Far be it from Waldo1947 to dabble in hyperbole. Given the monumental win the Habs just enjoyed over the Leafs, however, I feel I must dip my whiskey glass into the pool of excess and tie in the beginning of the universe to this miracle win.
In his book, The Problem of God: Answering a Skeptic’s Challenges to Christianity, author Mark Clark attempts to persuade the non-believer into acknowledging the existence of God. One of Clark’s arguments is centered around the Big Bang theory and what/who, if anything, started it. “Astrophysicists tell us there were around 122 variables that would have to be lined up in precise values in order for our universe to come into existence, and if any of those was off by even one part in a million millionth...there would be no galaxies, no stars, no planets and no people.¹”
In other words, the fact the Montreal Canadiens, and their legions of human fans, exist in this universe is a miracle in and of itself.
This may not get you to believe in God, but after watching this series, you should believe in Playoff Carey Price, because if Price were off by a million millionth, the Habs are not packing their bags for Winnipeg.
Carey Price is the man behind the win with brilliant saves and the maddeningly calm way he plays the puck and moves it to his forwards. He corrects a lot of mistakes and is the best penalty killer the Habs have. Most importantly, he kept the Leafs off the score sheet so the Habs could build leads in Games 5,6, & 7.
Further to Mark Clark’s point, the Habs may not have needed 122 variables to work in their favour, but there was some luck on the way. We cannot ignore the loss that was John Tavares for the Leafs. As a guy who has suffered many concussions over the years, I took no solace in his 100% accidental injury and I thank God that he is recovering ahead of schedule. (He has even more time now to heal now that the Leafs have an extended offseason. Call it a blessing in disguise?) I’m serious here; head injuries are never a reason for joy and an honest player like Tavares did not deserve that fate.
How about the timely goals of biblical proportions scored by Jesperi Kotkaniemi? Turns out the kid does have jam and did play like a #3 pick in the playoffs; just like last year. Isn’t it strange how a little faith in a young player can go a long way? All he needs is the opportunity. Speaking of kids with firepower, how about the revelation of the Hobey Baker winner, Cole Caulfield? He's getting major minutes alongside another kid, Nick Suzuki. Who will forget that 2-on-0 OT winner in game 5 in which the two of them made heavenly music? Jake Evans, another kid, found salvation in a shutdown role with unbelievable penalty killing and very responsible play in all 3 zones.
When the Leafs went down 3-0 in game 7, the cameras instantly panned to Marner, Matthews, and Hyman (as if Leaf fans needed reminders about yet another game 7 loss where these 3 did not produce). Granted, Price did make some great saves on them but does the Daneault-Gallagher-Byron line not get some credit for shutting them down? Speaking of divine variables that had to go right for the Habs, this line was a key factor in the win. All too often we blame offensive ineptitude on the stars of the losing team while forgetting that there are players on the other team that get paid to stop them.
After game four, I, along with 99.99% of hockey fans, felt that nothing short of divine intervention would save the Habs’ season. We left them for dead, put the rock in front of the tomb, and began wondering about the future.
Three games later, here we are celebrating their resurrection and begging them forgiveness for abandoning them in their hour of need! It is a playoff miracle.
My mom always taught me never to pray to God for a win because He doesn’t care who wins. Try telling that to a Leafs fan today.
1. Clark, Mark. The Problem of God: Answering a Skeptic’s Challenges to Christianity. ZONDERVAN, 2017.