Kukla's Korner

The Upper Canadien

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more

It's a line from Henry V, but it is fitting for so many reasons for the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs defeated the Rangers 7-4 Tuesday in what was one of the most wild, momentum shifting playoff games I have ever seen. Can anyone else recall a playoff game that went 4-1, 4-4, 7-4? I certainly cant. The Habs stormed out, got the lead, gave it all back, and then stormed out again. I don't know what Michel Therrien said to his team before the third period, but whatever it was, he should repeat it on Thursday, because it certainly had the intended effect. 

Rene Bourque was a beast, scoring three goals, hitting a post, and just missing an empty net late. Lars Eller was a physical presense, hitting all over the ice and netting two assists. PK Subban got the powerplay clicking again, and began to deliver more punishing hits on the Rangers forwards. Dustin Tokarski, oh Dustin Tokarski, made some phenomenal saves, including one with the shaft of his stick, point blank, to keep the game close in the first. At least two of the goals on him were deflections of his own team. Tokarski has certainly proven himself capable this series, and last night battled through to win a game that was a free-for-all. That takes focus and mental strength. Tokarski is building confidence, and his teammates are getting more confidence in him game by game as well.

Other important notes: Max Pacioretty scored yet again in an elimination game - does this guy like pressure or what? - and Henri Lundqvist was pulled after four goals. Do not get cocky Habs fans - Lundqvist generally responds with fervour the game after being pulled, and will likely be top of his game on Thursday. 

This game had some dirtier plays as well. John Moore devestated Dale Weise with a clear head shot late in the third. He should certainly be suspended, perhaps 3-5 games, as he undoubtedley targeted the head. Derek Dorsett headbutted Mike Weaver at the end of the game, and also tried to fight Rene Bourque, this after snowing the small boy holding a Canadiens flag at the beginning of the game. On the Canadiens side, Tomas Plekanec was called in the second for embellishment, for snapping his head back when a stick came close to making contact with his face. Many are calling out Plekanec for this play, but I have a bit of a different take - get someone to come at you full steam with a stick towards your face - do you move your head back quickly? Just as you often duck going under a low bridge while you drive to work, instinct is to move your head back when someone comes at you with a stick. I thought it was a gusty call by the referee, but perhaps a bit much in a playoff game. That said, I'm sure Plekanec will be working to keep his head in place next time, and perhaps the Canadiens will get a high sticking call out of it in game 6.

So the series shifts to New York, with the Canadiens led by a heathy scratch earlier in the season, and a supposed third-string goaltender. Thursday at 8.

Once more unto the breach dear friends, with King Henry on the other side of the rink, once more. 

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Comments

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All i can say about the embellishment was that it was significant and it was quite delayed after the stick nearly hit his shoulder. He should have had an embellishment call against him the previous game and was highlighted during the u.s. broadcast last night. I haven’t watched much Habs, but I would guess he’s a diver, or at the least tries to over sell penalties. Good on the refs for calling that shit last night.

Posted by teldar on 05/28/14 at 08:04 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

I didn’t see the game, but have seen highlights.  I’m surprised that NY lost their composure and was playing that style last night - they didn’t look like a team who was up 3-1.  Good on the Habs for keeping fairly even-keeled and focused on winning the game.

Posted by TreKronor on 05/28/14 at 10:10 AM ET

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Plekanec was rightly called for embellishment and the rest of the NHL fans crow and celebrate as if their own team’s don’t stink. Whatever. It was the right call, it’s just too bad some of the great diving teams (Boston etc.) don’t get called for the same and much worse crap. Give it a break, the Habs are not loved by the league, their past success was not earned and not anointed by the league, and it has been decades folks. DECADES! If the NHL loved Montreal and Quebec, the Avalanche would not exist.

In any case, diving sucks for the game, period. Your team, my team.

The same goes for head shots. Rangers faithful think that Wiese being pushed into the stanchion and then hit in the head is just fine ... especially because Prust did not get a penalty on his hit. I despair, really, I do.

Prust’s hit was wrong AND the officials missed it. He was suspended, if you did not notice.

You’ve been hearing since kindergarten that two wrongs don’t make a right so try taking the high road for once ... and if you need to go further, Stepan got up and was fine while Wiese staggered to his feet and was grabbed by Subban. As a Habs fan, I am concerned they let him back in the game and would go so far as to state if you need to leave the ice from a hit, collision or accident, you should not be allowed to return to the game.

On that note, you gotta love Subban. Hugging Wiese and kissing Tokarski ... where is PJ Stock and all his “team hates Subban” crap now?

The Habs thought they’d cream the Rangers after surviving Boston. That was dumb. They let the Rangers into the series and then made them into their own Frankenstein. They’ll be lucky to overcome their arrogance. I am not convinced they can but last night showed the possibility that they can but it will take incredible discipline and determination. Go Habs!

Posted by MarronShed on 05/28/14 at 01:27 PM ET

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I can’t wait for Montreal to be eliminated next game and we can be spared the terrible, highly bias opinions of their fans.

Also, Quoting Shakespeare? GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE!

Posted by patrickjoyce19 on 05/28/14 at 03:16 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

we can be spared the terrible, highly bias opinions of their fans.

Uhhhhhhh, you seem to be able to put a sentence together alright - did you not realize this was a Habs blog?  For expressing things such as, umm, opinions?

Posted by TreKronor on 05/28/14 at 03:18 PM ET

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smile

Posted by patrickjoyce19 on 05/30/14 at 09:59 AM ET

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Can’t take anything away from the Rangers ... well played game 6 and three series under their belt. Kudos.

But if ya think that is gonna shut me up ...  cheese

Good luck in the finals!

Posted by MarronShed on 05/30/14 at 01:45 PM ET

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About The Upper Canadien

The Upper Canadien is your one stop shop for all things Montreal Canadiens. Since the summer of 2010, I've been providing Habs related news, notes, and most importantly, opinions. As a blogger, I don't believe it's my job to report the news, it's my privilege to comment on it. You may disagree with what I suggest. In fact, you most likely will. But that's the great part about blogging: it spurs opinion, comment and engages all involved. I've really enjoyed all the debate and commentary from readers thus far and I encourage everyone to respond with ideas on lineups, trades, logos, sweaters, mascots, whatever. The Upper Canadien is a conversation for all hockey fanatics.

I've come to Kukla's Korner with four years of campus radio and three years of sportswriting from my time at Mount Allison University on Canada's East coast. Not only do I not have any professional journalistic training, after five years in the corporate world, I've spent much of the past two years completing an MBA. Business by day, hockey by night, I'm a Canadiens fan through and through. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I do writing.

Questions or comments? theuppercanadien@kuklaskorner.com