About last night …

PriceTB

Is the playoff express back on track for your Montreal Canadiens?
Is it SRO on the bandwagon?
Can P.K. Subban play 60 minutes of each playoff game?
And who had the brilliant idea of dusting off those old Forum Ghost-guaranteed goalposts?

Those are a few of the questions that linger after the Canadiens snapped their losing streak with a 3-2 squeaker over Tampa Bay at the Bell Centre Thursday night. It was the second time this season a win over the Lightning stopped a three-game skid.

In his postgame press conference, Michel Therrien talked about his team catching a few belated breaks … like the two goalposts and a crossbar the Lightning hit during a scoreless first period.

The shots beat Carey Price. But whichever god rules the destiny of goaltenders decided enough was enough for the Canadiens’ beleaguered netminder.

Ping! Ping! Ping! And as the shots ricocheted harmlessly off iron, Price and his teammates were spared a fourth consecutive first-period deficit.

Which was a good thing, because let’s be honest: The Canadiens won, sure enough, but they did not look like a team that would have roared back from 2-0 or 3-0 had those shots been a few centimetres more accurate.

But a win is a win. And Brian Gionta’s late power-play goal moved the Canadiens past idle Boston (which plays mighty Pittsburgh Friday night) into the Northeast Division lead.

The win also padded the Canadiens’ lead over fifth-place Toronto to six points, diminishing the likelihood that the April 27 game at the Air Canada Centre will be a battle for home-ice advantage when the playoffs begin. The Leafs are one point ahead of Ottawa, which has a game in hand, and two up on the red-hot Islanders, who embarrassed the home team at the ACC  Thursday night.

Nor can you count out Winnipeg, which cooled off Washington and ensured the Capitals, who are at the Bell Centre Saturday, will be desperate for a win.

Brandon Prust will be back in the Canadiens’ lineup on Saturday. More importantly, Therrien also indicated Raphael Diaz is likely to play against the Caps. The Swiss defenceman is desperately needed for a blueline corps that once again had its hands full – and its skates in sand – Thursday night.

Andrei Markov played 25:45 against Tampa Bay. He has averaged a team-leading 24:19, and Markov’s performance in recent games strongly suggests the defenceman could use the nights off Therrien has been giving Prust in recognition of the valuable forward’s banged-up body.

The return of Diaz will give Therrien some flexibility in his defence pairings. But as the playoffs loom, the Canadiens still desperately miss the physical force of Markov’s injured D partner, Alexei Emelin. As was rarely the case earlier in the season, opponents have been able to pound the Canadiens’ defence and cycle effectively in the offensive zone, creating high-percentage scoring opportunities.

With the help of his goalposts and some stellar saves – notably on Richard Panik and Martin St. Louis – Price was able to deny  Tampa Bay goals their puck possession and pressure might have merited. He will have to be just as good, if not better, against Washington on Saturday.

The Caps, who beat the Canadiens on their last visit, will be facing rejigged forward lines that offered uneven performances against the Lightning.

Max Pacioretty had four shots on goal, three hits and an assist. Max’s speed complemented that of his new linemates, Tomas Plekanec and Gionta.

I was less impressed by David Desharnais, Rene Bourque and Michael Ryder. Ryder had four shots on goal and Bourque had a couple (while missing the net three times), but the line is weak defensively and floundered around the Canadiens’ zone during the sequence that led to the Vincent Lecavalier goal that completed TB’s comeback from a 2-0 deficit.

Brendan Gallagher played with Lars Eller and Alex Galchenyuk on a line that was used sparingly. Galchenyuk, who used his silky smooth hands to pop the game’s first goal, played less than any forward on either team. I know Therrien is protecting the kid, which is what Boston did with Tyler Seguin and may be the wisest course in the long run. But Galchenyuk has scored in three straight games and has six goals in April. Surely this merits more ice time than Travis Moen.

• The game completed the Canadiens’ schedule of nine back-to-backs this season. While the conventional wisdom is the team is undersized and therefore vulnerable to the ravages of fatigue, the Canadiens were 7-1-1 in the second half of back-to-backs … Vincent Lecavalier, who has scored one goal more than Galchenyuk, has seven years left on a no-trade contract that carries a cap hit of $7.72 million … Yannick Weber played 13:20, was not on for either TB goal and set up Brian Gionta’s winner. Will MT sit him for Diaz? … When asked about the struggles of the power play – which was 0-for-5 and horrible until Gionta’s game-winning goal – Therrien said special teams have suffered from a lack of practice time. The Canadiens are off Friday after playing four games in six nights

 

 

 

302 Comments

  1. ed says:

    desharnais set up Bourque last night in magnificent fashion on at least 2 occasions, and Bourque simply did not finish.

    once Bourque had a wide open net and wiffed on his shot.

    the other time Bourque shot right into the goalie’s pads.

    Two of the best set ups and two of the best chances to score.

    Had Bourque been able to finish, which he should once he wipes away the cobwebs of inactivity, we would all be celebrating that pairing and that line as a huge success.

    A set up man like desharnais needs a goal scorer to finish.

    • commandant says:

      DD has taken so much crap this year its ridiculous.

      The guy is a good, not great player.

      People can’t accept him as a good set up man, because they expect perfection and greatness IMO.

      His new contract is cheap for his production, and he’ll continue to be a valuable member of our top 9 going forward, either at C or on the wing down the road.

      Go Habs Go!
      Your 2013 NHL Draft Headquarters, Now Open.
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      • Sportfan says:

        I don’t mean this in a bad way but if he wasn’t french Canadian would it have changed opinions? Or better yet if he didn’t get s a large amount of ice time would he still go through this crap. I feel bad for the guy.

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        • Marc10 says:

          I think that totally goes both ways. Many at HIO think Therrien gives him preferential treatment over Eller because he’s French Canadian… (Same with Martin last year I guess…)

      • jo_maka says:

        I accept all that. My problem is that if the motto is no excuse and time on ice is on merit then MT shouldn’t have a pet. That is all.

        Every player get shaken up when they’re not producing, yet DD is still cuddled with match ups and consistent wingers and TOI and so on and so forth.

        I think last night was a step in the right direction by giving him Ryder and Bourque who are good players also but at least MT broke up their line. Now if he keeps getting good chances, then yeah give him his TOI. If he doesn’t, then can we have more minutes for the kids that are outhustling him ? That is all.
        _________________________________
        Open-mindedness is not a skull fracture

      • ed says:

        DD is so small that he is a lightning rod for criticism.

        Yet, he manages to create time and space and make excellent offensive decisions, and excellent passes.

        I agree about the contract being cheap for his production.

        Yesterday I focused intently on his power play time and effectiveness. That’s where his production has been extremely low this year.
        He did his job marvelously. Controlling the puck, cycling, making great passes and decisions, and then ultimately leading to the puck getting to the net or going back to the point.

        that’s his role on the power play and he was excellent at it last night.

    • habfanacrossthed says:

      Desharnais excuse in the defensive end leading to Lecavalier’s goal? Was he a late change? I understand Ryder didn’t pick up the open man leading to the no chance Price had.

      GHOD – Go Habs Or Die

    • Jim Edson says:

      How many times did Borque have to cover DD defensive liabilities.

      ———————————————————————-
      What does the Commissioner of the NHL do?

      In short, a league commissioner is the action man for the Board of Governors.

      They tell him what they want done and he works to make it happen through his subordinates while making sure that individual franchises play by the rules.

      ******** Translated if you haven’t won the Stanley Cup in 40 years your NHL team is becoming irrelevant in a sports mad city long behind MLB, NFL and NBA teams, you just tell the commissioner(who you gave a new contract at 7 plus million per) to make it happen and the rules are bent sufficiently to action the command.

  2. marlboro says:

    I’m in Boston, and lemme tell you. If they don’t find this piece of Sh#T, there is no Game tonight!

  3. 2mins4lookinsooogood says:

    I really love Weber and was glad he got to play but he really was not that good overall lastnight.

    Several times he was muscled off the puck in the d zone and/or unable to step up to make the right pass/read.

    Given my past rants about the need for puck movers as opposed to mythical crease clearers, it is with no lack of consideration that I suggest a defence that includes Weber, Frankie B and Diaz is too small. Factor in Markov’s fatigue induced funk, Gorges’ inability to make the right pass after absorbing a hit (the real reason he makes 4 million) and PK’s too long to make a decision play this week and the potential outcomes are not encouraging.

    If they dress 7 dmen to allow a hard shooting swiss defenceman to play swingman …. well I guess we might as well get ready for 5 men in the frame, block shots a go go and pray that the PK holds up.

    “Don’t crush that dwarf Alex Henry, hand me the pliers”

  4. Sportfan says:

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  5. RetroMikey says:

    Wee! We won! Wee!
    Stanley Cup here we come! Wee!
    We barely beat Tampa Bay and everyone is excited, we’re back in business wee!
    Diaz is back, wee!
    In my opinion, having Diaz will not turn this team around.
    Playoff bound teams sometimes requires miracles to happen to a sub par team by having a hot goalie, is Price ready mentally to belong to that group of miraculous playoff goalies in the past like Dryden or Roy, or heck even with Penney or Halak?

    Only time will tell, it’s Carey’s time to shine!

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  6. Old Bald Bird says:

    A couple of opinions about the Leafs recent play from the G&M. It’s what has been said here and elsewhere lately.

    http://tinyurl.com/c9kazkm

    “It was so bad that the Air Canada Centre faithful even pulled out the mock cheers when it took the Leafs seven minutes into the middle frame to notch their sixth shot of the night.

    …..

    Being out-chanced is not really a new development for the Leafs either, as even while they’ve won, they’ve continued to sit in the league basement in shot differential all year, entering Thursday’s game with the worst 5-on-5 shot ratio in the league by a fairly large margin.”

  7. Sportfan says:

    Armstrong’s impact on the team is beyond scoring and its funny we didn’t play very well with him out of the lineup

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    • habs-fan-84 says:

      Armstrong’s presence/roll on the team is severely under-rated and under-appreciated.

    • krob1000 says:

      I saw someone, one of the analysts early on say how much Therrien loved Armstrong because he didn’t give the puck away. That was early in the season so I started looking for it and I really started to appreciate the validity of that statement. He is really good in his decision making, protects the puck very well and does not make mistakes. He is a gold glove hockey player if you know what I mean. Sure he may not score 20 goals without Crosby heck maybe not even 8 but he can play the PK and when a loose puck pops up he is strong on the puck and will get it out, in the offensive zone his strength on the puck leads to sustained cycling and puck play down low which is where you want the puck with your 4th line on the ice. He always gets the puck deep when he needs to. I miss Armstrong.

  8. Mattyleg says:

    It’s good to see that we’ve got players coming back, and that we’re starting to pull the Good Ship Habsforever back on course.

    Anybody else notice the glut of one-sided games recently? Loads of blowouts and high-scoring affairs.

    The compressed season is really taking its toll, it seems.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  9. krob1000 says:

    I would like to see Markov-Diaz, Pk-Gorges, Bouillon-Weber. Those top two pairing can play some serious minutes together and insulating Markov with another creative and effective defensive guy like DIaz would be optimal. HAve Gorges insulate Pk and Bouillon to mentor Weber. This also would enbsure everyone playing on their correct side.

    • bwoar says:

      I posted as much yesterday. I think Markov-Diaz is a combination that would work better 5 on 5 than is immediately obvious.

      It helps a bunch that Yannick Weber has played solid hockey – wonder if the club will hold on just a bit longer in his case. He’s still young and there’s potential there if the opportunity is there to see it realized.

      “thoroughbred”

  10. habs001 says:

    If the Habs could have at least taken 3 points from the 6 points they gave the Leafs the division would be pretty well clinched and the Leafs would be life and death to make the playoffs….The Bruins game may get cancelled today that would leave them 6 games in 9 days…

  11. HabFanSince72 says:

    Who will Diaz replace?

    Clearly our least good d-man is Drewiske.

    Weber seemed to have found his confidence by the 3rd period and was quite solid. He didn’t do too badly on the PP either. However Drewiske is probably more hard-nosed.

    Gorges still looks bad on occasion but the stats say he played most of the game against the Stamkos line and ended up +2.

    And finally, there’s that old saying that when a man is tired of London he is tired of life. When a Hab fan is tired of Frankie the Bull he is tired of the Habs. He’s been stellar given what is asked of him.

    • likehoy says:

      bouillon is playing way too many minutes.
      not a bad dman at 17-18 minutes.. he played a shade under 22 minutes last night.

    • krob1000 says:

      I fear the mentailty will be that Drewiskie is the stay at home guy so remove Weber. I think either Weber or Diaz if given that as a mandate can be defensvie and also add the transitional benefit. I would be surprised if that was the coaching staffs line of thinking though. I always prefer that but the great majority of hockey teams at almost all higher levels agree with that line of thinkin so I am probably an idiot who just likes the puck to move (the forward in me I guess).

    • jo_maka says:

      Diaz was morphing to a PP whiz before he got injured, so I’d say give the Cube a couple of breaks. Heck, try a Swiss Army Knife of a PP, how about that ? Le Jeune Vébaire didn’t deserve to be put on the shelf that way I think. He was good when he had the chance. How can a team with Subban, Markov, Diaz, Weber, Kaberle on its roster struggle on the PP ? The mind boggles.
      _________________________________
      Open-mindedness is not a skull fracture

  12. habs-fan-84 says:

    Confidence and an athlete’s state of mind have a massive impact on his play. Some of the confidence this team had as early as a week ago evaporated over the past 6 days. Last night was the first step in restoring that confidence.

    There’s been a lot of doom and gloom the past few days, but when the playoffs start, it’s a brand new season and the slate is wiped clean. I have no doubt the boys will be ready.

    • Clay says:

      Good point. They should listen to Bob Ross…
      __________________________
      ☞ Think about little things that are happening. In your mind, just visualize little things, and it’ll help you create the mood that you’re looking for. There we go …” ☜ ~ Bob Ross

    • krob1000 says:

      Agree…that is why I was worried after the deadline that the message sent (not likely intentional but a message just the same)wasn’t exactly optimal for the teams egos). They all saw everyone else in their competition class improve. They need a really clean game against one of these teams in the last 4 to believe again.

      • Old Bald Bird says:

        Did you see MT address that issue to the team on 24CH? What they took from that is open to speculation, however.

        • krob1000 says:

          I did not see…what was said?

          • Old Bald Bird says:

            Basically, that they were happy with the team and its chemistry and were confident with whom they had.

            Earlier, it showed MB and all sorts of people in a conference room surrounded by boards, computers and cell phones during the day. I think they looked hard but didn’t find what they wanted at a price they were willing to pay.

  13. commandant says:

    #10 on the draft board, from Sault Ste Marie

    http://lastwordonsports.com/2013/04/19/darnell-nurse-2013-nhl-draft-player-profile-10/

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  14. habs-fan-84 says:

    Eller’s ice time (or lack therof) continues to baffle me.

    • krob1000 says:

      The optimist in me says that line is being given a bit of a break as the grind of the NHL season is new to two of them and they have all been banged around quite a bit and he wants them healthy come playoff time. The pessimist in me….never mind ..won’t say that.

  15. joshua94k says:

    Great teams find a way to win and the Habs did last night. As they did several times this season, they scored a big goal late in the game to win.

    Six players have goals in the double digits. Leading the way is Brian Gionta (14) who is an example of a leader who leads by example. Desharnais, Galchenyuk and Markov have 9 goals. Bourque has 6 after missing half of the season. This is a well balanced team.

    Come play-off time, their group defense will be unbeatable and they have one of the best goaltenders in Price.

    Who their opponent is doesn’t matter, the Habs will prevail. CBC, TSN and Sportsnet are in a dismal mood. Their Leafs may not make the play-offs. in must win games, Reimer has failed, Kadri has lost his touch after getting the kiss of death from Don Cherry, their defense has collapsed. They are only a couple of points ahead of the Jets, Capitals. Rangers, Senators and Islanders. Imagine if they don’t make the play-off again. Poor PJ Stock, Cherry, Ron Maclean…

    “I want to kill somebody cutting across the blue line and I want to score the goal and celebrate. And I’ll do it by any means possible to win a hockey game. That’s how I feel playing there (the Bell Centre). I am not sure I have that feeling anywhere else.” – PK Subban

  16. krob1000 says:

    D zone coverage is spotty at best right now. Too much standing around and slow feet allowing the opposition to dart in and out of holes and have their feet already moving and visual advanatage. The play is changing so smoothly for the opposition in our end right now that Price can’t seem to keep up with the puck movement…that has to stop. It doesn’t matter if you are Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemiueux…you are worse under pressure and our passive perimeter d in our end will come back to bite us if not careful. I understand the general concept of protecting the house/interior areas but any team that just employs some patience on the outside and swings the puck gets us standing still…we let up for a second and zing..either they fire a pass while we are standing still or they sneak a shot through with time to find their lane and they have the advantage seeking that rebound as it is coming from behind our defenders who are facing away while the attackers face the puck.

    This has to stoip immediately. Earlier this seasont he Habs were very aggressive in their own end and did not allow players on the perimeter in 5 on 5 situations time to set things up. There was always one pressure guy and support guys taking away his near options. They cannot keep allowing this time on the perimeter and be caught standing as if it is a pk anymore.

    This is how the Habs are often effective agaisnt other teams ironicaly as Montreal is very skilled on the perimeter and therefore can spread the puck and swing it very quickly….we should be able to see what is happening given it is basically Montreals biggest weapon in the other end.

    • Loonie says:

      Chasing is what got this team in trouble in the first place, in my opinion.

      • krob1000 says:

        Chasing with no defensive support I assume you mean. You chase a guy on the wall and he basiucally has two options…the point and the corner ( assuming defensive postitioning is sound). You give him time and he can thread a needle cross crease or move up and down the wall trying to break our positioning down and have someone find an open seam to either pass or shoot. That is happening a lot right now.

  17. jo_maka says:

    Interesting that Boone brings out Seguin. Could it be that Chucky is MT’s ace in the hole for the big dance ? Those playoffs put the Taylor-Tyler debate to a rest for my money, he’s about the only player in Boston that I just can’t hate.

    Speaking of draft buddies, how crazy would it be if the Oilers send Yakupov to Phoenix for Ekmar-Larsson, only to have Phoenix move to Quebec City. It’ll be nice to have an Ovechkin-Crosby (lite) beef going for these two phenoms along the St-Lawrence river :)
    _________________________________
    Open-mindedness is not a skull fracture

  18. Marc10 says:

    Wow. I couldn’t have picked a better time to go off grid this past week. Glad we got the win… and super happy Diaz is on his way back. Good on Webber tonight.

    I like the suggestion from the press gallery to go with seven Ds. You might as well… and double shift Eller or Chucky on the odd shift if you need to.

    Here’s a thought. Go with the 7 Ds on Saturday. Play Dumont instead of DD and Armdog instead of Moen. Sit the two under-performers so they can see what an NHL performance looks like from the press gallery.

    No excuses! Go Habs Go!

  19. frontenac1 says:

    The D is a mess! Diaz and Weber and Kaberle are the answers?

    • Marc10 says:

      Sadly… yes.

      Hopefully you can play PK 30mins in the playoffs…

      • commandant says:

        Diaz is a huge part of the answer.

        1) His positioning is excellent.
        2) He moves the puck out of our end quickly and starts the transition game. This is huge. If your team has the puck in the other team’s end of the ice, then you are playing good defence and the opposition won’t score many.

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        • Kooch7800 says:

          One big problem is Diaz has been out for a considerable amount of time. Hopefully he won’t be too rusty but I think it will take a few games to get his timing back

          “Keep your stick on the Ice”

        • Marc10 says:

          Not a diss on Diaz. It’s the time off and jumping into the shark tank at the wrong time of year that worries me. But yes, we’re better with Diaz (especially if he channels his inner Mark Streit…)

        • John Frodo says:

          Likely thats the team the MB is building. You dont need to clear the net when the puck is in the other guys end. Of course this takes a special skill set. How easy is it to find a big body that can clear the net compared to a skill player who can start the rush reliably?

          With a goalie who can freeze the puck and a faceoff man who can regain possecion your good to go.

          What killed me about JM was that he went nuts over turnovers in our end and our side of the neutral zone, and then went crazy if anyone did not give up pocession by dumping the puck.

    • krob1000 says:

      A big part of it is our passive perimeter d and that is on the forwards who are forever watching right now and standing up straight like they are getting their height measured for their next hockey card.

  20. adamkennelly says:

    How can MT put Ryder, Bourque (who looks like disinterested Bourque) and DD on the same line? are you kidding me? unless you feel like giving up odd man rushes every time there is a change in possession – you might want to re-think your lines.

    Put Ryder with 2 guys who skate like mad and put Bourque back in the press box. DD should be centering the 3rd line.

    • Loonie says:

      Desharnais has thrived with two big forwards on both sides. He has been average otherwise(imo).

    • habs001 says:

      Bourque had 2 great chances to score..hopefully he gets back on track…

      • krob1000 says:

        He also made a couple beauty passes that weren’t converted and was aggressive on the forecheck. Him , Patches and Prust are the only forwards effective at a chip and chase or dump in game. Bourque is a big body and is not afraid to go into the boards at full speed. All three of those guys will be big in the playoffs playing that style when necessary.

    • I would give Bourque and Ryder a break as one is returning from weeks off, and the other is playing injured.

      For the same reason I am not expecting anything big from Diaz.

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  21. arcosenate says:

    Weber was good last night, I don’t know what that translates into for Saturday and beyond but he played well, and he made the play to get the winning goal. I hope he continues to contribute, but I guess he sits for Diaz, tough to be on the bubble after a decent game like that.

  22. von says:

    My mind is kind of boggled about Therrien’s comment regarding the inept power play last night. Lack of practice time? For a team that draws the most power plays in the league, you’d figure the coaching staff would make sure it’s clicking like clockwork.

    _________________________________

    “Obviously it would be great, but they don’t really hang conference titles in this rink. They raise Stanley Cup banners.” – Carey Price

  23. Maritime Ron says:

    I would love to finish 2nd, yet there is another reality at play here.

    Regarding playoff “Home Ice Advantage” this doesn’t appear to be the huge factor as it was in the past.

    In the quarter finals last year, the Visiting team won 30 games and the Home team won 18. In OT games, the Visitors won 12 and the Home team won 4.

    In the 4-5 match-ups, the Visitors won 6 games and the Home team won 5 games.

    All that to say that it would be preferable to have some key guys rested and healthy than to kill ourselves trying to finish 2nd or even 4th.

    And really, what’s wrong with opening up playoff hockey on the road if we are rested and healthy? No home team pressure-a split is like a huge win-and even if you lose the first 2 games, you can even it up coming home.

  24. Phil C says:

    Eller actually played more even strength minutes than DD last night. In fact, for the whole season, their even strength ice time is within one minute and their shifts per game are almost the same, with DD averaging one more shift per game on average. (Source: NHL.com TOI stats)

    The fact is that even strength, MT has been rolling four lines. DD plays the PP, Eller kills penalties, so special teams will determine total TOI. They each have their role to help the team win. Spreading out the responsibilities is how you win, especially in a short, compressed season.

    MT deserves credit for shutting down Stamkos using Plekanec. They will have to do this to beat teams like the Islanders and Rangers in the playoffs. If this means Galchenyuk sits a little bit, so be it, if it helps the team win.

    • Loonie says:

      It was nice to see Therrien wake up and play Subban against the opposing team’s top threat. Subban erased Stamkos in last night’s game.

      I’m sorry to say that even though I believe Plekanec has been our best player this year. Stamkos’ lack of impact last night had Subban written all over it, not so much Plekanec.

      • Phil C says:

        Subban deserves a lot of credit as well. 29 minutes against the best scorer in the game is Norris trophy territory.

        Regardless of Plekanec’s impact, the line matching resulted in the kid line playing less. MT should be praised for this this, yet I read post after post of how he is screwing Galchenyuk.

  25. Loonie says:

    Interesting post game thoughts about Markov and Desharnais.

    After thinking about it last night was the best I’ve ever seen Desharnais look without the puck. He was breaking up passes in the neutral zone and in the defensive zone at will. And unlike most of this season he was attacking the puck with speed. Somebody mentioned in our last game against the Lightning that they read he amps it up against the Lightning due to his admiration for Marty St. Louis. I hope he pretends he’s playing them all the time because he was great last night.

    Yannick Weber. Wow. Bluntly, he hasn’t been given a chance to show what he can do over a prolonged period on defense. But he’s been great. What more can be said about him? The only mistake he’s made since getting back into the lineup was not communicating that he was going to make a reverse pass in the defensive zone and it was still a smart play. He’s been moving the puck intelligently and quickly and most importantly he’s been stable in the defensive zone, not allowing opposing players to stand freely in dangerous areas. The most impressive thing about Weber from where I sit is his attitude. He’s done nothing to deserve being stapled into the pressbox and just goes about his business happily and has been the ideal teammate. We’ll probably never know if he could have been another Mark Streit for us. Hopefully he stays in the lineup and Drewiske goes to the pressbox when Diaz is ready.

    Andrei Markov’s taking heat again this morning but I think he played a fine game and I’ll say this. The second goal wasn’t his fault even though he was a passenger. Ryder’s missed assignment caused that goal. Markov was left to defend two players and Desharnais was tying up his man in the slot. Bourque had nobody to check on his side of the ice but had previously let the Lightning defenseman move the puck lower in the zone uncontested. Ryder had a choice, leave his defenseman alone in an innocuous position or come down low and break up a play, he chose to stay put. Another thing on Markov, during the losing streak he was a giveaway machine. Last night, he moved the puck effectively and this team was only in trouble once or twice with him on the ice. He is in my view the key to this team’s success provided he’s going to continue playing twenty-five minutes per night. Subban will be fine, Price will be fine. We need Markov the elite puck mover and not Markov the aging powerplay specialist.

    • Phil C says:

      Agree on Weber’s play, I hope he stays in the line up. He looks bigger to me, maybe he has filled out a little. His play has been a pleasant surprise. But he earned his pressbox time, he was awful last year defensively, I sometimes wondered if he would ever be NHL calibre.

      • Loonie says:

        I disagree about Weber’s play last season. He and Diaz were pretty much the same player with one exception, Weber was willing to battle for pucks on the walls and in the corners and Diaz wasn’t.

        Diaz made that change this year and became much more effective partially because of it.

        Remember who Weber’s d-partner was last year?

        • Phil C says:

          Not even close between Diaz and Weber. Diaz quickly established himself as the number #3 defensemen, playing effectively in all situations. Diaz was the most consistent defensemen last year until he was hurt.

          Weber was the number 6 defenseman and he was getting beat badly on the rush due to poor postioning. This happened in three games in a row, and he never played again unless there were 7 D dressed. He simply lost the coach’s trust.

    • Not concerned at all about Markov however as we lost control in offensive zone, Markov had a choice to make, skate three strides and get the puck or turn and play defensive. He froze, and thus started the chain of events that led to a breakdown and a goal.

      Shane Oliver
      Twitter @Sholi2000
      http://www.Sholi2000.com
      Custom Sports Figures

    • Ozmodiar says:

      Agreed that Weber should be #6 rather than Drew-whiskey.

      For one thing, they’d have 3 RD’s and 3 LD’s. Also, Weber’s shot would look good on the 2nd unit PP, along wit Diaz.

  26. Arrow77 says:

    It’s hard to be angry at Markov’s defensive performance – we had no right to expect him to be that good after all he’s been through lat season – but Therrien has to know that he can’t keep using him that much.

    And he has to know that the time to “protect” the kids has passed. Gallagher was the best player of his line when he was playing with Desharnais and Pacioretty and Eller is a lot better defensively than Desharnais. Needless to say, nothing Galchenyuk has done the last few games screams “protect me!”.

    • Loonie says:

      Galchenyuk hasn’t been protected. He’s been limited and I think there’s a big distinction there.

      For example, Desharnais’ line gets more offensive zone starts and powerplay time. That’s protection.

      Galchenyuk has his minutes limited, and I think that has more to do with his elongated season than anything else. But Eller’s use is inexplicable. The ice-time last night was so lopsided that I wondered if Plekanec’s line would play the entire third period.

      • petefleet says:

        Scoring goals has not been as big an issue as stopping them lately. There MAY be a coaching sense that the kids are more of a liability than the vets. I’m guessing. I’m not sure I agree but it seems like a reasonable assumption. Maybe when the team as a whole starts playing better defensively, they’ll get more minutes. Completely agree about Eller.

        ******************************************
        I haven’t been wrong in a long time…..not feeling like today is the day.

        ***Go Habs Go***

  27. petefleet says:

    Here’s what I saw last night:

    1 Price is not where he needs to be or where the team needs him to be. Good goalies are lucky but last night the score could easily been out of reach before the 1st period was over. Price and the Habs were lucky.
    2 Max looked good on the new line with 21 & 14
    3 Markov needs to re-evaluate his game and MT needs to cut his minutes to 15-18 per game. I hate to say it but he is a defensive liability right now.
    4 The kids played well again will be a bigger part of the team soon, as needed.
    5 Overall team defense has lapsed badly. This team routinely surrendered 6-8 shot per period. That was not all Emilin. The whole team needs to get back to the plan.
    6 Weber looked good
    7 Markov did not use PK’s bullet last on the PP for some reason. Each time he had the pass, he made a different decision.
    8 When manning the point or breaking out, Josh should just give it to PK. There is absolutely no one on the team who can move the puck as effectively as PK right now. Gorges is terrible on the point. Period.
    9 Brian Gionta is not done yet. Way to go Capt.

    ******************************************
    I haven’t been wrong in a long time…..not feeling like today is the day.

    ***Go Habs Go***

    • Cal says:

      7. TB was pressuring the point men on the PP. Thus, Markov doing something else.

    • Loonie says:

      You’re absolutely right Pete. If Price doesn’t make three outstanding saves the Lightning would have won.

    • Small_Town_Boy says:

      PETE

      Every good goalie is lucky. Just ask Floppy Thomas!

      Dat’s wha me tinks

      • Clay says:

        How’re you doing, Priceberg?

        __________________________
        ☞ Montreal is the better of these two teams. No excuses for Bruins. Montreal is better.☜ ~ Jack Edwards

      • petefleet says:

        That’s what I said.

        ******************************************
        I haven’t been wrong in a long time…..not feeling like today is the day.

        ***Go Habs Go***

    • mrhabby says:

      1…price is overplaying the puck to make up for the mistakes that the team is creating in front of him…
      3..Markov does not need to re-evaluate his game. He is playing more minutes than he should do to Emelin being out. Frankie B is now a top 4 dmen which he is not.
      5..Team defense is weak yes..

      • petefleet says:

        I disagree. Price is not playing position as well at all. That may be in part to the team not doing what it should in front of him but he also has some responsibility to play his position well.
        Markov is like a fish out of water right now. He should take a few days and watch some tape. Time and again he was out of postion last night and not making the passes he is known for…including the PP.

        ******************************************
        I haven’t been wrong in a long time…..not feeling like today is the day.

        ***Go Habs Go***

        • mrhabby says:

          Markov just needs a few days rest to re-evaluate.

          have you seen the CH series to see what goes on behind the series.

          • petefleet says:

            I have recorded them. I haven’t had a chance to see them yet…just got back from vacation.

            ******************************************
            I haven’t been wrong in a long time…..not feeling like today is the day.

            ***Go Habs Go***

  28. Clay says:

    That first period had the potential to sink the Habs (for the fourth time in a row). The whole team just looked lost out there, likely playing a little too tentatively because of the last 3 ugly losses. We would be fooling ourselves to believe that the game couldn’t have easily been 3-0 after the first, if not for the old Ghosts making an appearance. Fortunately, we came out unscathed, and Carey made a couple of brilliant saves in the second (which was great to see after the events of late), and the team responded.
    It was still an ugly win, but it stopped the slide. I hope it will be a confidence booster, and we can still take the division.
    As an aside, I said some time ago that the team I didn’t want to play in the first round was the Islanders. I want to reaffirm that belief right now. Tons of explosive young talent, and if they get good goaltending could easily pull off an upset.

    __________________________
    ☞ Montreal is the better of these two teams. No excuses for Bruins. Montreal is better.☜ ~ Jack Edwards

  29. Maritime Ron says:

    Here’s hoping that if after the Jersey game next Tuesday, and if appears we can’t secure the 2nd seed, that MT allows some players to avoid the trip to Winnipeg and send them home to rest or to Florida (to scout the Leafs and get some Vitamin D)

    The candidates would be Gorges (obviously hurt) Markov, Prust, and Plekanec that played an incredible 24:40 last night. Bouillon could also be a candidate.

    • Clay says:

      The fight for second (and the division!) is likely to come right down to the wire though. We may need to beat the Leafs on the last game to win it.

      __________________________
      ☞ Montreal is the better of these two teams. No excuses for Bruins. Montreal is better.☜ ~ Jack Edwards

  30. Mick says:

    MT seems bent on keeping Chucky on the bench.
    He played maybe 8 min. I think he could handle about 12-14min, and give DD less time until he proves he deserves more. DD looked slow last night and had zero shots on goal no hits and was again a liability in his own end.
    4 more years with this guy.
    This will be Bergevin’s “Achilles’ heel”.

    • mount royal says:

      DD has possibly the best ice vision on the team. He set up Bourke beautifully twice and Bourke did not convert. DD is a top playmaker; give him a sniper and watch the goals come in. Along with Gionta and Gallagher he is also an excellent forechecker. This is a talent that Martin never used and it is good to see MT exploiting it. Unfortunately, a little like Ryder, DD`s defensive game is weak.

      • Mick says:

        Take your glasses off.
        Have you been sleeping the last 10 – 12 games?
        David has had good wingers all season and gets the most time on ice for forwards.
        “This is a talent that Martin never used and it is good to see MT exploiting it.”
        MT has been misusing this so called talent in my humble opinion, last night he at least demoted him to the third line.
        Not a good night for “Little David”.

  31. philip says:

    Some observations about last night game:

    1) galchenyuk got to play more, Markhov less. The return of Diaz may help on the last.

    2) why DD Line on the powerplay? Logical, no practice means no changes. Special units are a five (four on PK) men unit. Changing the fowards will screw the game plan for everyone. Then again, they sucked last night.

    3) a goalie makes his luck. Most of the time, when you hit a goal post, it’s because the goalie left you noting else, sometime it’s because his play rushed you to shoot because he is agressive… Sometime it’s bad luck too.

    4) Moen suck this year… But we need him on the PK, that’s why he’s still in there. The fourth line was good last night… but not enough to log more ice time than the third

    5) yes it was an ugly win to stop an uglyer slump. But, an ugly goal can break a scoreless streak, let’s hope the same logic applies here.

    6) we will not win the cup. we will not be in the conference finals. but from last to 2nd, if we win just one round, it will be icing on a unexpectedly delicious cake.

  32. StephK says:

    Saturday will be a huge game. If the Habs get a good result, it could be a huge confidence booster going into the post-season. On the other hand, if they flounder, and go back to the way they’ve been playing of late, it could affect their confidence. The fan base would go back into panick mode. They need to play a tight-checkin, playoff style game. They need to play with team toughness, which is something that’s been lacking. Most of all, Price needs to be stellar, and not look like he’s playing in that Western Canada road trip from 2 years ago.

  33. Ian Cobb says:

    By the way! We are back in 2nd place again. We are having a fantastic ride this year. The older players are just pacing themselves, knowing what is up ahead.
    Regardless of which spot we take into the play offs, it is going to be a lot of fun to be a part of this year.

    • 24 Cups says:

      Ian – A few days ago I figured we would be playing Toronto but now I’m not so sure. It might be Ottawa or even the Islanders. Regardless, it’s been a very pleasant surprise this year.

      I’m quite happy with Therrien’s coaching but he seems to be missing one point. Galchenyuk and Eller need more ice time and that ice time has to be at significant times in the game. If Montreal is going to be a three line team then let’s dole out the ice time accordingly.

      Diaz was stellar during the first 20 games. I know he’s missed a lot of time but he certainly will be an upgrade on what we have right now. Talking about the defense, fans have to stop bitching about Eemelin being out of the line-up. There’s nothing that can be done so deal with it and move on.

      • Cal says:

        The concern over Emelin is warranted. none of the other Dmen hit with any regularity. That is a HUGE worry come playoff time. Soft as toffee D won’t cut it. The youth in Hamilton don’t play physical either. It’s an organizational problem that must be addressed for next season or 14/15.

  34. habs001 says:

    Big concern for the playoffs is still the pk..17th right now..The Habs seem to be giving up at least a goal on the pk lately and even the ones they kill they look very vulnerable…

  35. smiley says:

    What’s the tie-breaker if we’re tied with Boston. Is it head-to-head in which case we are ahead. Or wins in regulation or OT(but
    not shoot-out)?. Thanks.

  36. AllHailTheFlower says:

    I didn’t watch the game, but I checked the box score and I’m a little confused. Eller won 75% of his faceoffs and finished the game at +1, but only got 10 minutes of ice time. Desharnais lost 60% of his faceoffs and finished at -1, but got over 14 minutes of ice time. What am I missing here?

    • It will be all the talk on 690 today, makes for fun sports radio.

      Shane Oliver
      Twitter @Sholi2000
      http://www.Sholi2000.com
      Custom Sports Figures

    • Ozmodiar says:

      Yes, somewhat perplexing, but…

      … because they won, it’s a footnote. Had they lost, it would be a headline.

      I’d like to see Galchenyuk log more ice time, but it’s tough to argue with success. After all, Therrien is getting production out of him. Who’s to say a part of the success can’t be attributed to him being fresh. Let’s not forget he’s never played such a long season (junior + wjc* + nhl).

      The other thing to consider is the upcoming playoffs. Maybe he’ll get more ice time when the games are more important.

      * not the HIO username

  37. ABHabsfan says:

    Asa card carrying member of the goaltender fraternity, I need to object to the oft-used phrase that a shot “beat the goalie but not the post”. If it hits the post or crossbar it missed the net. The goalie is supposed to stop shots headed for the twine so why bother with missed shots? Do shots that miss by 2 feet beat the goalie too? It’s hard enough to stop all the pucks headed for the net without having to worry about the ones that are missing as well. If a shot actually beats the goalie, it’s in. If it hits iron it’s only because that’s all we gave ‘em. Ask CP, he’ll tell ya.

    “man, I love winnin’; you know, it’s like better than losin’?”-
    Ebby Calvin “Nuke” Laloosh

  38. adamkennelly says:

    got the W – yes but team looked terrible again and could have easily lost to an awful TB team. They are not skating – period. sloppy, disorganized, soft…we made the Bolts 4th line look amazing.

    I watched 2 minutes of the Wild-Sharks game and felt like I was finally watching NHL hockey.

    • Steeltown Hab says:

      Defense still looking suspect. Eller Galchenyuk Gallagher needed more ice, when they’re on the ice you clearly see a 5-man unit working together.

      Simple system, you have Pacioretty-Plekanec-Gionta as your 1st line.

      Than between Galch – Eller – Gally, and Bourque – DD -Ryder you distribute ice time based on who’s playing better.

      ———————————

      Lars, PK, Galchenyuk, Pac, Emelin – @J_Perez22

    • Ian Cobb says:

      Your correct my friend! We looked terrible against a last place team. Brain cramp after errors all night.
      But on the bright side, Price looked to have his game back and the team has had a large pull back in solid effort after clinching a play off spot. They will be ready come the 1st play off game, you can be sure.
      The older players know what is up ahead and are pacing themselves.

    • It’s almost as if the entire league caught up to where the Habs were playing the last couple of months. Plus we are now slower, and sloppier. I watched parts of the three western games and I kept telling myself, man are we (Canadiens) that bad right now?

      Keep plugging along!

      Shane Oliver
      Twitter @Sholi2000
      http://www.Sholi2000.com
      Custom Sports Figures

      • Ian Cobb says:

        Sloppy for sure Shane! I just hope we get a few days before the start of play offs to work on a few things. PP, PK and better passing and play making set ups etc.

        They are going to be fine, we just do not need any more injuries, because we are very thin on NHL ready reserves right now.
        We only have 2 top 4 D on the roster, and 4, 5th and 6th D.

  39. Ian Cobb says:

    This is part of a letter sent to me from HIO poster Linda (sparkie) Sparks in Ottawa. She is one of our HIO— Hab’s Fan Summit-teers. I thought I would pass it along to you. It contains great information.
    IAN….

    Some of you may recall, that I and others had
    attended a Stop Concussions talk in Montreal, Quebec,
    Canada – at the HIO Fan Summit.

    Kerry Goulet of Stop Concussions was kind enough to drop by (Thanks to Ian in Belleville, Ontario, Canada)
    and talk to us about concussions along with reps from the sports franchise La Source du Sport
    who were showing the audience ( with many recreational hockey players and hockey parents in attendance)
    the Impact Indicator ( a chin strap for the hockey helmet- ) to detect concussions in an athlete.
    remember folks-

    http://www.battlesportsscience.com/index.php/products/impact-indicator/about-the-indicator

    Now I have come across another interesting web site- where two local Kanata, Ontario , Canada
    men have produced another product- that you place directly on top of the hockey helmet and it detects how hard a hit (impact)
    to an athlete is… and if they have a concussion … by feeding info immediately into to a cell phone- and alerting, the coach, parent,
    who ever is responsible for the athlete to seek medical attention- check it out-

    https://www.theshockbox.com/

    This is the first I have read or heard about this product.
    Has anyone else heard or seen it?

    They are linked with Stop concussions

    http://www.stopconcussions.com/links/

    And Shockbox got a big Public Relations write up on the web- from Mom’s Team- in the USA.

    http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/4/prweb10426732.htm

    And group that is also linked to Stop Concussions-

    http://www.momsteam.com/health-safety/concussion-safety/safety-equipment

  40. Steeltown Hab says:

    Notes:

    1) The lines last night, we’re solid. But how MT kept going back to DD Pac Gallagher for the PP shows his unwarranted allegiance to Desharnais.

    2) Why do we put that as our PP unit to get the go ahead goal with 2 minutes left? MT can’t actually think they give us the best shot at a goal.

    3) What does it take for Galchenyuk Eller to get more ice, because production isn’t changing their ice time.

    4) Pacioretty showed a lot of flashes of the old Pacioretty. Markov was pretty concerning out there.

    5) Keep Dumont in regardless of Armstrongs health.

    ———————————

    Lars, PK, Galchenyuk, Pac, Emelin – @J_Perez22

  41. Strummer says:

    Ping-Ping Price’s new BFF’s- the goalposts

    Maybe Pricer was talking to the posts pre-game like Mark Fydrich would talk to the pitcher’s mound.

    ______________________________________________________
    “It’s just an opinion – I could be wrong”

  42. Cal says:

    A win is a win is a win.
    D isn’t playing well, but I did like all the forward line changes to get the players’ attention.
    DD with Bourque and Ryder may just work as Patches, Pleks and Gionta displayed instant chemistry. The young guns on one line? Why not? Yes, they played less, but I am still thinking MT is picking and choosing who they line up against. They did get a first wave PP, but couldn’t get in the offensive zone.
    Price played with a little more fire. Let’s hope his pride gets him focused and ready for the playoffs.

    http://calshabsongparodies.weebly.com

  43. Alex_425 says:

    Looks like the hockey story of the day for Leafs fans, aside from them losing to the Eyelanders, of course, is, as they say “Refs 3, Tampa Bay 2″.

    What is up with so many people accusing us of diving and pretending to be hurt in order to get extra powerplays? They have not let up once this season, it’s ridiculous! It’s like Clod actually managed to start a trend.

    But I’m no expert….

  44. Blade says:

    Phew…a win is a win. Baby steps to getting their full mojo back. I cannot even imagine what it would be like if they had blown that game last night (and it almost happened for sure). Hopefully they come out full steam against Washington and set the tone early.
    But I think you definitely go with Price on Saturday.

  45. Small_Town_Boy says:

    I say play
    B
    u
    d
    a
    j

    The remaining 4 games they have left. Price can work on things in practice. Have Carey all rested up for the Big dance.

  46. Habfan10912 says:

    Good morning all. An ugly win but two badly needed two points. Too many defensive lapses once again. Carey and the goal post were the difference.
    I , like many here don’t understand the lack of ice time given Galchenyuk and Eller.Shouldn’t your best forwards play the most? MT’s circumstance answer to a reporters question doesn’t fly.

    • Old school coaching….you’ll get ice time when I say you do.

      But I’ll say one thing, I don’t like sitting productive players no matter what age.

      He can learn through his mistakes on the ice.

      Markov needs rest, all Coach Therrien has to do is cut his minutes, no matter what the score on the board.

      Shane Oliver
      Twitter @Sholi2000
      http://www.Sholi2000.com
      Custom Sports Figures

    • Captain aHab says:

      MT said last night that it was due to matchups. He had decided before the game that Pleks would be on when Stamkos was on and Stamkos was on a lot I gather. Combine that with Galchenyuk not playing on the PK and it limits his time on ice.

      —————-
      Me skull and crossbones arn’t the only thing I plan on raisin’ tonight.

      • Habfan10912 says:

        Gotcha Captain but that doesn’t explain Ellers ice time. That’s the part that I didn’t understand. I have no problem with Plek’s getting ice. I just think Eller should be playing more.

    • Steeltown Hab says:

      If anyone needs to be protected it’s Desharnais and Ryder, clearly the 2 biggest liabilities on D. I like that line though in limited dosage, definitely have all the pieces in concept.

      ———————————

      Lars, PK, Galchenyuk, Pac, Emelin – @J_Perez22

  47. Small_Town_Boy says:

    “It’s tough as a goaltender here,” Price said. “It can be nerve-wracking, but I’ve got a lot of experience dealing with this type of situation.

    NO S–T Carey LOL

    “You just have to take a step back, relax, put in some honest work”.

  48. Chris says:

    You want a candidate for sitting? Josh Gorges.

    Raphael Diaz blocks a lot of shots, but he’s not particularly physical. Sound like somebody in red wearing #26?

    The difference is that Diaz can actually pass the puck, something that Gorges can’t seem to do this year. I think Gorges has got to be hiding an injury, because he’s been playing far, far below his usual level.

    The Habs are going to need Gorges at his best in the playoffs. He’s the guy who I think is in the biggest need of a recharge.

    Markov can be recharged by not having to play against the other teams’ top lines for the last few games of the season.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Chris, I agree but I think it will be Weber. Gorges is making so many mental mistakes out there that its leading to too many scoring chances. Perhaps with Diaz back it might reduce his ice time a bit.

    • krob1000 says:

      Long term I seehim as the odd man out…he would be awesome to a team like Edmonton..exactly what they need. His character could create a monster in Edmonton and he is from out west.t think Emelin does his job and Diaz to some extent as well and they move the puck better. His contract is the one I keep looking at everytime I go to cap geek. It is not a necessity to move it by any means …but if you want to make that D super scary…that is where it could be upgrdaed and salary wuold not be as much of an issue as you would be unloading his.

  49. The End is Near in Boston

    Unfortunately one suspected bomber was killed.

    Not going to speculate about who they are. We’ll all know soon enough. But their names alone will lead to their past.

    Shane Oliver
    Twitter @Sholi2000
    http://www.Sholi2000.com
    Custom Sports Figures

  50. FunkyCrabChairNF says:

    Weber should play out the year, giving old men Markov, Bouillon and Gorges (who plays like an old man) nights off as needed.

    No one should be surprised if he gets playoff time, either. For those with short or selective memory, he has played 6 playoff games in ’09 and ’11, with 3 goals and 1 assist for a +1.

  51. Small_Town_Boy says:

    Oh and where are the Trolls?

    They must go apes–t on nights like this where Carey plays great!

  52. thebonscott says:

    Keep playing dumont, please no more white.

    Buck the Fruins.

  53. Small_Town_Boy says:

    Like I said before even after a win the Mob is still not pleased for F sakes. After 3 stinkers this is a major confidence boost. Were they perfect? No! Oh it was a 13th place team. So it was BUT with St.Louis, Vinny & Stamkos still, very dangerous shooters.

    As for the pucks hitting the post thing, only one last night had Price beaten & that was the open net that Purcell flubbed on & Price by the way was tangled with a couple of players & could not see where the puck was. The other post, Carey gave the shooter nothing to shoot at. The back hand cross bar shot Price, hit an inch of his glove.

    Carey may tell you to “Chill Out”

    But I say ” Chill the F Out”

  54. Danno says:

    It wasn’t perfect, not by any stretch, but the Canadiens right the ship slightly by edging the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2

    A Much-Needed Win By Canadiens

    ________________________________________

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”
    Updates, highlights & great discussions on all things Habs

    • Glad to read a rational comment about last night. I was reading all the euphoria about the win, when it was ugly and lucky, which I’ll take, but not the kind of play that we had gotten used to and certainly not good enough to play against Washington on Saturday. Don’t know why the D has gone into the crappers and Diaz is certainly no savior. Imagine how desperate we are when he is our last best hope. Why play Markov 25 minutes, when the man can barely skate 18? So many questions, so little time!

      Promote the Youth, Support From The Veterans and Remember the Heritage!

  55. twocents says:

    Steve, as I was saying… win Saturday and they could regain their poise and composure. Lose, and well..

  56. Maritime Ron says:

    I’m not quite sure why some believe that Diaz is going to make some huge difference. The expectations should be low-very low.

    What exactly does Diaz bring to the table?
    78 total NHL games under his belt.
    5’11″-195 pounds that had 9 hits in 19 games which when extrapolated, would position him last for the Habs D in that category.
    He has shown to be a good shot blocker.

    While he has good mobility, he will become another and new target of what seems to be the recent strategy of the opposition-hit the Habs smallish soft D men, and hit them hard and hit them often. He cannot call on years of NHL experience because he has very little.

    He’ll give us some 2nd unit PP time and maybe some 2nd unit PK time.
    Maybe just having him playing some minutes to take the heat off the other guys is all we can ask for now. Any other expectations would be a mistake.

    • Rossy says:

      It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Diaz, but I recall a lethal shot from the point and a calm presence in the D-zone, especially in moving the puck out. Observations from another Maritimer. Go Habs Go!

      • Maritime Ron says:

        I hope you are right, but the concern was those games were played early when a lot of players were still trying to find their legs. The other issue is that teams now have a truckload of video tape on the Habs system and players vs the 1st 19 games when Diaz played.

  57. JF says:

    If Diaz plays Saturday, the obvious player to sit IMO is Markov. He’s been playing too many minutes all season, he’s clearly tired, he hasn’t looked good five-on-five for a while. Maybe a rest would help. Yannick Weber deserves to play. He’s doing what is asked of him and he set up the winning goal. Is Therrien going to reward him by sitting him?

  58. rhino514 says:

    Who sits now that Diaz is back?
    Webber is more talented but Drewiske is the only big defenseman we have. Tough but unfortunately for Webber, there is no way he´ll be played against any team which is the least bit physical, eh?
    I´ve always thought Webber is a top six Dman and valuable on the PP, but he knows he´s always one mistake away from sitting and I think it shows in his nerves and how he plays.

    And does Armstrong draw into the lineup? For whom?

  59. Dave Jones says:

    I think Boone said it all tonight. But I’ll say more anyway.

    I’m maybe too hopeful for the impact Diaz can have on the team’s backend, but I do look forward to seeing how things will look when he draws back in. Definitely got the feeling that tonight was a let up in recent poor play rather than a return to form. Maybe Diaz can help move things along (but, again, agree with Boone completely; the absence of Emelin will remain painfully apparent).

    Never sure what to make of Weber, but no doubt a second wave of Diaz and Weber on the PP could make things real tough in a postseason special teams matchup. Though, even as I write it, it is hard to picture Weber in a playoff series…

    Finally, maybe someone can clarify for me the situation with Kaberle. Is it the buyout that makes him a non-option? Was he that bad earlier in the season when he did get some ice time? I’m not being critical. I am just honestly having a hard time reconciling what I remember about him this year–a useful, if obviously overpaid, 6th d-man–with his apparent non-existence now. The team’s defense has been a nightmare. How come this veteran isn’t in the discussion for ice-time? Should he be? (Hah, I’m really asking!)

    • Seps says:

      Diaz I see as being impactful. He may play a different game then Emelin but if you look a lot at our d problems, it has to do with more so positionally, like covering the open superstar back-door/high-slot and moving our feet, rather than taking our opponents off their feet (as beneficial as that is). Also he logged minutes before he was hurt so he’ll be able to take some time off Markov and Drewiske.

      Kaberle is all about the buyout, the cap space removed for next season is much more beneficial than his mediocre play this season.

      • Dave Jones says:

        Agree on Diaz. Excited to get him back.

        Thanks for clarification on Kaberle. I did take a look at the contract and cap situation for next season. Hard to argue against keeping him off the ice. I remember him being serviceable in the 6th spot, but hardly worth the risk, I guess, when you have Drewiske and Weber (and Tinordi and Beaulieu).

    • Maritime Ron says:

      Kaberle will be bought out during the June 15th-30th buyout period. Players cannot be bought out if they are on IR or LTIR. Kaberle has a huge Cap hit of $4,250,000 next year. They do not want to risk him getting hurt then being stuck with him next year. Not buying him out and freeing up that cap space would severely tie Bergevin’s hands as to what he can do. They will use their 2nd Compliance buyout as there will be no reduced cap penalties compared to a normal buyout

    • FunkyCrabChairNF says:

      Well, it’s only hard to picture if this is your first year watching the Habs. He’s played in two playoff series. And played quite well. In 09 against Boston, the only guy on the ice who looked alive, and in ’11 against Boston, where he scored 2 goals.

      Weber is good. Sorry to the haters.

      • Yet last year, he and Diaz were frequently maligned as Swiss cheese for their inability to take their men off the puck, lack of shooting skill, soft play, errors, you name it. In this case, everyone has a good game, just not consistent, so no, they are not the future if we want to contend for the Cup.

        Promote the Youth, Support From The Veterans and Remember the Heritage!

        • FunkyCrabChairNF says:

          Not maligned by me anymore than the whole team that was terrible last year, save Subban.

          I am not contending that they are our keys to the cup, but you need 6 defensemen in a game. Which 6 are looking better to you than both Weber AND Diaz? I see ONE.

      • Dave Jones says:

        Hmm, well I’ve watched for almost 20 years…I think it’s just hard to imagine based on the fact that he hasn’t played all season, nor has he ever really established himself as an NHLer (guess he had a 60 game season last year, when we finished 15th…). Though he has played well at times (including last night!), I suspect the many, many wiser hockey minds involved have kept him off the Habs lineup for good reason. Still, not to say he hasn’t hit a new level of play. You gotta give guys a chance. I hope he stays in when Diaz returns.

  60. Un Canadien errant says:

    In the most recent win by the Canadiens against the Sabres, we talked about how this was a formality of a win against a listless team that has already checked out. Tonight’s win against Tampa Bay had a different feel, but should bear the same degree of caution for the mercurial fans of the team. While it will serve as a bad streak-breaker, and might help settle down Carey Price, the Canadiens can’t hang their hat on this victory and proclaim, George Bush the Lesser In A Flight Suit-style, “Mission accomplished.”

    The first period was an even affair, with chances to score going both ways, and Tampa Bay notable plinking three pucks past Carey Price, with one each ending up on either post and one on the crossbar before bouncing out. The Lightning unleashed a barrage of bodychecks on the Canadiens, following the gameplan established and proven effective by the Leafs, Pens and Flyers recently. Marc Denis mentioned on RDS that an Eastern Division coach had told him that the strategy his team would use against the Canadiens would be to hit them hard and often, and to crash Carey Price’s net, so the secret’s out.

    The second saw the Canadiens slowly take the game to the Lightning, having withstood the early onslaught, and put two pucks behind giant Ben Bishop, but before the hardy few who tried to start the “Olé Olé” chant prematurely could really get going, the Lightning closed the gap by scoring on a late power play.

    While I think there are too many fans who obsess over the “Olé” song, and confuse its meaning with the “Na na, hey hey, goodbye” song, we should set up some widely agreed-upon parameters to delineate when it should be deployed. I think it broadly should be used when our team is rolling and the building is rocking, but maybe only when the Good Guys have a three goal lead, or maybe two goals with five minutes to go in the game. Any less than that is hubris and may tempt the Gods, or more practically it could fail to whip up our boys and motivate the opponents instead, who might think they are still in the game and want to shut the crowd up, prove a point. Anyway, in this game at least, I did clearly formulate the thought that the “Olé” song was being heard way too soon, when Les Glorieux had a very tenuous hold on the game, and sure enough a minute later we were down to a one-goal game.

    Vincent Lecavalier tied up the game in the third, on a goal which when replayed didn’t make Andrei Markov look very good. While the Lightning don’t have much depth, they are always a threat to score when players such as Martin St. Louis, Steve Stamkos and Vincent Lecavalier are on the ice. All through the third, the Canadiens attacked the Tampa zone, but the Lightning counterattacked with these three, and we were on the edge of our seats, thinking how easily they can snipe a puck.

    Patrick Roy on l’Antichambre had a good laugh and quipped that the Canadiens waited a long time for Benoit Pouliot to be a difference-maker in the third period for them, and in this game it finally happened. He was referring to the penalty he took for a stupid hold on P.K. Subban 200 feet from his own net, during which the Canadiens capitalized and won the game on a nifty Brian Gionta goal.

    Now, I didn’t look a second time by rewinding the PVR, but it seemed as if P.K. didn’t fight very hard to stay upright when he was wrapped up by Mr. Pouliot. The latter is a big strong guy and certainly powerful enough to bring P.K. down, and he had a good wrap on him from behind, with his stick and gloves and forearms on the defenceman’s shoulders, but then again halfway through his brain cramp he seemed to realize what he was doing and was about to hold up his hands and let go of the stick, to plead his innocence to the refs, but it was too late, the damage was done.

    And herein lies the imbecility of the NHL and its abysmal practice of calling penalties based on situations. On the play in question, Benoit Pouliot was clearly beaten, he was a clear step behind P.K. Subban at least, who had a clear path to the puck. In football or basketball, that would be tough noogies for the guy trying to catch up. If he tried to grab an arm or a handful of jersey, a clear infraction would have occurred and would be called. In hockey, however, factors such as the identity of the players, the score, what the clock reads, how many penalties have been called to each team, and how recently, whether Don Cherry is in attendance, what the barometric pressure is doing, and a myriad others are used to determine if a penalty is a penalty. So that Benoit Pouliot is allowed to do little hooks with his sticks, and grab him a little, and slash him around the legs and waist to some degree with a nebulous limit, but he can’t overdo it, or the ref will ‘have’ to call it. You see, he doesn’t ‘have’ to call all the penalties committed, just those he ‘has’ to, capisce?

    So in this instance, P.K. could have been a good Canadian kid and fought through the hold, and stayed upright and muddled a play on the puck, and no penalty would have been called most probably. Even if the muddled puck ended up in his net. Or, he can let the hold happen and present the ref with a decisive result, demonstrate the degree of interference he was faced with. Maybe even amp it up a notch, in case the ref is hard of seeing, as he usually is.

    And that’s how we get a ‘diving epidemic’. If the refs called every slash, every hook, each instance of interference, there would be no need for players to dive. If there wasn’t this ‘borderline hook’ mentality, if instead it was clearly explained and arbitrated consequently, that a player who is a step behind or out of position has only one option, which is to put his head down and skate like crazy to get back in position, there’d be no upside to ‘embellish’, no epidemic.

    Two other instances where this concept comes into play caught my eye. One was the Eric Brewer tripping call on Max Pacioretty, for spinning Max clear around as he was trying to get to the net. Max spun 360 degrees and ended up near the net, tottering, and I thought could have maybe kept his balance, but I surmise that he thought since the puck was nowhere near, there was no play to be made, and no advantage to stay upright, so he may as well complete the fall that was initiated by Mr. Brewer. The latter skated to the penalty box protesting mildly, knowing he clearly held/hooked/tripped Max, but also suspecting that Max could have stayed up on his skates if he’d given it his all.

    Another instance went the other way, when Brendan Gallagher skated the puck from his zone all the way to the Tampa slot, having beaten Matt Carle on the play. Mr. Carle was a full step behind, and the entire way slashed and hooked Brendan at the waist, his legs, his hands/stick, unceasingly, until Brendan kind of coughed up the puck to end the play and threat. There were 12 to 20 instances that could have been penalized, but they all fell beneath the threshold that was conjured up for this particular play, at this particular juncture of the game. So Matt Carle made ‘a good defensive play’, he ‘backchecked’. And I wondered if Brendan had embellished on one of the hooks at his waist, or the slashes at his ankles, would that have been better than what he did, which is what he has done all season, meaning bravely soldier on and fight his way to the net.

    So P.K. I suspect helped the ref make the right call, by showing him clearly that he was being held, illegally, by a slower, dumber player who was out of position and made a brain-dead play when he had a multitude of options so far from his own net, and the Canadiens cashed in the powerplay, and won the game, not decisively, but it’s two points and it stopped the skid and we can take a breath and see about those resurgent Capitals on Saturday.

    And if I ran the NHL drug testing program, and if I’d read the Bill Simmons article (http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8904906/daring-ask-ped-question) about how no sudden surge in production of performance, or dramatic decline, is now beyond suspicion in the post-Armstrong era, I’m waiting for Alex Ovechkin with a sample cup when he gets in to Montréal, despite Gary Bettman’s stern reminder that what’s good for the Capitals and what’s good for NBC is good for the league and good for my continued employment.

    ———————————————————————–

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

    • The Cat says:

      Very good assessment on what makes a penalty a penalty, I agree 100%! Thats what makes it a breeding ground for corruption in the worst case scenario, or a bush league image in the best case scenario…I would go the Australian Football Rules way of no penalties during play, only suspensions without pay. Of course there would be some players that wouldnt survive the Darwinian effect it’d cause.

      [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

    • Dave Jones says:

      Definitely agree on league officiating. Always situational. A rule should be a rule, and enforcement should be enforcement. These shouldn’t become moving, discretionary targets.

      • The Cat says:

        Its situational because its fast moving, theres either a hook, trip or obstruction every minute of the game even if its accidental, itd be a constant parade to the penalty box and thus would hurt the spectacle too much.

        [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

        • Dave Jones says:

          It is fast. But sport is generally. I have just never understood the apparent consensus that what is clearly a penalty in the first period need not be a penalty in the third, or when a team is already down a man, or because, this time, it’s had less of an impact on the play (a penalty will always, literally, affect the play). But, yeah, it’s difficult. Personally, I’d rather they call everything always. The game would be transformed in a way that lends itself to greater spectacle than less. The league has had some success at cutting down on clutching and grabbing, but still. That “a hook, trip or obstruction” happens every minute of the game seems more a symptom of the officiating than a cause. I recognize I’m in the minority.

          • The Cat says:

            Got to disagree, no team sport comes close to hockey in terms of speed. Thats why I say no penalties ever because its a grey area always, and its always going to get bigger because having hockey become a constant special teams mission vs 5on5 intensity is a fine line that simply cannot be juggled well or fairly. besides, most would agree that the best games are the ones where the refs put their whistles away; it lets the intensity build.

            [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

    • LizardKing1967 says:

      excellent post. Agree 100% on penalty views.
      One good question……How come Malone didn’t get a unsportsmanlike added to his goalie interference penalty when he almost decapitated the ref arguing the call????
      Guess that’s a case where it’s “situational”

      *****************************************
      Drive for 25. 2012-2013. Max-Pac for Conn Smyth.
      I BELIEVE!
      AG27 is the NEW AK27.
      The “Gally” Line: Galchenyuk, Gallagher and the “Gallows”

    • Chris says:

      I don’t think Ovechkin’s surge has anything to do with PED.

      If anything, he looks a bit smaller now than he did last season. He’s got his speed back, and he’s been getting back to his shop (right face-off dot) on the PP after the failed experiment of moving him to the point.

    • FunkyCrabChairNF says:

      I don’t think the Olé chant is a taunt, as most people seem to, and to some extent you as well.

      It is no different than “Go Habs Go”, but usually sung when they are doing something postive. Go Habs Go is for one they look like ass.

      So we have 3 chants. One when they suck and need a boost, one when they’re doing alright but need to keep rolling, and one when they’ve dug the other teams grave (na na, which I personally hate the most, btw).

    • Fansincebirth says:

      Of all the rule violations and infractions that are ‘situational’ and subjective to so many things, the one rule that really needs to be overhauled is the ‘delay of game’ (puck over the glass) penalty. I understand the reason it was brought in but it’s high time the refs (league) take their heads out of their collective posteriors and allow this to be a judgement call. I know that the ref would have to determine intent and a lot of times it’s very clear that the player meant to get it out of play to ease the pressure. However, when a player is trying to clear it down the ice and not over the glass, it should be fairly obvious to all involved…..I think

      • hab fan in leaf jungle says:

        The player is entirely responsible for this penalty being called. Keep the puck away from the glass. Dump it down the ice through the air high above the opposing player’s heads. These guys are pros who have been playing hockey since the age of 4/5. They know what they are doing. That penalty increases the goals per game and forces the defensemen to be cautious in clearing the puck and the hesitation creates more offensive production. This modern game needs more goals to relieve the boredom caused by great defensive systems and giant goalies with gigantic equipment.

  61. habfanacrossthed says:

    Just finished watching the game, but before that i needed to get into an even better mood. Watch 24 CH episode 5. Nothing better then enjoying the team, and forgetting at these guys are making millions. CP played vezina worthy with the stops on Panik, and St. Louis. He played more upright, as opposed to lunging to make the save. The goals TB scored are hardly his fault. MB has work to do to take this team to the next level. The defense. Good news Diaz is coming back vs Washington.
    Question is who sits? Surely can’t be Weber played well in 10 even strength mins, 3 PP minutes. 0 Hits. Drewiske played careful for 8 mins, 1+ PK, 1 Hit. Whoever MT decides is his decision i understand. Let’s hope Diaz ice time can take away many of the Markov, and Gorges minutes. Habs had two hits by the defense tonight. Really like to see MB address this need, not only to hit but clear the man.
    Last rant of the early morning for me. Please give Alex more ice time. Moen over 11 mintues. Chucky gets 7:36 even strength. Scores another goal, i think 3rd straight. My lines Sat vs Capitals.

    Pacioretty Plekanec Gionta (Since MT won’t put in Gallagher)
    Bourque DD (Since MT won’t put in Eller) Gallagher
    Galchenyuk Eller Ryder
    Prust Halpern Dumont

    Subban Gorges
    Markov Diaz
    Bouillon Weber/Drewiske
    Price
    Somehow the extra minutes giving to Alex can be as a center with various linemates. Can’t bubble wrap him in the playoffs too, least if he scores or teammates. It will offset the efficient defense.

    GHOD – Go Habs Or Die

  62. HardHabits says:

    Lightning strikes twice… and the crossbar for good measure.

  63. Timo says:

    Btw, how poetic was it that Habs won the game on the PP cause by one of the most brain dead penalties I’ve seen by Benny Pou? THAT was worth all the fast-forwarding.

  64. Garbo says:

    Goal posts = goalie in the way of the actual net.

  65. Propwash says:

    It wasn’t pretty, but they ended the slump. Gotta give credit where credit is due.

    ____________________
    DOOOOOOOOOOOOMED!

  66. hab fan in leaf jungle says:

    If this is supposed to be a bounce-back game the Habs are worse than I thought. They were lucky lucky lucky to win. They played terrible hockey and if it weren’t for the goalposts they would have lost to a bad team. I enjoyed this season like all Hab fans but they’ll go nowhere in the playoffs and frankly I’d rather they had tanked and had a chance at a 1st overall pick.

  67. Timo says:

    Just finished watching the game. Honestly, it almost put me to sleep. Freaking snooze fest of mistakes.

    As Torts would say, it was one bad team against the other. Habs D is beyond pathetic and I can only imagine what it would be like if Subban gets injured.

    The usual was about coaching and player utilization. DD, Moen, Markov, Galchenyuk, Subban… nothing to be said. Based on my briefly going through the comment all has been already said.

    Seems like Habs are most likely to play either leafs of senators in the first round. Could be interesting but most likely first round exit no matter who they play.

    I don’t anticipate miraculous turn around when Diaz and looks like Armstrong rejoin the team.

    • Garbo says:

      You would say that

    • savethepuck says:

      I think you have to be telling lies by saying you just finished watching the game, and following that up by saying it was boring. The shots on goal were 35-33 with a lot of great saves at both ends.
      I thought it was a great game.

      “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
      Carey Price

      • Chris says:

        I watched the whole thing, and I thought it was a rather boring game too. VERY sloppy hockey, in general.

        There were definitely surges in excitement (4 TB posts!), but that one will not end up in too many personal DVD collections.

  68. Storman says:

    Yannick Weber max perseverance award for sure, how can you not feel awesome for the guy, great celebration after Gionta game winner one of the reasons I love sports,,

    Another reason I love sports, watch the Red’s Marlins highlights, Reds 30 year old bat boy with down syndrome, simply hands out free goosebumps, with his celebration after Todd Frazier Home run….check this out if you have not seen this
    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_04_18_miamlb_cinmlb_1&mode=video

  69. aHabGrowsInBrooklyn says:

    Seventh!

  70. Skeptical says:

    when you really take a good look at it. We just barely beat a team who lose 23 Games this year.

    Glad we won. But that’s scary.

    • Timo says:

      Much better test coming on Saturday. Don’t think it will go very well.

    • christophor says:

      Lots of ways you can look at it. Here’s another: the Habs, after giving up goals for three games to whoever was asking, gave up only 2 goals against one of the best offences in the league. Tampa wasn’t the ideal match for a team playing horribly defensively. But Montreal managed. Maybe the next step is getting back to being the team that dominated possession most games.

      So there’s the non-pessimistic way of seeing that win.

    • FunkyCrabChairNF says:

      And the Bruins just lost to the Sabres… yes, there were distractions, but I believe it was the 4th time they lost to Buffalo this year.

      Crap happens. Are you thinking the Bruins are down for the count? Because a comparison of the last 10 games for both teams reveals no one is immune to problems. So either crown the Penguins, or pick from the Leafs and Senators to pull an upset. Is any of that more rational?

      EDIT this is not specifically to you, just a general response to the manic-depressive mood of this site.

  71. Rooster says:

    Switch chucky with dd please

  72. Curtis O Habs says:

    Silky smooth hands. Selanne like.

  73. bellcentre hotdog says:

    Ha! I posted this on the other thread, but obviously Boone and I were thhinking the same thing: Just when we needed them most this season, the ghosts from the old Forum showed up to help out Carey tonight. It was about time he got a few lucky bounces.

  74. SUMO says:

    BOONE: No love for Yannick Weber?

  75. frozengolf says:

    First!

    _________________________________________________________
    “We know that hockey is where we live, where we can best meet and overcome pain and wrong and death. Life is just a place where we spend time between games.”


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