Rabid Habs

The 50th Win

Habs' PA Parentau

“I played here earlier this year with the Ducks, but it will be a whole other level with the Canadiens. I’m really excited for tonight, especially now that they aren’t all cheering for the Leafs. This is the most fun time of the year. As much as we’re all excited for the playoffs to start, we also need to focus on tonight because this one will be important.” – Devante Smith-Pelly

After picking up a season sweep in Thursday night’s four to three overtime win against the Detroit Red Wings, the Montreal Canadiens would be ending their regular season against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre. The Canadiens would be looking for their 50th win of the season to end their 2014-15 campaign on a high note, a win which hasn’t been accomplished since Pat Burns was behind the bench during the 1988-89 season. On the other side of the ice, the Leafs, who aren’t looking to clinch a playoff spot and who will spend most of the summer rebuilding, will be looking to end their tough season with a possible win (despite the Canadiens having the upper hand over the Leafs all season). However, losing one last game of the season will still keep them sitting at 27th overall in the league and give them a 9.5% chance at a first draft pick. Despite Max Pacioretty still sitting out of tonight’s game and possibly out of the first week of the playoffs (although getting back onto the ice during practice this morning), the Canadiens showed on both Sunday and Thursday that they have the ability to step up when their top sniper is down and with no line up changes occurring on Saturday night (including saviour Carey Price between the pipes), the Habs have a strong chance to grab a home-ice advantage as well as sitting first place in the Atlantic Division. Either way, tonight’s game is an important one if the Canadiens want to make a strong impression in the playoffs.

Phil Kessel opened up the first period with a a puck between the legs of Carey Price (assisted by Tyler Bozak and Andrew Macwilliam) just three minutes and 58 seconds into the first period, which was followed 16 seconds later by David Desharnais getting a beautiful shot in the Toronto net to bring a tie early in the game. The Habs were doing well with posession but by the midway point, they were up 5-4 in shots. Despite the shots staying even for most the period, the Leafs were keeping the pressure high on the Canadiens, keeping the pucks coming back deep in the Montreal zone. Despite five great opportunities for the Habs to take the lead, Casey Bailey (assisted by Dion Phaneuf and Peter Holland) was the one who grabbed his first goal of the night and a lead for Toronto with five minutes and 56 seconds left. While the Canadiens did dominate the first period, they still left the ice with one point behind the Leafs.

Only 59 seconds into the second period and Tomas Plekanec (assisted by Andrei Markov and Devante Smith-Pelly) found the back of the net and gave the Canadiens the second point they needed with a quick release to keep the scoreboard tied, as well as getting his 26th goal of the year. The Canadiens were already outshooting the Leafs 11 to six overall (with no shots on Carey Price) and were keeping their puck possession high, but Tyler Bozak (assisted by James Van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel) was able to puck the puck past Price, bringing back the Leafs lead at the five minute mark. 8.9 seconds left of the second period and Jacob De La Rose was able to bury the puck in a wide open space left by Jonathan Bernier, leaving the Canadiens with a three to three tie at the end of the second period while leading 12 to six in shots on net.

With no goals getting through the nets in the third period and overtime, the tie game went into the shootout where David Desharnais gave the Montreal Canadiens the fourth goal they needed to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Here are my thoughts on tonight’s game:

  • This was one hell of a game the Montreal Canadiens played and I’m certainly proud. We all know this season has been one huge roller coaster, but the Habs really pulled through for Pacioretty and it was great to see them really working hard out on the ice. Here’s to an amazing playoff run and (hopefully) another cup in a trophy case. See you all during the playoffs. Cheers!

(Purchase your Canadiens tickets here. | Achetez vos billets des Canadiens ici.)

Follow Jessica-Lyn on Twitter: @EarlxGreat.