Photo by Dave Sandford / Getty Images
Two weeks to the day after stunning the Washington Capitals, 2-1 in Game 7 to win their first round series 4-3, the Montreal Canadiens, Les Habitants (or Habs) as they are sometimes known, stunned yet another crowd, this time at Mellon Arena is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Canadiens vanquished the reigning Stanley Cup champions, 5-2, and left the Pittsburgh Penguins stunned. For the second time in a row, the Habs came back from a deficit in their series and won the crucial Game 7. This is no fluke. The Canadiens just are this good.
The Montreal Canadiens did it all. Their goalie, “Client” Jaroslav Halak, was a brick wall when it mattered. The defense simply shut down Sidney Crosby, who only managed 1 goal and 4 assists through 7 games. The Habs scored enough to win, and the Penguins’ Marc-Andre Fleury continued his ho-hum play from the regular season.
What does this win mean for the Washington Capitals? Well, first of all…. some of the harsh criticism of the Caps is unjustified. After the Caps loosing Game 7, there was a feeling that they lost to a far inferior opponent, that they didn’t try to win. Now, with the Montreal Canadiens winning another series the same way, perhaps….. the Montreal Canadiens really just are this good. I find it impossible that both the Caps and the Pens choked.
Anyway, this now raises the question…. “Which team did better in 7 games against the Canadiens?” I will definitely answer this question…. in a bit.
In a final note: This was the last Pittsburgh Penguins game that will be played in Mellon Arena. The Pens will move to the brand-new Consol Energy Center starting next season. Funnily enough, the first game played a Mellon Arena by the Penguins, in 1967, was a 2-1 Montreal Canadiens win. The final game played there by the Pens was a 5-2 Montreal Canadiens win, in 2010. There’s something poetic about that…..
I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same….