Sports Newer Habs getting small taste of atmosphere in Montreal during NHL playoffs
NHL's COVID protocol-related absences for June 3, 2021
Each day, the NHL will publicly release the list of players that are unavailable to their respective teams due to being in the COVID-19 Protocol. Here is today's list.Colorado – Jayson Megna
Montreal's Bell Centre is famous for its electric atmosphere during NHL games, a vibe that gets ratcheted up even more when the Canadiens are in the playoffs.
For more than a few players on Montreal's roster, however, it's something they have yet to experience. Montreal spent the 2020 playoff season playing out of a controlled environment in Toronto due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Bell Centre was closed off to fans this season with the novel coronavirus still spreading across Canada.
A long playoff run is giving some of the newer Habs a taste of the Montreal experience they may have previously only heard about from veterans like Carey Price, Jeff Petry and Brendan Gallagher.
COVID protocol-related absences: 05/27/21
Each day, the NHL will publicly release the list of players that are unavailable to their respective teams due to being in COVID-19 Protocol. Here is today’s.Colorado – Jayson Megna
Quebec has been gradually easing its COVID-19 restrictions over the past two weeks, including the lifting of a curfew in Montreal and the return of small crowds of around 2,500 to the Bell Centre that started in Game 6 of the Canadiens' first-round series with Toronto.
"It's been awesome the past month, finally getting to experience what Montreal's all about, and I've loved it so far," said defenceman Joel Edmundson, who signed a four-year, US$14-million contract with the Canadiens in September after being acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes.
"We've been locked up for the most part of the year so I didn't get to really experience it, but now that the weather's nice and we've moved to the orange zone it's been nice.
"Just go for walks and take it all in. It's a beautiful city."
About Last Night: Can I get 2,500 witnesses? Habs force Game 7
The Montreal Canadiens have pushed the Toronto Maple Leafs to the edge. The two teams will face off in Game 7 of their first-round best-of-seven series Monday after the Habs defeated the Leafs 3-2 in overtime Saturday night. Beyond the scoresheet, including Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s game winner and Carey Price’s 41 saves, Game 6 will likely be remembered as the first NHL game to be played in front of a live audience in Canada since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. Seeing 2,500 hockey fans at the Bell Centre again was a moment that transcended sport: J’ai des frissons. Et je ne suis pas un émotif pic.twitter.
Edmundson, who is from Brandon, Man., said he got to see his parents when Montreal started its second-round series in Winnipeg. He said the visit, along with the Canadiens' playoff run, helped keep his father Bob in good spirits as he battles lung cancer.
"Just to see them in person, it was awesome," Edmundson said. "It lifted my spirits, it lifted his, and whenever I get the chance to see them, it's awesome.
"They're tuned in to every game. They've got the whole city buzzing around the Habs right now. They just got their second (COVID-19 vaccine) dose, so hopefully they can come out here soon."
Price has been in excellent form in the Canadiens' net and was a major part of Montreal's seven-game win over Toronto in the first round and its sweep of Winnipeg in the second. But his teammates have played well in front of him, particularly defensively.
Edmundson, who was part of the St. Louis Blues' Stanley Cup-winning team in the 2018-19 season, sees parallels between the two clubs.
"Both teams just try to frustrate the other team by playing good defensively," he said. "Block shots, keep it tight in the D-zone, and it frustrates other teams like you saw in the past two series."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2021.
The Canadian Press
About Last Night: Habs one away following 5-1 win in Game 3 .
In less than two weeks, the Montreal Canadiens have gone from being on the brink against the Toronto Maple Leafs to a victory away from the third round following a resounding 5-1 victory at home against the Winnipeg Jets in Game 3 Sunday. Former Jet Joel Armia led the offensive outburst with two goals and an assist. The Canadiens have won six games in a row. They have not trailed for over 376 minutes. The @CanadiensMTL are now one win away from the #StanleyCup Semifinals.Montreal has not trailed for 376:14, which marks the fifth-longest run by any team in the playoffs in NHL history. #NHLStats pic.twitter.