Photo Credit – Annakin Slayd / Twitter
Bonne Saint-Jean à tous! What potential this day has with the Habs one win away from punching their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals. While the poetic narrative is there, by no means will this win come easy for the Habs. The thought of Danault scoring the winner on Saint-Jean pour Les Habitants is enticing, however it would be foolish to count Vegas out already. In these playoffs alone the Habs pulled off what was thought to be impossible by coming back from a 3-1 deficit, just to remind everyone that the series isn’t over until one team wins four.
When it comes to the Habs opponents, it is no coincidence that this is Vegas’ third Conference Finals appearance in their four year existence. This team has been there and they’ve done that, while building upon their success each year. Look no further than the second round in which they were down 2-0 (one of those losses was a 7-1 beat down) to the consensus Cup favourites before rattling off four straight to face the Habs. This is not to rain on the parade, more a reminder to not look ahead of the win needed to get to the Cup finals.
Getting back to the Canadiens, they won the first battle of the day, getting Québec icon Céline Dion back on their side!
Kudos to Vegas, I chuckled but I was never worried for a second. With Step 1 complete, it will be important for the Habs to score the first goal tonight. Not that that’s not the plan every night, but the Habs are 10-2 when scoring first in these playoffs, and getting that first lead is crucial for momentum and morale in an elimination game. The confidence the Habs have playing with a one goal lead with Carey Price in nets has become increasingly more obvious with each passing game. To compliment that first stat, the Habs are an astounding 10-0 when scoring two or more goals. 2!!! That’s the Carey Price factor, and now we are getting into Elimination Game Price who holds a 4-0 record with a 1.86 GAA and 0.936SV% in this years playoffs.
It will obviously take more than Price to win tonight’s game, starting with Danault. His play along with Gally and Lehky are no longer going unnoticed, and the way that Danault has bought into his role has been a source of inspiration for some of the younger guys. Suzuki and Caufield are two such young players who playing with Toffoli have continued to elevate their games as the team has gone deeper into the playoffs.
The Byron-KK-Anderson line picked the right time to have their best series of the playoffs. They have provided the team with a second wave of scoring to force Vegas to pick their poison between them and the Suzuki line. Throw in the production from the Armia-Staal-Perry line who have been in factor in every game this series. The depth of scoring from the forward has offset the lack of scoring from the defense, however that would not be doing the D-core justice. They are playing the style of play that makes the team successful, mainly by keeping a bubble around Carey Price so he can see every shot.
As much as Habs fans need to temper expectations, it is impossible to not be excited about the thought of making it to the Stanley Cup finals. I for one plan on cranking Céline all day as I pretend to not check the clock every 38 seconds counting down to game time. Cheers to my fellow Québecoises and Québecois et Bonne Saint-Jean-Baptiste! If I could wish one thing for all of you, it is that we all get to watch Phillip Danault eating pizza tonight!
As always don’t forget to check out the rest of the Hot Sauce Family and check out our Youtube page for all of our podcasts and videos! This week on Not Sauce For Work I filled in for Terry to join Peeze and Eagle to discuss Karl Nassib, NCAA, NBA Headlines and the Habs! I’m not the polished Podcaster that Peeze is but I had a blast joining the show and I hope you enjoy it as well!