About last night …

So close.

Preserve a one-goal lead for two minutes against the sixth-worst team in the NHL and the Canadiens would have punched their ticket to the dance.

Didn’t happen.

The Canadiens blew 2-1 and 3-2 leads.

Jaro Halak faced 42 shots.

Andrei Kostitsyn took a penalty in OT.

And first up in the shootout was Maxim Lapierre, followed by snakebit Mike Cammalleri.

Is there anything more tear-out-your-hair maddening in sports than being a Montreal Canadiens fan?

I haven’t been teased like this since Grade 11.

I’m watching Michel Bergeron on l’Antichambre, where he’s ragging on the goal-scorers who are missing in action.

Mike Cammalleri has been blanked in the 10 games since he returned from his knee injury.

Scott Gomez hasn’t scored in 12 games.

Benoit Pouliot has one goal in a dozen games.

But the problem is more profound and troubling than anemic offence.

The team lacks killer instinct.

It’s one thing to blow a 2-0 lead late against Buffalo. The Sabres are an elite team.

But the New York Islanders?

With a defence consisting of Mark Streit and five guys you’ve never heard of … including Mark Flood, whom the Canadiens drafted out of Peterborough in the sixth round, 188th overall, seven years ago?

For the first period and the latter part of the third, it was hard to tell which team was heading for the playoffs and which for a lottery draft pick.

In addition to their 42 shots, the Islanders missed the net 13 times and had 26 blocked. Corresponding numbers for the Canadiens were 31, seven and 14.

That’s 81-52, and it corresponds roughly to the NFL’s time of possession stat as an indicator of dominance.


Yes, the Islanders have been giant-killers. Playing with no pressure, they had knocked off Ottawa and Calgary. 

Credit the Canadiens with bouncing back from a dismal first period to seize momentum and take the lead. Huge goals by Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta, who have been clutch all season. And a brilliant individual effort by Max, recently paroled from the pressbox.

With the Rangers getting pasted in Buffalo, all the Canadiens had to do was preserve their lead and, woo hoo!, they’re in.

Didn’t happen.

Maybe Jacques Martin should have called timeout with five minutes left and invoted Alec Baldwin to address the troops.

Remember Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross, invoking the salesman’s creed:

“ABC. Always Be Closing.”

The Canadiens couldn’t close. And now they go to Carolina and return hom for a game against the Leafs that they may still need for either the postseason or a favourable seeding.


• The third and fourth lines gave everything they’ve got. They always do.

• The power play had some decent puck control. But everything happens on the right side, to the too-frequent exclusion of Markov.

• The PK – especially the oft-maligned Hal Gill – was heroic in OT.

• Ryan O’Byrne had 10 hits and blocked six shots, leading both teams in both categories. O’B outplayed his Norrisworthy partner. Along with Josh Gorges, he forms the B.C.-born heart of the Canadiens’ D.

• Jaro Halak made some brilliant saves, notably a robbery of John Tavares. 

Was the third Islanders’ goal stoppable? Was Jaro brutal in the shootout?

Will we see Carey Price in Carolina?

Yes, yes and no.

But no matter who’s in nets, the Canadiens will have a tough time with the Hurricanes – and, God save us, the Leafs – if the top two lines continue to spin their wheels.

Barring a total, pointless collapse and a miracle Rangers revival, the Canadiens will be playing hockey next week.

But if they play with the phlegmatic lack of intensity we saw on the Island, it will be another very quick exit, regardless of first-round opponent.

Such a frustrating team.


  1. G-Man says:

    Fighting it out until the end is a good thing. Watching a team like this season’s edition is frustrating. Pouliot, where have you gone?

  2. G-Man says:

    The 3 you mentioned are NOT a problem. They replaced others that could NOT win. Mediocrity is the NY Islanders, Atlanta, etc.

  3. Rob says:

    i know you didn’t intend it that way, but your comment is right on the money.  He IS one of the few fans who actually likes this team….you know, the HABS?!?!?!  Alot of ye seem to fall into one of those “other” categories: Hab fans because your parents told you to be. Hab fans when you’re not to busy listening to emo music. Hab fans who aren’t actually hockey fans.  I don’t know…there’s a bunch.  Either that or you’re just a bunch of whinny little …….nah, can’t be that. 😛

  4. badbalance says:

    All i can say is GOLF LEAFS GOLF!!!

  5. The M says:

    You seem to be one of the few fans who actually likes this team.

    He was making a reference to how Gomez, Gionta, Camalleri will be around for five years because of their ridiculous contracts and locking the Canadiens down into a position of mediocrity.

    Gainey should be blamed, along with the coach and the average players who will be around for the next half-decade.

  6. andrewberkshire says:

    Obviously less skilled? Bit of a stretch, even if it is just to make a point.

  7. andrewberkshire says:

    And he’s let in about 4 straight goals now, back to his normal.

  8. Matt_in_TO says:

    LOL.  I may be one of the biggest Price fanboys here, so what.

    I’m a fan of the team first.  The logo on the front means more than any of the names on the back.  I don’t care who’s in net as long as the team wins.  Carey happens to be my favourite player on the team so naturally I cheer a little more for him.  Much like I did with Patrick growing up followed by Saku.

    To be honest I like both our goalies and have nothing against Jaro.  He’s played great this year.  The only reason I like to spout off is because of the Price-haters who are so quick to lay blame of his feet even when it’s not his fault.  It’s almost become like a sport onto itself.


    – Guy Boucher for head coach / Member of Team Price

  9. Clay4bc says:

    Ah…now I understand! For the longest time I just couldn’t figure out why you preferred the obviously less skilled Price over Halak. And the answer is…xenophobia! Don Cherry would be proud of your comment!


    Don’t argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.

  10. Clay4bc says:

    I think you need to check into Halak’s record in shootouts…he has been spectacular this season.


    Don’t argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.

  11. HabsFanInVictoria says:

    Classic.  Blame Gainey… cause the team sucks right?  Neglect to mention how 14 other teams don’t make it?

  12. Kristopher7 says:

    ??? They need to suck it up. If they keep like this they will clearly be swept in 4-5 games in the first round.

  13. Exit716 says:

    Jaro hasn’t delivered anything yet.

    A chance at the playoffs two minutes away, and a weak assed sissy boy goal.

    Wow. That’s the guy you pin your hopes on?

    Jaro Huet, Cristobal Halak.

    Dime a dozen Euro flash in the pans.


  14. Matt_in_TO says:

    I think it’s the way in which they lost that’s the reason.


    – Guy Boucher for head coach

  15. Fargo Habs Fan says:

    Perhaps it was Gainey’s strategy all along to handcuff us with huge, immovable contracts and two “top” lines that can’t score.  Maybe he signed these players in order to get the next five years worth of lottery picks like so many here advocate.  Hell, that’s probably why he defended Price so vigorously, knowing he’d have a rough year.  Gainey’s plan just went to crap when Jaro played lights out.

    So, rather than blame Gainey, who had a plan, we should really blame Jaro for ruining the whole darn thing.

    🙂  Nothing like backing in to the playoffs year after freaking year.


    “The good thing about drinking during games is if they lose, you’re too drunk to care during and too hungover to care after.” – J.T.

  16. Matt_in_TO says:

    Things will be a little different next year (PK) and who knows what PG will try and do in the off season. 


    – Guy Boucher for head coach

  17. andrewberkshire says:

    So much negativity, you’d think we’d gotten blown out, not lost a skills competition.

  18. Matt_in_TO says:

    I’m still very much a member of Team Price.  However this team has a bigger issue and that’s behind the bench.  I can revert back to it if you want.


    – Guy Boucher for head coach

  19. dicktracy says:

    Yes I agree absolutely. It seems to me we are missing that leadership that the captain brings to a team. The guys should finally choose their leader.

  20. The Juice says:

    I agree with you. Compare this team’s offense to the 07-08 team that could seemingly score at will and led the NHL in goals…no contest.

  21. Exit716 says:

    Why worry?

    This is the team Montreal has and will have for the next five years thanks in large part to Gainey.

    By the way, Mr. Boone, great reference to Glengarry Glen Ross…


  22. showey47 says:

    I don’t know timo,the flames are minutes from being eliminated cause they can’t score goals,sounds like they might miss the guy who scored 39 goals for them last year. Lats has like 3 goals in his last 15 or something and looks like the rangers will probably be the team on the outside looking in unless they win their last 3 in regulation and everybody else loses in regulation. Just saying. Obviously tonight sucked and it was frustrating to lose the way we did. But we didn’t get to where we are by having no heart,pride or shame. Cause if we did,what does this say about the teams below us in the standing?

  23. SeriousFan09 says:

    Naming the Captain should never fall to the coach with the Montreal Canadiens, traditionally it was a players vote that selected the new captain of the team. I say if the playoffs are clinched, hold a team vote for the new captain, we need a leader for the playoffs.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  24. dicktracy says:

    Perhaps if we named/had a captain. If Martin doesn’t have the style to wake up/motivate the team.. lets say between periods or even on the bench, then maybe having a designated ‘C’ who the guys respect and is not afraid to do a bit of yelling when needed wouldn’t hurt. Anyway why not name a captain now, its not as if they will have a better idea of who to give the ‘C’ next year. And next year is next year anyway.

  25. Cable Guy says:

    All I can say is thank god there are no shootouts in the playoffs as Halak is brutal.

  26. Matt_in_TO says:

    Would they be as clueless as those who blamed Price for the loss in Buffalo or the loss to Carolina?


    – Guy Boucher for head coach

  27. Richrebellion says:

    I think everyone needs to calm down about JM and the team, our biggest problem has been scoring since our best scorer hasnt been scoring! Its only a matter of time until he breaks out of this slump. This team has become very good defensively allowing 3 goals or more only twice over the last 11 games. Once the scoring starts coming around with pouliot and cammi we will be fine. The good thing is weve been winning alot of close games and thats what the playoffs is all about.

    Really starting to like o’byrne at one point i thot he was a lost cause but he starting to show that he can be a very good shutdown d. Very happy to see him come around.

  28. Chuck says:

    Well, thank God that shootouts aren’t a part of the playoffs.


    Cheer for the crest on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.

  29. Tis Himself says:

    All in can say right now is GO LEAFS GO!!!

  30. J. Ambrose says:

    Oops. Just realized that the Bruins have three left. Damn.

  31. Matt_in_TO says:

    Results which Jaro didn’t deliver tonight


    – Guy Boucher for head coach

  32. zozotheclown says:

    I actually think Laps was a good idea for the shootout, he had a great game, he scored on a breakaway and on top of all that he has a decent shootout record, 1-3 at the time I think. Its a good way for a coach to reward hard work, and he did deserve it this time. Plus theres nothing really to lose, shootout is pretty much a crapshoot, and most if not all of our players are pretty awful at it, so your chances are as good with Laps as they are with Gomez, if not better because he was hot.

  33. J. Ambrose says:

    Alright, I’m ending my evening with positive thoughts.


    • Pleks continues to play inspired hockey. 
    • AK46 looked mighty good right up until that idiotic penalty in OT. Was winning most of the battles along the boards and behind the net, and made a sick pass on Pleks’ goal. 
    • Brother Sergei again tantalized us with flashes of how dominating he can be. And not just in the offensive end. He did some great work in the defensive zone.
    • Gionta continues to confound those who measure talent by height. Standing amongst three Isles towering over him like Sequoias, and he still gets to the puck, and scores!
    • Gorges was brilliant. Our best defenseman tonight by far.
    • Laps showed why, when he keeps his trap shut, and just skates, hits, and skates, he is a genuine threat out there. That’s not the first highlight goal we’ve seen from him. He has real talent.
    • O’Byrne continues to develop as a physical presence in our end. He is quietly, effectively doing his job.
    • Most important of all: we got a road point, and the Bruins need to win both of their remaining games to pass us. And the Rangers need to win all 3 of their last games (including against the Caps) just to have a chance of passing us.  



  34. MocaJoe says:

    Get Patrick Roy behind the bench… we all know he’s not a passive coach.

  35. megagoten says:

    i wonder if price was in nets and playing at the bell centre, what would’ve happened..

    oh wait, it did happen, and he got booed

    the city is clearly biased against price ( gainey’s legacy )

  36. rogieshan says:

    Let’s hope Ron Wilson & his Leafs don’t do his Team USA buddy Tortarella any favours tomorrow. 

  37. Rainrocket16 says:

    Agreed, Why Max was in the shootout is redicoulus. SK, AK, Pouliot, Gomez, WTF??

    ——-US Born Habs fan, Proud to be a traitor (when it comes to Hockey).

  38. HabsFanInVictoria says:

    I thought the Buffalo shutout was good.

  39. megagoten says:

    haha some guys on rds talkback posted that the habs had in fact clinched playoff due to rangers and flyers facing off twice..

    they got struck by the lightning hammer that is math

  40. HabsFanInVictoria says:

    Thank you Mr. Boone for not taking a shot at JM.  

  41. J. Ambrose says:

    One thing is clear, er, no clear-er after tonight: this team is capable of success only when their goaltender plays lights-out, kitty-bar-the-door, stone-wall tending. If he lets up just a bit, we are sunk because we simply haven’t the 60 minutes juice to out-skate, and especially out-hit our opponents. By the 43 minute mark, our guys are peeling away from checks and by-passing the corners. Except for Pleks and Moen who play hard all the time. When the push-back comes from the other team, we can’t resist, and we can’t up the tempo. And JM clearly is incapable of making in-game adjustments. His between game prep is first-rate. But thinking on his feet is not his forté.

  42. fun police says:

    this is the nhl.  washington beats pittsburgh who beats toronto who beats washington.  parity, get used to it.  this is why there is no sure easy pick for the stanley cup.  

  43. fun police says:

    why do you even cheer for the habs?  why come back game after game if you can’t find any positives?  you are like the anti-tony robbins.  i don’t think there is a more negative person on here.  rest assured, after every loss, you 1)bash gainey 2)Bash Gomez 3)bring up the amount of money hockey players make and show no pride.  i used to enjoy your posts, but they are old now.  if there is absolutely nothing about the habs you like, move on.  you have that right.

  44. joeybarrie says:

    Usually I see a ridiculous gloomy outlook on a particular subect from you. A doomsday worst. This time, you are off base, overdramatic and just plain naive. And so far im putting it nicely. To say players like Cammi and Gomez have no heart, no shame, and no pride is just stupid. AND AGAIN IM PUTTING IT NICELY. You clearly have no clue what your talking about, and obviously have never paid attention to either players careers. Pouliot has not yet had time to get a proper reputation. Things have always been like this here. First Ryder is a brilliant players, diamond in the rough.  Then he is useless ad should shove on for a bag of pucks. THEN he does well in Boston, and its Gainey is an idiot for letting him go. Now all of a sudden he is quiet and he was always useless.  Pleks, same thing, Cammalleri was one of the hottest scorers in the league, and the best this team has seen in a long while. He got injured and before we give him a chance to get back into it, he is a waste. I mean come on. LETS GET BACK TO REALITY. What a croc.

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  45. hab lifer says:

    trouble is, this team is a clone of their coach- PASSIVE!

    and until JM is gone, this team will not have a killer instinct, and will continue to blow leads in 3rd periods, by playing games NOT TO LOSE, rather  than playing games TO WIN.

    this team gives you gray hair, if you don’t already have some.

    they are exasperating. We never know which team will show up, if they show up at all.

    their D was awful tonight, and I’ve never seen a team with more difficulty in completing passes. I watch other teams play and marvel how they string passes together. When I watch the habs, I’m always holding my breath wondering if they’ll put the puck on their teammate’s stick.

    theoffence: on offence, they never look like they’re going to score as ther’s a huge lack of cohesion and chemistry.

    the defence: can never clear the puck out of their own end. Even NYI look better with their clearing attempts and much better passing team. I can honestly see 2 years from now, the Isles better than the habs.

    and habs have absolutely no talent on this team. In fact I will go as far as saying this is the worst offence habs team in about 50 years.

    it’s not a fluke that the habs are 30th in the league in even strength goals. THEY JUST CAN’T SCORE!

    if they could score they would be putting away teams like the Islanders. and don’t expect major changes next year. Gainey assured that by his ridiculous contracts, and taking away all cap space.

    This team is a mess as a result of Gainey’s actions. He is the 1 to blame. I see dark days ahead with bottom finishes for this team. It’s downhill the next few years thanks to Gainey. To bad he turned out to be a  coward, refusing to stick around long enough to accept responsibility  for this crappy team.

    just fed up with this team. next week at this time, habs will be eliminated from the playoffs, so all this was for nothing. Next Thursday will be tee off time on the links for these bums anyways.

  46. habaholic68NJ says:

    Habs are not allowed to finish.  It does not exist within JM’s ‘SYSTEM’

  47. SeriousFan09 says:

    Excuses for his post-game press scrum to explain the loss.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  48. Ian Cobb says:

    I can’t see Martin retiring to become a motivational speaker, can you! I always wondered what he constantly writes in his note pad on the bench. Maybe he is putting down notes for a book later in retirement.

  49. coachdoug says:

    Was traveling to Denver during the game cathing the ticker on ESPN…Rough night for the Habs…This team does not know how to finish…

    Hoping they are all saving it up for the playoffs…if they make it!

    “Power to the Turtleneck!”

  50. Harditya_CareyPrice says:

    Yahooo! Ryan who? No goalie can stop us now. 

    Considering all the injuries, I thought this team wouldn’t make it. But, you know what would be the icing on the cake? You know it too, Timo. Patrice F. Brisebois to a 1-year deal.

  51. Harani says:

    Cammi…I think he wants it but is afraid about his leg. He seems to have lost his jump but still trying. As long as he can deblock come playoff time and if gomez can perform like he always does in the playoffs, it would all come together well. 

    If I’m not mistaken, Gomez is one of the top playoff performers post-lockout with 39 pts in 37 games.

  52. habaholic68NJ says:

    Timo.  The team is not as bad a you paint it.  The main problem is this joke of a coach who has no clue how to use the assests that he actually has on the team.  Third period defensive shell and shoot-out lineup tonight are prefect examples.  JM has cost us at least 10 points in the standings this year.

  53. SeriousFan09 says:

    Right because the New York Rangers, Calgary Flames and Minnesota Wild are such well-known Contender teams with brilliant foresight about what makes a Winning team with brilliant management and top coaching?

    Timo, I’ve grown used to your negativity and attitude towards the NHL players getting paid their massive salaries but avoid the delusional nonsense, those three teams wouldn’t know quality players or how to develop them if they sat in their front offices and offered to work for free.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  54. Harani says:

    Timo…I do have tickets to the last game. As a matter of fact, they were the first pair purchased for this season because my family wanted me to go at any cost in case our playoff hopes came down to it. I’ve got all my bases covered!

    “I gotta feeling…that tonight’s gonna be a good night!”

  55. zozotheclown says:

    This team has trouble winning without absolutely perfect goaltending, which is unfair to expect, but probably somethign we’ll need for at least this year. We should be very thankful we have two solid netminders, imagine this team with Philly goaltending, we’d be below Toronto.

    We should still make the playoffs, but once again we’re backing in and our recent lack of success (minus games Jaro stole) points towards a very tough opening series. I would be very surprised to see us in round two, but its the playoffs and anything can happen, so go habs go.

  56. ProHabs says:

    I hate this team for not letting me go to bed tonight with the peace of mind knowing that they will at least make the playoffs this year.

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