“After you, my dear Alphonse.” “No, you first, my dear Gaston!”
Pittsburgh and Montreal pulled the old “Alphonse – Gaston routine” Saturday night at the Bell Centre. The Penguins must have been Gaston as they ended up with last shot and won 7 – 6 in overtime. Both teams were so polite to each other, they stepped aside to let each other score, how civilized. “After you, my dear Max.” “No, you first Sydney!” Thirteen goals, seventy-five shots and the lead changing hands five times made for a very entertaining game, but not well played hockey. Goaltenders Carey Price and Tomas Vokoun even got into the act as they flubbed shots, and kicked out nice juicy rebounds for their opponents. The Habs even went so far as to allow “Matt the Ripper” Cooke to score twice. How civilized. I don’t think I saw any Hab even try to hit Cooke. Oh, Alexei Emelin kind of bumped him into the boards but I’m sure he said “oops, sorry Matt.” Here’s how the scoring went: Prust, Sutter, Pacioretty, Kunitz, Cooke, Cooke, Gionta, Subban, Desharnais, Kuntiz,Crosby, Gionta, Sutter. The only saving grace to come out of this was the Habs picked up another point and extended their streak to ten games without a loss in regulation.
Before the game, the Bruins showed a lot of class by inviting lifelong Bruins fan, Natalie Hammond, a survivor, and hero, of the deadly Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, to drop the puck at the ceremonial face-off. Hammond, the assistant principal who had been shot twice, still had her leg in a cast, as she performed the puck drop between the Bruins 6’9” Zdeno Chara and the Habs 5’7” Brian Gionta, Chara towering over the two them. Many of the players came up to Hammond to shake her hand as she left the ice.
Then the game started, and all the class the Bruins team and fans had shown before the game went right out the window, including Chara’s. On a night where the Bruins honoured a hero who had to witness, and survived, a violent massacre, Chara goes berserk and skates from half-way down the ice to pound on a defenseless Alexei Emelin. Emelin, who everyone in the league knows can’t fight because of the plates in his face, had to take the pounding. The psychopath Chara ended up sitting out for only 17 minutes for that disgusting display. It should have been a game misconduct plus a suspension. Just prior to that, the Bruins Adam McQuaid went after Habs tough guy(?) Lars Eller, which drew in Brandon Prust and of course Milan Lucic. Prust, sticking up for his teammates once again, performed nobly against Lucic.
The Canadiens made the Chara-less Bruins pay in the third, as the Habs came back from being down 3 – 2, to score two goals and hold off the Bruins to end up with a 4 – 3 victory in regulation time. Max Pacioretty scored five minutes into the period on a nice shot from the slot with David Desharnais providing the screen on Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask. The 6’4” McQuaid then flattened 5’5” Desharnais for which, of course, no penalty was called. Desharnais got his revenge, however, scoring the winner at the nine minute mark, with Habs goalie Peter Budaj holding the fort the rest of the way. Budaj, who made 31 saves on the night, had to come up with an incredible save on Tyler Seguin with five seconds remaining to preserve the victory.
All the more sweet is the Canadiens retake first place, two points ahead of the Bruins, and extend their streak to 11 games with a loss in regulation.
The Habs stay on the road this week for the next three games, starting with the Islanders on Tuesday night.