About last night …

A nice win, and it gives the Canadiens some Mo heading into an interesting week.

All four opponents – Calgary, Buffalo, Ottawa and Anaheim – have fewer points than the Canadiens. But that doesn’t guarantee anything.

The games are two sets of back-to-backs – and the Canadiens haven’t swept a pair since Oct. 15-16 (at Buffalo, home to Ottawa).

Speaking about the Rangers’ comeback last night, Jacques Martin said “you got to respect the opposition”.

Indeed you do.

There are no gimmes on the Canadiens’ schedule … but nor are they anyone else’s easy W.

Parity means Boston has not pulled away with first-place in the Northeast Division. And the Canadiens are within two points of fifth place (and three points of ninth).

If someone told you, before the season the began, that mid-January would find the Canadiens – minus two of their best defencemen – with one more win than the Washington Capitals, you’d be happy, right?

So be of good cheer and enjoy some football today.

 

 

The Canadiens beat a quality opponent last night.

They beat a red-hot – in every sense of the word – goaltender.

And Carey Price stopped almost everything that was thrown at him during that furious third-period rally by the visitors.

The power-play looked great and produced two goals. There was one sequence, in the second period, when the Canadiens maintained control in the Rangers’ end for 1:50. It had the Bell Centre crowd in a frenzy.

The first-wave point men – James Wisniewski and P.K. Subban – are deft puckhandlers who make smart passes (P.K.’s diagonal feed to Tomas Plekanec for the second goal was a honey) and fire the puck with accuracy.

The PP, which languished at the bottom of the league when the season began, is 11th, with an efficiency of 19.4 per cent.

The penalty-kill – perfect last night, including that frantic final 1:05, when ace PK guy Hal Gill was in the box – is at 86.3 per cent, second only to Pittsburgh.

They say a combined percentage of 100 is the benchmark of good special teams. At 105.7, the Canadiens are better than Detroit, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia; and second only to Vancouver’s 109.4.

Martin’s mantra is goaltending and special teams win hockey games.

The Canadiens seem to have both covered, with Price having leapfrogged Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller to become the league’s top statistical goaltender. He’s leading the league in Minutes, and it will be interesting to see if Alex Auld gets a couple starts in the back-to-back sets this week.

The team still has trouble scoring. They are seventh in the league in shots-per-game at 32.5, but 27th in goals-per-game at 2.47.

Cammalleri and Brian Gionta each had six SoG last night. P.K. and Mathieu Darche had five. Those 22 shots produced a grand total of zero goals.

But Andrei Kostitsyn finally popped one. His heart-to-heart discussion with Jacques Martin on Friday seemed to energize the big guy, who flew on a line with two pluggers, Jeff Halpern and Travis Moen.

Has AK46 turned the corner in his contract year?

The jury is still out on that one … and they’ve ordered dinner and hotel reservations.

There’s less doubt about the play of the Kiddie Corps.

Paired with Hal Gill, P.K. has emerged as a Top Four Dman who merits serious minutes on both special teams. Max Pacioretty, who managed to make a Swede behave like a Celt, and Lars Eller both played strong games, as did David Desharnais (who got in some PK time).

Everyone except Desharnais played double-digit minutes, and DD had 9:13.

I liked the four lines. Tom Pyatt was not missed on the PK and could be keeping Alexandre Picard company in the pressbox for a while.

I also like the top two D pairings. Roman Hamrlik was quietly excellent last night, and his stay-at-home skills complement the Wiz. P.K., as mentioned, is attending the Gill graduate seminar in Advanced D Technique.

The third pairing, Yannick Weber and Jaro Spacek, had all kinds of grief with the Rangers’ aggressive forecheck. Martin was obliged to play his Top Four D for the last five minutes of the game – and let’s hope that doesn’t happen in the back-to-backs.

After 45 games last year, the Canadiens were 21-21-03.

They’re 25-17-3.

Go Jets!

 

71 Comments

  1. twocents says:

    I caught that. Luck man… seen him live, several times!

    There are a few I haven’t heard on yours. I need to check out Someday My Prince… and Milestones. Such a vast catelogue.

  2. habsfan2442 says:

    Off Hockey for a second.. MB do you want the jets to win simply becuase your stealers will get killed vs the pats??  ;-)

  3. punkster says:

    I responded to your list. Good choices!

    ***Subbang!!!***

  4. Ian Cobb says:

    Here is where we place in the 30 team league, compare to last week.

    Most
    important team stat for a winning play off team is the amount of goals
    that a team gives up against the rest of the league. We have stayed all
    year between 4th place and 2nd place. Martin sure has us play off ready
    defensively.

    Now we start to develop the power play and a more
    consistent manner of face off wins and puck control at both ends of the
    ice, producing a few more goals for us.

    Not to worry boys and
    girls, even with our injuries, we will peak at all facets of the game
    just in time for another great run into this play off season. Although
    we are sure going to ware out the edge of our seats and our finger
    nails will be a lot shorter.!

    Goals Against—107,   We are in   4th place.   Last week we were in  3rd place with  99.

    Total Points—– 53,   We are in  12th place.   Last week we were in 12th place with  49.

    Goals For——-112,   We are in  24th place.   Last week we were in 27th place with 105.

  5. Ron says:

    Nice one, brunch between shifts.

  6. SlovakHab says:

    Not related to Canadiens, but this picture from last night’s Flames-Leafs game is pretty funny! :D

  7. Graves says:

    Something else important to note about the power play last night is that it wasn’t just picking apart some crap penalty kill. The Rangers’ kill stands at 9th in the league at 83% and they also actually lead the league in shorthanded goals with nine.

  8. twocents says:

    I wonder if P.K.’s pass to Pleks had something to do with Markov being around yesterday. Maybe Markov gave the kid a tip.

    Anyway, so much for all the winging theories about Martin’s decisions destroying Subban. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

  9. habsfan0 says:

    “Go Jets!”

    It appears Boone got the matchup he was hoping for. However,the phrase “Be careful what you wish for” comes to mind. The Jets appear to be on a mission.

  10. habsfan2442 says:

    Arrrrg Not today….  You got your wish Mike.. Congrats …  ;-)

  11. saskhabfan says:

    Who are you to tell people if they want to get excited or not after a win? Sorry if the real fans actually want the team to do well regardless of who is on the roster,coaching or managing the team. Instead of people like you who who would rather have the team fail to feel better about their own sad little lives. BTW your beloved leafs lost at home again last night and are a sub 0.500 team at home so there goes your theory about winning because you are playing at home. We also beat the rangers in their building earlier in the week so once again your theory is about as credible as you are. You know even less about hockey then manapart,LOL

     

     

     

     

     

    I think I know more than most about hockey and believe my opinions are almost always reasonable and thought out.-manapart.

  12. solomio says:

    Yeah… he said if you don’t start producing I’m gonna trade you to the Leafs!!!

  13. solomio says:

    Man….. Darche is not a goal scorer.

  14. RJB says:

    Amen punkster…Amen

    “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”
    - Bilbo Baggins

  15. punkster says:

    And we traded the wrong goalie. And the one we traded was an elite goalie. And we won’t make the playoffs. And I said the same thing last season. And yada, yada, yada…

    ***Subbang!!!***

  16. PeterD says:

    Good article on “Blue Shirt Banter” about how Habs spanked the Rangers last night…see the link below…But I loved this line in the article about PK…

    “The Rangers let P.K. Subban “Avery” them tonight. Hopefully this young team can learn from it. Subban completely took Dubinsky off his game, and the Rangers were clearly rattled early in the game. “

    http://www.blueshirtbanter.com/2011/1/15/1937872/canadiens-dump-rangers-3-2-in-montreal

  17. habsruleworld says:

    amazing, after 2 periods, Ottawa outshooting Capitals in Washington,

    and leading after 2 periods 1-0.

    will washington drop another?

    I hope so!

  18. Jordio-oh says:

    brooooooken recooooord

  19. Chucking in from T.O. says:

    I went to the Hamilton/Marlie game Boxing Day. The player that really impressed me was Andrew Conboy. He is big, worked the boards really well, laid a few hard hits and had a couple of assists. With DD he was by far the best Bulldog that day. He would look great skating for the Habs.

    CEJ

  20. HUDSONHAB says:

    Yes, a joke…..Hab4life….

  21. Habnofear says:

    Agree 100%

  22. Cape Breton says:

    I agree with you about Spacek. He’s an accident waiting to happen.

  23. JohnBellyful says:

    Fantastic! The farm team could become the pharm team, the place to go for transplants, medical experiments and other exotic research. Andrei needs a new knee? No problem, that new rookie from Peoria has a healthy set of pins. See if he wants to earn a bonus …

  24. gmd says:

    I checked the game stats and it seems that MaxPac got 2 for roughing and 2 for closing his hand on the puck during the scrum when Lundquist lost it.

  25. Danno says:

    Oh god! Now you just converted me into a fan of experimental science!

    Darche’s brain into AK’s body. That’s so crazy it just might work!

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  26. NoTinFoilCups says:

    And Darche’s brain transplanted into AKs body. Now that would be awesome! LOL

  27. RetroMikey says:

    Yeah we won, it’s expected playing at home.  Let;s not all get excited on this site.  We have a long way to go for this team to be considered a playoff contender.

    We are only 4 games than better than last year?  Is that all?

    Anything can happen I suppose but our downfall if we make the playoffs is size.  We just are too small up front and our D is still questionable with Gorges gone and Markov as well. But having Spacek and Weber (not primetime)  scares the living hell out of me when they are on the ice.

    Like I said, Gauthier has to pull a trade early to get that big CMan we need desperately.

    Too bad we can’t  have 20 Darche clones on the ice, then we would be a contender.

    The guy has impressed me from the getgo when he played in Hamilton last season before being called up to Montreal.

    In my books, he is the “C” on the Habs.

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

  28. Danno says:

    I’d love to see White called up too.

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  29. NoTinFoilCups says:

    We definitely need to see more of the latter. As Boone pointed out Pyatt was not missed on the PK. I’d like to see Ryan White brought up in his place. A little more grit and sandpaper might keep the energy level up where it needs to be and make some of other grinders take notice that they are replaceable.

  30. JohnBellyful says:

    One of the penalties was for roughing. It was more like ‘being roughed up”. Unless he landed some haymakers while at the bottom of the pile.

  31. JohnBellyful says:

    JM should make a point of having a heart-to-heart talk with all his players who aren’t meeting expectations. If he can get through to AK, the others should be a breeze.

    Sitting Pyatt and keeping Eller in the lineup was another plus.

  32. Harditya_CareyPrice says:

    Lundqvist did get a roughing penalty, but MaxPac was given a double minor. 

    Not sure how they came up with that.

  33. ArmyFan says:

    You’d think, though, that it would be a pretty easy judgement call when the goalie jumps on top of a guy who’s pretty much on his back, cocks his arm back for a haymaker, and ploughs the guy with his blocker.

    I haven’t read through the boards, but I’m sure it’s already been pointed out that Pacioretty was pushed/”guided” into Lundqvist.  How the Rangers came out of that with a PP is beyond belief.

  34. joeybarrie says:

    AK has been his normal inconsistent self. HOWEVER, I think he want to do well, and is trying to produce more. Its not an easy thing of course, and his style of play is based on talent and not grit, so if it isnt working, he does not know what to do. I think at worst a 3rd 2nd line talented player like that is not a bad thing to have. I just think OUR expectations of him are too high right now.

    A lil chat with the coach, both sides showing they just want it to work. AK seems to be willing to put in the work on the ice, and took his relegation in stride. Just a little faith from the coach saying, produce down there in the next few games and youll be back at the top.

    In the end the big problem is having him on the top line.

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  35. Mike says:

    “drinks on me if you score”

  36. WestHab says:

    Might have said “I hear Hamilton is nice this time of year”

    - Who will be at the Heritage Classic?

  37. WestHab says:

    I’m from Calgary as well and I agree the Flames will be tough especially if kipper is on his game. It will be a fun one to watch in this household. The kids are flames fans.

    - Who will be at the Heritage Classic?

  38. Danno says:

    Does anybody know what Jacques Martin said to Andrei Kostitsyn when they had their little talk in his office on Friday? Because whatever he said to him, it seems to have worked.

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  39. Mike says:

    I want to see the lines remain the same for 1 more game. And if AK plays great again, I would move him up.

    Then our lines would be:

    AK-Pleks-Cammy
    Patches-Gomez-Gionta
    Pouliot-DD-Darche
    White-Halpern-Moen

    Pyatt

    Hammerlik-Wiz
    Gill-Subban
    Spatchek-Webber

    Picard

     

    What do you think? Eller should be playing 20 minutes in the ahl. He is not a winger. and DD has added great speed to the team. Plus if we could package him for a physical defenseman, perfect :)

  40. joeybarrie says:

    That attack by Lundqvist was fairly ridiculous. I dont get how he got away with it. Somtimes the Ref’s miss stuff, and sometimes the call the game a certain way, but that was clear to me. Hopefully the league will come down on the Ref for that. GUARANTEED if that was Price, or PK it would have been a game misconduct, and Don Cherry would have had an extra 5 minutes for the next 10 games on it…

    I cannot understand, with the players we have and the injuries, looking back at the season so far and where we are…. HOW anyone can say JM is not a good coach…

    Lets take the next 4….

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  41. showey47 says:

    Thats what i said after the incident happened. But the key part of that rule is “judgement of the referee”.

  42. Mike Boone says:

    Strategic, man.

    I’m a Steelers fan. I want the Jets at Heinz Field next week, rather than my boys going to Foxboro. In my heart, I love Brady. And the Pats have the best O-line in football.

  43. Danno says:

    Very interesting indeed. But instead we ended up with the extra 2:00 penalty. Then in the last minute or so of play we got a lame call on Hal Gill which meant we had to fight off a 6 on 4 attempt. I don’t mean to whine but the officiating is rather suspect…

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  44. JIMVINNY says:

    Something interesting was pointed out on the HFboards post game last night;

    51.3 Match Penalty – If, in the judgment of the
    Referee, a goalkeeper uses his blocking glove to punch an opponent in
    the head or face in an attempt to or to deliberately injure an opponent,
    a match penalty must be assessed.

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/page.htm?id=26343

    So not only should Lunqvist have received the extra penalty for attacking pacioretty, he should have been kicked out of the game, as well.

     

  45. punkster says:

    The huge library of mid 50s thru 60s and early 70s recordings read like a who’s who of the industry. Last I saw him was at Massey Hall in Toronto the year before he died. It was fluff time but fun. But those 70s concerts…sweet!

    By the way, I sent you an email throught the site. Send me your email address and we can swap recording recommendations.

    ***Subbang!!!***

  46. Danno says:

    Mr. Markov was not amused. He said a few choice Russian words too. It was a good laugh!

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  47. habsgod says:

    geat game last night pk and the wiz are awesome together on the pp,however we need cammalleri to start scoring,he’s to good to slump like this! we will go 3-1 this week in those back to back games and will over take the bruins for 1st in the division and the conference.

  48. twocents says:

    I caught that. I liked it too.

  49. Ian Cobb says:

    Three goals in the first period, played great in the 2nd period. Passing was special, along with our speed, our hits and puck control. Then we go into a defensive shell again in the 3rd period. They just never win going away!

    But as long as they win without giving up single points for ties!

  50. Marvin says:

    Living in Calgary, I’ve seen just about every Flames games (or parts of) this year. Let me tell you that playing the Flames is no easy 2 points. They work hard, and still play that in-your-face game. Mtl will have a tough time tomorrow.

  51. Ian Cobb says:

    I did watch Markov point to his name on his stall in the dressing room, reminding the rookie Subban not to put his stuff there. Subban removed his item quickly with a sheepish grin.

  52. FlyAngler says:

    Boone, Great Post except for the last line…… I can`t believe that you would root for that toe sucking miscreant and those classless degenerates that he coaches.  We won`t even get into Trippinggate.  Brady will destroy the Jets today.  Go Pats! Go Habs!

  53. The Kid says:

    Anyone who lives in the Ottawa area:

    I have two standing room tickets for Friday’s game against the Habs that I unfortunately will not be able to attend.

    I’m selling the tickets cheaper than face value (50 bucks each). Send me an email at gabe_desantis@hotmail.com if you’re interested

  54. Harditya_CareyPrice says:

    I like it Steve!

    Initially I wanted Price to start against the Flames, but considering Price’s strong stats against Sabres – I guess that move would be more logical. I was just a tad iffy on that because the Flames have been hot recently and the Sabres are currently in a slump.

  55. 24 Cups says:
     Monday, Jan 17   Calgary (Auld starts)    
     
     Tuesday, Jan 18   @ Buffalo (Price starts)    
     
     Friday, Jan 21   @ Ottawa (Auld starts)    
     
     Saturday, Jan 22   Anaheim (Price starts)    
     
     Tuesday, Jan 25   @ Philadelphia (Price starts)

     

    Looking ahead to February, the Habs play 13 games, three of which Auld could start. Feb 6th (New Jersey), 10th (Islanders) and the 17th (Edmonton) would be logical games to utilize the back-up.  The only snag in this plan is that Montreal plays Vancouver (Tuesday) after the Classic and then only gets one day off after returning from their western swing.  Their opponent on Thursday would be Toronto.  It could be a game time decision as to which goalie would get the nod.  You would also have to keep in mind that Montreal plays Carolina on the Saturday which obviously has to be a Price start.

  56. OneTimer says:

    Excellent post, JF! I agree with you on all points. And yes AK’s move (when he didn’t score) was just sick. He can really dangle if he wants to.

  57. JF says:

    Well, they got it done and I didn’t quite have a heart attack, but I can’t take too many more of these third-period nailbiters.  After absolutely dominating the first period and playing a solid second, why did they sit back? Didn’t they know the Rangers would be coming at them, crowding Price’s crease and throwing everything at the net?  But the difference between this year and last is that last year they would almost certainly have allowed this one to slip away or at least get to overtime.  They’ve learned how to win close games, which could be a valuable lesson in the playoffs.  But… the last time we won by more than a goal was in early December against Ottawa. The last time we scored more than three goals was against Boston before Christmas.

    P.K. gets better almost from game to game.  He moves the puck well, makes good passes, and has cut down on the risky or careless plays like passing into neutral ice and skating away without checking to see that his pass was picked up by the right guy.  The play of the game for me was his beautiful pass to Plekanec which led to the second goal.  He wound up as though to take his usual telegraphed slapshot, hesitated, then slipped an absolute beauty of a pass across the box to Pleks, the kind of pass Markov excels at.

    I think the Habs should hang onto Darche for next season at least.  He costs almost nothing in NHL terms, and we just don’t have anyone who does what he does as well as he does it.  And he’s one of the hardest workers on the team and a great role model for the younger players.

    I’ve never seen Andrei Kostitsyn look as pumped and happy as he did when he scored.  Later in the game, he made a beautiful move to get in on Lundqvist.  He didn’t score, but I hope he starts showing that kind of talent more.  He’s an inconsistent player and will probably always have periods of lethargy, but I don’t think we should give up on him.  For one thing, we’d get almost nothing for him; for another, he can be absolutely dominant when he’s on his game.

    Price needs to do a better job of controlling the puck in goal-mouth scrambles. I thought he could have frozen the puck before the first Ranger goal, and perhaps before the second as well.  But he stopped everything in that panicky third period, which I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have been able to do last year.

  58. 24 Cups says:

    Jane – All these close one goal games seem to be taking a toll on you. 

    You better be careful or you might start to get some grey hair:-)

    These games are like six foot putts in golf – they’re meant to build character!

  59. OneTimer says:

    If Halpern was the unsung hero at the beginning of the season, by now it’s got to be Darche.

  60. 24 Cups says:

    One thing that caught my eye in the game was the positioning of Darche on the two PP goals.  He was parked right in front of the net causing commotion and screening the goalie.  This is the type of play that we have been missing the past few years.

    Fans might wonder why a secondary player such as Darche would be on the PP.  Especially when you consider that he is not a high scorer or a gifted playmaker.  The truth of the matter is that he has stepped in to fill a void.  Like it or not, we don’t have a big bodied unit like a Hartnell or Lucic.  We also don’t have anyone on our roster who would modify their game to take on that role (MaxPac may change that).

    Kudos to Darche for doing so and to Martin for giving him the opportunity.  Josh Gorges may be on the sidelines, but Mathieu Darche is stepping up to fill the ‘lead by example’ void. 

    Darche just has to be the feel good story of the year in Montreal.

  61. Mike Boone says:

    And he’s a McGill man!

  62. The Teacher says:

    Darche has been doing it all year. You would think looking at him getting all the PP time would encourage others to do the same eh?

  63. havok says:

    best quote of the season:

     

    Pacioretty, who managed to make a Swede behave like a Celt,

  64. notbigbird says:

    I don’t know; I find it a little harsh on Celts. ;)

  65. RJ says:

    Go Pats!

    “My face is my mask,” Gump Worsley

  66. RockinRey says:

    I dont hate to nitpic but one of the disturbing things I see with Price is an unwillingness or inability to cover the puck in scrambles around the crease.

    I recall seeing this from him a lot a few seasons ago. On the two Rangers goals the puck on the plays in question were a foot away at best. He didn’t try and poke it away or cover it up. Instead you saw two Ranger guys recover it and shovel/ tuck it past him on two plays that should have been dead. And on those plays the opposition had  next to nothing to shoot at. I just think its a habit thing. I have played the position so I understand the angles but it drives me nuts about Price that he doesn’t cover the puck up on a lot of those plays…

    While I am at it. I am nonplussed at more than one NHL goaltenders ability to catch the puck. I know High glove side is very difficult on some of the wiced shots nowadays. But these  are NHL goalies. On more than one occasion I have heard the analyst say  guys Like Luongo and others that they dont have strong glove hands. What??? How is that possible ? As  goalie isn’t that what you practiced most on the streets? Kick saves and glove saves? I find it strange that a guy can have a weak glove hand overall.  And Luongo specifically seems to make some lobs an adventure…..

  67. RockinRey says:

    Love the Hammer! He is such a steadying influence and he picks his spots on the pinch and knows when to jump in. He really was a nice acquisition. I know there was a lot of hand wringing about his contract but he has really got the job done each time Markov has been out.

  68. Cape Breton says:

    3 in the first and then Jacqes appears to say sit back boys. I don’t understand it. Why Why, GO PATS GO!

  69. Big Ted says:

    Kudos to the Habs on a pretty good game.

     

    The refs were emabarrassing on a number of things last night:

     

    1. Calling PK alone in the first when that sequence was clearly initiated by Dubinsky, a guy who had said before the game he would go after Subban.

    2. Giving the Habs the extra 2 to Pacioretty when he was pushed in and failing to give King Henrik an additional penalty… if Ben Eager gets 4 games for sucker punching Colby Armstrong, how is this play from the Rangers goalie any different? Pacioretty hadn’t committed a foul, he was lying defenseless on the ice, and he took a head shot from a guy wearing a blocker… to me, that’s just as bad as what Eager did.

    3. Putting their whistles away for numerous infractions against both teams and then getting Hal Gill late when it could have easily been called on the Ranger player too for holding the stick. Gill got the stick up and the Ranger player clamped on and pulled it into his body then took an Oscar-worthy dive… how the ref let a good 6-8 other potential penalties go and then called that was atrocious.

  70. notbigbird says:

    We crap on the refs a lot, but the Gill penalty really grinds my gears. You don’t make a borderline, iffy call in that situation. Especially when they’ve let so much go. I think what we all want is consistency and even-handedness.


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