Both teams came out tepid in the first, the Habs moreso, and they handed the Leafs a 2-0 lead. After that the Habs carried most of the play although the game remained pretty slow and dull until the last half of the third. That's when the skating started, and accordingly Montreal really took the play to the boys in blue.
The big story was Rivet's minor for tripping Antropov at the end of regulation time, giving the Leafs a 4 on 3 to start OT - almost a sure goal. It wasn't so much the chintzy call or it's timing that bothered me. It was the number of non-calls, especially in the preceding ten minutes - McCabe holding up forecheckers, Lindros' love taps on the gloves of Koivu, and so on. That, along with a disallowed goal by Markov for "contact with the goalie" although he was tripped up by Kronwall and slid into Belfour after the puck was in the net. And three minors drawn by Tie Domi, which with the benefit of slow-motion replay were blatant and obvious dives. And the minor given to Steve Begin called "hooking" when he shouldered Jeff O'Neill off the puck.
Basically the officiating by Kevin Pollock of Kincardine, Ontario and Dean Warren of Toronto, Ontario was a joke. It was so bad even Don Cherry took pity on Julien's lads, and the obsessively neutral Ron Maclean described several penalties against the Habs as "cheap." It was the most one-sided ref job I've seen since the 2002 Olympic Women's gold medal game in Salt Lake City. Watching a debacle like this makes me want to get off the couch and head to the rink to watch our local high school or junior A team play.
I hate to bitch about the refs because it sounds like sour grapes. But these Saturday night Montreal-Toronto games are a big deal. The rest of the country - the casual fans - have to learn that the Canadiens are the better team, the more fun to watch, and have a brighter future. If they don't, the Leafs will keep getting the better ratings and I'll be condemned to receive a steady diet of Toronto Maple Leafs every Saturday night with the accompanying Bob Cole, Harry Neale and Don Cherry on HNIC until the end of time. And nobody wants that.