The opening teasers in this one show Marc Bergevin doing chin-ups, and I already died. I'm writing this one from the Great Beyond.
"Bye Bye" is a traditional year-end show in Quebec put on by Radio-Canada. Michel Therrien is taking part in a skit for Bye Bye 2013 that involves him "coaching" the Bye Bye team before their big show. The whole crew is at the Bell Centre, and visits the dressing room and goes on the ice to belt out a few bars of O Canada. Louis Morissette, the producer, write and comedian of Bye Bye, tells the camera how they had the idea that before the show, they could have a "warm-up" scene; and he thought of doing something like 24CH, with Therrien getting them ready like a hockey team for a game. Therrien gets in full make-up and starts telling everybody what to do. The directors remind him to get tough with Vero, who is obviously pretty cute. He can't. He gives out a couple of scripted zingers and the laughs and applause follow.
December 21, and it's game day in Nashville. The guys leave a big venti coffee cup out by the urinals in the men's room specifically for David Desharnais and Brian Gionta, and they are so hilarious I can't even. We cut to P.K. Subban doing chin-ups and the key scene of Bergevin doing the same, apparently on a dare. "Don't challenge me like that." Thank you, challenger.
Gorges goes to visit a Nashville doctor to check out a swollen ankle. Gorges is happy to hear that his ankle is apparently okay, and to celebrate, goes out an gets a fresh buzz cut.
During the pre-game pep-talk in the dressing room, check out both Desharnais and Daniel Briere listening to coach Michel Therrien. They look frigging exhausted.
Game time, and after the warm-up, it's determined that Gorges actually will not play. He's pissed, and as he storms into the locker room to undress, we're told that he's breaking his streak of 167 consecutive games played. Carey Price is in nets tonight, and P.K. opens the game scoring for the Canadiens. Less than two minutes later, Pacioretty makes the score 2-1 and the Habs, not missing on any of their chances so far, score again on a nice goal by Tomas Plekanec. The Predators replace their goalie and hope for a better night. Travis Moen gets into a fight with Matt Hendricks as the Predators try to get some momentum going for their team. At the end of the first, the Habs are up 3-0 despite the Predators' pressure and hitting a couple of posts.
In the second, the Predators crash the net and Price time and time again, and finally score, and score again. 3-2 Habs. In the second intermission, we have a pissed off team and a "speechless" Therrien, who goes on to speechify that is a game that "we cannot lose."
In the third, Price is stellar and robs the Preds of great chances. P.K. then gets a penalty and some guy named Weber scores to tie the game up. The Habs have squandered a three-goal lead. It's on this goal that Andrei Markov gets pissed because the refs "missed" (or ignored) a blatant penalty on him; his subsequent complaints get him thrown out of the game with a ten-minute misconduct. The game ends in a tie, and heads into overtime. "Little Davey" saves the night and scores on a beauty in overtime to win the game for the Habs. Merry Christmas, one and all!
We are now treated to a trip down memory lane with Michel Bergeron, Mario Tremblay and Ron Fournier to talk about the great rivalry with the defunct Quebec Nordiques, in the setting of the former Montreal Forum, which now has a small portion of the original seating section still intact, while the rest of the building is a movie theatre/bowling alley/game centre. The three recount stories of the classic battles and arguments, laughing all the way through while the statues of the ghosts preside.
December 27, and Christmas is over. The Habs meet in Brossard before heading off on their road trip to Florida. They arrive in Tampa Bay to temperatures 40 degrees higher than in Montreal. That's Celsius, folks.
December 28, and game day against Steve Yzerman's Tampa Bay rivals. Before the game, Therrien reminds them that it's always an important game there, being that they're playing for a lot of Habs fans (basically anyone who bought a ticket). "Focus, and play hard. Come on, let's go!"
Puck drop, and each team is playing hard. Max Pacioretty takes a puck to the face and skates off to go get looked at. The first period ends with no score and Therrien reminds to be resilient attack at first intermission.
In the second, Pacioretty comes back into the game with some awesome new stitches on his kisser, and Plekanec scores the first goal of the game. Carey Price, in nets, chit-chats with his teammates. Martin St-Louis scores for Tampa to tie it up, and the teams head off to second intermission. Therrien talks to the boys and tells them to keep playing the right way and come back strong in the third.
In the third, Carey Price gets tested again and again and keeps coming up with huge saves for the team. Neither team comes up with anything in the third or in overtime, and the game heads to a shootout. In the shootout, Lars Eller scores and Price is perfect. The Habs win.
After the game, Carey Price, despite getting the First Star, tells goalie coach Stephane Waite that he still felt rusty in that game. Which makes me love him more than I already loved him.
Two wins out of three games make the Habs feel confident for the rest of their road trip. Please read nothing into this final sentence.
- Comparing last season's Habs to this season's through 48 games
- Game Preview: Habs at Penguins
- Complete coverage of Habs vs Penguins
- Happy second anniversary to Raphael Diaz
- 2014 Mid-Term Habs Top 25 Under 25: The Top Five
- Catching The Torch: Jan. 13 to Jan. 19th
- 2014 Mid-term Habs Top 25 Under 25: #10-6
- An exclusive interview with Michael McCarron
- Wednesday Habs Links: Leblanc ready to roll
- Louis Leblanc called up by the Canadiens
- Tuesday Habs Links: Subban & Markov reunited?