And it wasn’t that close.
Canadiens outshot Philadelphia 41-18, outscored them 5-1 and spanked an alleged powerhouse.
An evening that started with Saku Koivu speaking French on the scoreboard ended with the team owner talking trash in the dressing room.
George Gillett was on a Rocky mountain high, touring the winning room with Molson-Coors chief financial officer Tim Wolf.
“Hey, pussy!” Gillett yelled at Mike Komisarek, who rose out of his cubicle to demand: “Want a piece of me, George?”
Winning – particularly against a tough team – is fun.
And taped on the wall, behind the top row of section 401: “BRIERE SUKS”
Tom Kostopoulos, who scored his first goal in a Canadiens uniform and battled Flyers idiot Ben Eager, played 12 excellent minutes on the ultra-efficient fourth line.
“I played about 12 per game (for L.A.) last season,” Kostopoulos said. His role with the Kings was “always changing” – third, fourth or occasional second line duty, a lot of penalty-killing, the occasional PP shift.
“I guess I’m versatile,” Kostopoulos said. “I’m not amazing at anything, but I’m decent at a bunch of things.”
The Canadiens have several role pplayers who fit into tha category and are happy to contribute: Kostopoulos’s linemates, Steve Bégin and Kyle Chipchura; Mathieu Dandenault, Bryan Smolinski.
There were no passengers on the bus tonight.
“Hard work,” Kostopoulos said, summing up the Canadiens’ effort. “We can’t forget what got us here, nothing fancy.”
Komisarek said it was important to play a physical game against the Flyers but “we wanted to be smart about it.”
“They’re a big team, an aggressive team,” Komisarek said. “We didn’t back down.”
• • •
Several of the players talked about feeding off fans’ energy.
“It’s unbelievable to play here when you’re winning,” said Roman Hamrlik. The stellar defenceman thought Canadiens “played more desperate than we did against Atlanta” and “brought our A-game tonight.”
• • •
The Flyers were an aggregate minus-14 on the night.
Canadiens outhit the visitors 32-25,
Steve Bégin had seven hits, Komisarek had five … and Andrei Kostitsyn had four!
Guillaume Latendresse had eight shots on goal – Daniel Brière had one.
• • •
Third Period 2:08 This will forestall mayhem. Philly PP.
Third Period 3:18 ANOTHER PP goal. Chris Higgins makes it 5-1.
Third Period 3:30 I wouldn’t even play MMarkov. If he ggets hurt …
Third Period 4:17 5-on-3 power play.
Third Period 4:17 Kovalev gets elbowed by MMike Richards, and chaos ensues.
Full-throated Na-na-na-na cheer.
But we could be here for a while.
Third Period 4:47 Roman Hamrlik, who has played with an edge all night, gets the 37th shot.
Third Period 7:00 Cristobal Huet has made 15 saves. He should have brought his iPod.
Third Period 9:42 The Dickensian named Nathan GUENin goes for an elbow on Kostitsyn.
What a puke team the Flyers are.
Third Period 10:00 Shots are 34-16. What an ass-kicking
Third Period 11:36 Quelle surprise! Eager squares off with Kostopoulos.
Good night, Ben.
Third Period 11:39 What a play! The Captain feeds the Kid.
It’s over … except for the fights.
Third Period 13:45 God, Ben Eager sucks.. Even by goon standards.
Third Period 15:00 Enough already with the Briere booing. It’s bush.
Third Period 15:42 Canadiens won’t let Philly get anything going. The fourth line is great tonight, as is the D … including Gorges.
Third Period 18:22 Latendresse follow-through ccatches Jason Smith right in the face. Much bleeding.
Third Period 19:32 Koivu gets a faceoff moved into Flyers territory.
Third Period 20:00 Flyers will come hard to start the third. Or it’s over.
• • •
Alex Kovalev scores on the power play.
Tom Kostopoulos bags a beauty shorthanded.
My man Roman Hamrlik misses a penalty shot that would have made it 4-1 and turned on the Flyers’ Goon Show.
Canadiens outshoot Philadelphia 12-7 on the period and 27-13 after 40 minutes.
Second Period 00:00 Great period for the Canadiens. No letdown
Second Period 3:41 Gorges on the PK … and doing well.
Second Period 4:21 Komisarek for hooking.
Don’t let Philly back into this.
Second Period 6:17 Shots are 23-12. Philly goonery soon, I’m sure
Second Period 6:48 Roman Hamrlik penalty shot. Five moves and a weak backhand.
Second Period 8:22 Kostopoulos to Markov to Kostopoulos to the back of the net.
Shorthanded. His first of the season.
Second Period 8:58 Hamrlik goes for tripping. Crrowd unappreciative.
Second Period 9:41 Philly writer on the #$%@ing car race: “All three general managers are spinning in their ggraves.”
Second Period 9:41 Credit where it’s due: Hartnell buried Ryder in the Philly crease on a backcheck.
Second Period 10:34 Rough shift for Gorges, who has to ice it.
Second Period 12:32 Another PP goal … by Kovy, his seventh.
Second Period 13:45 Kiss Cam winner is wearing a Guuy Lafleur jersey.
Second Period 16:00 Komisarek is doing some thumping tonight.
Second Period 17:00 Best defender on the team, G. Post.
Second Period 17:24 Delayed penalty on Kovalev annd the Flyers, who are waking up, controlled for 30 seconds
Second Period 19:00 Another tone-setting shift by Smolinski and Co.
• • •
First Period 00:00 Biron has brought his A-game.
So has Huet.
Should be an interesting second period. We’ll see if the Canadiens can avoid their middle-20 slump tonight.
First Period 1:54 Nice pinstripe threads onn Carbo. I just looked at the monitor.
First Period 3:10 Briere’s nifty pass to Richards dings in off what looked like Markov’s skate.
1-1 … on the Flyers’ fifth shot.
First Period 4:37 The PA described Sam Pollock as “the greatest general manager in hockey history.” That’s not fair to Bobby Clarke.
First Period 4:37 Kyle Chipchura doesn’t need a stick to beat Rory Fitzpatrick.
First Period 6:39 How did Chris HHiggins miss that?
First Period 7:01 Nice give-and-go, Latendresse and Pleks.
First Period 8:30 Will there be a whole night of “BREE-YAYRE!”
First Period 11:07 Delayed penalty and the Captain, coming late, threads the needle.
Shots are 9-2
First Period 11:42 Hamrlik cranks Brière, Mike Knuble takes a shot at Hamrlik and sits.
First Period 12:45 Riley Cote wants a piece of Kostopoulos. Is it going to be one of those nights? And Bégin goes for HS.
First Period 13:40 Message delivered. Komisarek cleans Scott Hartnell’s clock. Bad trade of players gone for five, though.
First Period 15:00 Class: Saku knocks down Jason Smith on Canadiens icing, then skates over to give him a sorry-about-that stiuck tap.
First Period 15:30 Biron plays the puck right to Kostitsyn, but backchecking foils chance.
First Period 17:18 Canadiens’ fifth shot is a glove save by Marty Biron on Latendresse.
First Period 19:00 Brilliant shift by Smolinskki line.
And the boos begin for Brière.
First Period 20:00 7:41 p.m. … and we’re still listening to stuff about Selke, accompanied by Glenn Miller’s String of Pearls. Writers on deadline are getting antsy. But not Blog Boy.
Pollock’s music: I Am a Rock, by Simon & Garfunkel
An island never cries, but the Philly writers are inconsolable here.
Way to take the crowd out it.
First Period 20:00 Smolinski starts, with Dandenault and Kostitsyn.
Pre-game ceremony recalls three great Canadiens GMs: Tom Gorman, Frank Selke Sr. and the incomparable Sam Pollock
• • •
Crowd is WAY into it already.
• • •
So, what’s the over/under on how long Bell Centre fans will boo Daniel Brière tonight?
I say every time he touches the puck through the first and second periods.
Then – depending on the score of the game and his contribution – half-heartedly through the final 20 minutes.
Bonus prediction: Some cretin will throw a beer on the ice if Brière scores. As the scoreboard shows him being taken into custody, we’ll recognize the miscreant as Guy Bertrand.
Check back later for live Canadiens-Flyers blogging.
Saku’s video: “Salut. Ici Saku Koivu. Voici mon equipe.”
“Vous etes nos partisans. La ville est hockey.”
And in tomorrow’s Journal de Montreal, he’ll get ripped for condescension
• • •
Michel Lacroix is about to introduce the Flyers starting lineup.
No booing. Brière not starting.
• • •
On Nov. 1, 1959, the Canadiens were playing the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. At 3:06 of the first period, an Andy Bathgate backhander hit Jacques Plannte in the face, opening a deep gash.
Plante went off for repairs and the game was delayed 21 minutes. When he returned, the Canadiens’ goaltender was wearing a mask.
Canadiens won 3-1. And Plante wore a mask for the rest of his Hall of Fame career.
• • •
Average height and weight of the big, bad Flyers: 6-1, 203
Average of your allegedly undersized Canadiens: 6-1, 203
• • •
Some gaudy plus/minuses on the Flyers: Jeff Carter plus-8, Sami Kapanen and Lasse Kukkonen plus-7.
Derian Hatcher, who’s injured and won’t play tonight, is plus-7.
Man, I thought he looked finito last season.
Helps to play for a winner.
• • •
La Presse’s François Gagnon reports the Canadiens have told Carey Price, Kyle Chipchura and Mikhail Grabovski to find apartments in Montreal.
They’ve been living in a hotel.
• • •
Speaking of Gagnon, he had a very perceptive take on the Saku Koivu language flap today.