A 4-3 heartbreaker

The Canadiens played their hearts out.
They came back from a 1-0 and 3-1 deficits to tie the game with less than seven minutes left.
Then Tom Kostopoulos, with plenty of time to clear the puck or skate it out of the Canadiens’ zone, made a terrible soft pass that Daniel Alfredsson intercepted. The Ottawa captain fed Jason Spezza for the winning goal.

That’s three losses in a row.
Buffalo at the Bell on Saturday.

Some consolation:
Canadiens gave a Stanley Cup finalist – and the class of the East so far this season – all they could handle.
They scored twice on the PP against the league’s top PK unit.
Saku Koivu and Chris Higgins were great … again.
Alex Kovalev continues to play like his hair is on fire.
Carey Price was bad on the first goal, blameless on the next three.
Guy Carbonneau used a timeout.

One fatal mistake by Tom Kostopoulos cost the Canadiens the game.

Third Period 0:17 Timeout. Faceoff outside the Ottawa blueline.
Puck goes to corner, and the game is lost.

Third Period 2:30 OK, let’s watch Carbo’s moves.

Third Period 6:00 Man, that was a heartbreaker. What a play by a guy who’s supposed to be strong defensively.

Third Period 6:45 Kostopoulos makes a terrible play, and Ottawa pounces.
Spezza
4-3

Third Period 7:09 A dozen passes AND A GOAL!
Kovalev
Brilliant
3-3

Third Period 8:47 So backchecking is a penalty now? Weak call on Shean Donovan

Third Period 9:52 30 shots by Ottawa

Third Period 10:00 Pierre Houde on Plekanec; “This is not the player we saw last year, Yvon, especially in the second half of the season.”
I’m afraid he has a point.

Third Period 11:30 Christof Schubert is back on D because Lute Richardson is a statue.

Third Period 13:00 Hey people, get posting. We have to get to 200.

Third Period 13:12 I’m starting to believe in the Refs’ Conspiracy. Why was that play blown dead?

Third Period 14:12 This PP is brutal. Can’t get organized.

Third Period 15:03 Another Canadiens’ PP … and Paddock doesn’t like the call.

Third Period 15:40 That Pleks line looks pretty good.

Third Period 17:50 Price has made alert saves off Komisarek and Hamrlik.

Third Period 19:50 What a stud, our captain. Koivu steps into Volchenkov, who’s a moose.

• • •

Know what?
The Canadiens have character.
They don’t have the talent of the Ottawa Senators, but the guys in the white jerseys refuse to quit and have made a game of it.

Shots were 16-10 in the second period, but Ottawa exerted most of its pressure during the first 12 minutes, capped by Dany Heatley’s goal.
The RDS guys questioned the play right away. And a replay showed Heatley knocking down Patrick Brisebois (who didn’t have the puck) before scooting up ice and taking a head-man pass before beating Carey Price.

Guillaume Latendresse has played a terrific game and Guy Carbonneau has moved Guy! and Tomas Plekanec up to the second line with Alex Kovalev.
Mikhail Grabovski and an invisible AndreiKostitsyn are on the third line with Tom Kostopoulos.

On defence, Andrei Markov has played 17:18 and is a force at both ends. Roman Hamrlik continues to be a rock, and Francis Bouillon is off to a great start this season.

• • •

Rénaud Lavoie’s audio is out of sync. He looks like a badly-dubbed movie.

Second Period 2:12 Carbo has Plekanec centring Latendresse and Kovalev.

Second Period 2:00 Replay shows Heatley clearly interfering with Breezer to free himself for the break that led to a goal.

Second Period 2:30 Chris Higgins just made his first and last bad play of the season. An errant pass that Eaves grabbed. No goal, though

Second Period 4:07 Huh? Plekanec knocks down Gerber and Guy! goes for hooking.

Second Period 4:18 Canadiens have come back to life here.
Funny game. Give our guys credit for not folding.

Second Period 5:28 Finally, Ryder scores off a mad scramble in the Ottawa crease.
3-2.
It ain’t over.

Second Period 7:00 Canadiens have to score on this PP, or it’s over.

Second Period 7:16 Well, he’s scored a few of those. Dany Heatley escapes the vigilance of Brisebois and goes in alone.
3-1

Second Period 8:27 Michael Ryder is a drag on his two great linemates. Maybe time for Carbo the compulsive tinkerer to do something there.

Second Period 10:12 Pleks just played his best shift of the game.

Second Period 11:35 Heroic PK, and Dandenault comes stumbling out of the box into a near breakaway … foiled by a dastardly member of the Referees’ Conspiracy Against the Canadiens.

Second Period 13:00 Ottawa has 11 shots in seven minutes

Second Period 13:13 The kid is quick as a cat. That was a highlight reel save on Dany Heatley.

Second Period 13:52 And now a 5-on-3.

Second Period 14:49 HORRIBLE start to the second period. Pedneault says Smolinski has been awful. Plekanec not much better. And here’s another PP

Second Period 16:00 Price on his belly, head in the net as Nick Foligno bats in a short backhand. Not much the goalie could do, as Ottawa buzzed around and Plekanec and linemates couldn’t clear the zone.
2-1

Second Period 17:00 John Paddock looks like a hockey coach … or a bartender … or a hitman in The Departed.

Second Period 18:14 Spezza against Plekanec.

Second Period 18:30 What a butt-ugly power play. Ottawa PK has given up one goal in 34 shorthanded chances.

• • •

Bryan Smolinski is 6-3 on faceoffs.
Ottawa is outhitting the Canadiens 17-11.
Canadiens have blocked eight shots, Ottawa 3.

And Guillaume Latendresse has more goals than Michael Ryder this season.

So, a good period. Carey Price recovered from a bad goal. Saku Koivu and Christopher Higgins continue to weave their magic (albeit without many goals to show for it).
Pressbox sitters Guillaume Latendresse and Steve Bégin are back in the lineup and playing with passion.
The (Belo)Russian line has played well. I think their speed scares the Ottawa defence, which is not the most mobile and skilled in the league.

And Florida is up 2-0 on the Leafs.
Atlanta 3-Rangers 0 Is Tom Renney next?
Philadelphia 3 – NJ 0 Flyers are off to a great start.

First Period 0:34 Steve Bégin belts Heatley and Spezza takes an idiotic retaliation penalty.

First Period 1:38 Memo to the boys: don’t make bad line changes against Spezza’s line.

First Period 2:49 GUY! GUY GUY! What a sniper. Way to protect the short side, Marty.
Now they’re reviewing it.
Why?

First Period 4:00 Vermette gone for the night with back spasms.

First Period 5:00 Senators’ game plan is to smack Kovalev around.

First Period 05:30 Houde right, me wrong. He says there are two Kelly brothers in the Senators’ lineup.

First Period 07:10 Chris Higgins is just snakebit. And Saku Koivu is on fire.

First Period 08:20 Plekanec goes for diving behind the Ottawa net, along with Lute Richardson for tripping him.

First Period 10:00 Houde keeps referring to “Steve” Kelly.

First Period 10:45 HUGE save, Price on an Eaves backhander

First Period 12:00 Blogmate Dave Stubbs spots unfortunate neighbours on the boards behind the Canadiens net: Waste Management right beside Tim Hortons.

First Period 14:20 First commercial break. Well, the wheels haven’t come off. But Ottawa is REALLY good.

First Period 14:30 Chris Neil just breezed by Markov. What the #$%@?

First Period 15:45 Komisarek and Hamrlik.

First Period 17:40 Antoine Vermette against Grabovski. That could get ugly.

First Period 17:55 Breezer and Markov?

First Period 19:00 Ottawa will play Spezza’s line against Koivu’s. This should be interesting.

First Period 19:29 The Future of Montreal Goaltending looked a tad brutal on that one.
1-0

First Period 19:43 Already, shorthanded
• • •

Carey Price is WAY better-looking than Martin Gerber.

• • •

Benoit Brunet is really down on Kostopoulos.

• • •

What!
Roland Melanson is in the hospital for minor surgery.

• • •

Pedneault and Pierre Houde are heaping praise on Christopher Higgins.
I couldn’t agree more.

• • •

Any guesses on what Carey Price is listening to through those headphones in the dressing room?

• • •

Just lost the sound on RDS and RDS HD
OK, it’s back.

• • •

Hey, Atlanta is up 2-0 on the Rangers in the first period.
What’s with the Rangers this season? That lineup is loaded.

• • •

Benoit Brunet says Carbo will have to roll four lines to stay with Ottawa. If they fall behind, however, Brunet thinks we’ll see Smolinski on the third line, replacing Kostopoulos.
Something to watch: Who will John Paddock match up with Mikhail Grabovski?

• • •

Estimate on Garth Murray: 21 days out.

• • •

Not happy at morning skate: Carey Price, after being dinged in the shoulder by a Guillaume Latendresse shot, followed by a Saku Koivu blast that just missed his head.

Welcome to The Show, kid.

• • •

Jacques Demers says Guillaume Latendresse needs time on the power-play.
He’s got to be kidding.
Props to Chantal Machabée for not laughing out loud.

• • •

Senators are number one in the league on the PK: 97 per cent efficiency.
Ah, the Canadiens PP’ll kill them.

• • •

Remember the good old Carolina days when the Canadiens owned Martin Gerber?

• • •

Let the rumours begin: Yvon Pedneault says Marian Hossa – whose nose is out of joint because of Dany Heatley’s contract in Ottawa – may not have a future in Atlanta.

• • •

After the speech from the throne, Ottawa gets the silent star.

Dismayed that the media had the effrontery to accurately report his comments after the Florida game, Alex Kovalev has vowed to be more circumspect in the future.
Greta Garbo Meets Rosa Klebb.

We’ll see if Kovalev – intelligent and, to his credit, candid and insightful in his analyses – will zip it tonight, leaving postgame commentary to Andrei Markov.

Kovalev’s linemates tonight – at least until his coach starts tinkering – are Andrei Kostitsyn and Mikhail Grabovski.
The Koivu-Higgins-Ryder line remains intact.
Tomas Plekanec is on the third line with a pair of slowpokes, Tom Kostopoulos and Guillaume Latendresse. Fourth line will be Bryan Smolinski, Steve Bégin and Mathieu Dandenault.
Kyle Chipchura and Josh Gorges are healthy scratches. Garth Murray has a broken bone in his ankle.
Wade Redden scores with

Hey, does Carey Price’s new mask come with a padded top?
Because I fear he’ll have to stand on his head for the Canadiens to win tonight.


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