At the beginning of this shortened NHL season, if I had told you that the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs would be playing a game against each other in the middle of April with serious playoff implications, you would have called me a brain dead moron and then asked me why I was rooting around in your bushes (I was using binoculars to look away from your windows, not into them, I swear).
But here we are, two weeks left in the season and The Canadiens are in first place in the Northeast division (2nd seed in the Eastern Conference) while the Leafs find themselves sitting 5th in the East.
HNIC Game 2: The Battle of Alberta
Hockey Night in Canada didn’t end just because I’m spiraling into a deep “Habs loss” related depression. Oh no my friend, we still have the mostly irrelevant game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames to enjoy. The Oilers are 6 points back of Detroit for the final playoff spot in the West, so they pretty much have to win this game. On the other hand, the Flames are just playing out the string, with dreams of top 5 draft picks dancing in their heads.
End of the game: Calgary essentially stomped out Edmonton’s playoff chances, which probably brings a crooked smile to the face of every Flames fan on the planet (fans that haven’t had much to smile about this season).
Flames- 4, Oilers- 1
Reinhart’s slick snipe
10:18- Max Reinhart scored his first career NHL goal with a beautiful top shelf snipe (after a slick feed from Jiri Hudler). The Flames lead 4-1.
After the second period: Baertschi and Wideman scored the only goals of the period, and the Oilers have to show a lot more urgency in the third if they hope to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Flames- 3, Oilers-1
Late in the period, Taylor Hall pulled off several tantalizing moves but could not find the back of the net.
Sven Baerschi’s goal (My friend Steve is sometimes called Sven. These are the kind of spectacularly pointless facts that you’ll read here tonight).
5:13- Sven Baertschi gets his first of the season to give the Flames a 3-1 lead.
1:55- Dennis Wideman finished off a sweet drive by Tim Jackman (after a great stretch pass from TJ Brodie) to give the Flames a 2-1 lead.
End of the first period: All of the scoring happened in the first 2 minutes, and we have a tie game after the first 20.
Flames- 1, Oilers- 1
Here’s Coach’s Corner from earlier, if you’re into that kind of thing.
5:46- the Oilers seemed to take a 2-1 lead after the puck went in off Yakupov’s skate, but the goal was disallowed (although it looked like Nail was just trying to stop).
1:43: Just over a minute later, Lennart Petrell scores for the Oilers to knot this game at 1.
0:26- Mikael Backlund gets the Flames on the board with a goal in the first 30 seconds of the game.
End of the Game: Leafs-5, Canadiens-1
Someone forgot to tell Carey Price that there was hockey tonight and the Leafs pretty much had this game wrapped up in the first five minutes. Fortunately for the Habs, Boston lost 4-2 to Carolina, so the Canadiens remain in first place in the Northeast division.
Late in the 3rd period: Leafs fans started serenading the Canadiens with the Habs’ signature “Ole” chant, and I died a little inside.
9:30- The way Jim Hughson plugged “Murdoch Mysteries” made my heart smile, so much (probably) faked sincerity. In a completely related note, my grandpa loves “Murdoch Mysteries” and asks me if I watch it every time I see him (then rags on me when I tell him I don’t).
Kessel’s goal (What a great pass by JVR!)
2:00- Brian Gionta gets a slashing penalty. I wish this game was over, but at least I’m enjoying some free cereal at the office.
End of the second period: The good news for Habs fans, the Leafs only scored 1 instead of 4. The bad news for Habs fans, the Canadiens didn’t hit the score sheet.
Leafs- 5, Canadiens- 1
McClement’s goal that chased Price
Nazem Kadri lays out Lars Eller
Prust and McLaren chuck knucks
4:42- Phil the thrill (I cried as I typed that) scored a beauty on a 2-on-1 to give the Leafs a 5-1 lead.
End of the 1st period: The Leafs have 4 goals on 5 shots, so maybe the Habs would have been better off putting one of those plastic practice goalies in the net (I had one when I was a kid, we called him “Ed Belfive”).
17:06- Phaneuf scored on a wrister from the point that somehow found its way past Peter Budaj. 4-1 Leafs.
13:08- New Hab Davis Drewiske scored on a slick feed from Brendan Gallagher, Canadiens cut the Leafs lead to 3-1.
10:24- Jay McClement chases Carey Price with the Leafs’ third goal of the period. This is starting to look like the 6-0 game from earlier this season.
Jimmy Reims has had a very good period thus far, his positioning has been fantastic.
8:08- Leo Komarov scores an absolutely putrid goal. Pretty gross stuff (just put it on net I guess).
I don’t think Brendan Gallagher ever stops smiling, even when someone is giving him an aggressive face wash.
4:30- Prust and McLaren had a marathon face punching contest, probably the first of many.
1:58- Well that was quick, Tyler Bozak scored on a feed from JVR while Frankie Bouillon stewed in the box (high stick).
Not Habs/Leafs related, but I have no real words for the following tweet.
There seems to be a very real chance that Malkin will be held out of tonight’s game because of severe sunburn. Warmups could be revealing.
— Dave Molinari (@MolinariPG) April 13, 2013
Malkin does not appear to be on the ice for warmups. Makes it pretty clear he won’t be playing.
— Dave Molinari (@MolinariPG) April 13, 2013
Despite all of his gastrointestinal problems, it seems like Grabbo will play tonight (Gardiner’s in too, so you can put away your pitchforks Leaf Fans).
Confirmed: Grabovski, Frattin and Gardiner all in tonight. — Jonas Siegel (@jonasTSN1050) April 13, 2013
So join me in watching this game between two storied rivals, it should be a real treat (and a possible first round playoff preview).
Stick tap to p00njabiHD for the video