On this night, Jaroslav Halak can do no wrong in Montreal. Hell, all of Quebec if he'd like. No speeding tickets. Drink and eat for free. He is the most popular man in all of French speaking Canada tonight. He is mayor of Montreal.
With a 3-0 shutout victory over the Canadiens on his old home ice in front of his old home crowd, Halak made himself at home. And the fans of Montreal gave him a boisterous standing ovation for his efforts. It was touching. And a little weird. Carey Price will probably have to go to more therapy now that he has proof no one loves him. Goalies are weird that way. Hug them but leave them alone. To talk to the voices.
Look, I'm not the normal wrap it up guy. I've got a gun. A few bullets. Here, let me show you.
- The Habs should really look at the ice surface there at the Bell Centre (Canadian spelling!) because it sure seemed tilted toward the Montreal end much of the night. Down at least a goal much of the second and third periods, Montreal only managed to get 19 shots on net. You'd think the Canadiens could put up more of a fight.
- The Habs should consider getting lifts in their skates. I mean, if you want to be the official hockey team of the Lollipop Guild, great. But that's not going to win a lot of hockey games. There are seven guys on the Montreal roster officially listed under 6 feet tall. The goalies are each taller than 10 other guys on the roster. Cliff Ronning is a big fan, however.
- David Backes does not like Canada. First he tries punching out members of the Canadian Olympic team. Tonight he showed his displeasure for the Great White North by stealing the puck, skating in hard with Chris Stewart and assisting on a back-breaking goal in the second period that gave the Blues a 2-0 lead. And he made it look easy. The captain was leading by example.
- David Perron is from French-speaking Canada. His family was at the game tonight. It was his mother's birthday. He didn't give her a goal, but he said in the pregame he was mainly hoping to give her two points. Mission accomplished.
- Don't you wish the Blues could play against the Eastern Conference more often? Against the opposite conference the Blues are 8-0-1, the best winning percentage of all Western Conference teams. And it's been like that for awhile. Even when the Blues sucked they could kick some Eastern ass. Weird.
So the Tampa Lightning couldn't finish off the Canucks and allowed Vancouver a win in a shootout. So the Canucks have 57 points, the Blues 55 and thanks to a 5-1 beat down from Long Island, the Red Wings have 53 points. Oh yeah, the Blackhawks beat the AHL team in Columbus 5-2 giving them 55, but the Blues have the first tiebreaker. All that means this:
Western Conference Standings
1. Vancouver 57
2. St. Louis 55
If only Vancouver was coming to St. Louis (the team with the best home record in hockey) sometime soon. I guess we'll have to wait until Thursday.