or Cammalleri for a 17th, which would you take?

GaVaHokie

May 13th, 2010
8:09 am

The Montreal win last night only solidifies (for me) that one of Heatley or Hossa will have their name on the Cup… I just threw up a little bit.

Mr. Heat Miser

May 13th, 2010
8:19 am

The hockey gods were watching Crosby and Cooke all season and justice was served. Kudos to Halak for incredible goal tending. And Happy Birthday Halak (and to me BTW – the big 44 today).

World Be Free

May 13th, 2010
8:21 am

GaVa-I’d take Hossa over Heatley, only cause I don’t blame MaryAnne for wanting out. Heatley’s departure and his all-smiles reaction to landing in Ottawa was much more disturbing.

kracker

May 13th, 2010
8:32 am

Like everybody watching, I guess, when Moen scored the shortie I figured the Habs had the game. The Pens fans in the arena looked so shocked/sad/worried. It’s gotta be tough to lose to the #8 seed at home. The announcers said later in the game that no team had ever overcome a four goal deficit in a playoff game seven.

Now maybe the Flyers can match the Habs and come from 0-3 to win the series. It would sort of be fitting, don’t ya think? Two teams gutting it out on the road against superior (we thought) teams?

Savannah Blueland Fan

May 13th, 2010
8:37 am

I’ve been chanting GO CHICAGO since the beginning and last night’s game just made it all the more possible. As exciting as the Montreal victory was (oh, and by the way Hab fans, way to go attempting to burn your city down once again!), the East is just ultimately getting weaker. I had Chicago over Washington in 5 games. Well, Washington blew it (anyone else as surprised as I am that GEICO still shows the commercials with Mike Green? I would think his head would be on a stick somewhere). So now I’m just saying Chicago over “whoever” in 5.

Dwayne

May 13th, 2010
8:39 am

We’re number 2!!!!!, we’re number 2!!!!!, we’re number 2!!!!!

Savannah Blueland Fan

May 13th, 2010
8:39 am

“whomever” grammar grammar grammar………

Rawhide

May 13th, 2010
8:40 am

Mr. Heat Miser – HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I do the “big-45″ in a couple weeks myself.

glovesave29

May 13th, 2010
8:49 am

I am a proponent that the teams at the bottom of the playoff ladder, who had to fight and scratch just to get in to the tourney, are often better prepared for the rigors of playoff hockey (hell, any sport to be honest) than the superior teams at the top of the bracket. Yes, the upper teams will win more often due to superior talent, but the furious pace a team must play at to earn those 6th, 6th or 8th slots over the final weeks of the season, make that lower seeded team much more dangerous and primed to upset the higher seeded team.

I am not a Habs fan. But I am a fan of the style that they play. Furious, in your face, team oriented hockey. Erase the CH on the chest, or the rafters full of SC banners that hang above their rink – all rootintg interests aside…ya gotta admit, they are a blast to watch.

I can see the Habs going to the SC finals. Philly has issues in the net, and the injuries Boston has suffered over these past weeks are obviously beginning to take their toll. Once the Habs run into San Jose or Chicago, I think the journey ends. Both Western team are more complete teams. Yeah, so are the Pens and Caps, and they are at home playing golf, but 4 rounds at that intensity are hard to manufacture. The winner of the SJ/CHI series – as I see it being a tougher battle than either MTL/PHI or MTL/BOS will better prepare them for the finals. The Canadiens have the ghosts of history, but the Sharks and Hawks have the superior teams.

glovesave29

May 13th, 2010
8:50 am

uh, that’d be 6th, 7th or 8th…but you get my drift…!

Red Light

May 13th, 2010
8:55 am

Hokie: Cammalleri is under contract for four more years rather than two for Sharp, but I think Sharp can help you in more ways than Cammalleri. Cammalleri’s cap hit is $5 million while Sharp’s is $3.9 million. Cammalleri isn’t available but Sharp might be. So, I’d lean Sharp’s way.

The other carryover from the blog that is disturbing is that World Be Free and Joe Friday said that because Sharp is under contract for just two more years, that dealing two first-round picks for him is too expensive. And here I thought with Dudley as the new GM that pending free agents wouldn’t walk away like they have during the past 4-5 seasons. So, I guess if the Thrashers are going to continue to operate under the same old premises, then they shouldn’t trade for anyone with fewer than four or five years on an existing contract.

Back to Montreal…If Markov returns from his injury, then you have three very solid pairs of defensemen. In a potential match-up with banged-up Boston, I think the Habs would have a decided advantage. Against Philly, the advantage wouldn’t be quite so great (maybe in goal) but Carter likely will miss the next round too.

And I’m with you glovesave29, the two Western Conference teams look pretty tough to beat given the status of the three remaining teams from the East.

Midfield

May 13th, 2010
9:12 am

Hockey Central propaganda bureau has been spinning their wheels full blast last night dumping waste on Gonchar. Yes, it was all Gonchar’s fault that the great Sid never-come-of-age-and-forever-the-wonder-kid played the entire game like a schmuck he actually is, not to mention committing a dumb penalty on the 20th second of the game 7 and thus allowing for Montreal to jump on the score board early – yet again.

Alan R.

May 13th, 2010
9:29 am

Fun fact: The first ever game played at Mellon Arena was 11 October 1967 between the Penguins and the Canadiens. The Habs won that game 2-1.

steve

May 13th, 2010
9:32 am

For those Thrasher fans who want Gonchar, you can have him. While he is good to great on the power play, his defensive liability is not worth it. And man Halak was disgustingly good last night.

Smoothie

May 13th, 2010
9:51 am

We need not give Waddell credit for much, but we must give him credit for this at the very least: http://www.capgeek.com/bargain_hunter.php

Great to see the upstart Habs take down the SC champs…love it! I care not who advances to the SCF as it is guaranteed to be a 6 – 8 seed. And to think we swept the Flyers and handled the Habs pretty well this year. Too bad we couldn’t do anything against the Brunes or else we’d be in the playoffs. Don’t think we would’ve beaten WSH with Anderson’s system and lack of top 6 scoring, but who knows? Perhaps Pavelec would have caught fire like his countryman.

PK Subban is gonna be a stud. Fun to watch…reminds me of Evander Kane in his effort level. Can’t wait to see Kulda and then eventually Postma make the jump to the show. Future is looking brighter and brighter!

World Be Free

May 13th, 2010
10:24 am

steve-Gonchar, like most of the Pens was not very good last night. I’d still take him at the right price.

R. Stroz

May 13th, 2010
10:26 am

glovesave29

May 13th, 2010
10:35 am

Y’know Midfield, here’s what I don’t get about Cindy…he lives with Mario Lemieux. Mario is the epitome of class. One can imagine there is quite a lot to learn from him, and yet, we still see the little whiny little crybaby he’s been since he entered the league.

Austin Powers

May 13th, 2010
10:42 am

Who…does…number…two…work…for?

World Be Free

May 13th, 2010
11:03 am

R/L-I am reluctant to give up two #1 picks for any player unless he is an impact player. Sharp is good but I do not consider him an impact player, along with the fact that he’s close to UFA status.

With regards to present and future UFAs – if given the opportunity, I believe Dudley will change how this club is received by current and future free agents. It won’t happen overnight; again, if given the opportunity. We are all wondering how much control he really has over player and coach decisions.

steve

May 13th, 2010
11:04 am

World Be Free… Being a Pens fan, I’ve watched him all season. Yes, most of the Pens were not good, actually sucked in the first 28 minutes, if you asked me. But Gonchar has been terrible on defense all season. Yes, he’s great as the QB on the point, but teams have figured out that if you extend you defensemen to the perimeter on a power play kill, you stop the pens and Gonchar can’t shoot. Dupree and Stall appeared to be the only 2 players ready at the start of the game last night.

Zoomo

May 13th, 2010
11:26 am

Habs tenacity won the series. Grit. The 2010-2011 Thrashers need to eat it for breakfast.

HBD to the Heat Miser!

World Be Free

May 13th, 2010
11:43 am

steve-I was surprise (shocked) when Pittsburgh signed him to a 5 years deal. But I have grown to like Gonchar’s game as a non-Pens fan.

I am looking for an impact player for the Thrashers, instead of just looking at a UFA as a “possible upgrade”. The last 7 games kinda changed my opinion on Gonchar. I appreciate your opinion.

Spud Webb

May 13th, 2010
11:44 am

Freaking great posts on this today.
Gonchar, GEEZ, what was that?? How about Orpik clowning around and getting caught out of position? Trying to be too aggressive.
Great, GREAT series, both of the eastern conference semis have been so much fun to watch!!! I mean the flyers, WOW, 8th goalie this year!!!!
I’ll take sharp at 3.9 anyday.

World Be Free

May 13th, 2010
11:46 am

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=321429

Why is it Montreal has to trash their city every time they win something?

Smoothie

May 13th, 2010
11:55 am

WBF – I think it’s “I hate being French in Canada” syndrome that’s causing all the angst. Colder winters and ils n’ont pas la Tour Eiffel!

Mrs. Zoomo

May 13th, 2010
12:02 pm

Joyeux anniversaire Heat Miser!!!!!

World Be Free

May 13th, 2010
12:05 pm

Smoothie-I worked in northern Vermont for 2 years, went to Montreal a few times for fun. Didn’t under stand what all the fuss was about the city. I guess the citizens feel the same way I did.

Cliff Fletcher

May 13th, 2010
12:11 pm

Why do we love hockey?

Watched Montreal outwork and out hustle a superior team. Philly and Boston are looking to see who will survive their series. No shortage of hustle, teamwork or dedication.

And what’s happening in the NBA? Joe Johnson “quits” and by doing so tosses out millions of $$$ on his next deal. Better yet, the league MVP LeBron James decides to go missing in a deciding game! This is the sport ESPN wants to cover?!?!? To heck with the gangsters! Too much NBA and Tiger Woods.

Long live hockey!

Red Light

May 13th, 2010
12:14 pm

I posed this question last night to a group of friends as we watched the games. If you had to name players whose performance surprised you the most through the first two rounds, who would they be? Looking for a goalie, two defensemen and three forwards.

My six were: G Boucher, D Hjalmarsson and Subban, F Satan, Pavelski and Cammalleri

da 'boomer

May 13th, 2010
12:15 pm

GO SHARKS!!!!!!

Smoothie

May 13th, 2010
12:29 pm

R/L – I agree with your six for the most part but I think I’d add Briere over Satan. At any rate, as they say in France: quelle surprise!

World Be Free

May 13th, 2010
12:32 pm

R/L-good list!

A few more for you- Dominic Moore, a player I wanted us to sign last season before he signed with Florida. Moore, along with Lapierre aren’t big, but they played “huge” in both series. Hal Gill deserves consideration as well. I was never much of a fan of Gill, but he was certainly a key for Montreal in this series.

HookyBob

May 13th, 2010
12:35 pm

GS-29 and Hokie both touched on something that concerns me about a low (and beat-up) seed from the weaker conference meeting a high seed from the west. We’ve seen it before when the Caps, Panthers & Canes (1st time)emerged from the east. You end up with a lop-sided final that goes 5 games at most. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen this year.

What, no hockey tonight! Help me make it through the night.

steve

May 13th, 2010
12:35 pm

World Be Free. I agree with you on both accounts. Thrashers need somebody to make a mark. And not just a 1 year and done player. And Habs have not won anything yet, so why trash the city. Idiots. Also, did you happen to listen to any habs/pens games on the CBC feed? I swear those announcers were the worse. Everytime Montreal would touch the puck, you’d swear they were on a breakaway. I kept yelling at the screen to call what I’m watching!!!!