About last night …

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Photo by Allen McInnis of The Gazette

In the immortal words of Lawrence Peter Berra, it ain’t over till it’s over.

I’m one of the people Arpon Basu writes about, fans/pundits/schmucks on the street who thought the winner of Game Four would win the series.

And Boston has home ice and all the momentum in what has become a best-of-three playoff.

But as my friend Arpon points out, the Canadiens aren’t dead. And they won’t be until they’re shaking the hands of the team that eliminates them, be it the Bruins or someone farther down the road.

For 30 minutes last night, the home team ran the visitors out of the rink. The Bell Centre was rocking as only the league’s most raucous barn can, and a 3-1 lead should have been game over.

It wasn’t because:

• Tim Thomas was better than Carey Price. And look, before I start a fore storm among the Commentariat, let’s stipulate the Canadiens would have been playing golf for two weeks if it weren’t for their goaltender. But Thomas has been sharper in this series. Goals scored high to Price’s glove side bring up very unhappy memories.

• The Scott Gomez-Brian Gionta-Travis Moen line was on for all four Boston goals. They couldn’t cope with the Patrice Bergeron line; and after Jacques Martin changed things up, Gomez et al couldn’t contain Rich Peverley, Chris Kelly and Michael Ryder.

Michael Ryder, for gosh sakes! That’s just embarrassing.

• Jaro Spacek and Brent Sopel are old and slow.

• Two good lines – centred by Tomas Plekanec and David Desharnais, who played his best game of the series – were trumped by three efficient Boston trios.

• One goal was not enough for a first period that was maybe the most dominant 20 minutes the Canadiens have played this year.

• Lars Eller, who was excellent in the first period, got murdered in the faceoff circle, took the Canadiens’ only penalty and ended up playing 9:27.

• P.K. Subban scored a spectacular power-play goal but was not himself, playing like a jittery rookie as Boston surged. P.K. also flubbed the D change that led to the winning goal.

• How the heck does a defensive team give up a 3-on-1 rush in OT in the Stanley Cup playoffs? Three little words: Get it deep. The Canadiens’ failure to pound the puck into the Boston zone – combined with the long change necessary in defending  the far goal – led to the aforementioned overtime catastrophe.

And so, on to Boston, where the first period will be very interesting on Saturday night.

The Bruins have the wind in their sails. The crowd at the TD Banknorth Garden will be in a frenzy.

But that was the case in Game One. And Game Two.

The Canadiens are 2-0 on the road in this series. And Boston has not dominated in either building.

The Bruins have evened this series because they’ve played smart, disciplined and, above all, opportunistic hockey.

Throughout this series, I’ve wondered what would happen if both teams brought their A-games. That occurred in Game Four, but excellence was sequential, rather than simultaneous.

The Canadiens won the first half of the game. Boston was better down the stretch … when it counted.

One aspect of the game troubled me last night and concerns me going to Boston:

For all that Canadiens’ early dominance in terms of shots on goal and puck possession, the Bruins didn’t take their first penalty until the third period.

Through all the time the Canadiens spent buzzing Thomas, Boston didn’t hold, trip or interfere with any Canadiens – at least not flagrantly enough to be called.

Either the Bruins are ultra-disciplined or the Canadiens are too small to bother fouling.

I suspect the latter … and that’s troubling.

Best of three starts tomorrow.

•  •  •

Comment from Shakey (complete with e.e. cummings non-capitalization):

brutal, brutal, brutal loss. reminded of the team canada juniors collapse – seemed like the habs were skating in sand for the last half of the game.

and what a terrible way to end – pk makes a rush and a high risk pass, has to hustle back and is therefore too tired and makes an awful change to cost us the game.

painful. this team has character, but the shortcomings that were so well covered up in boston have been painfully exposed – inconsistency, an aging defence decimated by injuries and patched together with journeymen, and a lineup that is just a little too thin to play anything less than a perfect game and come away with a victory. even price has made mistakes that have been costly, although neither of these losses are on him.

DD was an incredible bright spot though, playing a whale of a game. and mostly the kids seem alright – pk has to play within himself, and he was just trying to do too much all game long – spinoramas at the offensive blueline, lazy one hand push passes at our blueline. when he’s contained, he is awesome. with more time and experience, he will dominate. but that still doesn’t make this easier to take.

in a best of three, i still like our chances though. i was just so hopeful that with an early series ending quickly, we might have a chance at a deep run. now it seems this will likely go to seven games, and we will once again burn out if we go any deeper. argh! nothing but frustrating to watch this one.

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  13. Boone, I’m sorry, but Tim Thomas being sharper than Carey Price in this series is probably the wrongest you’ve ever been.

  14. Natty-Dread says:

    Anybody remember game 2 vs Washington last year? same thing, epic crumble. Almost the same exact train of events last night. Played a good game, tried to run-and-gun, and got checked… No time to panic boys and girls. Just get Gomez/PK to take slightly shorter shifts (or at least make better changes), and give spacek or sopel (or both) a night off. Dont forget we have Mara who played excellent hockey down the stretch, and Weber who got scratched after scoring a goal and being as effective as he could possibly be. This is turning into a really interesting series…

  15. zorbot says:

    joe 12 pack
    king of tribalistic jingoism

  16. Bouleau noir says:

    Being whipped by te CH like rag dolls for 30 minutes is alot of time – if you add to that the last 20 minutes of our previous game, that is alot of whipping. Thomas ovbiously saved their asses here while the sad f- bruins were being oppoturnistic otherwise, a commun theme this season in Boston.

    In my book, this was a sensational game and the Bruins were lucky to get away with it.

    Looking forwards to the next games.

  17. FormalWare says:

    Heh – “election!” Hee, hee!

    Just want you to know your wit is appreciated, around here, John. You’d have my vote, if I lived in your riding.

    [Edit: Meant this to be In Reply To JohnBellyful. Drat!]

    Habs: Possessors of the league’s best PK–now, and for the foreseeable future

  18. Chris says:

    My two cents: the Habs lost because they played sloppy. I unfortunately missed most of the first period (students should not be allowed to show up one hour AFTER your help session time has ended on game night!), but the second and third periods were a gong show.

    The Habs can’t afford to get into “firewagon” hockey…the Bruins offence is more than capable of holding its own in that style of game. The Habs thrive when they keep the games low-scoring and boring.

    Once the flood gates open, the Habs primary flaw, a very shaky defence corps, gets exposed. Sopel and Spacek were absolute disasters…they are just too slow. Gill’s lack of speed is also concerning, but he at least makes up with it by positioning his huge frame relatively well. Wisniewski makes a brilliant play sandwiched by two or three head-scratchers. Subban, who was playing so smart in the first two games, looked lost. I lost track of the number of times that Montreal defencemen were chasing Bruins players out to the blue line last night. It was just an insane game, and I’m sure Jacques Martin had indigestion afterwards.

    Let’s hope they get back to playing the style that makes them successful in Game 5.

  19. MilaKunis says:

    There is a noticeable difference from last year’s team.

    Missing ingredients from last year’s playoff run:

    Dominic Moore
    Maxime Lapierre
    and some chap names Jaroslav Halak!

    • Steven says:

      Lapierre and Moore, I guess I can agree with, because they really were something, even if their seasons this year were sub-par at best.

      But Jaro Halak? He didn’t pull a big game until he had no choice. I’m sure the pressure’s on now, and we’ll see something good out of Carey.

  20. Coach K says:

    For those who think Jacques Martin is giving the vets preferential treatment consider this… perhaps the reason the kids are getting short shifted is two-fold.

    First JM wants experience on the ice during high-pressure situations. Second, keeping the kids off the ice in high-pressure situations prevents them from making mistakes that cost games which in turn, screws up their confidence.

    If your vets are the reason for having lost a game or series then it exposes them as not being good enough and provides a clear signal to the GM and his staff that they have to step it up during the off season.

    Finally, keeping the kids on the bench during those must-win moments gives them a chance to watch and learn. Maybe its the kindly old coach’s way of grooming them for a leadership role next season.

    “Shut up and play against him” – Bob Gainey (2011 Heritage Classic)

    • eric says:

      The vets were minus 4 last night. Good way for the younger guys to learn eh.

      • Coach K says:

        Eric, you’re absolutely correct. The vets were -4. Excellent learning opportunity.

        I’m no fan of the JM method of coaching but just maybe JM is smarter than we (myself included) give him credit for. At some point during the game he identifies that his D is not exactly bringing their “A” game. So instead of playing the kiddie corps in that situation (and setting them up for certain failure) he lets the veterans shoulder the load – as they should.
        I suspect that in his way of thinking, those experienced veterans (rightly or wrongly) should give him the best chance to win in that circumstance.
        On the other hand, If he plays the kids when the defence is clearly struggling, the inevitable mistakes start piling up which cause them to play tentative when they get do a chance which, in turn leads to more mistakes.
        The kids long term development might be better served if they watch and learn from the vets mistakes than be part of an almost certain sh!t show and wear the goat horns for the loss.
        Maybe all of us here at HIO are looking at it wrong. Perhaps he isn’t benching the kids but insulating them from failure.

        “Shut up and play against him” – Bob Gainey (2011 Heritage Classic)

  21. Kristopher7 says:

    The amount of rage and bandwagonism is sickening. It’s hilarious to see some posters go bi-polar after being so positive after the team was up 2-0 in the series.

    Take a chill pill, the series is tied 2-2 and is a best of three now. You act as if it’s 3-0 for Boston….

  22. gerrybell says:

    is anyone ready to talk about how terrible the habs are at home in the playoffs? we cant win this year at home, we could barely win last year at home, i dont recall a landslide of victories on home ice since the Bell Centre opened. i would be curious to see what our all time record in the playoffs at the Bell Center is. i would bet we are below a .400 winning percentage. Anyone?

    g
    b

  23. HUDSONHAB says:

    Just saw that Price is not a Vezina finalist.
    I think he had a bad couple weeks that cost him.
    Price would of had a better shot at the Hart.

    ….Hab4life….

  24. Nina76 says:

    Nothing happened when Chara took off max’s head on purpose,no one can convince me that it was not intentional. God knows when he will play again,except DR. RECHI,please give us the latest update on Max DR. RECHI .The FINGER TO YOU RECHI & you FERENCE. What a laugh as posted that he had trouble with his glove it was stuck. I could think of a better place that it should have been stuck but you can guess so I will not comment.GO BOYS GO!!!!!!

  25. DLS HAB says:

    The Habs in 6!! First off sneak Bobby Clarke into Gomez’s uniform then have Bobby find one of Goliath’s ankles and voila, Habs in six!
    L.O.L.

  26. MontrealAtheist says:

    Price has let the team down yesterday, it’s as simple as that.

    It was clear that the Bruins would come out strong and throw everything at us in order to tie the series and that we would need our goalkeeper to be at his best in order to win this one.

    It’s clear that Price has propelled us into the play-offs, no question about that, but now that we are here, the heroic performances of Jaro will be greatly missed. Price just doesn’t have what it takes to be a playoff hero and to pull a Halak when needed.

    Price will have a chance to redeem himself and I hope he’ll realize that this ain’t no stinkin’ training session in Brossard.

    • HUDSONHAB says:

      It was a bad dump in followed by a bad change followed by bad coverage in the d-zone. Spacek went behind the net and went the wrong way to get back in front where Ryder was all alone. Plus, how many times out if 100 would that puck get through Price to Ryder’s stick?
      And… check the +/- and see who was -3 and on the ice for 4 B’s goals.
      Price’s fault? I don’t think so.

      ….Hab4life….

    • Coach K says:

      I can’t say that I agree completely. I’ll admit that he appeared soft on the first Ryder goal … but then I remembered what a standout jr. goalie once told me, “sometimes you have to acknowledge that you were simply beaten by a good, well placed shot and move on”.

      Perhaps its the other way around and the team let Price down. I’m pretty sure I saw the captain (albeit uncharacteristically) do a Gomez-like drive by on two of the goals while his check was allowed to tee it up from the ladies tees. Hard to hold a goalie accountable for that.
      How about this…Is it possible that maybe Price is getting tired? Nobody can play the amount of hockey that he has and at that intensity, and not pay for it somewhere along the way.

      “Shut up and play against him” – Bob Gainey (2011 Heritage Classic)

  27. javaman says:

    I rolled back the tape on last night’s game to the start of PK’s shift in the OT. When he finally left the ice, making a very poor decision to go for a change at that moment, he had been on for 1 minute and 30 seconds – totally unacceptable and a major brain fart. Add to that Travis Moen’s inability to chip the puck past the Bruins player along the boards in the Boston zone and presto/chango, a 3 on 1.

    The coaches have taught the players that the key to beating the Bruins is to make their defencemen turn around and play the puck deep in their own end – can anyone explain why we stopped doing that.

    I know this much, however – they will go back to that style in Boston and win game 5.

    • Mad Habber says:

      Yeah I noticed that he certianly didn’t help in overtime with that extra long shift. I didn’t know who it was, but I was thinking, what is he doing going to he bench when there are three bruins coming at him.

      However watching the replay this morning, both Sopel and Spacek jumped on the ice. It was either let them have a three on one or take a too many men (though I suppose a penalty would been better than the end result).

  28. JohnBellyful says:

    Went to bed depressed. Woke up demoralized. When will this election be over?
    Habs losing the way they did didn’t help either. Played fire wagon hockey the first half, honey wagon hockey the second half.
    Gomez -4. No, he wasn’t the only one to play poorly when it counted, but screw the intangibles he supposedly brings to the team and score a freakin’ tangible once in a while, willya? Or help stop one.
    And does The System not include winning faceoffs? Just askin’.
    Okay, I’ve vented. Feel much better now. All set for tomorrow
    And what will the boys be doin’ between now and Saturday night to get ready? Hate to think Habs hockey could run its course in two games, three at most.
    Wait a minute! I picked Montreal in six! Everything’s falling into place.
    Right?

  29. athanor says:

    Boone missed one other option for why the Bruins didn’t get called for any fouls on the Canadiens (nor did the Habs get called for their fouls).

    The answer there is one reason I hate playoff hockey — the referees decided to let the boys decide the outcome (which, theoretically, is as it should be) so they put their whistles away.

    The problem with that is that the slower, bigger team can then hold and interfere and commit any number of deeds that would result in a parade to the penalty box during the regular season.
    And, yes, I know Montreal racked up a huge number of just that kind of penalty.
    But failure to call them during the playoffs leads to unpredictable results — what gets called now might not be called later, and vice versa. That makes playoff hockey, while gripping when no-one is
    cheating, infuriating to watch and ultimately, at least in past seasons when I have no stake in which team wins to my tuning out.
    I would rather have Montreal take a few penalties as long as the Bruins do to than not to have any called.
    The Habs are built for speed and, as they have shown, are dangerous when they are skating hard and fast. But that is much less likely to happen when the officials call only the most extreme infractions.

  30. smiler2729 says:

    After these two losses, I have two trains of thought that are probably echoed by every Habs fan here cuz we’ve seen this movie way too many times:
    Either the Habs manage to win this in six or seven in tense one goal games -OR- they’ve blown their one chance at taking this series and will lose in close games.

    They never do it the easy way and seem to go out of their way to make it difficult on themselves and us the fans.

    I drank way more beer last night than I should’ve from the midway point on.

    “My second favourite team is whoever plays the Leafs”

  31. arcosenate says:

    Wow, doom and gloom, noone said this was going to be easy, when is a Habs-Bruins series ever? Before jumping off the poop-deck let’s wait and see which way the wind is blowing Sunday morning.

  32. RetroMikey says:

    Got to admit, Boston is a very good team and they could go ll the way to face the Red Wings. To come into the fabled Bell Centre and steal 2 games from us, they deserve to be applauded along with Claude Julien.
    We need to address our issues after the season, who stays, who goes from the players, coaching staff, management and front office personnel.
    I can’t take this early first round exit excluding last year.
    I see other teams improving like Toronto while we still will be rebuilding for years to come.

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

    • smiler2729 says:

      Fabled Bell Centre?

      Really??

      Yeah, the site of so many Stanley Cups and deep playoff runs. Ooo, the opponents quiver when they come in and face the ghosts of… Dainius Zubrus, Martin Rucinsky, Yanick Perreault, Eric Weinrich, Andy Moog… ooo, scary.

      All’s you ever want to do is “address our issues”, you want what we have fired, released or traded for the Mike Babcocks, Sidney Crosbys and Alex Ovechkins of the league.

      Dude, again, get real…

      “My second favourite team is whoever plays the Leafs”

      • RetroMikey says:

        And please tell me and others what your solution is to “address our issues”.
        I’m all ears…..dude.

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

        • smiler2729 says:

          Every team has “issues”, the Habs’ “issues” are no different or no more pressing than 29 others.

          D’ya want to know how to get better?? Through the draft and bringing along the prospects through the minors. Proven fact.

          Wheeling and dealing is fun in fantasyland where you live but in the real world Pierre Gauthier will not be doing anything you want so better get used to it and quit slagging him and Habs management.

          Dude…

          “My second favourite team is whoever plays the Leafs”

          • RetroMikey says:

            Dude, you’ve been repeating this over and over like others here, blah, blah, blah, etc….through the draft, bring along the prospects, blah, blah, blah.
            We can’t mimic a team like Detroit who have an excellent scouting staff and coaching as well.
            It just doesn’t cut it for me. I want a contender, not hoping and praying season after season that we could win the Cup based on our draft and prospects we have and will play to full potential.
            Gauthier has to go along with the coaching staff if we are eliminated by the big , bad but skilled Bruins.
            I just want Gauthier and Gainey (who is still in the big picture) to address the fans and media and I want to know what their goals are for this team.
            And what the heck is little Boivin junior doing with the organization? Was it an agreement with Boivin Sr, to get his son gainfully employed before he retires this June? It;s who you know and who you b**w I say.
            To be just a an average playoff team season after season does not cut it for me or others, we go full force and being that 25th Cup back to Montreal by doing a major overhaul on our club, and that means tanking is the only way.
            If not, our Montreal Canadiens will not bring us a Cup until 2020 or so, yes believe it!

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

  33. 365fan says:

    JM has been very good to his veterans. He doesn’t throw them under the bus or embarass them, and rarely cuts their ice time. Last year they rewarded him by taking the team to the 3rd round. The next 2 or 3 games will determine whether they will justify his faith in them again this year. If not, the spotlight shifts to PG in the offseason to make decisions as to which veteran UFAs get re-signed, who gets bought out, and who gets traded.

    I hope that JM is right. He has taken a beat up and undermanned team to 96 points this year. He deserves a good fate because he has done an overall good job this year.

  34. Desi says:

    There’s plenty of blame to go around, but the two goals that were scored from the slot with not a defenseman in sight tell this game story. The Habs defense totally abdicated control of the slot in the secnod half of the game when our d-men were pursuing the puck all over creation rather than shutting down the red zone. Hamrlik and Wiz were brutal all night, Spacek not much better, but while Sopel’s goal was nice his play in our end was terrible. This was was a lot like the 8-6 loss in Boston during the regular season with the Habs giving up the slot without so much as a verbal objection. A well-deserved loss.

  35. New says:

    I dunno. Ryder is a very good NHL player. He does what he does. Goaltenders can only be as good as they are. Thomas and Price are facing shots from different areas, playing behind different teams, and the results are about the same.

    The Canadiens can’t finish off an opponent. I think this is the nature of the players reflected. Gomez and Gionta need a finisher and toughness. MaxPac is sorely missed because Pouliot won’t go there at the right time and lacks the toughness. Gomez himself is a liability on defense. This makes the D jittery because the coach has to play Gomez and they end up chasing their tails.

    The team lost because they can’t get it done. Whether they lose to Boston or someone else doesn’t matter. What you saw in the last two games is them, the Canadiens. They can turn it on but they don’t have the killer instinct that Detroit’s pros do.

    That can change but a few guys have to look in the mirror and grow up. Some have shown no signs of doing that in their careers but it could happen.

  36. eric says:

    Nobody cares what you do in the reg season. ask the Caps and Pens last year. It’s what you do in the playoffs that matter.Cary has cost us at the very least 1 game in our home stand How do you blame the forwards when the goalie can’t catch the puck?

  37. Man Dingga says:

    Seriously Boone, you say Thomas has been better than Price thus far. I beg to differ with you, up until last night every goal scored on him were soft. Last night was the first time that he started to let goals in of better quality. Montreal gets the lead and they take their foot off the gas and start playing the puck and leaving the man wide open. For a smaller team that is a recipe for disaster. Blocking shots is one thing but if your going to stand in front of Price you better block the shot or get out of the way. They live and die by it and Price paid last night. How can you expect him to track a puck with two Bruins players and two of his own men in front of him. One more thing, look at the odd man rushes we are giving up way too many odd man rushes and its costing us. Sorry last night Price and Thomas both kept their teams in the game, but they know how to finish and we don’t. When we were up 3-1 we should of kept the pressure on them. Then a 3-1 rush in OT what is with that. Brutal.

  38. Hobie Hansen says:

    If Wisniewski was suspended for making that obscene gesture towards Avrey earlier in the season shouldn’t Ference be suspended for giving the finger to the crowd with a million people watching??

  39. BlacknGold says:

    AH HAHAHA….GO B’S!!! We played flat at times, not happy technically the way we played but showed a lot of heart and guts!..We crawled our way back and some of the other guys we needed to step up finally did (Ryder, Kelly) although I’m still waiting for Lucic to show up. We needed to steal a game and WE DID. Ole Ole Ole! Let’s take it to them at home and move on!!

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      Bruins stole two actually! Montreal dominated Boston the majority of games 3 and 4 and unfortunately let some momentary brains lapses ruin both games for them.

      • BlacknGold says:

        True, but we are the better team, we just have to play our game and not get into a fast up and down game…if we dictate the pace, play physical we have the talent. When we do this Montreal starts running around in their own end. We just need guys to play to their ability, win the battles on the boards and finish with goals. 50 shots a night is nothing if it’s all Chara or the points shooting from the bleachers. Need more traffic infront of Price too. Not happy with Kaberle although he was better last night, finding Ryder etc. But our PP is non-existent. This should not be 2-2 if we played to their ability, but we haven’t, only in spurts. Not a fan of Julien either.

        • Hobie Hansen says:

          It seems to me that if Montreal could find a way to tighten up defensively while playing that run and gun offense that they’ve demonstrated in the last two games that it would be no contest.
          For stretches in both games 3-4 Boston looked like junior team that was way out of their weight class. The only problem was that Montreal started slow in game 3 and made some bone head mistakes last night and gave Boston the game.
          Boston is super fortunate that the series is 2-2 and Montreal should be thoroughly embarrassed and upset that the series is 2-2.

        • Nina76 says:

          BlacknGold.GET LOST GO WITH THE FINGER GUY & THE HEAD BASHER YOU WILL BE IN GOOD COMPANY>>>>>SORRY YOU DO NOT HAVE A BOSTON SITE LOL GO MY HABS GO!!!!

      • st smart says:

        In the words of the greatest winner in the history of North American team sports (Celtics Bill Russell) the “team that wins on any given night is the better team.” I think he knows what he is talking about. And if the Canadiens think differently, they will be golfing soon than you think.

    • Nina76 says:

      BlacknGold……………I am sick of your crap go on the Boston site not ours. We have no interest in what you have to say. We might surprise you & take your B’s on your home ice……..Go Habs Go!!!!!

  40. RGM says:

    As soon as the Bruins killed the late third period penalty, I had a bad feeling. They took a brain-dead penalty with just over 2 minutes, effectively handing the game to the Habs, and for some reason they seemed to have no interest in cashing in on the advantage.

    Carey Price is All Hart! http://on.fb.me/CP31Hart
    Go Habs Go!
    Support my playoff beard: http://www.beardathon.ca/english/RGM81/profile.aspx

    • Captain aHab says:

      As soon as the Bruins took the penalty, I told my wife that the Habs wouldn’t score because they had been playing on their heels for most of the period and turning it on is hard.

      It’s quite simple: if the Habs play 60, the Bruins can’t play with them. But as soon as they take the foot off of the giddyup pedal even a little, then the Habs have trouble keeping up with the Bruins.

      Gut check time…….

      • Old Bald Bird says:

        IMO no team can play for 60 min with the intensity that they brought in the first 30. They have to play a tight system and find a good uptempo gear that they can sustain for the whole game. They can’t simply go crazy for a period bc they just burn themselves out — mentally if not physically.

  41. Captain aHab says:

    So everyone has their little theory so I’ll give you mine:

    Playing The System (TM) requires total commitment and that wears on players. I think it’s hard for the guys to keep playing that way: forecheck, backcheck, forecheck, backcheck, forecheck, backcheck, rinse, repeat. Listening to the players post-game, it’s clear to me that no one told them to lay back…..they just did and paid for it. So I would not blame the coaching staff for it. And that is why having a stone wall of a goalie and blocking shots is sooooooooooooo important: when you get the breakdowns in concentration, this is what will keep you ahead in games until the guys get their mojo back.

    I think it’s more natural for guys to take these breaks when they don’t feel the pressure, as in when they’re up 2-0 in a series or by 2 goals in a game. But pressure helps focus their minds.

    They’ll take the next game and take the lead in game 6. What will determine their fate is if they can keep it up in game 6 for 60 minutes despite getting a lead.

    I think it’ll either be the Habs in 6 or the Bruins in 7. The problem is that, as someone else pointed out, the Habs should strive to end series quickly to get some rest from the pressure of the system. But by taking shifts off and losing leads, they just prolong the series making it harder on themselves.

    • LA Loyalist says:

      Sigh. We all feel horrible. But absolutely we can blame the coaching.

      This is nothing new, this Habs batch playing great in spurts and then imploding. Any system, not just “le system” has to account for the abilities of the players at hand to execute it. JM doesn’t care what players he has, he just wants them to play his stupid system, and they can’t do it, either they can’t sustain it for 60 min or le system doesn’t allow for adjustments when the other team adjusts. It’s been infuriating me for 2 years so why we are all surprised by last night I don’t know.

      A good coach adjusts to the players he has. JM doesn’t. Ergo he is not a good coach. Sorry. The players sometimes win in spite of him, not because of him. We have some wonderful young players that deserve a better example then some of the boat anchors we have here.

      So now we have a best of 3, two games en Boston, which in a weird way might be easier. We’ll find out if our genius coach can “adjust”.

      P.S. Those of you who said all year that Carey Price wouldn’t get tired and we didn’t need a decent backup goalie… what do you say now?

      My problem is I’m old enough to remember when Montreal hockey was played in the other team’s end of the rink.

  42. grid77 says:

    Jacques Martin,

    could you please sit Jaro Spacek? he is afraid…afraid to get hit, afraid to muscle forwards near our net, afraid to make a mistake, afraid to get into post-whistle scrums, afraid to get beat up, and worst of all hes afraid to be a man! he has become a liability on defense and we have paul mara on the sidelines. i know he is no world-class defenseman, but he wont stand around in front of our net or passively stroll through the corners. jaro checks his text messages with more vigor than he does an opposing forward! thank you.

  43. higginrs says:

    Boone is hard to agree with today. Too much doom and gloom for me.

    Mr. Floppy and Big Bird were not great.

    Price ranged from great to average, while PK was nervous looking all game.

    Gomez was weak and of course that never helps.

    Halpern was an improvement on Benny.

    The score only reflects a hard fought game and an OT that didn’t go well.

    On to game 5, where the Habs will continue to fight (and the faithful Habs fans will continue to believe).

    • Fansincebirth says:

      Thanks…I believe we can win this going back into Beantown, taking one there and one at home. We knew this would be a hard fought battle and it is certainly proving us out. Worst case scenario, we’re out in 6. Best case scenario, they are out in 6.

      Fearless prediction at this point, Habs in 7.

      Welcome to the new NHL – WWE on Ice

  44. smiler2729 says:

    Now I’m not a Jacques Martin basher nor am I a Jacques Martin lover, I just accept that he is a more than competent professional hockey coach. He is probably the biggest reason other than Carey Price that the Habs are in the playoffs.

    BUT I absolutely LOATHE his ‘system’ of sitting on a lead, the Habs had their pedal to the metal and their foot to the Bruins’ neck midway through the game and then inexplicably in a playoff game sat back and let Boston come at them.

    I can’t see these guys playing for JM next season as the magic or whatever you want to call it has worn off so this is the last time we’ll see this hockey extravaganza as it is. If JM can’t or won’t get more out of this collection of NHLers then it’s time to find a coach who can and will.

    After letting Guy Boucher bolt (pun intended), does the organization really want to let Kirk Muller get away too? I don’t know about you but I want to see a team that plays the game through their coach rather than play the game for their coach. If teams take on their coach’s personality then Muller or even Randy Cunneyworth is a definite improvement over stoic staid Jacques.

    Just sayin’ is all…

    “My second favourite team is whoever plays the Leafs”

    • ceedee says:

      I feel your pain. You want to be frustrated over a coach’s stubborn inability to go outside his “system,” try being a Bruins fan with CJ behind the bench. The D to D passes behind the net are so predictable at this point, as is the mandate that every foray into the offensive zone end with an attempted pass back to the point. You can see JM has figured that out, which is why you have three Habs up high in their end every time the B’s have control in the offensive zone.

      Don’t worry though; still lots of hockey left in the greatest rivalry in all of sport.

      • smiler2729 says:

        The difference between Leaf fans and Bruin fans (they’re both douches) is at least you can have a couple of beers with Bruins fans.

        Julien got fired in Montreal, and then got fired in New Jersey right before the playoffs so what does that say about him? Besides Boston is always picking up our sloppy seconds, geez, now I sound like Sean Avery (who should be a Bruin)…

        Cheers f*cker, may the best team (Habs) win Game 5

        “My second favourite team is whoever plays the Leafs”

    • Fansincebirth says:

      I’d love to see Captain Kirk as our head coach next year but as it was pointed our to me last night, he’s not French so it won’t happen. Too bad but he’ll be scooped up by some other team and we’ll curse and moan and wonder if and will be left with JM and the system for another year because he speaks French to the media.

      Welcome to the new NHL – WWE on Ice

      • smiler2729 says:

        I don’t think Geoff Molson really gives a crap if Muller doesn’t speak french and neither do the fans. The stupid french media do and they think they run the show but there’s nothing stopping Muller from taking french lessons…

        “My second favourite team is whoever plays the Leafs”

        • LA Loyalist says:

          No one complained about Muller when he was our captain and won a Stanley Cup :) More importantly he’s a character guy and has credibility with the players.

          And if Wiz can take French lessons, anyone can take French lessons. If you haven’t seen his vignette on “Our Canadiens” check it out it’s funnier than Molson beer coming out your nose.

  45. 365fan says:

    Ference will get a kiss from the NHL for his actions. To do otherwise would result in awkwardness at the water cooler between Murphy and “Hockey Dad” Campbell

    • ceedee says:

      Similar to what gomer received for hitting a player from behind and knocking him into the post so hard he broke a bone in his face?

      • 365fan says:

        Gomez’s actions were simply a hockey play. See NHL v. Chara, March, 2011

        • ceedee says:

          Sure, and so was Pacioretty’s hit on Mark Eaton this past December. Lucky the Islanders fans didn’t call in the Nassau, NY police department to investigate, right?

          • smiler2729 says:

            Whatever dude but Chara’s moronic hit on Pacioretty was the closest I’ve ever seen to a guy dying on the ice. Suck on that one for awhile.

            “My second favourite team is whoever plays the Leafs”

      • Fansincebirth says:

        Similar to what Chara got for running a player into a stanchion with intent and cracked a vertebrae in his neck and left him with a concussion. Why do you feel the need to hang around here and antagonize? Not enough intelligent folks over on the Bruins fan site to chat with? Go slither back to your own fan site.

        Welcome to the new NHL – WWE on Ice

        • ceedee says:

          Maybe I’m trying to inject some impartiality to this conversation. The fact is, you can find cheap shots, blind side hits to the head, etc. from every team in the league — Bruins and Habs included.

          • smiler2729 says:

            No, you’re here to simply be an ass.

            “My second favourite team is whoever plays the Bruins”

          • Fansincebirth says:

            I never said that there was a team out there who isn’t guilty of cheap or dangerous shots but how do defend Ference salute and his BS “my glove got stuck” excuse? How is this injecting impartiality by defending what he did? It’s not injecting partiality, it’s trying to stir up crap.

            If you are a Bruins fan, go to a Bruins site where you ripped apart your beloved team after the first two games.

            Welcome to the new NHL – WWE on Ice

          • aroma says:

            c’mon smiler, chill. Ceedee’s remarks seem appropriate enuf to me… in fact, no one has commented as far as I’ve noticed that the Bruins have played pretty clean hockey throughout the four games.

        • ceedee says:

          I’ve said it before on this site (back when it was Habs Inside Out): The Bruins fan sites can’t hold a candle to this one. Sorry if I’m coming off as one of the NESN/Bruins “yahoos.” I just love great hockey talk and it’s pretty much impossible to find that anywhere else.

    • bigjames says:

      i was at the game last night. my only game of the season as i was in town for easter and paid an eye watering price for a ticket. anyway everything changed after the bruins’ time out. we stopped skating, stopped hitting, stopped battling. i could see it coming as we were like a different team after that point. even the line changes seemed slow and lazy (i was a few rows up from the habs bench so i got a pretty good look).
      question: what did JM tell the boys while CJ was delivering his calm down message? i was not close enough to hear lol!
      anyway i have to say i was heartbroken at the result and the way we got there. the first was so great but…

      • LA Loyalist says:

        Here’s a secret transcript of what JM told the team during Boston’s time out:
        “Ok, under no circumstances are we to score any more goals. You’ve used up your quota. I want your asses back in our end blocking shots and making lame dumps up the boards.”
        Then he repeated it in French and Mandarin (show off).
        Than we lost. That’s kind of how it went from my seat.

    • Nina76 says:

      365fan…………..Did you forget that Ference is a Boston player they can’t do anything about that because they will have Betman & Campbell after them the cup has to stay in th U.S.A. If we lose I will be pulling for Vancouver I want the cup back in CANADA PERIOD.Those 2 slugs above will see to it. The finger to you to Ference…..GO HABS GO!!!!!!!

  46. G-Man says:

    The Jeckyll/Hyde Habs last night were terrible. 4 goals is plenty to win a hockey game. All of themshould be ashamed of giving up the lead over and over and over. All of them let a great crowd and fan-base down, but most of all, they let each other down. Disgraceful.
    On to Beantown. Wonder which team will show up?

  47. twilighthours says:

    What’s with the Price bashing? (wait, it’s HIO, I shouldn’t have to ask). The last 3 goals traveled a total of 10 feet off the sticks of completely unchecked Bruins. Only the 1st goal could be considered a bad one.

    • smiler2729 says:

      It’s hard to be good when your defence keeps providing scoring opportunity after scoring opportunity. Sitting back on a lead is the stupidest thing in team sports, I thought the point of playing the games was to score.

      “My second favourite team is whoever plays the Leafs”

    • LA Loyalist says:

      the score was 5-4. that’s a difference of 1 goal.

      I’m not blaming Price, though, but I think he’s a bit tired.

  48. HabinBurlington says:

    Wow was that a stressful night of hockey to watch, and the result only made the entire night stressful.
    Understatement that we have to win the next game. Boy would i have loved to have watched that game last night with Markov and Gorges in the lineup in exchange for Spacek and Sopel.
    Well we need to pull out our rally caps and hope this home ice disadvantage continues Saturday.

  49. Mad Habber says:

    I love Andrew Ference excuses. My glove got stuck. Please if a kid used that excuse it wouldn’t work, but I suppose it’s fine for a Bruin.

    Didn’t a team recently come home with all the momentum after sweeping two games on the roads? What happened there?

    Price needs to get back to staying on his feet as much as he can.

    • smiler2729 says:

      Yeah but in the NHL and Colie Campy’s mind, the outcome is always less punishable than intent so good choirboy Andy says his glove got stuck then that’s good enough for CC to let him off the hook.

      Puhleez…

      “My second favourite team is whoever plays the Leafs”

    • ceedee says:

      Which is the more egregious, classless act: Firing the one-fingered salute in a moment of unbridled passion, or the pre-meditated denegration (booing) of another country’s national anthem? Enough with the false indignation.

      • Fansincebirth says:

        was there any booing last night?

        Welcome to the new NHL – WWE on Ice

      • Mad Habber says:

        Honestly I could care less that he did it. Whoopy, a middle finger like I haven’t seen it before. The thing that annoys me is he comes out with “It’s not me.” Own up to it man.

      • smiler2729 says:

        I haven’t heard any Star Spangled booing in Montreal in the two games here especially since the PA announcer names the seven or so American players on the team before asking us to stand for their anthem.

        You have no place here, chowderhead.

        “My second favourite team is whoever plays the Leafs”

  50. Fansincebirth says:

    For more than half the game fans were ready to crown the Habs Gods of the ice, up 3-1 and all the momentum on our sides.

    Queue the comeback and after it was tied 3-3, fans were ready to string up our amazing goalie, our young stud d-man, coach and GM.

    We battled in all the right areas last night and the Bruins proved that they don’t HAVE to resort to goon hockey to hang in and win a game. WE took two from them IN THEIR HOUSE! They took two from us….so be it.

    Wanna blame someone…blame the system. Yes, the same system that we loved in Games 1 and 2. Get a lead and protect it.

    You can’t have it both ways folks. You either love the system or you hate it, pick one. But, for the love of God, stop blaming the players for a system they are told to follow. Carey is an amazing goalie, a superstar on ice. He oozes talent and so does PK.

    We shone for 30 minutes or more last night and if the system had allowed us to keep the foot on the gas, kept pressing them then we would be going into Boston up 3-1, not tied 2-2. We haven’t lost this folks, we’re tied with a team who nobody, not the sportscasters, writers and indeed many of you gave us a sniff of a chance.

    Get over it, curse the system, hate the outcome of the game and get ready for tomorrow night.

    Happy freaking Easter!

    Welcome to the new NHL – WWE on Ice

    • twilighthours says:

      Except that the system requires players to cover their men in the D zone – which didn’t happen last night on the last 3 Boston goals. This team abandoned the system last night.

  51. Old Bald Bird says:

    I am surprised that no one is getting to the nub of the matter IMO: the Habs lose when they don’t play with a defence-first mindset.

    It’s exciting both for them and us when they come out flying and gunning, but they lose their focus and eventually surrender easy weak goals that are totally deflating.

    When this team plays their system well, they are hard to score on, and it frustrates the other team. When they play offence-first, they can’t score enough to put the game away, and then they make too many errors.

    In the first two games, they played like they did against Washington and Pittsburgh last year. But the last two were more like the Philly series, where the other team was able to score relatively easy goals. Both the style and goaltender are responsible for the breakdown. I feel that Carey has been reverting a little bit — at least sometimes — and that’s worrisome.

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      You might be right but I think when you see Montreal totally dominate Boston like the did in large stretches in game 3 and 4 it kind of makes you wonder which route they should take.

      There’s no excuse for losing both those those games.

      Price was ordinary last night. We should have won both of those games with ease.

      • Old Bald Bird says:

        This team has been coached to play a certain style for two years. I think it is being proven that they can’t effectively change that style at this point. Perhaps they haven’t been geared to play the best style for them, but this isn’t the time to change.

    • G-Man says:

      Yup. Carey was scary last night.

    • Sal says:

      YES!!!!! Well said. The games in Boston were very much like last year’s winning playoff formula. My biggest fear onreturning to Montreal is exactly what transpired. The Habs tried to put on a show for the fans, and, in doing so, they abandoned the SYSTEM!

      Sal from the Hammer

  52. JF says:

    The situation the Habs are in reminds me a bit of last year after Game 4 against the Caps. At that point they were down 3-1 and everyone thought the series was over. They had played a good game over all, but a couple of mistakes had cost them. They worked on eliminating those mistakes and played tight defensive hockey the rest of the way, backed up by superb goaltending. Last night they played a generally good, at times dominant game, but mistakes again were the difference. They may be able to eliminate those and play the same kind of hockey as in games 5 through 7 last year, but they’ll need better goaltending than they’ve gotten from Price the last two games. It’s not impossible. It could happen, so although I feel as though they lost the series last night, I’ll go on hoping. But I don’t know if I can bring myself to watch Game 5.

  53. Hobie Hansen says:

    I don’t know what it is about playing in front of the Bell Centre crowd but the highs and lows the team goes through in that building are crazy sometimes.
    When the crowd is rocking, the Habs become complacent and over confident and stray away from their game plan and when they crowd gets jittery and nervous, so do the Habs.

    For parts of games 3 and 4 Montreal has played some offensive hockey that I’ve rarely seen from any team in a playoff series before. Like Mike Boone and Arpon Basu stated, the Canadiens, if it were not for Tim Thomas, would have literally blown the Bruins right out of the water.

    As often happens with two-goal-leads in a playoff game, I think the coaching staff and the Canadiens’ players got caught between keeping their foot on the gas pedal and throwing up a wall in the neutral zone and at the blue line.

    Myself, I think they need to augment their style a little bit. When you see the type of offensive onslaught Montreal is capable of throwing at a team I think you have to run with it. Just make sure every man on the ice falls back the second the Bruins take control of the puck.

    I say we go into Boston and blow them out of the water and do the same at home over the next three games. Carey Price and the team’s defense are going to have to respond and play better defensively, especially when the puck gets turned over.

  54. DarthWade says:

    Watching this series really made me miss Pacioretty. Sigh.

    Darche should be put back with Gomez and Gionta.

    • smiler2729 says:

      I’ve noticed the big hole Pacioretty’s left being out and he is a BIG difference especially to Gomez & Gionta.

      “My second favourite team is whoever plays the Leafs”

  55. jimmy shaker says:

    And why did eller and white disappear in the 3rd period JM?

    And why was darche taken off gomer and gio’s line JM?

    And why does gomer’s unbelievably bad defensive zone coverage always get turned aside by JM’s blind eye? IF a minus 4 for that line doesn’t scream something to our fearless leader, I don’t know what will.

    Gomer’s disgusting defensive zone breakdowns are even trickling down to gio……..how on God’s green earth do guys get open in front of the net with none of our forwards picking up a man? Just pathetic!

    And since JM is so quick to snuff out our rookies/youngsters for making mistakes………here something to think about JM! Grow some balls and give Eller a shot with gio and darche with top line minutes, and drop gomer to the fourth where he deserves to be after the last 3 performances. If you’re not contributing offensively, you better be playing good defensively, and gomer isn’t doing any of that. Wake up JM! And also get spatch and hammer out of there for weber and mara, these guys have been nothing but brutal!

    Shaker

  56. cynic says:

    We would have won this game with Jaro between the posts.

  57. 365fan says:

    Everyone focuses on any little mistake that Subban makes, yet the “steady veterans” get a pass. Things started to unravel when Spacek went for a hot dog and beer on the Ryder goal. He gave Ryder such a wide birth that he had time to put the puck on a tee. White and Eller play hard and are stuck to the bench in the third. Just once this season I would like to see a veteran be held accountable (ie benched for a while) when they repeatedly screw up.

    • ProHabs says:

      Agreed. The kids are doing their part. White and Subban have been great and Eller and DD have been really good as well. Once again Gomez needs to be alot better.
      The Habs cannot lose to these bunch of morons. Ference can now move to the front of the line in the list of Bruins that I can’t stand. I have never disliked a team more than I dislike this bunch of Boston Goons. Ference has now joined the group of Chara, Lucic, Recchi, Marchant, Boychuk, Campbell, Horton,Thomas, Julien and Neely as classless idiots (and I am sure I have forgotten others. Don’t lose to these bums.

  58. harrow15 says:

    Mara for Spatch? Even give Weber another shot in the lineup as a 7th D or substitute forward for whoever isnt performing. If P.K. was himself tonight the puck would have been cleared out of our D-zone alot more and there may not have been OT. I dont blame him entirely for the loss, but there is a BIG difference between P.K. on fire and P.K. who is flat.

    We’re still 6-4 against the B’s this season including playoffs. We still know how to beat these chumps. We will persevere because we know how to.

    -Anderson Silva vs Georges St Pierre in 2011

  59. twilighthours says:

    Moen more than PK is respnsible for the OT goal. He needs to get the puck deep. Regardless, I think this one is over. I just have a feeling that even this team – so good at putting a loss behind them – has lost confidence. Mtl is done, I fear.

    • seantfoster says:

      This series is far from over. Does anyone remember last year they couldn’t buy a win at home but they managed to force two game 7′s to the top two teams in the league. I think JM is going to make some changes in game 5 and we will stick it to the Gooins. Then finish them off at home in game 6.

  60. smiler2729 says:

    Hey H I/O can we dump this off the site?

    “My second favourite team is whoever plays the Leafs”


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