Habs Fever: Uncle Mo Takes Sides
By Brian Wilde, ctvmontreal.ca
Published Friday, April 22, 2011 6:59PM EDT
That just isn't how the Montreal Canadiens win games.
In a competition of exchanging chances in a high octane up and down the sheet scenario, the Habs are going to lose it almost every time.
The Habs had three leads at 1-0, 3-1 and 4-3. Four goals for the Habs is supposed to be enough. This is not a team that gets five. They don't have a system for it.
I don't think it should come as a surprise that they didn't win a wild one.
Games 1 and 2 were not wild. Just like the Habs like it.
Who can explain momentum in sports though? The Habs outshot Boston 29-12 in the first half of the game, and the Bruins turned it around for a 24-7 advantage in the second 30.
That is a 180-degree turn of momentum. The Habs were looking like they were on their way to amazing things, and Boston was rolling over.
Andrew Ference scores a goal. Flips the bird. Boom! Momentum changes and the Bruins look like they have the world by the tail.
The mental game
Sports really are enigmatic. It really is mental isn't it? When positive energy, confidence and ego turns into doubt and fear, the transformation of these pro players is astounding.
I get it when some 18 and 19 year old kids for Canada get five goals scored on them at the world juniors by the Russians in the third period to give up gold. They're just kids. What experience do they have to draw on in that moment? Momentum turned on them. They already had the gold around their necks in their minds and the fear was paralyzing and got worse. Even when they were still leading 3-2, you could see what was inevitable.
However, it is a little harder to understand when it happens to experienced NHLers. Five Habs have won Cups. Two Habs were one win shy of winning a Cup. If they couldn't get the train to stop wrecking, then who? That's seven of 20 players on the team with so much experience to draw on, and they could not control that crazy 'momentum' intangible.
The Habs recovered well in OT and did get a quality chance to win it, but you watch enough games and you can almost feel destiny's pull in a game.
Fate threw on a black and gold sweater Thursday night and he was the game's best player. No amount of Habs greatness was going to beat fate on this night.
Now the Habs have to call on all their experience from last year and their previous Cup winners to get some positive back in the energy field.
Considering the way they lost the game, losing so much momentum and not taking advantage of having the Bruins on the ropes, a blow out by the Bruins would not surprise me for Game 5. It feels like what is happening to the Canucks is happening to the Habs.
Then again, how many times have these Canadiens been written off since Bob Gainey assembled this new band of brothers? And how many times have they surprised us?
Nearly all of them.
Martin's spin must work
Now they are up against that wall again. Just like the Caps 3-1 lead in a way from last year, and the Habs came back.
Jacques Martin said last night "no one gave us much of a chance before the series and we are 2-2, so we will take that."
Jacques is in the spin zone there.
However, what spin was Julien feeding his men after the Boston home games? They believed it, whatever it was.
And that's how momentum changes I guess. I say 'I guess' because I won't lie to you. I have been watching sports all my life and covering it professionally for 27 years and I am no wiser today than a child as to how momentum changes as drastically and as suddenly as it does.
All I know is that the Habs need momentum to change one more time.
I won't hazard a guess as to whether it will, but I sure have learned that it most certainly can.