About last night …

Not a convincing win, but it was a vitally important W – one of the biggest of the season.

Imagine the nightmare scenario if the Canadiens had gone 0-for-Florda to stretch their losing streak to a season-high four games.

Montreal’s hockey fans would be in an uproar. The talk shows would bristle with urgent trade speculation.

The players would be booed at their annual blood drive today. The pressure to win at the Bell Centre on Saturday would be enormous, and quite possibly more than a young team could handle.

Christopher Higgins saved the bacon last night. Pouncing on a loose puck that Tomas Vokoun misplayed, Higgins gave Canadiens a chance to salvage a point.

Alex Kovalev, who had an off-game by his standards, secured the win – and two very valuable points – with that seeing-eye shot in OT.

But the Man of the Match, beyond question, was Carey Price. This was the goaltender we saw during those early-season road wins in Pittsburgh and Toronto: calm, cool, utterly confident.

Price made 35 saves last night and is a lead-pipe cinch to draw the start against Philadelphia on Saturday. And if he beats the Flyers … well, we’ve got ourselves a good old-fashioned goaltending controversy. 

 

Andrei Markov played 30 brilliant minutes last night. His skating and playmaking are off the charts. If, as expected, Roman  Hamrlik reurns on Saturday, Canadiens have three solid defence pairings: Markov-Mike Komisarek (who will have to be at his physical best against ther Flyers), Hamrlik-Ryan O’Byrne, who was excellent last night; and Josh Gorges (playing the right side, where he’s more comfortable) and Francis Bouillon (another moose who’ll be useful against Philly).

Higgins played a great game and so did Saku Koivu. There were signs – admittedly, against a Florida team missing five regulars – that the Captain’s line is about to shake off its lethargy. Sergei Kostitsyn is not completely in sync with his linemates, but he helps out with his hockey sense and smart positional play

A Koivu line resurgence is essential because as good as Tomas Plekanec-Andrei Kostitsyn and Kovalev have been, they can’t carry the team for the next six brutally-competitive weeks.

And the supporting cast is going to have to step up.

Accepted wisdom is you stand pat after a win, but Guy  Carbonneau may be tempted to tinker with his third and fourth lines.

I’d like to see Max Lapierre centring Guillaume Latendresse and Mark Streit. Because the Flyers are in town, Tom Kostopoulos and Steve Bégin should flank Bryan Smolinski (who was a team-leading 7-4 on faceoffs last night). 

• I  liked the PK last night. Steve Montador’s goal came at the end of a Florida power play and was a fluke deflection. Pleks, Kovy, Koivu and Higgins are great in shorthanded situations.

• Objects in the rear view mirror may be closer than they appear: Canadiens have three more games against the Buffalo Sabres.

• Michael Ryder: Trade the poor guy already. This is torture. Package him with Dandenault and Halak for Jarett Stoll or Chris Gratton.

• Breeze to the pressbox until further notice.

• If, as last night tantalizingly suggested, Carey Price is about to get World Juniors/Calder Cup hot, this city will go bananas. 

 

 

134 Comments

  1. krob1000 says:

    Thanks…. the “finally” part threw me off. I can’t access tsn from work.

  2. krob1000 says:

    I think he could regain his form with Sergei K as well. Heck his best game of the year in my opinion was on a line with Grabovski at center before he went down. Grabovski’s speed created all sorts of chances…I like him a lot until someone hits him then I worry if his career is in jeopardy. He needs to be stronger but you can’t teach speed like his.

  3. showey47 says:

    no, not dropped still charged

  4. Jonnyboy says:

    This is why I want Gratton.

  5. krob1000 says:

    “not been dropped finally”????? So they have not been dropped???? I don’t understand.

  6. the_vipah says:

    ….

    We don’t need Prospal, soft and a complete headcase. Boyle would be ok, but we have plenty of soft, small puck moving defencemen.

    Horrible trade.

  7. showey47 says:

    i think ryder would regain his form playing with the likes of ……. i don’t want to say it, but with ribeiro in dallas.

  8. likehoy says:

    who are these guys? and i still don’t think detroit will pick up dandy…

  9. likehoy says:

    i posted further down a comment about how ryder is being misplayed and how he has to just float. If ryder played on a line or a style that allowed him to float, he will be successful…but the more time he spends in the corner…the less time he spends in front of the net. Ryder has good goal-scoring instincts…but poor hockey sense…does that make sense?

  10. kevrob says:

    haiku:

    In Philly you know
    Koivu will be the razzle
    Kovy the dazzle

  11. Wops says:

    The charges against Ryan O’Byrne have not been dropped finally

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/feature/?fid=10460&hubname=

    _______________________________________
    CH is for Chris Higgins

  12. 24 Cups says:

    Ryder and Dandy for Justin Abdelkader
    or
    Ryder and Dandy for Darren Helm

    The Original 24 Cups

  13. likehoy says:

    detroit won’t want dandy back…their defence is the number 1 in the league…their offence is the number 2 in the league…dandy fits in as what?? the guy who talks to the media when he gets benched?? they have aaron downey

    ryder might fit in with detroit…but who will we get in return? kopecky, flippula, or franzen?? i wouldn’t take draper or maltby…hudler seems like an untouchable alongside zetter and dats…flippula would bet he best out of the 3 mentioned…but he might be an untouchable too…and sure as hell not worth JUST ryder…kopecky and franzen are both entering prime-age and they haven’t proved much so i wuoldn’t take a risk on either of them (26/28).

    another option could be mikael samuelsson…good two way player with good size and playmaking skill. he might fit in with lats.

  14. NLhabsfan says:

    Unmotivated rental? I wonder if any of us would be strong under such conditions.Would you be motivated?What would you do?How would your confidence be?Ryder is not picky with his contracts.He has said so many times.Where do you get this stuff?Ryder has been put on more line combination’s than there are hair on Carbo’s head.How do you adjust….how does anyone adjust?Even though if you check the stats on Ryder…I do,you will see even when he is playing he gets less time than anyone else on the team that is playing.The impatience of Carbo will someday be his undoing.To me this constant tinkering is hurting the team as a whole.I don’t blame Ryder if he wants to leave…what must be an intolerable situation.I have seen Ryder play from the AHL on up and haven’t seen him give nothing but his best.Reading the paper today Ryder says he wants to continue sign a longer deal which is something he has wanted from day one.This 30 goal scorer is not a flash in the pan and a lot of teams know it.I am sure Gainey has been offered something better than a 7 round draft choice.In the mean time Nero(Carbo) fiddles while Rome burns.

  15. stephen says:

    Intriguing proposition to say the least! What do you suppose that sort of package would fetch from the Wings? Besides their stars, I’m not too familiar with the “secondary” players on the scene…

  16. ClaytonM says:

    Anything can happen with the standings, but I’d like to see Ottawa and Buffalo play in the 1st round. The Sabres can get some payback and bounce the sans early, eliminating a huge threat and quieting some fans who are growing more obnoxious every day.

    If we finish in 4th or 5th we could be playing any team in the pack. In a best of 7 there’s no team I’d be afraid of facing as long as we start firing on all cylinders come April. We have the best goalie tandem in the conference, the best blue line when we’re healthy, and plenty of talent on the farm in case of injuries.

    I think last night’s game was a turning point to their mini-slump. With Hamrlik coming back Carbo has more options now. He can sit the underperformers, move Streit to forward or keep him on D for an even stronger blue line, and create some competition for the checking line. I can’t see him starting the playoffs without a character guy like Begin in the lineup, so I think he needs to have a talk with him and explain why he’s watching a few games in March. Keep him healthy, Carbo.

    I also think Koivu and Higgins are out of their funks. They still need Ryder or SK to get their act together, though, unless BG makes a move before February 26th. The main theme is I’d like Carbo to settle on who Koivu’s wingers will be from the 27th onwards and leave them be. As much as the players have contributed to their losing the 1st line title, Carbo hasn’t helped matters with his tinkering. Leave them alone so they can develop some chemistry, Guy.

    It might also be time to sit Lapierre for a game or two. He seems to have the bad habit of relaxing/coasting once he feels secure. This is the best way to light a fire under him without worrying about waivers. They have potentially 6 centers if you count Higgins and Begin, and 7 in Hamilton. There’s no reason why Lapierre should get a free pass if he’s not going to play his game anymore. Goals from his line are a bonus, but the forechecking, hitting and energy he can bring to a game are sorely missed of late. How many times last year did we see him out there stirring up things only to be followed by another great shift or a goal from the next line on? Having Lapierre, Begin, Smolinski, Dandenault, Latendresse & Kostopoulos fighting for ice time or a start is a good thing.

    As for the goalies, the ball’s in Price’s court right now. If they don’t/can’t move Huet for a missing piece of the puzzle, they should resign him if possible to play 30 games next year. Price is his equal right now but needs more starts. On the other hand, when Price wins, Huet plays better. Good luck with this hot potato, Gainey. No matter what you do, some HIO posters will agree with you while others will think you should get canned. It’s a good thing you couldn’t care less what us armchair GM’s think.

  17. likehoy says:

    there was an article on ryder about how he thrived as a player who did nothing…and fails as a player who has to work. It’s true…brett hull just floated around aimlessly then he’d score…unfortunately carbo wants ryder to actually do something…which limits ryder’s under the radar floating.

  18. likehoy says:

    my bad..i figured since people repeat my posts a few days later i might as well steal someone else’s ;).

  19. Cable Guy says:

    thats actually not a bad idea.

  20. RS says:

    Perhaps this has been pointed out, but it looks like Detroit could use Ryder now that their current Newfoundlander (Cleary) is out. How bout Detroit takes Ryder and Dandy off our hands? It could be a rerun of the Larry Murphy trade. Not that either of these guys is in Murphy’s class. I mean going from being underappreciated on a weaker team to a prominent role on a better team.

  21. coutNY says:

    Gratten fits the bill as Boone points out and as mentioned above I think Stoll from EDM might also. Since they’re depleted with injuries in the Offensive area, maybe Ryder return to form along side a big power forward like Penner who can clear some space?

  22. teamplayer says:

    thats gotta be disappointed to see, usually tavares is outthere tearing the frontenacs apart. 2nd last game at the m-centre (as long as the new rink is ready)
    you gonna be there when it opens?i got my dad a couple of tickets for the home opener

  23. 24 Cups says:

    likehoy – I said that two days ago. Get with the program! There are copyright rules on this site you know:-)

    The Original 24 Cups

  24. likehoy says:

    so who else thinks we should clinch a playoff spot then play well enough to just finish 6th? forget 1st or 4th…6th place…you get to play the Southeast Division leader which prob shouldn’t have made the playoffs to begin with.

  25. likehoy says:

    who’s huet?

  26. likehoy says:

    lats needs a centreman that can pass the puck and play gritty…lapierre’s grit and size helps our team, but doesn’t help lats… Like Boone has been saying, lats needs a line that can play both gritty and skillfully cause there’s no question that latendresse has a decent set of hands…it’s just tough when his centre can’t pass. When he’s on the koivu line, he changes his game and tries too much to be a physical force in needless situations rather than just play with skill and when opportunity rises, use his size. He’s got his roles confused per centre.

  27. J.T. says:

    Haiku:

    Price must keep shining
    or Philly will eat them up
    Kovy’s playing hurt

    http://habsloyalist.blogspot.com

  28. howtathor says:

    A guy on 110% last night repeatedly called him Tom Kosto f****n polos. I almost fell off my chair. Wasn’t it George Carlin who coined the “words you can’t say on television”. All that aside it was a stupid racist xenophobic joke the kind you would expect from their ilk. I thought PJ Stock was going to cork him one!

  29. Jim M says:

    Ian

    True. But we are ranked 3rd(tied) for differential of GF and GA, which, to me, is a more telling statistic.

  30. moser17 says:

    haiku:

    Philly will excite
    the Florida-bored J.T.
    in the back-to-back

    :)

  31. Ian G Cobb says:

    You are correct Kevin, lots of goals. But did you know we are in 20th place with our goals against. Very large problem for us. Because this is a total team stat.

  32. RetroMikey says:

    Ryder, Danadeneault, Begin and a draft pick for C Marcel Goc from San Jose!

    “We will win the Cup only with Carey Price in the nets”

  33. Blarneylad says:

    Price played a great game last night, however huet is still our man, don’t forget that after only one game

  34. coutNY says:

    I hear Edmonton is looking for some vetran Defenseman now that Souray’s out for the year Dnady and Ryder to fill in for injuries. In return Stortini (enforcer) or Moreau (big hard-hitting winger)and Stoll (Gritty Centerman)?

    Just some thoughts…

  35. Kevin says:

    As nice as it would be to have Ryder’s 25 goals per season, the Canadiens are the 4th highest scoring team in the NHL. Quite impressive for the Habs!

  36. showey47 says:

    What issues with a racist idiot?

  37. RS says:

    Is there a single western conference team that would consider Huet a significant up grade over their current goalie? I don’t think so!

  38. RS says:

    That is a joke right?

  39. 24 Cups says:

    Ian – Even with all his offensive stars, Scotty Bowman was a stickler for having the lowest GA total in the NHL. Defense first.

    The Original 24 Cups

  40. RS says:

    It might be worthwhile for another team to gamble a seventh round pick on Ryder. Seriously.

  41. RS says:

    Absolutely agreed. We need a commitment to team defence. Right now (not last night) I would say the forwards have to be more resposible. And we need Hammer!!!

  42. RS says:

    I like Ryder and Dandy. They are also useful depth guys to have around (Breezer too). But before the deadline, Gainey really should try to dump them Ryder and Dandy) for anything he can get in return. A seventh round pick? Sure.

    I’m sure they could probably help another team, and the Habs won’t get anything in return. But I would still support those moves. How about sending Dandy back to Detroit and watch him win the Cup? I wrote this before, but I think Vancouver could use Ryder. Stick him on the PP with the Sedins and he’d find his scoring touch pretty quick.

  43. coutNY says:

    I agree it would be very doubtful to see him absent from the home showing against Phili, especially because we need the size against the goon squad, but he needs to show up and make his presense felt. He usually exceeds expectations after watching a game.

  44. Hammer says:

    Trade bait;

    a) Dandenault ( very unhappy)
    b) Ryder ( needs a shot of confidence somewhere else)

    Find a tough forward who can protect people like Kovalev, Plek etc…. I am tired of seeing the boys be abused. Do you think some of those rock heads would be bouncing and hitting folks like #74 from behind if someone like Laroque was patrolling the wings. Big George or a reasonable facsimile who can patrol the fourth line is needed now.

  45. nightmare_49 says:

    But he’s good at faceoffs.

  46. nightmare_49 says:

    Looks like you young guys all had your StatFlakes this morning.

  47. coutNY says:

    One thing I noticed watching one of the Washington home games on the (center-Ice packeage) affiliate station for Washington, was that I enjoyed the game more With out the HD surround sound. It was the first time I could actually hear the crowd in full force. The commentator were almost drowned out and kept commentting on the situtation.

    It seems the more they try to enhance the sound, the more they lose the true atmoshere of the game. I would pay double if the CBC games would let Bob and Harey be drownd out!!!

    I am still working on a Kareoke button, so commentators would be silenced and only the crowd would shine through!

  48. likehoy says:

    grabs + huet + ryder to tampa for boyle and prospal lets do it.

  49. Ian G Cobb says:

    What are you doing up at 4am J.T. Very good read on Price and he will get there just like all the young guys on our squad. A couple of years of seasoning for them and we are going to be in for a treat.

  50. likehoy says:

    san jose doesn’t need another underachiever.

    Goc? 3 NHL seasons and he’s accomplished 40 points…what can he do for us?

  51. likehoy says:

    i agree he does need a wake up call…but we might need all the size we can get…cause he’s french he’s an untouchable. The media and RDS will go nuts…Carbo doesn’t seem good enough to handle the pressure.

  52. Will Longlade says:

    Sorry, as much as we would like loyalty to be considered, it doesn’t enter into the equation. Hockey is big business. If B.G. can upgrade the team, he may consider trading Huet prior to the deadline. However, there’s no market for goalies, so keeping Huet in the fold may end up being the best and lowest risk option available.

  53. coutNY says:

    Because he needs actually show his toughness not just be in the building to be effective. He’s best when he’s hitting in the offensive zone and digging for the puck against the boards,; picking up the garbage in front of the net. He hasn’t done these well lately… He looks sluggish.

    He usually responds after a night off. Re-insert him on Sunday if things need to be elevated… Not calling for him to be sent to Hamilton, just given a wake-up call.

  54. 24 Cups says:

    kRob – Thanks for the review. It would appear that Tavares will be back in junior next year so his greatest hurdle may be his ability to not let himself go stale as he waits to get drafted. Sometimes attitude can be just as important as skill.

    As for our boys, well you didn’t miss much! I’m not sure that Jacques Martin is the right guy to be trying to sell hockey in Florida. It’s all been said in other posts, but Price kept the Habs in the game long enough for us to eventually tie it up and then Kovalev finally did something on this road trip and scored an overtime goal with a beauty of a shot. Add that to the fact that the Lousy Leafs lost and you could say a good time was had by all.

    The Original 24 Cups

  55. Plek-Andrew says:

    countNY,
    I have to say I wholeheartedly agree with your post.

    That’s exactly what I was saying last night. Dandenault needs to sit and Latendresse needs to seriously wake the hell up cuz he ALWAYS turns the puck over everytime he goes near it. I’m seriously starting to question his hockey sense… For a “power forward”, he really has a hard time dumping the puck against the boards (really simple stuff… and power forwards are usually used to being against the boards) and has a hard time winning against the boards. I’m surprised. Maybe it’s his age? I dunno… But right now, those two guys are contributing to absolutely nothing whatsoever… they’re hardly hitting and Dandy’s forechecking usually ends with him lying on the ice for some reason.

    Anyways this weekend is freakin exciting… my lil bro is the biggest flyers fan and im ONE OF the biggest habs fan I know so we’re gonna be in front of our HD TV and surround sound (all that crap that we could seriously live without) all weekend… cheering non-stop.

  56. nightmare_49 says:

    24 Cups – That’s definately a priority and i agree with your future moves.

  57. J.T. says:

    Haiku:

    Florida bores me
    But the Habs pull off two points
    Pleky for Selke

    http://habsloyalist.blogspot.com

  58. likehoy says:

    why would you ask for more toughness then bench latendresse?

  59. Ian G Cobb says:

    O.K. boys and girls, It is time for the 3 most important weekly stats on where we are placed in a 30 team league.

    G.A.–164 we are in 20th place, worse from 16th place last week.

    Points-69 we are in 7th place, worse from 4th place last week.

    G.F.–180 we are in 3rd place, same place as last week.

    It is very clear that our goals against, which is a total team stat, cannot remain as is. We will have much difficulty making the playoffs or getting past the first round with this kind of performance.

  60. The Teacher says:

    OK, I’ll bite.

    What can Marcel Goc offer us that would be better than picking up anyone else?

  61. The Teacher says:

    I think Matelas Bonheur made a smart decision to advertise on this site.

    It helps make Dave and Mike’s baby even more of a success. It is truly an innovative idea that worked.

  62. JasonM says:

    I see a lot of trade rumors that obviously include Ryder in some sort of package deal…. usually putting him in there along the lines of the most important asset the Habs have to offer to other team. The problem is people don’t realize how low stock the Ryder value is right now. Firstly, Ryder is a UFA and knowing how picky he is with contracts will not sign a contract and will test the free market come summer. This destroys his value as this puts him along the lines of a rental, nothing else. On top of that he’s playing his worst hockey ever. He’s not scoring anywhere close to where he should and to be honest and unbiased, doesn’t even look like he’s trying really hard out there. I’ve seen Ryder play in the past and he’s not the same Ryder and other teams see this…. so why trade for an unmotivated rental?

    If the Habs need to offer something for a player like “Hossa”, (signed of course) they’ll have to offer a couple good prospects and a few draft picks. No one wants Ryder.

  63. krob1000 says:

    This is for 24cups (The Original 24 Cups that is).

    I took the little guy and checked out the Generals/Frontenacs game last night to see what Tavares is all about and promised 24 I’d give him a review.

    A poster yesterday commented about Tavares’ less than stellar skating and unfortunately I can’t really offer too much on this. It seemed there was never an opportunity/situation for him to skate all out but I do think his skating (from what I saw is average…no more and no less). He is Einstein in a kindergarten class in the junior ranks mentally. His vision and anticipation is right up there with the Crosby’s and Spezza’s. He seemed to always be looking two steps ahead and positioning himself appropriately (he his goal hungry as well as a playmaker). The Frontenacs actually played a solid game and beat Oshawa 4-1 but Tavares got the only goal. He had several self generated chances and set up a few others and his passes were always in perfect postion for his teammates.

    He did not make a single bad decision and his hands are as soft as any I have seen. He did not engage physically even when a couple opportunities presented themselves instead opting to play the next move. HE should have engaged at least twice although one time it worked out for him. They did not play him with that Maclean kid at even strength or on the PP (disappointing) so he seemed to be flying solo to me. I have no doubt that he is a guy who will have success with higher skilled players and they will benefit as much from playing with him as well. I would have liked to see our guys bang him around a bit and see how he responded but it just never happened.

    I wish I saw more outright skating but there just weren’t any real chances for him. I would label him a definite can’t miss though. He will be a serious point getter but he better hope he lands on a team that preaches a little hustle and defence a la Spezza or he will be completely one dimensional. In the faceoff circle he either won it clean.lost in a tie up or lost outright. He should not play at that level any longer than he needs to because I got the impression he does not feel he is being challenged mentally. I am undecided on how I feel him about not forcing the issue though and even when down he didn’t seem hungry or to play with any emotion but it was just one game against the normally lowly Frontenacs.

  64. ebk says:

    Canadiens have a huge luxury right now, they have two goalies who are capable of winning games in the NHL. Down one goal knowing that he could not afford to let in another, Carey Price did what a goalie is supposed to do. He kept his team in the game and gave them a chance to win. Don’t know if it qualifies as stealing a game but it was a very solid performance.

    Tomas Vokoun was brilliant at the other end for most of the game. Higgins goal was a true stinker but they do happen. He played well after that until the Kovalev goal. Alex Kovalev had the puck in his favorite spot and usually shoots high, short side.Vokoun seemingly knowing this tendency looked to be cheating that way and was beaten cleanly when Kovalev drilled the puck in the far corner.

    Higgins looks to be emerging from his slump, scoring goals in each of the last two games. Shows what happens when a coach has faith in his players. Higgins was struggling as badly as a certain someone but the coach had enough faith in him to leave him alone and work through his problems. Higgins has played really well the last week or so.

    The third and fourth lines need to get their games in gear. I like the Kid line much better than the French Disconnection line. Lats,Lapierre and Dandenault didn’t do much last night. The fourth line was no better. If Ryder is going to sit again, I think the lines Boone mentions above are as good as any.

    Without a doubt Ryder’s days are done in Montreal. Even slumping he is much better than a lot of the players who dress on the third and fourth lines. With him on the Koivu line and Sergei back leading the Kid Line, I think this team is much better than it is with Ryder sitting in the press box.

    The team improves to 15-15-4 with Breezer in and now sits unofficially 25 points out of a play-off spot.

    Thanks for reading

  65. kevrob says:

    Haiku:

    The Canadiens
    They give me nightmares but I
    want to live the dream

  66. G-Man says:

    They are nutritious and crunchy. Part of a healthy diet. :)

    Gilbert

  67. Chorske says:

    Hahaha, I also love “sangwich” but lots of people say that, probably not just a Montreal thing.

  68. 24 Cups says:

    Habs-Kat – Adding to your comment about a third line center. I wonder if we would be better off trying to get a (signed) center who will stay in Montreal for a few years rather than just going for a rental. Otherwise, we will face the same dilemma next year. Lapierre could move to the wing next year and Chipchura could take the fourth spot. Outide of those guys, there’s really no one in the system who is ready to fill this need. I’d love to trade for someone who has size and grit and isn’t afraid to get his nose dirty. It would cost more than a rental, but it would also address more than one need. If that’s not possible, then we should checkout the free agent market this summer. Not all the fish have to be big fish.

    The Original 24 Cups

  69. moser17 says:

    a haiku:

    Alex Kovalev
    once threaded a needle, with
    a high slot wrist shot

  70. moser17 says:

    These Habs fan haikus
    are the stuff dreams are made of,
    not our ‘goals against’

  71. Hot_Pie says:

    There you have it Boone, your wish is finally granted: Price stole a game for us.

  72. Habs-Kat says:

    I wouldn’t trade Huet right now.

    (1) Out of loyalty. He’s the guy that has gotten us to this position at this point in the season. He’s the guy that has helped the Canadiens totally exceed expectations. Once the playoffs come around, I’m expecting the Canadiens to do better than expected once again. Its anybody’s game when the regular season is over and I think Huet deserves to be in the lineup for a crack at postseason glory.

    (2) Insurance. If Price ends up as the starter and falters, I’m not so sure about Halak. He hasn’t played this season so we don’t know whether his run last season was flukey or not. And even if it wasn’t he hasn’t played any full games at the NHL pace this season. He’s not a reliable backup for the playoffs, in my opinion. At least in Huet, we know what we’re getting – which is above average goaltending.

    However, I do like the idea of picking up that third-line center Gainey wants to help out in the faceoff circle. How many times have we seen offensive zone chances in the game get spoiled because of lost draws?

  73. coutNY says:

    Well we’re even I guess… didn’t they steal one from us ealier in the season? Although, we dominated that game and lost. This was more of an even-keeled defensive battle.

    Positives:

      1. Markov had a huge hit in the 3rd.
      2. Kovalev’s percision is amazing… I think he’s looking to boost his “Warrior insturction video” sales or something.
      3. Price looked pretty sharp even if it was against a team struggling with injuries.
      4. Higgins is finding the net. Yes it not have been the most skilled of plays, but it was one as a result of hussle and determination. A fine recipe for breaking out of a slump.

    Things to work on:

      1. O’Bryne the ability to stay on his feet.
      2. Koivu not taking a hooking after a player beats him to a postion. Maybe a little more creativity on a break-away… I give him the Benefit of the doubt that he was tired being the end of a PK shift, although it was close to sweeking bye. Elevation may have sealed it!
      3. Winning the 2nd period!

    Let’s carry this momentum to our B-2-B with Phili… With both struggling I would suspect both games to be high energy physical battles over the weekend. I think having Begin & Kostopolus centered by Lapierre would be a smart move.

    Projected lines:
    Kovalev-Pleks-A.Kost
    Higgins-Koivu-K2
    Streit-Smolinski-Ryder
    Begin-Lapierre-Kostopolus

    Markov-Komi
    Gorges-Hammer
    O’Byrne-Cube

    Huet/Price depending on the day

    PRESS-Box:
    Breezer
    Latendresse
    Dandy

  74. 24 Cups says:

    Boone – loved the line about rear view mirrors. It was pretty boring last night but I’ll take the two points – HIO posters should send a thank you card to Carey Price.

    This win also was important in light of Buffalo and Boston both taking their games. I like the security of having a point cushion over 7th and 8th place. (and no, I’m not forgetting 1st place, just being cautious) Another factor to consider is that we also have the highest number of victories for some of the teams we are battling for playoff spots (Boston, Buffalo, Rangers). In this day and age of parity that could be important as a means of breaking a tie for a playoff spot at the end of the year.

    There is no better example of that than in the SE division. Three teams presently all have 60 points and Florida is only two points back of the pack. In theory, they could still be bunched together on the final day of the year and one team will finish 3rd due to most wins while the other four teams face the prospect of finishing out of the playoffs. It’s a fine line.

    As for Saturday, I would hope that Price will be in net and that Hamrlik and Tom the Bomb are in the lineup as well.

    The Original 24 Cups

  75. Exit716 says:

    Wasn’t Kostopolous heading over to the 110% studio to settle some issues with that racist idiot?

  76. Forlando says:

    I have a feeling Huet will stay with us this season…we might lose him for nothing after…but I don’t see Bob moving him….too risky for his “style”

  77. Will Longlade says:

    I agree. He played his “East-West” style instead of “North-South”. Getting stripped of the puck is fine as long as he is moving forward in the o-zone. However, when he’s moving forward in the o-zone, he rarely gets the puck taken away from him. Kovy and the team need to keep it simple. The Habs’ PP has suffered from the same problem the last few games. Too complex. Always looking for the perfect play. They need to simplify things.

  78. nightmare_49 says:

    i noticed the same thing about Kovy and the reason is that he stopped moving his legs and i’m sure that is fatique. Hopefully he’ll have more zip for the weekend and Carbo should give him a day off before Saturday cuz he surely earned it.

  79. likehoy says:

    i agree kovy was pretty bad last night, and the last few games koivu has been the hardest working player on our team. He may not have been putting the puck in the net but he’s getting the chances. Hopefully Higgins is on the verge of breaking out of his slump, don’t want this to be false hope.

  80. Lafrich says:

    I may be of the minority, but I thought Kovalev was AWFUL last night. And for the past few games as well. Shades of last year. Every time he touched the puck, he hung on to it for too long. He has been so successful this year because he has chosen his moments, whereas the last few games he has gotten it into his head that he is too good for this league, and that nobody should be able to strip him of the puck. It is that mentality that drives me nuts.

    I am hoping that Koivu and Higgins play every night like they did last night. That was more like it.

    Go Habs Go!!!!

  81. Lafrich says:

    Dead on! I just hope he reminds himself of what made him so successful earlier this season. The PP will get back on track. I feel it.

  82. nightmare_49 says:

    That’s a possibility cuz Streit has the smarts but until Higgy and Saku start moving the puck around for 3 periods it doesn’t matter whose playing with them , it could be Hossa , it could be a lonely night.

  83. Forlando says:

    I have a question: Can’t we play Streit in the first line with Higgy and Captain K? I mean the guy can carry the puck, has a shot and is obviously better than Ryder at D.

    I love Sergei, but I think Saku’s line needs someone able to shoot the puck and right now I see Sergei more as a playmaker than a finisher.

    I would leave the Kid line together and if Carbo plays them wisely we might get some results from them. I think Sergei’s hocky sense and his capacity to play D are a great addition to the line.

    As for the D corps we should do just fine when Hammer comes back.

    My lines would look like this:

    Higgy-Saku-Streit
    A.Kost-Pleks-Kovy
    Lats-Laps-S.Kost
    Kosto-Smo-Begin/Dandy

    Markov-Komo
    Hammer-O’Purse
    Gorges-Cube

    Goalie…..Carbo said the winning goalie gets the next game….so I guess the Kid gets next one.

  84. likehoy says:

    hey as much as the toronto media and fans have bought into the top pick idea…the team hasn’t…go check TSN and read how stajan and belak are all about making the playoffs…it’s pretty funny. belak wants it to be a cinderella story…maybe they’ll make a movie about it… 2008 Leafs Miracle: we made the playoffs.

  85. nightmare_49 says:

    TommyB. – If the laffs do get 1st overall who sayes they wouldn’t trade it to Detroit for Chris Chelios and AAron Downey.

  86. TommyB says:

    Chuck, I’m with you. The truth is the Leafs are making a push for last overall. They want to give the impression that they haven’t thrown in the towel…but anyone who lives within a 100 mile radius of Toronto, and reads newspapers or watches TV knows that the Leafs, and the Toronto media, have bought into the “first pick overall in the draft” possibility.

    And, the cynical side of me says they will have the first pick in this summer’s draft. Case in point, the Penguins were a dying franchise, but a franchise headed by Mario Lemieux. The league did not want to lose that franchise…presto, first pick in the Sid Crosby draft! Now, the Leafs carry a lot of weight in the NHL…a ton of weight! Think about how much revenue the Leafs generate for the league. The league will hold it’s little behind closed doors “lottery” and presto, the Laffs will have first pick. It’s still all good though, because the Laffs will ruin that pick by placing so much pressure on this kid to carry the team to the promised land.

    Yup, cynical….but don’t bet against my scenario.

  87. showey47 says:

    belak and his 2 mins of ice time a game,lol

  88. TommyB says:

    What else would you expect a player to say?

  89. likehoy says:

    TSN reports that leafs are making a playoff push…i hope they finish 9th…and miss out on stamkos and any other valuable draft picks..

  90. Chuck says:

    They’re last in the conference, and second-last in the entire league. Just exactly does that qualify as a “playoff push”?
    .
    .
    .

    ______________________________________
    “All bow down before the Komisaurus Rex!”

  91. postie jim says:

    Hi hab fans i’am back.Just thought i would check in before this big home and home with the flyers.This could be a turing point in our season.Don’nt get me wrong we will be in the playoffs.But these flyers are for real.It would be nice to walk out of this with 3 points.My take on the trades montreal should make.I like our cap but i think he is getting a little old in the tooth.Taking penalties at bad times and thats because he can’t keep up with the young bucks.Ryder, what happend to him.On abrighter note u have to like this jorges kid wow is he ever getting it done as they say on cjad.Chow for now folks GO HABS GO.

  92. The Teacher says:

    Hey Postie Jim, Welcome.

    I think it might be better if you posted on the Flyers-Habs gameday article by Dave Stubbs on the main page. This one is old and not sure if anyone will read it now.

  93. Cable Guy says:

    Ride Carey until he fails, Huet is not getting it done.

    This was a huge win, Kovalev is unfreaking believable on the half boards.

  94. postie jim says:

    Thanks teacher i’ll do that.

  95. grimmreaper says:

    Saved the bacon indeed! But we needed a lucky break for once, and we got it! I was b%^&*ing all night that the only way they would tie would be by a lucky bounce. Someone up there was listening…

  96. GPK says:

    Mike,
    Unfortunately, you couldn’t get a bucket of pucks for Ryder. He has virtually no value. Someone “might” pick him up off waivers.
    I’m still on my bench-Laps kick. Not sure how much he’s actually contributing. I’d prefer to have Begin’s jam on the 3rd line.
    Francois Gagnon just said on the Team 990 that Gainey and Pierre Gauthier were huddled very seriously in their press box long after the game had ended. Something is up…

  97. Naila Jinnah says:

    As much as I like Price, I wouldn’t trade Halak just yet.

  98. showey47 says:

    neither would i, if a goalie is gonna be traded it should be huet. He is a ufa and he is going to want a 3 year deal minimum somewhere around 12 million. We don’t need him for nearly that long and that money can be spent on a high profile forward or for our core players. Don’t get me wrong, i like huet but i feel we don’t need him much after this season. This is huet’s one chance to get that retirement contract, does anyone think he is going to accept anything less?

  99. projectpete19 says:

    yeah, substitue halak for huet in your trade package and it will help get another player

  100. RGM says:

    Price was great last night. He had one unlucky bounce go against him, but beyond that it was one of his best performances of the season. Looking forward to the follow-up on Saturday vs. Philly.
    It was a very boring game to watch. I don’t know if it’s just the way the RDS audio feed doesn’t catch the crowd when the Habs are on the road, or if Florida fans really are that dead, but there wasn’t any extra enthusiasm being generated like you would see at the Bell Centre. It further doesn’t help that Florida is a terribly stifling team on the ice.
    A hard-fought two points last night, let’s hope it’s the start of a streak.

    See you April 5th at the Bell Centre!

  101. Barts says:

    Here’s hoping Carey Price gets Pat Roy hot, a la 1986…


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