The 2009-10 Montreal Canadiens...Masters of Deception?
For several games during these playoffs, against the Capitals and now at least once against the Penguins, the Canadiens have shown a...dare I say "magic"?...that is tough to deny.
It goes something like this...
Let the other team get the majority of the shots and scoring chances...we'll just wait and capitalize on the few mistakes they make and win the game. It will look like one thing, but in the end, we'll pull the rabbit out of the hat.
I watched the end of the series against the Capitals and more than once thought, "Can this really be happening? These guys shouldn't even be in this game, yet they are about to win it."
Then of course, they won the series.
Yesterday, the opponent wasn't the Capitals, but the show I watched looked eerily familiar. Lots of OK chances against Halak (and a few really good ones)...only ONE goal to show for it. And the Habs scored EVERY time the Pens made a mistake.
Honestly, I am not a big believer in the "mystique" of the Canadiens...
And I don't think Halak has gotten into anybody's head...yet...
But it's tough to deny...this Canadien's team is good at what they do...as unorthodox as it may seem.
And, as I stated before the series started, any team that "believes" in what they are doing as strongly as the Habs do, is very dangerous. And if it is some kind of voo-doo magic that they believe in...we better find the dolls quickly or the Pens could be in a world of hurt.
Against what many have said, I still think this series is going to be a very tough test for the Penguins to pass.
I thought Crosby and Malkin looked "tired" by the 3rd period of yesterday's game. Maybe it was because it was the second game after having a week off...adrenaline fueled the first game...fumes fueled the latter half of this one?
Either way...with Staal out, Malkin needs to step up his game...in a big way. No more one good shift, 3 bad ones.
And despite the points he has scored, Gonchar looks a step behind on many defensive plays.
I won't really address Fleury except to say, we have seen this from him before...and he usually rebounds with an exceptional effort in the next game.
In a nutshell...Pens need to take this to a new level...everybody has to step up to play if they expect to see the winner of Philly and Boston.