Edmonton, where it's winter 10 months a year. The Canadiens are on their western road trip, which for a lot of the guys is a homecoming. Dustin Tokarski is the man in nets tonight.
Western road trips are also like home games for this club, where the proud CH fans outnumber local ones. I never knew that Tomas Plekanec played in Camrose before he made the big leagues, and he hosts a fan and his son at Edmonton games whenever the Habs are in town. These are fans of Plekanec's first and the Habs as a consequence, I'm thinking. Pleks still looks after Lee and Brady Katchur 15 years after meeting them in Camrose, and that, my friends, is pretty cool.
Game time, and everyone knows the Oilers are brutal and this is a guaranteed win so let's get through this and head to Calgary. These things sometimes don't turn out as expected, of course, and starting with the disallowed goal due to Gallagher's goalie interference, the frustration mounts. Edmonton scores twice, and on the bench, as we did at home, the players are begging each other to shoot the damn puck. Edmonton's empty netter completes their shutout win as well as utter Habs' humiliation.
Warming up before the Calgary game, Dale Weise shows the guys a little dance step and it's by far my favourite part of the episode to this point.
The Saddledome is PACKED with Habs fans. I wonder what the home teams think when it feels like they're actually playing at the Bell Centre? Anyway Calgary opens the scoring and we get Therrien audio which has been extremely rare this season, in the form of, "What the F*CK is going on!" which seems to work when the Habs quickly tie it. Mr. Shootout, P.A. Parenteau wins the games for the elated fans. The game cape however, deservingly, goes to the one and only "Carey motherf***ing Price" from Prust, which is incidentally how I've tagged Carey in the photo I have of him and me. Obviously it's a relief that he doesn't mind answering to this.
Speaking of Parenteau, we meet his family in a throwback to the player bios of 24CHs past. He's a Quebecer, as we know, and grew up playing hockey and being a fan of the Habs, which seems to be a common theme among recently acquired players. He's been a great addition to the team and it looks like in the room too. After playing hockey for 15 years, his family suddenly realizes when he returns just how long he's been gone. He says that when he learned of the trade, the first person he called was his dad. "I'm a Montreal Canadien." Dad replies, "You're not serious?" Can you imagine that moment? Anyway P.A. has taken well what he recognizes is a lot of pressure on a francophone Quebecer on this team. His dad foresees good things, but he's "keeping some things" to himself. Don't wanna jinx it.
On to the final road trip game, thank god, in Vancouver. I was at this game, right down at the ice for warmups, where P.K. Subban treated me and my neighbours to awesome antics and playing around with Tokarski right in freaking front of us for about half the warmup. Alas, even though I freeze framed everything the only shot I appear in is in a view from the Habs bench but of course only I know where I am up in row 20. Next year.
There are however, as there always are, 98% more Habs' fans than Vancouver fans at this game, including one who I'm pretty sure is Chris Elliot, you know, Lily's weird dad from How I Met Your Mother. OK maybe it's not him, but you know for sure that dude has heard that one before. Oh, and Santa Claus. Santa is a Habs' fan. Of course.
First period, and we get solid chances and stellar saves by Price amid "Carey! Carey!" chants, but it's still 0-0. Second period, we see Alex Burrows' brutal hit to Emelin's head and I along with everyone in the world expected a call and didn't get one, and a second later, the Canucks score. Therrien's head is virtually exploding off his neck, and the ref refuses to approach him. Manny Malhotra has to go up to the ref and ask, "When can he talk to you? He fell on his own?" And the ref goes, "No, I'm not saying that, but it's not a penalty!" The NHL begs to differ, you bunch of zebra jerks.
In the third, Vancouver quickly makes it 2-0. And then. Galchenyuk redirects Subban's rocket, and Pacioretty scores another in a seemingly slow motion play to tie it, and the building erupts. It's worth mentioning that behind me at this moment, a Canucks' fan screams out, "Too little, too late, Habs!" Uh ... okay. If too little means "exactly the same score as your team," sure. The Habs' fan sitting next to me and I looked at each other and wordlessly agreed: Putz.
Oh well. Lost in overtime. P.K. walks off the ice screaming at himself. Oh, and another thing he did at this game was be so pissed off at himself over a play that he skated to the bench and screamed the F word and slammed the door on the bench, hard, about 10 times. Frustrated P.K. is a sight to behold.
The guys finally and mercifully get to return home in time for Halloween. Manny Malhotra probably has the most adorable kids on the planet. They wait for their daddy handing out candies with their mom, then he takes them out trick or treating. The 24CH cameras talk to him on the street, he has one kid in each arm. He tries to do the interview, but one of the kids is talking to him, and he cuts the interview short to have a conversation with his kid, then says, "On y va" and walks away, leaving the cameras behind. A dad who cares more about sharing the evening with his kids than talking to the cameras. I like it.