A roller coaster ride ends the season.
The 82nd and ultimate game needed to decide of the Eastern conference 8th place between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada centre ended in a 6-5 roller coaster ride.
After being down 1-3 in the 2nd period, the Habs scored 4 goals in the 2nd (three by Michael Ryder) to take the lead 5-3. Even goaltender Andrew Raycroft was pulled from the game at 3-4! Chris Higgins has scored the other two Montreal goals up to that point.
But the roller coaster ride wasn't over yet. Early in the 3rd period Toronto scored twice to take back the lead 6-5. They eventually held on to that score until the end to get that very important win. The Toronto Maple Leafs earns the 8th and last playoff spot for the moment. The Islanders need to defeat the New-Jersey Devils to beat Toronto to the race for 8th.
This marks the end of a mixed season for the Habs. Before December 23rd the team ranked 4th in the conference. Then an injury to their number one goaltender made the team fall in the standings gradually. A spark from the youth squad since a month made them fight until the last game. This young group of guys that emerged this season makes me say that the future seasons will be very good for the Canadiens. With a good group of young players like Plekanec, Higgins, Komisarek, Latendresse, Lapierre, Halak and Kostitsyn this team will be respectable next year. Add young 1st round draft pick goaltender Carey Price in the team plans and Montreal should be back in the contenders section.
The 2007 NHL playoffs begins.