“Don’t know what the hell I got / Whatever it is it’s an awful lot / Hey, I’m gonna lose control / From my liver to my very soul ...”
Gifted film producer Tim Thompson dipped his toe into Montreal history on Sunday for his CBC Hockey Night in Canada pre-game vignette, using Quebec rocker Michel Pagliaro’s 1972 hit Some Sing, Some Dance as the soundtrack for his images of the Canadiens and the Tampa Bay Lightning, both the sepia past and the polished present.
The Habs put a full nelson on their Eastern Conference quarterfinal following the stirring Game 3 intro of Thompson, who followed Pagliaro for Tuesday's Game 4 with Gazoline, recorded by a young Montreal rock band of the same name.
Of course, the filmmaker could have returned to Pagliaro and his 1975 hit Don't Know What The Hell I Got, excerpted above, not so much because it speaks in part of liquid overindulgence (which many Habs fans did Tuesday night), but because some of its lyrics reflect the playoff fever that now is gripping Montreal.
Max Pacioretty's power-play goal jammed home with 42.6 seconds left in regulation, his first goal of the series after all kinds of posts and almosts, propelled the Canadiens to a four-game sweep of the Lightning and onward to the Eastern Conference semifinals against either Boston or Detroit.
No one predicted a Habs sweep in this first round, including any member of the team that wielded the brooms.
"I don't think as a team or as players you look that far ahead," said centre Lars Eller, who ripped home the Canadiens' second goal of the night, his second of the series to go with three assists. "The key approach mentally is to not look too far ahead and to play one game at a time."
So hockey madness in this city is near a crescendo pitch, and imagine, we're only through the first round.
There wasn't a Canadiens snipe 11 seconds into Tuesday's contest as there was in Game 3. It took a luxurious 2:24 for Daniel Brière to score his first of this playoffs, left awfully alone in front of Tampa goalie Anders Lindback to convert a fine half-wall pass from Dale Weise.
Eller smoked his a dozen minutes later, a wicked blast that was just a rumour to the Lightning netminder who would yield Brendan Gallagher's goal early in the second before getting coach Jon Cooper's hook.
That brought in Kristers Gudlevskis, the Latvian netminder who would reprise the magnificence he displayed during his 55-save, Canada-stressing Sochi Olympic quarterfinal effort; on Tuesday, he stopped 16 of the 17 shots he faced.
The Canadiens took a two-goal lead into the third period knowing they would be facing a team that was playing for its life. And sure enough, Tampa scored a pair in a three-minute span, tying the game with 13½ minutes to play.
A timeout called by head coach Michel Therrien settled the Canadiens enough to resist Tampa's spirited late charge until Lightning centre Cédrick Paquette was banished for an awful trip deep in Montreal ice. Pacioretty then played the hero for an enraptured crowd that possibly is still in orbit.
"It was big," Eller said of ending the game in regulation time. "We weren't afraid of going to overtime but you want to end it as soon as possible. Certainly, they were getting better in the third and we were slowing down a bit, so that was really big for us."
Eller had 12 goals and 14 assists in his 77 regular-season games, and he'll be the first to say he can produce more than that. He headed into the playoffs saying he wanted to be an impact player, and through four games he has solidly shown that.
"You think of the playoffs as a fresh start," Eller said. "You have fun. This is what every player dreams of - playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs at the Bell Centre. It's what you dream of as a kid. There's no reason not to go out and have fun."
Personally, this was an especially gratifying series for Eller, given the hell he endured in his very brief post-season experience last year. He was crushed in open ice in Game 1 against the Ottawa Senators, badly injured and sidelined for the remaining four games of the Canadiens' brief run.
"I didn't really feel like I got a lot of a taste of playing in the playoffs last year," Eller said, "so this definitely is sweet right now."
There was no hooting and hollering in the Canadiens dressing room after their ouster of Tampa, this team well aware it has won just four games.
It's a start, nothing more.
"We're really happy for what we've accomplished so far," Eller said, singling out the work of coaches and the scouting staff. "But this is a really humble group and we don't look too far ahead. . . . It shows we've been able to have a game plan and execute it really well."
So now the Canadiens will take two days off, cast an eye on the Boston-Detroit series, and they'll heal, at least a little, the bumps and bruises that every player is wearing.
Time off, Eller said, is not the enemy some say it is when a team is riding a wave of momentum.
"Rest is a weapon right now," he said with a grin. "I don't see it as a disadvantage. Boston or Detroit, it doesn't matter. We're going to have to beat one of them, or any other team, to keep advancing, so we'll just sit back and see what happens.
"Anything is possible now. On a good night we can beat any team, on a bad night we can lose to any team. We have all the components to be successful in the playoffs, I really believe that.
"We have a star goaltender, solid defence, and in this series we really showed that we played as a team that didn't have to rely on extraordinary individual performances. That's how you're going to get success going forward."
Going forward. That's wonderful music to the ears of Canadiens fans, no matter their heroes' next stop on their playoff road.
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