Reality leaves a lot to the imagination. – John Lennon
While the Montreal Canadiens lost to the Boston Bruins in the seventh game of the first round of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, let’s allow our imaginations to run wild and wonder what would happen if the Habs had won that series, and had faced the Washington Capitals in the second round of the playoffs. Here’s my light-hearted look at one mythical result.
MONTREAL, QC. — What a relief it was to see the Montreal Canadiens put the puck past Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, in the seventh overtime period of game seven, in the first round of these Stanley Cup Playoffs. We still have no word from the Boston Bruins on the health of Tim Thomas, who had to leave the game following the fourth overtime period, but all speculation is currently pointing to dehydration, who would have known?
Speaking of “who would have known”, who would have known Benoit Pouliot would be the guy to put the puck behind Rask, especially considering he wasn’t on the opening lineup, we are still waiting for official comments on exactly how this was possible, no word yet.
That being said, the Montreal Canadiens were up against the Washington Capitals in the second round of these playoffs and what an upset it was to see them sweep the series against the Caps. Everyone was expecting a tough a battle like we saw last year, it was anything but. Here are some quick notes on each of the four games.
Game 1 Notes:
What a surprise it was to see the return of both Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges to the Montreal Canadiens’ lineup. Josh Gorges was solid defensively while Andrei Markov picked up four assists on the night.
P.K. Subban got himself a rare breakaway in the second period, but managed to trip over himself after crossing the blue into the Washington zone. He received a two minute penalty on the play for diving, and also received a one game suspension from the NHL for not showing respect and integrity towards the game.
Benoit Pouliot is born again following his overtime goal against the Bruins, he picked up three goals in this game and was named the first star.
After getting a 4-0 lead following the first period, Jacques Martin decided to resort to “protect the lead” hockey, Carey Price faced 47 shots in the second and third period alone, and still recorded the shutout.
The Canadiens won this first game of the series 4-0, and Alexander Ovechkin guaranteed the Caps would win the next game.
Game 2 Notes:
In the second game, P.K. Subban was not in the lineup as he was serving his one game suspension.
Alexander Ovechkin scored in the first period when he was awarded a penalty shot. After speeding across the Canadiens’ blue line and heading towards Carey Price, he was hooked down by Hall Gill who was still back at the red line. He beat Price on his penalty shot with a nifty shot to the blocker side. After his goal, he dove into the glass and knocked it out, the play was delayed for 40 minutes.
Nicklas Backstrom had three breakaways in this second game but was unable to put the puck behind Carey Price. He ended the game with only one shot on goal.
Benoit Pouliot extended his scoring streak to three games picking up another two goals on the night, him with now six goals in his last three games, while Carey Price had another strong game, stopping 45 of 46 shots in the win.
The Canadiens won the second game 2-1, and Alexander Ovechkin guaranteed the Caps would win the next game, again.
Game 3 Notes:
In the third game, P.K. Subban was a healthy scratch, his coach not happy with his respect and integrity of the game.
Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges left the game in the first period following a knee-to-knee collision in their own end, they are not expected to return in this series.
Benoit Pouliot missed the plane from Washington back to Montreal. He took a later plane but ended up in Iceland. He should be back to Montreal for game four.
Andrei Kostitsyn and Nicklas Backstrom were constantly matched up by both coaches on the ice, resulting in four-on-four play for both teams for about 35-40 seconds at a time.
Scott Gomez was a hero and perhaps the last guy to find out. After dumping the puck into the Capitals end and stepping off the ice for a change, Capitals’ defenseman Mike Green lost the puck into his goaltender and ended up scoring on his own net. Scott Gomez being the last player to tough the puck for the Canadiens was credited with what proved to be the game winning goal.
Carey Price recorded his second shutout of the series, third of the playoffs, stopping an impressive 68 shots in the 1-0 victory, and Alexander Ovechkin guaranteed the Caps would win the next game again, and the series.
Game 4 Notes:
In a surprise turn of events, Alexander Ovechkin was ejected from the game prior to it even starting, and has been suspended by the league indefinitely. The incident happened while the Capitals’ players were already on the ice, and the Montreal Canadiens players were getting on. Ovechkin rushed one of the little kids waving the Canadiens flag where the Montreal players get onto the ice. Fists were thrown. Witnesses say they heard Ovechkin screaming “It’s all because of you” at the little child, who managed to get a few good left ones before they were separated.
Ovechkin issued the following comment through a team media spokesperson, “I guarantee we will this game and the series.”.
P.K. Subban was back on the ice and was a beast in this game (which ended in regular time) playing a total of 43 minutes, and drove the Washington Capitals’ players crazy for the whole 60.
Benoit Pouliot recorded Gordie Howe hat trick scoring a goal in the first period, then recording an assist on a goal by Mathieu Darche, and finally fought with with the guy serving beer close to the Canadiens’ bench. He was ejected from the game but somehow sneaked a beer back to the dressing room. He was happy.
The Canadiens hardly had to break a sweat in this one, the game ended 2-0 in favor of the Habs, goals by Pouliot and Darche, while Carey Price picked up yet another shutout.
So the Habs will now face the Tampa Bay Lightning, in the Eastern Conference finals. It should be an exciting series! Tune in after the third round for the recap of the Canadiens vs Lightning series, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing the Habs in the Stanley Cup Finals! Just a hunch!
Oh and, watch out for the Washington Capitals in next year’s preseason, I hear Ovechkin guarantees they will win their next game.