A Boston Bruins fan’s *stick tap* to the Montreal Canadiens


When the Boston Bruins got swept by the Montreal Canadiens this year, I was severely disappointed in our team. The Canadiens just seemed to be the faster squad on the ice this year. Sure, we can make the traditional gripes about the Bruins being injured. We can complain that any French-Canadian ref had it out for us, but in the end the Habs were the better team this year.

Sure, I was hoping the Canadiens would get taken out in the first round, but they did a pretty god job undressing the Ottawa Senators. The Habs took six games to move on to the second round where the ran into the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning came out of the gates with something to prove and quickly took the first three games of the series. The last second goal in game three seemed to be the exclamation point of the series.

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The Habs fought back though. They played the next two games as if they had the ghosts of a century’s worth of history driving them. In the end, they just ran out of steam. The Lightning went on to a commanding 4-1 win in game six, knocking Montreal out of the playoffs.

Montreal hasn’t seen a Stanley Cup parade since 1993. While they may have won the most Cups, they haven’t won it all in over a generation, and it’s certainly eating at their fan base.

I was a little surprised that I didn’t have a sense of elation when the Habs were eliminated last night. Sure, there was the “We’re all together on the golf course now” jokes, but I didn’t have the sense of glee I had when the B’s defeated the Habs in 2011. While I can never see myself cheering for Montreal, I found myself seriously starting to respect them, and their goaltender is the biggest reason for that.

Carey Price has been the strongest player and the reason for the Canadiens’ success these last few seasons. Sadly, he’s putting the blame squarely on his shoulders for their loss to the Lightning. “I didn’t play well enough for us to win the series,” Price said. “I think that’s basically more or less what it comes down to. We lost a lot of tight games. I just needed to make that one more save in all the games that we lost and I didn’t do that.”

The Price is just wrong here.  The 27-year-old  goaltender led the NHL this year in most categories, most notably, he had a 1.96 goals against average and .933 save percentage. He was exceptional, and at times truly brilliant in the crease for Montreal. He’s the front-runner for the Vezina, a likely winner of the Hart, and his tremendous play compensated for the Habs’ deficiencies in other areas of the ice.

So, here’s a *stick tap* to Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens. You beat us fair and square this season, and I look forward to the rivalry being renewed in October.

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