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Top three Montreal Canadiens moments of the past decade – Sportsnet.ca

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MONTREAL — This is no peach of an assignment, but it’s one I must comply with, because this decade of Montreal Canadiens hockey is coming to a close and there actually were three moments from it that are truly worth remembering.

I say it’s a somewhat tedious task because to look back fondly on one of the only two decades over which the winningest franchise in NHL history didn’t manage to win a single Stanley Cup is…well…somewhat disappointing. Up against all that great history — 24 Cups the Canadiens won between the years 1919 and 1993 — it would be ridiculous to suggest anything that happened over the last 10 years would compare.

And, let’s be real, the last half of the 2010s was rife with controversy and otherwise utterly forgettable moments.

Believe me, I know. I was there for all of it.

But I was also working on each of these three momentous occasions from the first half of the decade, and what I witnessed on those nights will stay with me forever. So, with the help of some quotes, tweets and videos, I’m bringing those memories back to life as we bid adieu to the decade.

3. May 12, 2014: P.K. Subban guarantees a win for the Canadiens after Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal against the Boston Bruins

If you want to know how P.K. Subban became one of the most beloved Montreal Canadiens in history, it officially happened months before he pledged to raise $10 million for the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

It was a gradual build from his June draft day in 2007 that percolated to a full boil on that May night back in 2014, when Subban said this about playing Montreal’s archrival, the Boston Bruins, in an upcoming Game 7 at TD Garden for a chance to go to the Eastern Conference Final: “It’s going to be great. The crowd, the noise, the energy in the building — I can’t wait to take that all away from them.”

OK, this wasn’t Mark Messier’s “We will win tonight” guarantee in the 1994 Eastern Conference Final, which the Hall of Famer backed up by scoring a hat trick to help the New York Rangers force Game 7 of their series against the New Jersey Devils. But it was a quote that was guaranteed to get plenty of play in Boston for 48 hours after our very own Chris Johnston stapled it to his Twitter profile following Montreal’s 4-0 win in Game 6 at the Bell Centre.

I mean, this was a bold — bordering on dangerous — thing for Subban to say after the Canadiens had worked so hard to erase a 3-2 series deficit to a Bruins team that had clinched the Presidents’ Trophy and finished with 17 more points in the standings than the Canadiens had accumulated. Especially since the Bruins had a league-leading 31-7-3 home record in the regular season and had beaten Montreal in two of the three playoff games at TD Garden after losing the first one in double overtime.

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But Subban’s confidence in himself and the team had skyrocketed after he had five assists in a first-round sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning and three goals and three assists through the first six games of the Boston series.

He didn’t pull back from his assertion before the Canadiens dressing room was vacated by the press. Rather, he doubled down.

“I play to win, I don’t care who’s there,” Subban said. “I don’t care if there’s nobody in the stands. I’m going there to win. It’s irrelevant to me. I hope that it’s a hostile environment, it makes it all better.”

Dale Weise, Max Pacioretty and Daniel Briere did the scoring in Game 7, but it’s fair to say the Canadiens wouldn’t have won the game 3-1 without Subban leading them in ice-time (26:17) and without his four hits and two blocked shots.

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2. April 26, 2010: Jaroslav Halak makes 53 saves in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal to help the Canadiens tie their series with the Washington Capitals 3-3

OK, so we can’t pinpoint one specific moment of this game, but we’ll count the whole experience as one of the top-three moments of the decade. Because, honestly, it was one of the most surreal and epic experiences ever witnessed at the Bell Centre.

The circumstances were downright laughable, actually. Jaroslav Halak, the Slovakian netminder chosen in the ninth round of the 2003 draft, had made a grand total of 85 regular-season appearances and three more in the playoffs before being given the assignment of backstopping the 88-point, 16th-seeded Canadiens against the Presidents’ Trophy-winning, 121-point Washington Capitals. And yet, Halak got the job done through Games 1-5 to get the Canadiens to a sixth game in the series.

He had stopped 122 of 135 shots a Capitals team that scored 313 regular-season goals had managed to that point, but what he did in Game 6 will go down as one of the greatest single-game goaltending performances in franchise history.

I’d go as far to call it one of the greatest performances in NHL history, actually.

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On this night, Halak stopped eight threatening Alexander Ovechkin shots; he made some 10-bell saves on noted playmaker Nicklas Backstrom; he stretched himself in all directions to block seven shots from sniper Alexander Semin; he made a combined 12 saves on Brooks Laich and Mike Green; and he came up with some of his best stuff of the soiree on the 10 shots Joe Corvo recorded.

Eric Fehr was the only Capital to sneak one through Halak. He did it on Washington’s 52nd shot of the game, with just under five minutes left.

But Halak made two more stops and helped Montreal to a 4-1 win to force Game 7.

“Huge saves. Big, big-time saves,” said Montreal winger Brian Gionta after the game. “We got two early goals, we wanted to get the lead, and then he shut the door. It was him from that point on. And it wasn’t just the amount of shots, he faced a lot of quality shots. He’s unbelievable.”

I was standing within an earshot of Ovechkin when he disagreed with that assessment.

“We make goalies feel unbelievable,” Ovechkin said. “When we played Philadelphia (two years ago), (Martin) Biron was good. (New York Ranger Henrik) Lundqvist was good last year. And this year we make Halak feel good.

“It’s disappointing, but we’ll find a way to break that and win. No panic. Nothing.”

Close to nothing is what Ovechkin and the Capitals got in Game 7, when Halak stopped 41 of 42 shots to help the Canadiens win 2-1.

That was something else, but it was nothing like what he did at the Bell Centre two nights prior.

I don’t know if we’ll ever see anything like that again.

1. May 10, 2010: Mike Cammalleri breaks the sound barrier at the Bell Centre in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinal against the Pittsburgh Penguins

The press box at the Bell Centre is suspended high above the ice, and when I tell you that it was shaking so much it felt like it was going to come down after Mike Cammalleri went forehand to backhand and scored his second goal of the game — and 11th of the playoffs — to pull the Canadiens into a 2-2 tie with the defending Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins in the 11th minute of the second period in a must-win Game 6, I am not exaggerating.

It was, without a shred of doubt, the most hair-raising moment experienced at this arena since Saku Koivu received that incredible ovation upon his return from successfully battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2002.

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That was emotional, and visceral, and nothing will ever compare to it. Ever.

But this? This was eardrum-shattering mayhem. And it felt like a full-blown earthquake in the building, with a television timeout extending the moment.

Watch the whole thing for yourself—no video could possibly do it justice — but take note of how crazy this gets from 1:42 onward.

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Let’s just say I wasn’t exactly shocked when the Canadiens scored two minutes and 30 seconds after Cammalleri’s goal to take a 3-2 lead, even if the goal came from an unlikely source in defenceman Jaroslav Spacek.

Cammalleri later described the crowd’s outburst as being “like they’re giving you a little push as you go up the ice.”

That “little push” turned out to be a massive shove, with the Canadiens winning the game 4-3 and eventually taking the series with a 5-2 win in Game 7 two nights later.

Here’s what Cammalleri said about the moment when I revisited the memory with him in a telephone conversation last week:

“I remember the building just feeling like it was the centre of the universe,” he started, “you feel like at that point you’re living in the centre of the universe, like all eyes are here.

“I’ve always had such a romantic view, and that’s one of the reasons I loved playing in Montreal so much is I’ve always been a romantic about sport. I was brought up that way, and my father is that way. It’s just a romantic feeling when the crowd is that engaged, and you’re literally feeling them. You’re feeling connected to them when they’re that passionate about it in that moment. I don’t know what else to say other than it’s got to be tough for the other team. For us to come out and score after a three-minute ovation like that says something. It’s tough for the other team, and I’d say it’s great for us.”

Cammalleri’s memory of the goal that created that magical moment remains well intact.

“I just remember feeling like I got that puck after (Andrei) Kostitsyn threw it across and (Max) Talbot was covering me on that check,” he said.

“I got inside on him, I got on the backhand, and it was kind of a feeling like, ‘Hopefully (Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre) Fleury’s overplaying this,’ because that was kind of my read on Fleury was that he kind of liked to move a lot and overplay plays. I tried to be deceptive with him and always tried to go cross-grain on him, so I was thinking I could get this cross-grain on him and go backhand the other way, and he probably had pushed over and given me some exposure there. I was hopeful, and not even really looking at the net but just kind of feeling it, and it goes post-and-in and it’s like, ‘Alright, 2-2, we can beat these guys.’”

Cammalleri was feeling that, and it was abundantly clear the 21,273 fans in attendance at the Bell Centre that night were feeling it, too.

“That was a unique moment, for sure,” Cammalleri concluded.

I think it was the most unique moment of Canadiens hockey over the past decade.

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Canada's Summer McIntosh, 15, wins 2nd gold medal at world aquatics – CBC Sports

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Summer McIntosh of Kelowna, B.C., capped a sensational week of swimming on Saturday, becoming the first Canadian with two victories and four medals at a single world championship.

The 15-year-old lowered her junior record time to four minutes 32.04 seconds in the women’s 400-metre individual medley on Saturday in Budapest, Hungary. Earlier this week, she also set world junior marks in the 200 butterfly (gold) and 400 freelstyle (silver) while earning freestyle relay bronze in the 200.

‘”This is a dream come true,” McIntosh gushed to the crowd in the post swim on-deck interview. At 15 years 311 days, she is the second-youngest winner of the women’s 400 IM behind Tracy Caulkins of the United States, who was 15 years 224 days in her 1978 win in West Berlin.

McIntosh took the lead early in Saturday’s race and waged a battle with American Katie Grimes, who touched the wall in 4:32.67 for her second silver of these worlds after placing second in the 1,500. Teammate Emma Weyant, the 2020 Olympic silver medallist, earned bronze in 4:36.00.

“It’s really cool to race someone like Katie as she is around my age and she’s a really tough competitor,” said McIntosh, who clocked 4:34.86 on April 9 at Canadian trials. “So I’m looking forward to racing her and keep pushing myself.”

WATCH | McIntosh holds off American Katie Grimes for 4th world medal:

Canadian Summer McIntosh wins 400m medley at swimming worlds

8 hours ago

Duration 7:29

The 15-year-old edged American Katie Grimes by 0.63 seconds at the FINA World Championships in Budapest.

Katinka Hosszu of Hungary had her streak of consecutive world titles in the 400 medley halted at four as she finished fourth in 4:37.89. The 33-year-old has won the race five times in her last seven appearances at worlds and still holds the world record of 4:26.36 and 4:29.33 championship mark from 2016 and 2017, respectively.

Canada’s women wrapped up the competition with bronze in the 100 medley relay, matching their result from 2019 worlds.

Kylie Masse, Rachel Nicol, Maggie Mac Neil and anchor Penny Oleksiak stopped the clock in 3:55.01, behind the Americans (3:53.78) and Australia (3:54.25). It was Nicol’s first world medal while Oleksiak broke a tie with Masse with her ninth career medal at the event, all in the relay.

“‘It’s obvious at this point I wouldn’t be here without the team, so it feels weird to claim that title on my own,” Oleksiak told Swimming Canada of her success. ”I feel really lucky to be part of Team Canada.”

WATCH | Oleksiak sets Canadian record for most medals at aquatics worlds:

Penny Oleksiak sets Canadian record for most medals at aquatics world championships

6 hours ago

Duration 0:42

The 22-year-old from Toronto, Ont., becomes the most decorated Canadian swimmer at the aquatics world championships after winning bronze in the 4x100m medley relay.

Three years ago, Sydney Pickrem, Masse, Mac Neil and Oleksiak posted a time of 3:53.58 in Gwangju, South Korea.

Saturday’s relay bronze was the national record-extending 11th medal — three gold, four silver, four bronze — for Canada at these worlds after it surpassed the mark of eight at a single world championships from 2019 on Friday.

McIntosh only led Grimes by 9-100ths of a second through 50 metres but was 62-100ths ahead midway through the backstroke leg and under world-record pace through 200 metres, in front by 1.33 seconds.

WATCH | McIntosh captures gold in 400m IM:

Summer McIntosh wins gold in 400m individual medley

6 hours ago

Duration 0:43

15-year-old Summer McIntosh set a new world junior record in the 400m individual medley to win gold at the 2022 FINA world championships in Budapest.

3 top-10 finishes in Olympic debut

Hosszu gained ground in the breaststroke and moved into third spot at the 250-metre mark, with McIntosh holding a 2.15-second advantage over Grimes. But Weyant overtook Hosszu for bronze position through 300 metres and stayed there while Grimes closed to within 98-100ths of McIntosh with 50 metres remaining.

Last summer, a 14-year-old McIntosh was the youngest member of the Canadian Olympic team in Tokyo but certainly didn’t show her age on the world’s grandest athletic stage.

WATCH | McIntosh swims to world silver in 400m freestyle:

Summer McIntosh earns silver in 400m freestyle at world aquatics championships

7 days ago

Duration 6:20

The Toronto native finished with a time of 3:59.39 for the 2nd-place finish at the FINA World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

She placed fourth in the 400 free, at that point lowering the Canadian record twice. She was ninth in the 200 free and 11th in the 800 free, setting a national age group record. McIntosh was also part of the 200 relay squad that finished fourth in national record time, while her opening-leg swim broke the Canadian age group record.

At national trials two months ago in Victoria, McIntosh turned heads by winning four events and swimming the 400 free in the third-fastest time this year.

WATCH | McIntosh wins world 200m butterfly semifinal in junior record time:

Toronto teen Summer McIntosh sets world jr. record to qualify for world 200m butterfly final

4 days ago

Duration 7:06

15-year-old Summer McIntosh swam the fastest qualifying time, and set a world junior record in the women’s 200 metre butterfly semifinals, to advance to the final at the 2022 FINA world championships in Budapest.

In the women’s medley relay, the Americans were favoured for gold while the Swedish foursome of Hanna Rosvall, Sophie Hansson, Louise Hansson and Sarah Sjoestroem were the fastest in qualifying in 3:56.77.

Masse, who fell short of the 200 backstroke podium on Friday in her bid for a third medal in Hungary, got the Canadians off to a quick start with the second-fastest reaction time at 0.54 and led Regan Smith of the U.S. for top spot through 50 metres and by 1-100th at the end of the leg.

Nichol took over in backstroke and fell off the pace, trailing the Americans 1.27 seconds. Mac Neil fell behind by 1.51 halfway through the butterfly and by 1.40 when anchor Penny Oleksiak entered the pool for the free.

Trademark finishing kick

Canada’s most decorated Olympian ever was unable to close the gap in the first half of her leg but managed to draw closer near the wall and finished 1.23 seconds off the winning time.

WATCH | Canada reaches podium in women’s medley relay:

Canadian women take bronze in 4x100m medley at swimming worlds

8 hours ago

Duration 6:57

Kylie Masse, Rachel Nichol, Maggie MacNeil and Penny Oleksiak claimed third place at the FINA World Championships in Budapest.

Masse, who won gold in the 50 backstroke and silver in the 100 earlier this week, is tied for second with Ryan Cochrane with eight career medals.

“It’s always special to be part of a relay team,” said Masse, based at HPC-Ontario. “It’s nice to be doing it more than just yourself and that always pushes me.”

The American quartet of Lilly King, Torri Huske, Claire Curzan and Smith proved too strong for the rest of the field.

“We take a lot of pride in that relay and really wanted to put in a good time and get that gold back from last summer [ at the Olympics]. We came out and did that, and it was a great race,” said Curzan, who anchored the U.S. home.

On Friday, the 22-year-old Oleksiak provided her trademark finishing kick in the mixed 100 relay, overtaking Curzan to push Canada to a silver medal with a national record time of 3:20.61. All eight of her medals (two silver, six bronze) have come in the relay.

WATCH | Oleksiak anchors Canada to mixed relay silver medal:

Silver in 4x100m freestyle gives Canada a national record 9th medal at swim worlds

1 day ago

Duration 8:53

Penny Oleksiak, Kayla Sanchez, Javier Acevedo and Josh Liendo swam to a silver medal in the 4×100-metre mixed freestyle relay, giving Canada its ninth medal (two gold, four silver, three bronze) at the 2022 FINA world championships in Budapest. Canada’s previous record of eight medals (two gold, six bronze) was set at the 2019 worlds.

Oleksiak was fourth in the women’s 100 freestyle on Thursday, reaching the finish an agonizing 6-100ths behind bronze medallist Huske. The Toronto native won gold in the event at the 2016 Rio Olympics and placed fourth last summer in Tokyo.

WATCH | Oleksiak narrowly misses bronze in 100m freestyle:

Penny Oleksiak misses the world championship podium by 0.06 seconds

2 days ago

Duration 5:21

Toronto’s Penny Oleksiak fell 0.06 seconds short of landing on the podium in the women’s 100 metre freestyle final, finishing in fourth place with a time of 52.98 seconds. Australian Mollie O’Callaghan won, ahead of Sarah Sjoestroem of Sweden and American Torri Huske. Toronto’s Kayla Sanchez finished in sixth place.

Mollie O’Callaghan won Thursday’s competition before anchoring the Australian medley relay team to silver two days later.

In the men’s 4×100 medley relay, Canada’s Javier Acevedo, James Dergousoff, Joshua Liendo and Ruslan Gaziev swam to 11th in the preliminaries in 3:35.62.

Liendo led all Canadian men this week with bronze in the 100 free and 100 fly and silver in the mixed 100 free relay.

WATCH | Liendo bursts to bronze in 100m butterfly:

Josh Liendo claims 100m bronze for his 2nd medal at FINA world championships

1 day ago

Duration 6:08

Josh Liendo of Markham, Ont., won bronze in the men’s 100-metre butterfly at the FINA world championships in Budapest on Friday, just two days after capturing his first career world championship medal by taking bronze in the 100-metre freestyle.

American Ress awarded backstroke gold after review

Justin Ress of the United States won gold in the 50 backstroke in dramatic circumstances after officials overturned his initial disqualification following a lengthy review.

Victory was earlier awarded to compatriot Hunter Armstrong after it was ruled that no part of Ress’s body was above the water as he reached first for the wall.

Ress, who had set the pace in the heats and the semifinals, was later reinstated as the winner and the medal ceremony held again, with Armstrong taking silver and Polish teenager Ksawery Masiuk having to settle for bronze.

In other action:

  • Gregorio Paltrinieri, gold medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympics, set a new championship record in the 1,500 freestyle, comfortably finishing ahead of Robert Finke and Florian Wellbrock in a time of 14:32.80. The Italian looked on course to break Sun Yang’s world record of 14:31.02 but faded in the last 100 metres.
  • Earlier, former Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania clinched gold in the women’s 50 breaststroke, beating Italian Benedetta Pilato by 0.10 seconds, with Lara van Niekerk of South Africa coming home in third.

Meilutyte was handed a 24-month suspension in 2019 for anti-doping violations and returned to competitive action only in December last year.

Action in Budapest continues Sunday for live action beginning at 7 a.m. ET with the open water swimming team relay, followed by Canada vs. Netherlands in the women’s water polo crossover game at 8 ET.

The first diving final, men’s 3-metre springboard synchro, is scheduled for 10 a.m.

Coverage continues every day through July 3. Click on the link below for a full schedule of events.

CBC Sports streaming & broadcast schedule

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Dufour nets four as Sea Dogs rally past Cataractes, advance to Memorial Cup final – TSN

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SAINT JOHN, N.B. — The Shawinigan Cataractes scored 49 seconds into Saturday’s final round robin game at the Memorial Cup and enjoyed a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes.

Then William Dufour of the Saint John Sea Dogs said “hold my (root) beer.”

Dufour, the 2020 fifth-round draft pick of the New York Islanders, rattled off three consecutive goals in the second period and added a fourth in the third as the tournament hosts scored five unanswered goals to defeat the Cataractes 5-3 to earn a berth in Wednesday’s Cup final.

The trip to the final erases a bit of the disappointment of the Sea Dogs’ first-round loss in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs.

The Cataractes, with two wins and a loss in the round robin, will have to beat the Hamilton Bulldogs in Monday’s semifinal game to get another shot at their QMJHL rival.

Jeremie Poirier scored Saint John’s other goal, while teammate Josh Lawrence added two assists. The Sea Dogs finished the round robin with two wins and an overtime loss.

Loris Rafanomezantsoa, Olivier Nadeau and William Veillette scored for Shawinigan, who outshot the Sea Dogs 15-10 in the first period but were outshot 21-5 in the second.

The six-foot-three Dufour, named MVP of the QMJHL this season, had 56 goals and 116 points during the QMJHL regular season.

“To finish my (junior) career like this is so great,” said the 20-year-old Dufour, calling the win one of his greatest moments in hockey. “We have one more game to win. We’re just going to go for it.”

POKE CHECKS: The Hamilton Bulldogs, who finished the round robin portion of the 102nd Memorial Cup championship with one regulation win for three points, lost to the Sea Dogs 5-4 on June 20, then dropped a 3-2 decision to the Cataractes on June 23, before beating the Edmonton Oil Kings 4-2 on Friday. The Oil Kings finished the tournament with one overtime win and two losses for two points and failed to make the playoffs. … Next year’s Memorial Cup will be held in Kamloops, B.C., home of the Western Hockey League Blazers who won the national tournament in 1992, 1994 and 1995.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 25, 2022

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