About last night …

Not much to add to Quick Hits.

You can’t give a team as good as Detroit that many power-play opportunities.

The officiating was not great. But against a great puck-possession team, the Canadiens spent a lot of the first two periods chasing the biscuit; and when that happens, fouls ensue.

The Canadiens had discipline lapses, notably O-zone penalties to Mike Cammalleri and ace PK centre Tomas Plekanec. That’s deadly against Detroit.

My friend Arpon Basu offers advice on how to make a loss feel like a win. Basu was more impressed with Dustin Boyd than I was (I’ll cop to lapses in attention, due to coping with HIO’s server SNAFU), but he amkes a good point:

You have to love the third-period comeback.

If Jaro Spacek doesn’t make that pass to no one at the left point, maybe it’s a 3-3 game. Things were certainly trending that way.

Without Andrei Markov and Scott Gomez, the Canadiens dominated the Western Conference’s top team for 20 minutes, outshooting them 19-3 in their own barn and giving Motor City fans more excitement than they’re accustomed to seeing when heir powerhouse team is protecting a lead.

If Andrei Kostitsyn cashes that open net, late in the second period, the game is 2-2 … and who knows?

That didn’t happen. Instead, the amazing Pavel Datsyuk – who scores backhand shelf with a curved hockey blade? – made it 3-1. And that was just too big a mountain to climb, the more so because Jimmy Howard, who had looked shaky and given up a zillion rebounds, decided to do a Carey Price impression late in the third period.

Speaking of Price, it’s fitting he was on the bench when the Canadiens surrendered their first fourth goal in regulation this season.

Has the goaltender played a bad game yet?

Has he surrendered a bad goal?

OK, maybe a couple. But it bears repeating: Carey Price gives the Canadiens a chance to win every game they play.

There are certainly two points to be had in Toronto tonight … especially if that third-period dominance carries over.

Jacques Martin and his staff have to get their players prepared for a tough game on short rest, because against the Canadiens, the Leafs play like the Red Wings.

Mikhail Grabovski, however, is not Pavel Datsyuk.

And Dion Phaneuf certainly is no Nick Lidstrom.

A W, coupled with that honourable loss in Detroit, sets the Canadiens up for a huge mid-week back-to-back: Philadelphia and Boston at the Bell Centre, preceding a seven-game road trip.

A challenging December continues, and as my man Arpon asserts, there are reasons to feel very good about the Canadiens.

•  •  •

That was the only meeting of the two Original Six teams this season.

What a drag!

Whom would you rather see six times, the Red Wings or Sabres?

As Larisalapointe Comments:

I would love to see a rematch of these two teams. It’s this type of
hockey I watched as a kid and was forever hooked. Too bad we only play
Detroit once a year. Our team is a contender. It’s hard to see that when
you’re playing the Sens what seems like 15 times.

And this from a Wings fan who was at the game:

The only reason I’m posting on your forum this evening is to
give an enormous amount of kudos and respect to the Habs fans that were
at the game with me tonight at the Joe. As a hockey fan in general, I
agree that the officiating tonight was more than a bit suspect, and
objectively, the calls were in the Wings favor. But this happens in
almost every game regardless of who is playing. What I do want to
comment on is the fact that the surrounding Habs fans around me, and
from what I saw in general, made the game this evening an example of
what a great NHL game should be. Outside of the obvious good natured
ribbing that we all exchanged throughout the duration of the game, you
guys (Habs Fans) are the most knowledgeable and respectful of any fans I
can think of that have been to the Joe in recent memory. 

guys have a absolutely solid squad, and your fan base has the most
admirable traits in all of the NHL, I just wish we would play each other
more often. I have always respected the Habs, and tonight did nothing
but reinforce my belief that if we were ever to share a title of
Hockeytown it might be with you folks.

(And I didn’t have to deal with those damn idiots from Toronto or Pittsburgh …)

Thanks Habs..


  1. TOEmastro says:

    so it’ll be the South-East, East, and AWESOME divisions

  2. JIMVINNY says:

    But then Toronto would really NEVER get out of the basement.  And Buttman would never allow that…

  3. oshawahabsfan says:

    New Division: Original Six. Now that would make for some great games over the course of the season

  4. Thomas Le Fan says:

    Tough loss in an entertaining game. Yeah you’re going to get a few of those no matter how well you play. Nice message from the Wing’s fan. And yes the officiating could charitably be called … questionable.

    GO HABS! 

  5. Keith says:

    Yeah, what a great game (except for the officiating) to watch in the 3rd. I would much rather play the Wings 6 times than to have to endure a lousy NO-CLASS, waffle-eatin bunch of losers like the laffs, and have to listen to the biased commentary from HNIT crowd. That game was played the way hockey SHOULD be played. I’m just disappointed with the result is all. On to Tarranna Onterrible and the dismantling of the laffs. Get your waffles ready lol!


    GO HABS GO!!!

  6. larisalapointe says:

    haha, Timo usually you mean the opposite of what you say, but I think a PO match-up between these two teams would be the best one in years. And are u trying to say Gomez has a big a$$? :)

  7. matrags says:

    great game . Management needs to consider a few things as I am sure they are. Camellerie is lost . A goal scorer needs a center and it is painfull to watch him . Time to go back with Plex. Plecanix is our best forward , but he is overutilized,and has to do too much it hurts his offensive side and god knows we need a killer on offence.I love winning by committee but gee it would be nice to have a game breaker , a forty goal scorer,someone to burry the the puck in the open net that mohn misses , or even talented but uninterested Kostitsyn misses,like last night. Finally , we need to replace Markov with a reasonable factsimily. The season will be long and hard and I think we delude ourselves in believing that our addiquate defence can go the distance in the absence of a norris calibre d man like Markov.Lets start by filling the hole on the second line with a big body with good offensive upside.

  8. Timo says:

    To Larisa… there will be a rematch – a hard fought seven game series for the stanley cup between these to team this year. Game 7 going to habs of course, becuase by then Gomer’s large lower body will heal and that will be a tipping factor.

  9. New says:

    I thought it was a good game. Sure I rolled my eyes when the Wings had the Canadiens slamming into each other, but you know, that is how you get better. I thought Subban looked a little lost but not all the time. Gorges looked the same way. When the Wings brought it the team did the absolute best, most positive thing I have seen in a long while, they didn’t fold. Impressive.

    The NHL is becomming a real homers league in terms of refs. Then again you generally take a penalty trying to stop the other guy not pulling him up alongside.

    I wish I had the money these guys spend on sticks each game.

  10. tote-road says:

    I have been suggesting to friends for some time now that the league re-align once every five years to feature an original six division for an entire season.  No way that runt Bettman and the other lawyers who run the league would go for this though.

  11. smiler2729 says:

    When is Gary going to wake up and realign the Conferences? Detroit and Columbus (eastern time zone teams) do not belong in the West.

    I don’t care if the East has two more teams than the West, geographical rivalries (Detroit is 3 hrs. from Toronto and Buffalo, 8 from Montreal, Columbus is 5 hrs. from Buffalo, 2 from Pittsburgh) are way more intense.

    I want to see more of the Wings.

  12. Exit716 says:

    Detroit can come back to the East when Atlanta moves to Winnipeg in 2012

  13. JF says:

    I liked Arpon Basu’s take.  He’s right in saying this was about the first time the Habs offered some serious pushback when down a goal.  Not that that happens often; we’re usually up a goal, tied, or completely out of it. But we played a great third period.  If the officiating had been a bit less uneven, if Howard had not made a couple of great saves, if Spacek had not made that blind pass, we would probably have tied it.  It was a heroic effort and offers hope that in other tough games, we might pull it off.  I just hope we’ll have enough in the tank tonight.

    I guess JM won’t announce his starting goaltender until about noon.  I think this is one Auld should play.  Price had a lot of work last night and could hardly help being a bit tired.

    Classy comment from the Detroit fan.

  14. keepthefaith says:

    I agree with Apron on Boyd. Thought he did a good job considering how long he sat. Cammy lifting that stick penalty and the Pleks call that was kind of weak as well was obviously the turning point of the game. I thought we were taking it to them before that and obviously in the third.  All while missing number two centre and number one defenseman it was a good effort. Also thought we deserved a PP late in the third. We were all over them there was obvious calls missed

  15. thebigguy says:

    Tickets on sale for world Junior tournament. I just bought 2 tickets to the gold m edal game in the lower bowl.

  16. Barts says:

    “…share the title of Hockeytown”??? That’s self-anointed my friend. There is only one true hockeytown, or ville de hockey as the case may be. And we have twenty-four certificates of authenticity to prove it.

  17. Keith says:

    Yeah, I thought that was a bit presumptuous of him.

  18. DavidKB says:

    Absolutely share the title. Show a little more respect to a worthy opponent, the way it was shown to the Habs and Habs’ fans by the writer.

  19. Wayne says:

    From a strictly hockey fan standpoint, it was a thoroughly enjoyable game to watch. I thought we played catch up for most of the game but that was to be expected, somewhat. No one can deny that the Datsyuk goal was a work of art.

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