The Habs have it

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Why are these men smiling? They’re fans of the Montreal Canadiens, who defeated the Pitsburgh Penguins 5-2 tonight to advance to the Eastern Conference finals in the NHL playoffs. The Habs will play either Philadelphia or Boston, who play tomorrow night.

I haven’t paid much attention to hockey this season, even with the San Jose Sharks nearby. But I have kept an eye from afar on the Canadiens-Penguin series, and I’m equally shocked and fascinated by it. The Canadiens were the No. 8 seed in the east, and the Pens were the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Such upsets aren’t supposed to happen, at least not this deep in the playoffs. But the Canadiens pulled it off, and it’s a fantastic story. The Habs are to hockey what the Yankees are to baseball, and it would be great to see Montreal bring the cup home.

I was fortunate to attend a Canadiens game a few years back in Montreal, a low-scoring affair against the Colorado Avalanche. The game itself wasn’t terribly memorable, but my ill-advised attempt to order French fries in French was. I had about $5 in my pocket and unwittingly managed to ask for two orders of fries instead of one. I had to hustle to find an ATM to get a few more bucks to pay for the food.

I should have ordered poutine, that marvelous combination of French fries, gravy and cheese curds. Given the chance, I’d order some tonight to celebrate with the Habs.

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