Saturday, June 17, 2006

Ah, the French Canadians! Montréal diary: entry #10

Pictured at left are the Montréal Canadiens and the New Jersey Devils on the ice for the pre-game warmup of their April 8, 2006 clash. They used to have what was called "Saturday Night Fever" back when the old Montréal Forum was standing. The enthusiasm I witnessed on the Saturday night I attended this game was no less electric.

I've attended my share of New York Rangers games at Madison Square Garden, but this was an entirely different situation. Canadiens fans eat, sleep, live and die for their hockey. And, most importantly, they don't turn on their team.

The Canadiens played a strong first period, thanks in large part to the stellar play of goaltender Cristobal Huet, who was serenaded by the rabid fans throughout the game ("Ooh-ay! Ooh-ay!"). When the Devils took the lead into the final period, the crowd still cheered madly, nearly willing the home team to victory.

Down 3-2 in the waning moments, with a faceoff in the Devils defensive zone, the feeling was clear: seven seconds remaining, still time for a shot from the point, tying goal, win it in overtime, no problem.

They didn't quite make it, but it was close! And impossible to not get caught up in the fervor.


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