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04-15-2004, 01:25 AM
Mathieu Lavergne
AKA Saku K.
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: 3-Rivières, Québec
Country: Canada
Posts: 1,455
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Game 4: My first ever Habs playoff game (long)

Yesterday, I had the chance to go to Game 4 Habs vs Bruins with two friends, it was my first ever Habs playoff game and as I arrived at the Bell center, the doors were opening and I was happy to enter the building early. We found our seats, got some food and as we were eating, a female Habs fan was passing by the whole bell center with a ''GAY..croft'' sign. I never thought she would affect the crowd enough to make them do a ''Gaycroft'' chant all night long. If you were watching the game at the t.v., you probably thought the crowd was chanting ''Raycroft'' to taunt the probable Calder trophy winner. When the first warm-up started, you already knew this crowd would be hot all night long.

I found awesome the small introduction (with the ice being used as a screen) showing the history of the Montreal Canadiens while waiting for the last minutes before the start of the game. It was a great way to pump the crowd (like we needed that!), the images were really nice and the music was worthy of a song you would hear in a Rocky movie.

The small warm-up before the game start, everybody's on their feet, even me who usually doesn't let my emotions explode very often. My friend were watching Kovalev and I watched Theo. He got in the net to stop the pucks, and as I was looking at him, I tell to my buddys: ''Look at Theo, the pucks he's trying to stop are all going in the net like if it was Red light Racicot.'' They acknowledge.

Then I saw Yanic Perreault.

They were still boos at the National Anthem, even if Beliveau told the crowd not to, you want to know why? We didn't hear a single thing of what he said because the crowd was cheering way too loud. A lot of people like me knew why he was on the big screen but I'm also sure a lot of people didn't know as well and simply didn't understand. A lot of people cheered and applauded the U.S. to counter the idiots, but they were outnumbered, plain and simple.

First period, I felt the play went back and forth a lot with the Bruins getting more shots and the Habs didn't get a lot of good pressures before the first goal. The first Ribeiro goal was a bit of a lucky goal, the puck bounced around a lot and went right to Ribeiro and Ribs made a deflection with it. Jason Ward doesn't impress me a lot because I don't feel he has any outstanding skills at the NHL level. A good amount of skills in a lot of different type of tools and you see a little bit of everything in his game each night. What some posters are saying on HF is true though, you don't really know why but good things happen around this man.
Nylander and Samsonov are the only Bruins forwards that I really noticed in the Habs' defensive zone all night long. I didn't see the Nylander goal well since I was on the opposite of the play in section 330 and they didn't show the replay of the goal. I was deceived for not getting to see a lot of replays beside the one they show before each period like you would see on tv. I thought the goal wasn't a softie or a result of a mistake by Theo, when I saw the replay on the tv today, I was a bit more frustrated about Theo's recent play. The Kovalev goal at the last second was really important if we would have won this game. It really gave the Habs a good momentum for the beginning of the second period. The third goal really had the place explosing and the crowd was really hot for most of the second period. I was really worried when Markov had difficulties getting up but I can't say it was the exact same feeling for Quintal, though. Ah well, when the fan overcome the man, things like that happen.

I thought the second half of the second period, the Bruins got some good scoring chances and the Slegr goal. I really had a good view on it and IMO it was a weak goal. Sure, 5'8 Bouillon was there but otherwise I didn't think he should have had any difficulties blocking the shot. I noticed this season that Theo has let too much softies from the blueline in the second half of the regular season. Everything was going so well I didn't feel like starting a thread about it. Between the periods, we went to the place you can go if you want to smoke or simply talk while standing on your feet. At least one Bruins fan (wearing the Bruins colors) was always there and the people were chanting ''Go Habs Go'' looking at him, ''Boston sucks'' or were simply Boooing him real loud. ''Boston sucks'' was another main chant all night long. No violence though, both sides understanding it was only a game and having fun.

I was afraid entering the third period as I felt after the third goal, the Habs were playing a lot more on their feets.

I thought the Habs really dominated the third period until the last minutes. Raycroft really stoned them a couple of times and the Habs failed to convert a lot of chances. 4 minutes to ago, my heart was pumping because I know every times I go to a sporting even, we usually lose. We even predicted a goal in the last minute of play because of my losing streak and it actually happened. We were at the opposite of where the goal was scored and we didn't have any clue if the goal was good or not but god knows we were praying and finally my losing streak won over god it seems.

OT was exciting because the stakes were high but the play when back and forth with the Habs getting the better chance until the incident leading to the goal.

I really disliked the parking at the Bell center where you have to wait for others cars to move yours since you are stuck with 3 cars in front of and behind yours.

In each section, you usually have a big Brisebois basher who screams everytime Brisebois does something. Well, Brisebois looked shaky all night long, he didn't use his size nearly enough as well as his decision making was really shaky. Theodore was also shaky and his positioning was average at best. Hard to have good positioning when you see that his concentration isn't constant and you knew the Habs' defencemans had to clear that puck after the first shot to win. I have mixed feeling about Theo but I like Garon way more. Theo had some key saves but not enough to say he had a decent goaltending performance IMO. I realize the only time I see Perreault on ice, the Habs were having big time troubles in the defensive zone. Anybody who talks about not using Perreault for a faceoff in OT as a big factor are killing me. He won 3 out of 7 for the night and even if 7 is a small number, I wouldn't have used Perreault at all in OT. CJ did on the PP in OT, I thought it was a good decision but wait he lost cleanly!

As a team we proved to be better than the Bruins so far IMO, I thought the Thornton line was almost invisible all night long and didn't display a lot of intensity, I recall seeing Bouillon stopping Knuble in Game 3. If this line would have played to half of it potential so far, the serie may have been over as we speak. We all know about the Habs' small forwards and how that line should dominate but it has yet to make any sparks out there beside the OT Murray goal who was an ugly breakdown and I don't give the line a lot of credits for that one.

The Koivu line was on fire all night long, Kovalev was great to see particularly when playing in the high traffic areas. I don't blame him for the lost tonight the reason we aren't leading is really simple even if some of you guys don't want to admit it:

Andrew Raycroft is clearly outplaying José Theodore.

It was a well-spent 140$, great experience and I will try to see more Habs game next year (or whenever hockey re-starts). Hot crowd, great game a little bit of everything you would see in a hockey game (beside fighting). I also liked seeing woman wearing Habs stuff, it's just so beautiful to see if you ask me. I'd love to have a girlfriend who likes the habs.

P.S. Thanks to any posters who read all the content of this thread!

Last edited by Mathieu Lavergne: 04-15-2004 at 02:01 AM.
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