One week ago, the Habs had just completed an undeserved 1-0 win in Philly, and were about to embark on a pretty encouraging 3-0 win over the Sabres. The playoffs, it appeared, were a lock.
They still are extremely likely, no matter what the Canadiens do against the Leafs on Saturday night. But the Rangers 4-3 win over Philly on Friday night makes for a tense situation at the phone booth Saturday night.
One thing I'm eager to see is how the crowd reacts to this team to start the game. I've found that generally, Bell Centre crowds communicate their nervousness through ear pounding screaming. That was the case in Game 7 against the Bruins in Round One of 2008, in Game 5 against the Flyers a round later and in Game 3 last year against the Bruins. in each case, the fans had little hope to see their team perform to their potential, yet they still supported the team extremely well.
Will the same thing happen Saturday night? Not sure, but the start to the game will speak volumes as to whether this bunch has finally learned to appreciate the urgency of the situation they find themselves in. A win, and they sleep well Saturday night. A regulation time loss, and it's scoreboard watching time Sunday.
Just to recap, the Habs make it in if the Rangers lose or if they win in regulation time against the Flyers Sunday, or if the Bruins lose both of their remaining two games against Carolina Saturday and Washington Sunday. Or, if the Habs make it to overtime Saturday night.
It's not a bad position to be in, but still...