I missed the Habs games in Alberta while visiting family in Toronto. A visit highlighted by a trip to the (almost) top of the CN Tower. I don’t know why I waited 40 years. I made it to the top of the Twin Towers in lower Manhattan in the early 80s and the Empire State building at about the same time. But in typical Toronto-baiting fashion I felt the CN Tower was unworthy. It is an engineering marvel, of course. And kind of cool. But what struck me as I gazed out from the observation deck was not just the sheer number of buildings in the downtown core – and beyond. But the sameness of them. The Tower doesn’t just supply Toronto with a unique landmark. The skyline needs it.

I like Toronto. I was actually ready to move there a few years ago. But I love our incredibly charming town. Even as it gets covered by more and more warts. (Something I discovered during my stay that the two cities actually have in common is a subway system that breaks down more than periodically.)

I was able to follow the Habs game in Edmonton, mostly via Twitter, on the train ride home. I half expected a late goal but certainly not four of them. Paul Byron’s game tying goal and empty netter all but assured the Habs of a forward not named Pacioretty who will hit the 20 goal mark this season.

And while on the subject of Pacioretty – the fact that he’s actually in the running for the Rocket Richard trophy is kind of remarkable considering he’s played a large chunk of games next to Phillip Danault who hasn’t scored a goal since the day after Trump became President. That’s 21 games or just one goal in his last 27 games (plus just 7 assists) or about one third of the season. So yeah, it’s about time Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk were reunited at even strength. It was at this time a year ago that the two were among the hottest forwards in the NHL. And they didn’t have Alexander Radulov on their right side. Keeping the three of them together might also spark a power play that has picked the worse possible time to go silent.

The Habs don’t come back in the third period in Edmonton if not for the work of Carey Price who managed to do something he had never done in that city – win a game. In four previous starts at Rexall Place, he was 0-4, 4.29, .830. Safe to say Price prefers the new rink. It’s also safe to say he prefers the new coach.

Back home for the first time in nearly two weeks the Habs are a transformed team, even if they should lose to the surging Black Hawks (Corey Crawford career at Bell Centre is 2-0-2, 1.24, .965). Montreal is now 8-3 under Claude Julien. Seven of their next eight games are at the Bell Centre including two against the Ottawa Senators, part of a scheduling quirk that has the teams meeting three times in eight days. Starting on St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

The only thing at stake is the Atlantic Division title. Let the fun – mixed with snow – begin.

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