About last night …

CelebrateWinn

Never in doubt, right?
OK, I’ve had my little joke.
For 40 minutes, your Montreal Canadiens’ crucial win over the Winnipeg Jets was very much in doubt.
But there were third-period heroics, and the upshot is there will be a hockey game at the Bell Centre next Tuesday.
The Canadiens having secured a spot in the upper tier of Eastern Conference playoff seedings, here’s a question for the Commentariat to chew over on Friday morning:
Should Andrei Markov play in Toronto on Saturday night?

He definitely could use a night off.

Markov played 21 games in the KHL  – with Chekhov Vityaz, which sounds like a theatre troupe. And through 47 NHL games, Markov is averaging in excess of 24 minutes and  looking more and more like Uncle Vanya.

Also, bad things happen to Markov at the Air Canada Centre, where he was cut by Carey Price’s skate blade and suffered his first knee injury when hit by Mikhail Grabovski, of all people.

The 4-2 win over the Jets put the Canadiens beyond the reach of Toronto. So Saturday’s game is not a showdown for home ice in the opening round.

I’d be tempted to rest Markov and Josh Gorges. I might even be tempted to start Peter Budaj.

Except for one factor: the Canadiens can still win the Northeast Division. And that might mean a more favourable opening-round match-up than the psychodrama that would ensue if they played Toronto.

On the postgame edition of L’Antichambre, Guy Carbonneau’s “manchette” was “Rien de convaincant encore.” Translation: the win over Winnipeg did not convince Carbo that the Canadiens have recovered from their late-season woes.

The Canadiens were bad in the first period and mediocre in the second, Carbo said. Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec was weak on two goals, and a dumb Too Many Men penalty created the 5-on-3 power play that produced David Desharnais’s winning goal.

Best aspect of the win for Carbo?

The play of Carey Price. The goaltender made saves – notably that amazing stop on Blake Wheeler’s breakaway – that kept the Canadiens in the game.

I liked Price, too. I also liked Lars Eller, Brendan Gallagher, Alex Galchenyuk and Rene Bourque. During the third period, there were signs of life from the David Desharnais line after Michel Therrien made an in-game adjustment, switching Gallagher and Bourque.

On the back end, the Canadiens got another stud performance from P.K. Subban: 25 minutes, four shots on goal plus another five that were blocked. Jarred Tinordi played almost 16 minutes and had seven of the Canadiens 16 hits (nine others had one each; P.K. and Markov had none).

Raphael Diaz played 19:39, including 2:17 on a Canadiens’ penalty-kill that was 2-for-2 after being lit up during the team’s slump. Michel Therrien did not use Markov or Subban on the PK.

Tomas Plekanec’s line continued to struggle. Not much talk lately about whether the Canadiens will sign Michael Ryder this summer. He’ll need a strong playoff performance to make a case for a new contract … and I doubt it will be with the Canadiens.

The fourth line didn’t do much. Brandon Prust had one shot and no hits. He’s playing hurt and might be a candidate to be rested on Saturday …. the more so because the valiant Prust would probably have to drop ‘em with one of the Toronto thugs whom Randy Carlyle will dispatch to “set the tone” for the playoffs.

That’s why I’m glad home ice won’t be in the balance at the ACC. Coming on the heels of what we’ve been seeing for the past two weeks, the Canadiens being gooned out of fourth place on Saturday would be too much to bear.

I’m still with Carbo, standing skeptically beside the CH bandwagon.

The Canadiens have not beaten a playoff team since edging the Bruins 2-1 on April 6. That will be three weeks ago on Saturday.

But the franchise goaltender was good in New Jersey and Winnipeg.

And even through the slump, the young core of the team – to which we can now add Tinordi’s name – offered hope of a bright future for the franchise.

On to TO … and absolutely no pressure.

 

 

788 Comments

  1. gumper says:

    Can anyone direct me to Gallagher’s comments on Kadri, and to Lupul “running his mouth”?
    Thanks

    The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.
    Mark Twain

  2. Danno says:

    The new thread is late

    ________________________________________

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

  3. 306Hab says:

    MT should rest Markov and Prust for sure. Not that Price needs the rest but I think having Budaj in net Saturday would be a smart move.

    Get ready for a war against TO next week.

  4. issie74 says:

    I was told by a fellow Hab fan, the odor over the City of TO is only mothballs and it will be gone in a couple of weeks!!!

    NorthTOHab

  5. Bripro says:

    OK my last blog before poker and beer night (applause).

    Who would you rather that Habs meet in the first round?

    1. The Leafs
    2. The Islanders
    3. The Rangers
    4. The Senators

  6. Skeptical says:

    Toughness is the only thing we have against us going against the Leafs. Everything else. we are the better team.

  7. pmaraw says:

    So Lupul is running his mouth…

  8. Steeltown Hab says:

    MTL Canadiens Awards from Steeltown Habs:

    Call-up of the year: Dumont

    Unsung Hero: Alexei Emelin

    Mr. Everything: Tomas Plekanec

    Breakout Player of the year: Brendan Gallagher

    Comeback player of the year: Markov

    Offensive Player of the year: PK Subban

    Most Improved Player: Diaz / Eller

    MVP: PK Subban

    ———————————

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

  9. Mr. Biter says:

    Actually there was no doubt the Habs were going to win last night unless the beach ball scenario was in effect. Was at the game and Even though the Jets had 2 leads ( Price must have hardest pass in NHL the way it hit Boullions stick and sent him flying for the 1st goal). Jets crowd was dead even after their goals were scored. Lots of Habs Fans there and Jets just playing out their last game. Was at Canes game couple of weeks ago and the build was wild all game, all night. Last night quiet like “Downtown Abby’s” wake would be. Even the fans knew it was all over.

    Mr. Biter
    No Guts No Glory

    • Habitant in Surrey says:

      …it must have been in the second intermission that the Jets found out their season was over, because for the first 2 periods I was thinking another loss for Our Habs

  10. rhino514 says:

    If one digs a bit deeper when looking at the current playoff possibilities, it is truly fascinating.
    At first I was wary of the habs beating TO on saturday because of the possibilities of having to to play the Sens thereafter.
    If the bruins lose one of their two games and the habs beat toronto: here are the possibilities:
    Sens get 0 or one point: most likely finish 8th
    Sens get 3 points: finish in 6th
    sens get 4 points: finish 5th and play the habs unless we beat leafs in overtime (wow, what do you do here if we have a one goal lead late in the game vs TO if u are MB/MT)

    Sens get 2 points: can finish seventh and play habs if the above events occur.
    But here is the catch: the Sens´last game is vs Boston. If Boston beats ottawa, the bruins will “probably” (i´m assuming they get at least a point vs the flyers) finish 2nd which means we finish 4th

    So the Sens collecting 2 points or 4 points are the dangerous events; But i´d say the 2 point scenario is highly unlikely in that the Sens would have to LOSE to the flyers, and then BEAT the bruins (not the other way around), in that order, for us to play them in the first round. In the 4 point scenario, it only works if we have a regulation win vs TO)
    I´m no statistician, but i reckon the chances of either of those events happening is less than 50/50, if the bruins don´t win out, and they might well win out anyway.
    It´s a tough call but i figure the habs should just try to beat the Leafs. If they do so, it´s more than likely that they will a) meet the leafs anyway if the bruins win out or b) meet one of the NY teams (unfortunately more likely to be the rangers than the isles)
    Either option is better than meeting the Sens, and it would be a great feat and cap off a a great year to be able to win the division after coming back from a last year´s last place finish.

    Of course, if Boston by some stretch of the imagination is losing to Washington on saturday (normally i´d give a big egde to the caps, but they have nothing to play for, so no one knows what caps team will show up) , we then reaallllly want to beat TO.

  11. Danno says:

    Do you ever wonder what is the true identity of some of the people behind their HIO avatars? I do.

    ________________________________________

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

  12. commandant says:

    Take 2nd place if you can get it by winning on Saturday.

    Don’t worry about the Isles or the Leafs as a matchup. Fact is you gotta beat whoever is in front of you to win the cup, but being a number 2 seed over a number 4 is an advantage.

    The H2H regular season records are near meaningless as countless playoff series over the years show.

    Go Habs Go!
    Your 2013 NHL Draft Headquarters, Now Open.
    http://lastwordonsports.com/

    • ed says:

      I completely agree with you Commandant.

      And I would add it is NOT the time to start pulling players out of this lineup which is still trying to recover it’s lost momentum.

  13. Mattyleg says:

    Hi everyone.
    I’m glad we won.

    I was thinking today about how confidence is a funny thing.
    Here’s a true story:

    I finished up a very high-pressure, work-heavy contract about 3 weeks ago. I do a lot of comedy improv in my spare time, and I’m good at it, and a lot of young improvisers look up to me for guidance through example.

    In the weeks during my mad work-rush, I was performing very well. No stress, no pressure, every scene I touched was gold, and it was all very clear to me what I needed to do to make a scene work, to make it easy for my partners, and to make it funny.

    Then I was off work for a bit, enjoyed the break from the pressure, worked on the house, and tried to do a couple of personal projects… and I hit a wall. I can’t explain it, but suddenly things dried up for me. The concept of doing renovations was no longer interesting, my personal projects were foundering… and I felt like shit.

    The lyrics of this song started going through my mind.

    And it started to show in my improvising. My performances were hesitant, uncertain. And this made me feel insecure. And I started feeling insecure about everything. Other performers didn’t want to play with me, I was convinced. Nobody was interested in what I had to say.

    And this made me negative. And it became a self-fulfilling prophesy: I wasn’t fun to be around because I was wrapped up in my head. And the ONLY thing that could save me… was success. This would build my confidence. But how do you get success when you’re trying too hard, and/or are a pile of negative energy?!

    I was driving myself crazy feeling sorry for myself until I saw that the Habs were going through the same thing, and that the only answer, the only thing that will pull me out of my personal slump is the same thing that I knew they needed to do to get through their woes: hard work.

    Hard F*@king Work.

    And the belief that you can do it, ’cause you’ve done it before.

    Blue Rodeo nailed it, but there is a way through.
    I’m finding it, and so is my team.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  14. Bripro says:

    Anyone want to wager MT puts Moen in for tomorrow night?
    It’s probation time, Travis. Play or sit out the playoffs!

  15. Bripro says:

    One thing that irked me last night was the Jets’ fans booing Subban. Why would they do that?
    I understand Baastin. He’s a Bs killer.
    I understand Toronna. He was born there. They probably feel he’s deserted them. Why give up the centre of the universe?
    But booing in the Peg? I don’t get it.
    It has to be a media thing.
    But I’d put my hand in the fire that all those booing yahoos would love to have him. Too bad he’s ours. :)

  16. SteverenO says:

    Was nice to get the win yesterday, and to (finally) see the coaching staff make some much needed adjustments.

    Markov NOT playing on the PK was a good move. Pairing MArkov with Subban was also a good move. Subban is tehonly player that can “potentially” cover for MArkov’s lack of speed and mobility right now.

    I have a feeling we got lucky yesterday, even with Subban being paired with Markov, It seemed like the Jets had great scoring chances on every one of their shifts.

    Mgt still insists on the Patches,DD,and Gallagher line for the PP. They did score yesterday on a 5 on 3. and hopefully that will boost their confidence but it’s really foolish not to have been trying various combos these last few games. even with the PP goal yesterday, Gallagher has been on for 9 PP goals in 101 MInutes versus Bourque’s 10 PPGs in 70 minutes and Eller’s % PP goals in 30 Minutes.

    It would not be wrong to say that Price “stole” this game, and while that bodes well for Price getting back to his former self, it is worrisome that we needed sensational goaltending on our side, combined with terrible goaltending on their side And a 5 on 3 powerplay to win the game.

    As for Saturday against the leafs, I hope that Markov, and a handful of others, Price included, will be given the night off.

    Beating the leafs with less than our “TOP” lineup would do wonders for the teams confidence and morale heading into the playoffs.

    There are only 4 possibilities:

    a) Play our top line and win
    b) Play our top line and lose
    c) Don;t play our top line and win
    d) Don;’t play our top line and lose

    Ranking the four four possible outcomes, from best to worst:

    C, A, D, B

    since C is a better outcome than A (some players get rested)
    and D is better than B confidence remains higher and players get rested)

    the smarter option is to rest a few of the weary warriors.

    regards,

    Steve O.

    • myron.selby says:

      You know if coaching was as easy as doing a bunch of calculations about scoring stats, on ice minutes per goal scored or given up, they could hire someone for minimum wage to run a simple computer app instead of paying so much for these guys who’ve actually spent years learning about it.

      I think a lot of the people on this site are the ones the quote about listening to fans being the quickest way to lose was written about.

      • SteverenO says:

        There are other aspects to coaching that can NOT be replaced by number crunching; setting style of play ,motivating players, teaching zone break-outs,etc……

        If you could think of a reason why it makes sense to continue deploying players in roles that that they have been ineffective, please share it.

        It is BECAUSE they are paying the coaches so much thay Iwould expect that they do their research. …..

        The PP is doing well 4th overall Success in the league, nothing to worry about, right? Well upon analysis one line (Plek,Gionta (Bourque/Ryder) is extremely successful., the second line with ( DD, PATCH ) wave (since Gallagher was added) extremely UNSUCCESSFUL. after 100 minutes of PP utilization with very poor results, do you think that it may be time to try a different combination?

        Do you think that the “highly paid ” coaches may have noticed that playing MArkov as much as they has reduced his effectiveness?

        How good would it have been had Markov been rested for an entire week immediately after we clinched the playoffs? do yo thin we could have been blown out in 5 of 6 games without him?

        do you think that the highly paid coaches could find another option in the last 5 minutes against the Devils ,than playing a tired defenseman who had not been on the ice when a goal was scored for his last 120 minutes of ice time?

        Do you think it would have made sense when Tinordi was called up the first time (for 6 games) that he be allowed to play in the third periods?
        Does the fact that we won yesterday partially because the coaching staff did what a lot of fans on this site have been begging them to do (reduce Markov playing time/ take Markov off the PK) mean anything?

        I watched a once great player look completely lost out there last night, yet the highly paid coaching staff still couldn’t manage to keep his TOI under 20 minutes.

        The fact that they pay someone a lot of money to do a job does not, in itself, make that person immune from making poor decisions .

        regards,

        Steve O.

        • myron.selby says:

          All good points. But the thing you might want to consider is that these guys didn’t get where they are by being stupid.

          I write SCADA software to control pipelines. One of the things I’ve learned is that quite often when the operations guys are asking me to do something that is really stupid, it’s because they have a requirement that I don’t know about. Once they explain why they want me to do it a certain way, it makes perfect sense.

          So maybe give a little thought that there may be a whole bunch of parameters here that you don’t know anything about. If every fan can see that something doesn’t make sense and yet the coach/manager continues to do it, perhaps this might explain it.

          How about this – if they are getting results (and its hard to argue with the season the Habs had this year) it might just indicate that they know something about how to get things done. It doesn’t have to make sense to you and me or line up with statistics, it just has to work.

  17. Steeltown Hab says:

    You gotta eat up those comments of Gallagher on Kadri, someone needs to expose him.

    ———————————

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

  18. rhino514 says:

    The thing is if they win it´s 50/50 they get the Sens.
    I don´t think anybody wants to get the sens now.

    • johnnylarue says:

      Honestly, the only two teams in the East I have any confidence we could beat are the Bruins and Rangers.

      All the others make me equally nervous.

    • Habsrule1 says:

      We can beat the sens. They scored the same amount of goals when Karlsson was gone as when he was there (very few). Anderson has has a very good stretch of 25 or so games. Look at his career. He’s not that great.
      Mosty hockey fans have never heard of 1/2 of their line-up.

      Go Habs Go!!

      “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

  19. Bash says:

    I changed my mind! Screw TO!

    Ice the best team we can (not the injured) and bring em on!

    “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” (anon)

    • bel33 says:

      I was biting my lip as two guys at work (I live/work in Toronto) were talking like it was a done deal… beat the Habs on Sat night… and then in the first round they couldn’t decide if it would like 5 or 6 games to finish off the Habs in the 1st round.

      I love the city… but I loathe Leaf fans.

      • Timo says:

        Well, isn’t how you folks talk on here? From what I read it’s a done deal that Habs will beat the laffs tomorrow and finish second.

        • Habfan10912 says:

          Yeah but we’re right!!!! :)

        • bel33 says:

          Exactly… Fanatic/crazy is only what side of the fence you’re on.

          They have made the playoffs for the first time in a decade…. but they haven’t won anything yet.

          Be fun to see how “aggressive” Lupul and his buddies are when they aren’t icing Orr and McLaren because they are horrible hockey players.

    • Seps says:

      Welcome to the “cool” side ;-)

  20. Hobie Hansen says:

    Like another poster stated, It’s quite possible Boston loses one of their two remaining games. If Montreal wins and the teams end up tied, Montreal takes 2nd because of a higher ROW total.

    Therefore, I think the Habs should go all out on Saturday night.

  21. commandant says:

    My morning article said Compher elevates in key moments. Guess who scored today’s GWG for Team USA in OT.

    Canada vs USA on Sunday for U18 Gold

    Go Habs Go!
    Your 2013 NHL Draft Headquarters, Now Open.
    http://lastwordonsports.com/

  22. Sportfan says:

    GO HABS GO MECHANTE VENDREDI MOLSON M!

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!
    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

  23. habs001 says:

    The reality is sitting players one game on sat may help for game one but after that it will make no difference

  24. Bill says:

    Dunboyne Mike: Price has had some off games lately but last night wasn’t one. I think he played the first goal right: butterfly goalies take away the bottom of the net and take up space and make the shooter have to make the perfect shot. Sometimes they do.

    The main thing people coma in about Price is his allowing perceived “momentum killing” goals or not coming up with a big save at a big time. But he did that last night on the Wheeler breakaway.

    So good game for him. Hope it continues!

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Agree about the Wheeler stop and other big saves (including a scrambly mess where he ended up in the net but the puck didn’t).

      But still not convinced about the first goal, even though I hear you on butterfly style.

      Price goes down, puck goes behind net, Price stays down, tries to see from which side puck will emerge, when it does, he’s still down, now waiting for the shot, offering bigger targets above both his blocker and glove, giving himself more work to do if the shooter does elect to go upstairs (which he did), and plus he’s less mobile if the shooter decides to pass across the front

      Or, is that not what happened?! I’m a Price fan, but I said bad words on that goal.

      • Seps says:

        The thing is when the goalie can’t see he has to cover the bottom because there’s a better chance the puck comes through the bottom of a screen then the top.

        On the goal he wasn’t horrendously screened but their were a few bodies.

        Edit: It’s like baseball, it’s a percentage play. Shift the Outfield in and you wonder why it goes over their heads, keep the outfield out and you’re making them hit singles.

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          Seps….
          No screen.

          And yes, Bill, he had a much better game. He still needs to recover from being shelled for 2 weeks, which is why I hope he plays against the Leafs and has a biggie.

          • Seps says:

            You’re right on the screen upon further review but IMO he played it right, there wasn’t really a time where the play slowed so he could stand up again. With so many bodies around most goalies in the show will be on their knees. The days of Marty and the stand-ups are over haha.

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            Believe me, I want to believe!

          • Seps says:

            Hahaha

    • Old Bald Bird says:

      When I watch hilites. I see most goalies down when goals are scored. Also, not too many look good on goals. I agree that he’s been lately off, but I think we have some pretty high expectations of Price and see in slow-motion retrospect how he could have stopped every single shot. Of course, most of our goals focus ont he brilliance of the shooter.

  25. HankHardball says:

    BOS isn’t going to beat both WAS and OTT in 24hrs with travel in between.

    How do you justify just handing over 2nd seed to BOS because you were afraid TOR?

    What will the rest of the league think of the Habs then?

    What will the players think of their coach’s lack of commitment to winning?

    If the Habs beat the Leafs tomorrow, they don’t play them again this year. Everybody suits up. Price starts.

    • habs-fan-84 says:

      It’s sad isn’t it.

    • Danno says:

      Winners win by winning. Not by taking a day off.

      ________________________________________

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

    • Seps says:

      Agreed. You play 48 (82 games) a season to try and make the playoffs and finish higher up so you get an easier opponent. Why would we give up in our last game when we still have a chance at it. And that’s besides the fact we could really use the confidence from a win.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Ok devil’s advocate.

      (and I think ye and Et le but and others are probably right about this).

      But there IS an assumption you all make, which is that resting guys and playing Dogs automatically results in defeat.

      Does it?

      Replace fatigued, sore guys with extremely hungry fit fast young guys, against a team that everyone says is succeeding almost entirely on the basis of goonerie and luck! Why can’t an altered Habs team WIN that game, destroy the morale of the swaggering Leafs, while simultaneously letting key players re-charge for Tuesday?

      (But I would definitely play Price)

      • Seps says:

        I’ll play devil’s advocate to your devil’s advocate,

        So if you’re right and we win, say we end up playing them first round anyways… We lose game one now what… Do we go back to the Bulldog guys who won, or chance losing again with our main lineup? It could result in some unneeded drama… Just because it’s Montreal ;-)

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          Maybe once the playoffs start it would be more mixed, ie not all kids or all regulars. What MT gets paid for!

          But to answer your devilish question: if my regulars lose game 1 (badly, à la current form) and I have to choose between playing them again or sending out the kids, I — who has never received a red cent for coaching a team — would send out the kids.

          And if the kids win, I keep milking that cow til she gives beer!

      • HankHardball says:

        If the Dogs weren’t good enough to play on Thursday, then they’re not good enough to play on Saturday.

        Fatigued? They play 3 games in the 8 days leading up to the 1st playoff game.

        Sore? This is what they get paid millions for. They’ll have almost 3 months off in the summer to recover.

        I repeat my question: How do you justify just laying down and handing 2nd seed to the Bruins?

        • Old Bald Bird says:

          I don’t care so much if the players are fatigued and sore, but if resting them really helps the team in the games to follow, I’m all for it. In the end, I will live with what the team decides and try not to soil myself over this issue.

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          Ok, to be clear on this!

          I’m not talking fatigued as in I’d-rather-stay-in-and-watch-tv, and sore as in nothing a nice soothing bubble bath with candles couldn’t fix!

          I mean professionally fatigued and sore, the upshot of a small team getting battered in a tough division, and the prospect of some rest having a real impact on how they play Tuesday.

    • Habcouver says:

      Aside from Markov, the habs should field their full team against the Laffs. Price will handle the pressure just fine. This is a young team that can only build character and confidence in the playoffs. Nothing to lose… this season has been awesome, and the Habs’ future looks bright!

      Waiting patiently for #25

    • Et le but says:

      I say look your demons right in their eyes and confront them with your A game and your head held high.

      Wether now or later in the playoffs, we need to overcome our fears of certain opponents, styles and game plans, if we have any hopes of advancing beyond the first round.

      I say that Saturday is a perfect opportunity to begin that process.

      Ice the best lineup possible, coach minutes played and situations intelligently, and slay the opponent Maple Leafs, or at the very least, sew seeds of doubt in their psyches.

      It’s gonna be a beauty!

    • Ghosts of the Forum says:

      Agree with you — just to note though, we can lose on Saturday and still finish second (if the Bs lost both their games, we’d win on the tiebreaker [ROW])

    • jon514 says:

      You’re right. I don’t know how we’d match up against the Leafs in the playoffs, but one thing is for sure, I’d rather play the Rangers. Didn’t we sweep the season series against them?

  26. Seps says:

    Why does it seem like everyone counting us out on the site… I have confidence in us against Pittsburgh.

    Goaltending – Us
    Defense – Us
    Forwards – Penguins
    Special teams – Even

    Does that matchup not sound appetizing?
    Defence wins championships ladies and gents.

    Blackhawks:

    Goaltending – Us
    Defence – Them
    Forwards – Them in terms of stars, us in depth
    Special teams – Even

    That’s a crazy matchup right there. Crawford could prove as their undoing.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      You’re talking everyone bringing his A-Game every night, right?

    • habs001 says:

      The pk for the Habs us does not look good vs teams like Pitts and Chi …

      • Seps says:

        We used to have a good PK before the last 3 weeks, Pittsburgh still has a worse PK than us as of right now (marginal but we’ll take it). Chicago on the other hand has a much better PK, you’re right on them.

        • habs001 says:

          The Habs can survive a poor pk if they score at a high rate on the pp but that is not a sure thing…it is frustrating that you play even or win 5/5 but lose the pp/pk and that causes you to get beaten in regulation or o/t…

          • Seps says:

            Yeah that’s why special teams are so big, but I’m with you on that it’s tough to rely on a PP come the post-season. There’s no guarantee you’re going to get the calls from the refs.

            Going by what you said, it would give us a bigger edge on Pittsburgh since their PK has been atrocious all season but Chicago would be very dangerous. However no guarantee Chicago comes out of the West, their could be LA, St. Louis… Why am I not feeling any better listing those names?

  27. Bardya says:

    Check out Bobrovsky’s top 10 saves on nhl.com. Insane.

  28. Habilis says:

    “Chris Johnston ‏@reporterchris
    Joffrey Lupul on how the #leafs match up with the #habs: “We’re physically a lot bigger and stronger.””

    Funny coming from a guy who is apparently made of plate glass. Man, I hope we play them.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Would it just be too incendiary for me to post a link to this morning’s Star article in which Mark Zwolinski argues that the best first-round match-up for the Leafs is the Habs?

    • jedimyrmidon says:

      Well, maybe their D is…

      At forward, they’re not exactly full of powerforwards. They score off the rush a lot.

  29. frontenac1 says:

    If Prust is injured then yes,sit him on Sat.If Markov”s knee is giving him problems then sit him too. Otherwise, nobody else . Whitey needs to play to get his timing back and to wreak havoc,if needed.And tell Moener that this is the start of the playoffs.

  30. Hstands4Hockey says:

    Starting Budaj is a no-brainier – he’s been better than Price against Toronto this year and Price could use the rest.

    Sitting Markov is also smart, not just to give Markov a rest. Give our younger D (Diaz, Tinordi, Drewskie) a chance to log some big minutes. They need to be MUCH BETTER if Montreal’s going to win in the playoffs.

    As for the forwards,give the kids tons of minutes for the same reason. Rest guys like Ryder and Gionta who clearly need a rest. Do what the leafs do to use every year when they’re out of the running – dress all our AHL goons to take runs at Kessel and Lupul.

    Rule #76: No Excuses, Play Like a Champion!
    @Hstands4Hockey

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Mostly agree, but don’t you think Price needs to get the monkey off his back in TO before the playoffs?

      • Hstands4Hockey says:

        You’re making the assumption he plays well. Could work the other way and get lit up again, especially if we rest a bunch of guys. Worst case he’s going into the playoffs after a solid game against Winnipeg.

        Rule #76: No Excuses, Play Like a Champion!
        @Hstands4Hockey

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          Well, almost an assumption. More like he owes the team a strong game in the ACC, and he does have the wherewithal to provide it.

          But my thinking was that if he played another stinker, then we know NOW that we should start Budaj if we meet the Leafs in the playoffs.

          (Also, I’m not convinced he had a strong game last night. Some very good saves, yes, but in the context of 2 periods against a crestfallen (UCE’s word!) side. The first goal, when he stayed on his knees, was a worrying softie reminiscent of other recent first-period goals.)

          • Et le but says:

            I say look your demons right in their eyes and confront them with your A game and your head held high.

            Wether now or later in the playoffs, we need to overcome our fears of certain opponents, styles and game plans, if we have any hopes of advancing beyond the first round.

            I say that Saturday is a perfect opportunity to begin that process.

            Ice the best lineup possible and slay the opponent Maple Leafs, or at the very least, sew seeds of doubt in their psyches.

            It’s gonna be a beauty!

    • habs-fan-84 says:

      A no brainer?

      If Price is just starting to get into a rhythm and getting some confidence back he should be playing in Toronto.

      Also, we should be going all out for the 2 points tomorrow (we still have a real shot at finishing 2nd in the Conference). I have no problem resting Prust as he’s been injured for some time now and has been given some games off in the last few weeks. Lastly, If Markov is that tired that he needs to be “rested” then he should retire (yes I know he played in Russia during the lockout). Dress Markov and limit his TOI.

  31. Habitant in Surrey says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAgRzmFPaqQ

    Tex Ritter Ranch Party Rockabilly!

    …for You ol’ Hip Hab Farts into country music

    …TV quality gives You Youngins an idea of what We older Farts would watch Our Habs on back in da Good Ol’ Dayz :)

    …early Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, George Jones among udders

  32. Ghosts of the Forum says:

    Everything could (probably will) still be up in the air after Saturday…that Ottawa-Boston game will have all sorts of positioning implications.

  33. HammerHab says:

    I’m less concerned about 2nd place and more concerned about our players being healthy enough to get out of the 1st round, especially if we play the Leafs we’ll need our guys in peak form. Rest the weary and the injured. Tuesday’s game means much more than tomorrow’s game.

    ———————————–

    It’ll always be Habs Inside/Out to me

    • Habfan10912 says:

      I’m with you Hammer. Tuesday is the game I want to win more. Prust clearly should sit regardless, don’t you think?

      • HammerHab says:

        I say sit Markov, Gorges, Prust & even Price. Ryder should be in the press box just because of his recent play, I don’t think he’s as gassed or hurt as the other skaters I mentioned.

        ———————————–

        It’ll always be Habs Inside/Out to me

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          Hammer, I agree about resting those guys but am wondering about Price. He doesn’t need “a rest” — so if he sits to improve our chances of beating the Leafs, what message does he read in that concerning team confidence in him? I actually think that, for the sake of the playoffs, he should confront his demons on Saturday.

          On the other hand, if Budaj starts I’d be happy. Always good to give the back-up a chance in games that matter.

          • HammerHab says:

            Price has his confidence back. I say take that into the playoffs , don’t risk the goonery that will surely come tomorrow throwing off his game & confidence. The Leafs would be less “goonie” (Heyyyy youuuu guyyyys!!!!) on Tuesday.

            ———————————–

            It’ll always be Habs Inside/Out to me

    • Et le but says:

      There are three days to rest and restore after Saturday’s game; an eternity in this compressed schedule of a season.

      You are right about the importance of Tuesday’s game but I can’t think of any upside to playing it safe, resting key players, avoiding injury (except for Kaberle), when we still have 1st in the division within reach. That and the psychological importance of defeating the Leafs in their barn to close out the season on a positive note.

      • HammerHab says:

        what good is home ice in the 2nd round if you can’t get there? you take whatever may come and go with it.

        edit: plus I can see the Rags beating the B’s and the Sens beating the Caps giving us home ice anyways….

        ———————————–

        It’ll always be Habs Inside/Out to me

  34. habs001 says:

    A few weeks ago i stated that i hope the Habs dont get beaten in a close series because of the pk…Even with other issues surfacing i still believe the pk could end up as a major factor in getting beat…

  35. Hobie Hansen says:

    I haven’t been on HIO or really even watched the Habs since the loss of Emelin and the ugly skid that followed. I was going to tune in when the playoffs started and hope for a miracle.

    You often get jumped on this site for suggesting the Habs are too small and have to get bigger. Lone behold, that’s all every hockey person in the galaxy was talking about the past week and it resulted in Tinordi (my favourite prospect) getting called back up.

    I’m hoping Tinordi can make the difference at this very early stage in his career because when I saw that Diaz, Weber, Markov, Bouillon and Gorges were in the lineup the other night, all small, I thought it would be a clean sweep for whoever we faced in the playoffs.

    We’re playing with house money as they say because nobody expected us to be this good this early. But the games are getting tougher and more physical, as they always due come playoff time.

    Bergevin might not have to make a trade at all this summer because we’ll get a big boost in size and toughness by having Emelin, Beaulieu and Tinordi in the lineup next season.

    Keeping my fingers crossed that the defense can somehow hold up in the playoffs this year!

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      Agree. Probably everybody’s happy to see size on the horizon. Isn’t the deal with Tinordi that he just needs to put away about 8 beef cattle between now and October?

      • Hobie Hansen says:

        Exactly, in a year or two opposing players will be bouncing right off him when he puts on about 30-40 lbs. He’s pretty thin at 205lbs.

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          Truly, I forgot how small we are on D until I watched all the league highlights from last night. Even teams like Florida have size at the back, as do our friends in TO.

          Ultimately, there should never be a free pass to cross the Montreal blueline. Every opposing forward must be made divert at least part of his attention to avoiding the possibility of being given a seat in the blues.

        • HammerHab says:

          I saw him walking around here in Hamilton a few days ago and man did he look thin….his height sure does make him appear thinner though

          ———————————–

          It’ll always be Habs Inside/Out to me

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            Bill Cosby:

            “My first girl-friend weighed 240lb. And she wasn’t fat!
            But boy, was she ever tall.”

          • kempie says:

            I used to watch Pronger when he played junior for the Petes. A couple of times I found myself standing beside him and I couldn’t believe how skinny the kid was. He was about 6’6″ as well, same size as Tinordi. When a young guy that size gets on skates they look like they could be 150 lbs. Be patient, it will take a little longer with him because of his size but he’ll be a good one. I bet people had the same impression of Chara when he was young.

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            Anyone remember Petr Svoboda’s first game? I think he was listed at 160lb!

    • KenD29 says:

      Not sure I would rely on Beaulieu to be banging players around. Not his style of game.

      All About Work Ethic

  36. I just sent the memo out.

    Price sits, Markov, Bouillon, Gorges, Pleks, Gionta, Ryder, Prust.

    OK, BLUEJAYS, LETS, PLAY, BALL!

    FYI, I hate the Jays!

    GO METS GO

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

  37. HabinBurlington says:

    Washington has now clinched 3rd seed, I can’t see them dressing full compliment or going hard in their game against Boston. Ottawa game will be the dangerous one for Bruins.

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      First game back from severed achilles, Karlsson scores opener and assists on OT winner! YIKES!

      • HabinBurlington says:

        I really hate to correct my good friend hanging out by the Blarney Stone, but Karlsson got assists on both goals, first was his shot deflected in, and second was a pass. CHeers!

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          My bad, Burly!
          Oh well, it was a pretty severe injury, so a slow start on his return was to be expected!

          (And I’ve never been to the BS!)

      • HammerHab says:

        why does nobody mention markov when talking about how fast karlsson came back. have we forgotten already? karlsson was gone for 71 days, markov for 79….karlsson got 2 assists in his return, markov got 2 goals.

        ———————————–

        It’ll always be Habs Inside/Out to me

        • HabinBurlington says:

          Good Point, probably though because not long after he hurt his knee. I sometimes wonder if his overly quick rehab, perhaps slightly changed his stride thus weakening the knee. That is the problem/fear of rushing back to much, that the person/body starts compensating without the player even realizing he/she is doing so.

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            And you couldn’t help but wonder if Karlsson has done the very same under pressure from medical advice paid for by the club…

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          Fair point!

  38. Et le but says:

    Good afternoon commentariat!

    Since the division, and by extension home ice advantage to at least the conference final, is still within our reach, we have to play to win Saturday night and should ice our very best lineup.

    That being said, MT should meter out ice time judiciously, as he did against Winnipeg last night. No need to see Markov on the PK. Maybe White could replace Prust. Carey has to get the start.

    Wether we meet them in the first round or later, we need to stare down the Leafs on Saturday and play them the way we had success this season, by pushing the pace and being hungry on the puck.

    We can’t be afraid to draw Toronto as our opponent and a win on Saturday would go along way towards exorcising some of the fears and notions (especially here on HIO) that we can’t beat them.

    I say, bring ‘em on!

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      All that makes perfect sense, and I’m actually sure you’re right.

      Still, there’s a small voice in my head saying, Rest the old and injured for Tuesday, and send the kids out with this message: Go beat the Leafs. I would like to see that.

      • Et le but says:

        Me too…the part about ‘Go beat the Leafs’. Should be a beauty!

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          It will be!
          (and is there any chance we have a better shot at the win, just on this one particular occasion, by sending in the kids?… just a thought)

          • Et le but says:

            The ‘kids’ would certainly have lots of incentive to perform well for sure.

            I would like to think the shoe also fits the other foot in that a win on Saturday at the ACC would sew some seeds of doubt in the heads of the Leafs, should we meet them in the playoffs, which appears very likely this season.

            Whoever we ice for the final game, we have to play for the win.

        • KenD29 says:

          I would rather rest Markov, Gorges and Prust and have them in Tuesday to beat the Leafs then (if they and up facing each other).
          Prust is the only Hab player willing to drop them and he has been playing hurt. Why take the risk of having the Leafs target him tomorrow night and he ends up out for the playoffs?!

          All About Work Ethic

          • donmarco says:

            If any players are rested, I agree it should be those three. Besides, Moen deserves a shot at cracking the lineup and if he’s on his game he’s the type of player we need in the playoffs.

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          You’re absolutely right. Seeds of doubt are needed because to me it looks like the Leafs are currently enjoying an almost evangelical self-belief.

          They’re good, and like us they started off a long way down the ladder. But they’re nowhere near good enough to warrant that swagger. It could prove fragile.

          • donmarco says:

            I’m not sure whether your comments applies to,them, or to their fans. I doubt Carlyle is going to let them self inflate too much.

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            Fair enough.
            Delete swagger and leave it at self-belief, something Randy will want. And to be fair, they’ve earned an understandable amount of self-belief, and they’re a vastly improved team from last season.
            I just think their psyche is probably fragile, would be susceptible to a serious dip if they lost a couple.

  39. Dunboyne Mike says:

    So is the Norris a two-horser between PK and Letang?

  40. habs001 says:

    Okay i tap out..Head exploding about best first round opponent..There is no right answer..lol..

  41. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …so ??? …Lord Stanley this year ?

    …and ? …pull-a-boner for Conor ? …putrid for McDavid next year ??? :)

  42. habs001 says:

    Sabres beat Islanders today it could be Pitts vs Islanders(not sure if Ottawa does not get anymore points who wins tiebreaker)

  43. BJ says:

    If Washington wins over the Bruins and we beat the Leafs. We are in second. The Bruins and the Leafs could beat on each other in the first round.

    • Ghosts of the Forum says:

      We’re actually in second right now. The Bs are placed ahead in the standings because they have a game in hand…but they still need points from it :)

      Even if we lose Saturday we could end up in second (if Bs lose both their games). If we win, Bs need three points from their last two games.

      The tiebreaker is ROW, which we hold.

  44. otter649 says:

    People worry about The Leafs playing tough & dirty against The Habs how can it be any worse than in 2011 when Pacs got hurt & the big brawl that regular season with The Bruins barely beating Montreal in the playoffs with 3 OT wins in seven games on Boston’s way to winning The Stanley Cup……

  45. Skeptical says:

    Unless something drastically happens. I can see Chicago drinking from the cup 2013.

  46. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …’Uncle Vanya’ :) …I’m afraid I’ll forever think of Andrei as Uncle Vanya from now on …perfect :)

    …We have 3 promising A-grade studs just itching and ready to sub on D for Markov, Bouillion and Gorges Saturday against da Weeds

    …Beaulieu, Pateryn nor Tinordi would embarrass Themselves …size and mobility, exactly needed for Toronto

    …Budaj should play too, because a potential stinker by Carey in a meaningless last game before the playoffs will send a shiver down both Carey’s and My psyches

    …this has been a psychologically and physically taxing 2 to 3 weeks for Our Guys, and it would be foolish not to give Markov, Gorges, Bouillion, Price and Prust a night off …both for a rest and avoid unnecessary injuries

    …that said, which One of Us thought it was conceivable our Habs would be playing in the post-season, let alone vying for first-place this season ? …Bravo !

    …We likely won last night’s game because the Jets learned before the third period they had been eliminated from the post-season, losing their motivation

    …yet, despite Our recent poor play I believe Our Guys will turn the switch back on, and We will have some fun when the games really count

    _________________________________________________________
    Habitant means PASSIONATE HOCKEY
    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=423049

    Campaign to Retire Toe Blake’s Number 6 !!!

  47. Luke says:

    Count down to beers:
    Imminent.

    Just a matter of how early I decide to leave this gosf foresaken heck hole.

    Plus, one of my bartenders is texting me already…

    Oh, I mean:
    Habs either rule or suck, based on the recent performance.
    Sorry to get off topic.

  48. sprague cleghorn says:

    One of the 3 big lies in country music: “Ladies and Gentlemen, here’s George Jones…”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tv8GaIkqtuI

    … ‘ow could we forget that?

  49. habs001 says:

    If Leafs win in regulation sat it is Leafs vs Habs…from espn
    Leafs goals per game 3rd..goals against 17th….pp 14th…pk 3rd…Habs goals per game 6th…goals against 16th…pp 5th…pk 24th…Very little difference in stats….The key could be pk vs pp..Habs goaltending should be better…forwards pretty close but the Leafs have 3 forwards who are no having great years but have scored 30.29 and 21 goals in previous seasons(Kulemin,Grabovski and MacArthur)…and Lupul has been unbelievable in the limited games he has played….I hope i am wrong but the Habs d will have major problems with the Leafs forwards..Habs may have to score 4/5 goals a game…

  50. Bill says:

    HFX-HabFan, history shows that is very often the best regular season teams who go farthest in the playoffs. Shouldn’t be shocking, but it does go against the conventional wisdom that the playoffs are “totally different” or a blank slate.

    Obvious exception is LAK last year, but don’t forget they were one of the best teams in the NHL from the second half on. Just had a bad start.

    All of this is to say that I agree, can’t see anyone beating the Pens, unless it is the Caps, who are this year’s Kings.

  51. Bill says:

    All in fun for me too Bripro, cheers back!

  52. Bill says:

    Re: resting players on Saturday. Would be nice, but I think the chance of finishing 2nd is too good to pass up.

    Completely impossible to say who takes 7th place, but I think the Rangers is likeliest. I like that matchup better than Ottawa, Islanders, or Leafs.

    Though the Leafs would be my second choice.

    • BJ says:

      Should it really matter? I would rather take on whoever comes and if we win great, if we lose then Bergevin and the gang will have a clearer picture of what’s needed to compete regardless of the opponents style.

    • Strummer says:

      I agree. We need to bring our A game and see how we stack up against the Leafs seeing as they may be our first round opponent.
      People on this site obsess too much on the Leafs goons and the possibility of players getting injured. That’s no way to carry on. We just need to play our game.
      There is almost no fighting in the post-season so it shouldn’t factor in the decision whether to sit guys to avoid injury.
      I recall Ryan White turning the other cheek in a game this season and drawing a double minor. That’s how we counter the goonery.

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


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