The Engels Angle: Habs have no time for self-pity
By Eric Engels
Published Sunday, April 24, 2011 12:11PM EDT
The players will tell you that every loss feels the same, but you can't ignore the probability that a loss in double overtime doesn't sting a little more.
It definitely does, considering the Habs once held a 2-game lead on their opponents, and now they face elimination.
The Canadiens have millions of fans to feel sorry for them, but you hope that stinging feeling faded the minute their plane touched base in Montreal.
If the Canadiens have an ounce of self-pity come Tuesday, then their focus will be in the wrong place.
What this series has shown us so far, is that these two bitter rivals are among the closest competitors in a league that features a level of unprecedented parity.
These games have been won on pride, determination and the final bounce.
The last two have come down to forgivable mental errors-- ones made out of understandable fatigue, under the duress of unimaginable pressure.
There have been no blowouts. There have been no spirit-breaking moments.
These games have been incredibly competitive, incredibly physical and incredibly entertaining.
Brian Wilde tweeted after covering last night's game: "Ya know, I think these two teams started this battle hating each other and are going to finish it respecting each other."
The sentiment applies to the sheer will both teams have exhibited, not only in this hard-fought battle, but in the war they waged with one another since October.
If we can recognize how unbelievably passionate and dedicated both teams have been to their respective causes, than surely they can recognize it in one another.
Mutual respect aside, the passion-level is driven by that hatred, and it has truly brought out the best this rivalry has to offer.
There hasn't been a single reporter, fan or casual observer to correctly predict how we've gotten to this point, but all those who predicted this series would feature everything we love about hockey were right.
So here's hoping it continues. Here's hoping the Canadiens weren't defeated with that hard bounce in double overtime.
As a fan of hockey, you have to feel it would be unjust to not have this decided in seven games.
As a fan of the Canadiens, that's the least you can hope for.
Can this team have its character outshine its skill once again?
The Canadiens conjured miracles with their backs against the wall five times last spring.
We'll see what they have in store for us on Tuesday.
After making history for all the wrong reasons last season, in failing to close out the Flyers despite a 3-game advantage, the Bruins will go for the jugular in Game 6.
They'll have two opportunities to do what they've never been able to do before: defeat a team in the playoffs after losing the first two games.
They have to be praying they succeed on the first.
If they don't, all bets are off.