Seeing is believing
With the two biggest stars in the game now out of their way this postseason, the big shiny prize at the end of their journey is starting to come into focus. As if eliminating Alexander Ovechkin and the Caps wasn't enough, the Habs have now done the same to Sidney Crosby and the defending champion Penguins.
Looking increasingly like a team in the Eastern Conference driver's seat by the day, the Canadiens can now only wait to find out who will be the next team on their hit list.
"You need everything to go right to make something like this happen. You need the power-play, the PK and secondary scoring. We have all that and this is really happening," said Hal Gill, who added to his folklore by playing with a lacerated left leg after missing only one game. "Every team is different, but there really is something about this group of guys.
"We just all have this feeling that if something doesn't work out or goes wrong, it's okay because you know that someone is going to be there to back you up," continued Gill. "That's what a good team does."
Quietly in the shadows as his team has become the talk of the 2010 Playoffs, Jacques Martin refused to take much credit for his dressing room full of world-beaters.
"This started coming together for us in the second half of the season," said Martin in the understatement of all understatements. "They've learned how to overcome adversity. They've learned to play together."
While the Habs know they won't sneak up on anyone the rest of the way, they don't seem like a team that's going to start thinking the toughest is behind them, either.
"We're not done yet. The proving ouselves isn't over. We have to go out and do that all over again night after night," said Gill. "This all means nothing if we don't win the big trophy. I'm pretty sure they don't give anything out for second place."
Like Gill, Scott Gomez came to Montreal as part of the team's overhaul that saw over a half dozen new faces arrive in the Habs dressing room. It may have been a long time coming, but the new-look Habs had Gomez at hello.
"It's tough to explain but all of us just hit it off from Day 1 this summer," said Gomez. "It was a tough year, but we all knew deep down that we were a better team than we showed during the regular season.
They are also a better team than they were in the opening round against the Capitals. Judging from the eerie calm that surrounds the Habs right now, the Canadiens are only now letting everyone in on a secret they've been keeping.
"I think after the Washington series we knew were onto something here," said Gomez. "The dance has only just begun and we've got our ticket. I've got a couple of rings and you need a little luck to get there. But like I've been telling the guys: this is when the fun starts."
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com
The Numbers Game - May 12, 2010
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