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NHL:  When Canadians take on Canadiens    Share

20 May 2010

Thursday Night, the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in game 3 of a 7 game series in the National Hockey League’s (NHL) play-offs.  They are playing in the Eastern Conference finals, on the way to the final series in the NHL to win the sport’s championship trophy, the Stanley Cup.  Philadelphia now leads the series 2-1 and the win is kind of a surprise.  In fact, the Montreal Canadiens (yes, I am spelling Canadiens correctly…they speak French in Montreal and their team name is spelled with the French version) weren’t even supposed to be here after starting the play-offs facing what was considered a heavy favorite, the Washington Capitols.  The Capitols, or the “Caps” had the best record in the regular season.  There are two back-stories to this run.  First, Montreal’s win comes as the series returned to Montreal for game 3.  Normally in these series type championships, the games are split between the two teams’ cities with the team with the higher seed in the tournament getting the advantage of 4 of the 7 games on their home turf (or ice in hockey’s case).  If Montreal was going to win, it would be on home ice.  Interesting enough, Montreal has 24 Stanley Cups, more than any other NHL team.  They also have been crowned their sport’s champions more than any other franchise in any other sport.  Only baseball’s New York Yankees come close with 21 Championships.  The second interesting fact is that five of the players on the Flyers’ roster are from Quebec, so its sort of like a homecoming for them. 
 
One Liner: “It looks like Leighton’s not invincible after all.” – Referring to Michael Leighton, the Philadelphia Flyers’ goalie who prevented a single score in over 8 periods (there are three periods in a hockey game, each consisting of 20 minutes).
 
 Email comments to chris@notasportsguy.com

The Basics

NHL Play-offs: The National Hockey League has 30 teams organized into two conferences, western and eastern, with each conference having three divisions.  The NHL originated in Canada, although most teams are American.  The winner of the NHL’s play-offs is awarded the Stanley Cup, named after Lord Stanley of Canada when he donated a cup to the best Canadian hockey team.  Many people have gripes about NHL’s play-off system because over half of the teams make the play-offs (16 of 30) after an 82 game regular season.

Terminology:

Habs: The nickname for the Montreal Canadiens.  They are also known by the French Les Habitants, and Habs is short for Habitants.

Lord Stanley’s Mug: Another name for the Stanley Cup. 
Ice – Refers to the ice rink where the games are played.

Zamboni: A machine that resurfaces the ice rink before and during breaks in a hockey game.  It is said that many Canadians’ retirement dream is to drive the Zamboni for their local NHL team.

Penalty Box: Where a player sits after he commits a penalty.  A team must sit a player on the bench until the penalty time has expired.  This means that the team is short one player during the time the penalized player is in the penalty box, presenting a good opportunity for the other team to score.

Icing: An infraction where a team strikes the puck and it crosses two red lines without anybody touching the puck.  The rule prevents an inferior team from just playing only defense and blasting the puck to the other end whenever they get a chance to hit it.