About last night …

Here’s some advice for 21,273 lucky fans who were at the Bell Centre: Hang on to your ticket stubs.

When Carey Price is closing in on 100 career shutouts, you’ll have palpable, eBay-sellable proof that you saw his first.

Thing about the Kid, when he’s hot he’s cool. Price does not panic. The work with Rollie Melanson and the exile to Hamilton have refined his technique and honed his focus.

Flyers get a 5-on-3 power play with ace penalty-killers Markov and Komisarek off for almost two full minutes? No problem.

Roman Hamrlik breaks his stick, turning it into a 5-on-2? No problem.

Fifteen third-period shots in a one-goal game? No problem.

The only problem is Guy Carbonneau’s. Who is his goaltender tonight in Philadelphia? 

If Carbo is true to his vow that he will ride the hot hand of a winner until there’s a loss, it’s gotta be Price. The problem – and it won’t take long for it to arise – is with impending UFA Cristobal Huet. Price will not go undefeated the rest of the season – heck, it will be tough to get a W tonight in Philly – so we’ll find out pretty soon how Huet reacts to having to win back his job AND play well enough to get a nice contract, in Montreal or somewhere else.

Over the course of the last two games, Price has stopped 69 of 70 shots, He’s beginning to make a strong push for the number one job, and the organization will have to decide whether Canadiens need the insurance policy of Huet for another season or two. 

It’s a nice problem to have.

• The Kids were alright last night. I watched the replay of Andrei Kostitsyn’s goal when I got home. Amazing. I’d managed to miss its subtleties during he game. Falling and reaching back to redirect the puck …. wow! Truly Ovechkinian. Andrei K., who has a sense of humour, later told reporters he’d taught Ovechkin how to score spectacular goals.

• And Dale Hunter taught his brother to never give an inch. How about brother Sergei getting into it with Scottie Upshall? I love the cojones on that kid.  

• Speaking of clanking brass ones: Francis Bouillon, three shots, five hits. If Canadiens had an award for Overachiever of the Year, Frankie the Bull would be a lock.

• Canadiens outhit the Flyers 26-17. Philly goon Riley Cote spent four minutes in the box, 1:36 on the ice. Steve Downie, however, can play hockey … and he’s a royal pain in the ass.

• I thought the third and fourth lines did what  they had to do: skate, hit and drive pucks deep, obliging the Flyers to lug them back 200 feet. Not exciting, but it eats minutes in a close game.

• Max Lapierre  was particularly energetic and understands just how he has to play against the Flyers. He’ll be a marked man tonight in Philadelphia.

• On the mad scramble that nearly tied the game – and François Gagnon, among others, thought it did – Tom Kostopoulos joined the pile and later admitted he did so to obscure the view of the overhead camera that Toronto would use to decide if the puck was in. There was no video consultation, but Tom the Bomb is a smart player.

• Roman Hamrlik played a heroic 22:53 – including most of the 5-on-3. He had three hits and a team-leading three blocked shots. Tremendous player.

• Faceoffs were 35-34 Flyers, but it seemed like they won most of the important ones.

• Mark Streit did not have a great night on the PP –  too many hasty and poor decisions. 

Enough nit-picking.

It was great, playoff-level hockey … and your Montreal Canadiens won the game. They’re two points back of Ottawa, which hasn’t won since that trade.

And who’s got the better goaltending, eh?


  1. Cape Breton says:

    I am quite amazed that I have not observed any realistic assessment of who should be the leader of the 2010 Canadian Olympic team.

    Stevie Y? Why? Or Y Not?

    I guess we could look at Canada’s Team and ask who is in charge? Sundin? Or we could pick Fletcher…?

    Or we can look to a hockey leader, developer, genius, and a human example to win the gold medal.

    When we look at the Canadian who should lead us into the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 we should consider Bob Gainey as our leader.

    He’s a winner, a Canadian, and will lead us to a gold medal in 2010.

  2. MikeMcLaren says:

    I’m certainly going to watch Mr. Price next time there’s a goal mouth scrum to see if he swats for the camera again. If he did indeed do that, I hope folks keep mum about it… never know when you’ll need something like that on a deep playoff run, heh.


  3. Blitzen says:

    Not sure what his actual status is but if he could be gotten without losing players, he’s a RW that might be interesting to try.

  4. Chorske says:

    Sorry, poor choice of words. Its a matter of who owns his rights. Either way, I can’t see how he could be got for free.

  5. 1010 says:

    Eight goals in their last five games. Hopefully tonight they can break out and score a few. It would be awfully nice to see someone, besides the usual suspects, score.

    GO HABS.

  6. TommyB says:

    Your comment got me thinking…and yeah, good move but hushhhhhh! I can just see the next “rules” session. “We need to put in a rule to penalize players who obstruct the video camera!” Imagine the fun Buttman’s boys would have with that one.

  7. The Kid says:

    Pens prospect? Morozov is 31 years old and hasn’t played in the NHL since the 03-04 season. I’m sure it wouldn’t cost anything to get him, seeing as though he has been playing in russia for the past 5 years.

  8. likehoy says:

    when i saw that live…i was like wth is kostopoulos doing?? he’s not even close to any flyers and he didn’t even help the situation by knocking the net over and running over his teammates…then i read the post game comment and i’m like wow brilliant!

  9. Ed says:

    I agree that the stats sometimes lie, and there are stats, and damn stats, or something like that. Some of the things you mention are definitely not covered by stats, but some of them are covered by the stat on giveaways and takeaways. This would cover errant passes, and losing possession of the puck. Getting back to my stats for a minute, I feel they might explain why Kostopoulos and Smolenski are not playing tonight. They both had zero shots and zero hits last night, and a total of only 1 hit in the previous game. These are our shut down guys, and they have to hit, and get a few shots. I will see you in the current thread for tonight’s game, and in Boone’s thread for tonight. Go HABS Go!!!

  10. nightmare_49 says:

    Ed – I love checking stats also as a guide but is there a stat for winning the battles on the wall , for getting the puck out of your end (mostly wingers) , erant passes , positioning , losing possesion of the puck (Lats) , not taking the man out, etc. I hope you get my point. A poster , i’m not saying you , could get up in the morning and post stats and not even see the game and probably get away with it if he keep his comments within the parameters of the stats. Stats won’t differ but analysis will. I still like your poats and your opinion also.

  11. NLhabsfan says:

    I guess if he pushed him in it would be interference on the players part.

  12. razor436 says:

    About the almost tying goal, it looked to me like a Philadelphia player was pushing Price’s pad into the net with his skate. Would that have really counted?

  13. The Teacher says:

    Ergo..Tom the bomb taking one for the team yet again?

  14. Wayne says:

    Could be his thumb. But if it wasn’t, I tend to think that while his size could’ve helped, there’s no sub for experience. Boo’s got the grit yes, and the quicker read in those tight situations based on experience. I tend to think Bernie would lose focus at that pace… for now at least.

  15. Wencz says:

    tsn is reporting that Price is in

  16. MikeMcLaren says:

    Very clever move by Tom “The Bomb” last night to obscure the camera by jumping in… however I’m not so certain he was the MVP on that move.

    If you rewatch the replay of that play, watch what Carey Price does:

    He actually SWINGS his blocker up into the air and absolutely *pastes* the goalcam sending it so askew that it was pretty much just broadcasting a fisheye view of 24 Stanley Cup banners from the rafters.

    I still cannot figure out what he was trying to accomplish on that play, but if he had any inkling to obscure that camera?



  17. Ed says:

    nightmare, I accept your criticism as constructive, but I don’t see anything wrong with some stats. After all, hockey is a game of stats. When it comes to negotiating salaries, or in arbitrations, it’s mostly about stats, goals, points, +/-, PP contribution, PK contribution, etc. In arbitrations, the team tries to portray the player in a negative light, while the player & his agent do the opposite.

    The end result of any game, and any season is stats, whether it be wins, losses, standings, etc. Look at all the sports web sites, and they are loaded with stats. I have always liked looking at the stats, and will continue to do so. Most of the posters on here give their analyses, so I like to throw in the stats every now and then.

    I love Carey Price’s stats for the last 2 games, and the 2 wins. Thanks nightmare.

  18. Chorske says:

    Alex Morozov?! Top russian player and pens prospect? I don’t buy it. How would Morozov not cost us players?

  19. Jay in PA says:

    One other interesting note is that we outhit the Flyers 26-17 last night. I think of the Flyers as a pretty physical team that’s willing to play dirty, and I know I’m not alone. If we’re outhitting them and winning games, that’s a good sign.

  20. Chorske says:

    Several weeks back there was some chatter on the boards about whether Rollie the Goalie was ‘ruining’ our goalies by forcing them to adopt a butterfly style. I disagreed with that notion (still do) and I like that Mike gives props to Rollie’s work with our goalie of the future.

    Watching yesterday’s game, what I mostly saw was a) a lot of butterfly, used effectively b) excellent positioning and c) very quick return to standing position from the butterfly. Seems to me that the kid has benefited immensely from his coaching- I mean, the kid brings great reflexes and focus and calm, but the other aspects of his game can only benefit from good coaching.

  21. ZepFan2 says:

    Add to that his (OB’s) ability to block shots.

  22. Blitzen says:

    We dished out a fair number of hits ourselves last night so I’m not too worried about that. Heck Bouillon and SKoz, not exactly two giants, were distributing checks. And if Philly wants to spend the game in the penalty box, our PP will break out at some point and make them pay. They can’t expect to go deep in the playoffs by playing like that.

  23. Blitzen says:

    Not sure if CHfans.com has any credibility but they seem to be saying that Kovalev might be calling someone to convince him of coming to the Habs. Every possible theory has been exposed in a 30-page thread. One guy mentioned who could provide some secondary scoring and not cost us players is Morozov. Getting a guy like that could free up some other guys for a trade. Who knows? Anyway, as I said no idea if that site has any credibility or if it’s another Eklund…

  24. Erik says:

    Great win last night. How about those CBC commentators I watched the begginning of the game on CBC but at first commercial break I went to RDS. I like having Bob Cole announce the game not some guy whos sounds like a figure skating commentator. I speak english but I like the passion for the game by Pierre Houde.

  25. showey47 says:

    Depends how the game is in the third period. I have no doubt that philly will come out throwing the body hard, these guys are in a big slump and are playing for their playoff lives. The biggest part will be to be able to dish it back and staying disciplined while doing it. The flyers tend to take alot of stupid penalties and we can put them away with the powerplay. This is my opinion anyway.

  26. Habs-Kat says:

    Anyone else thinking there’ll be some goonery going on tonight?

  27. J.T. says:

    I think the pressure *was* on the Koivu line until a couple of weeks ago when opposing teams noticibly started turning their attention to the Plekanec line. Not coincidentally, it’s hurting their production. I really want to see a big game from the offence tonight. Until they score four or five in a game again, I won’t really believe the slump is over for good.


  28. Habs-Kat says:

    Every great line goes through a slump now and then. Great lines also break out of slumps. A few weeks ago (well we still are) we were worried that we didn’t have any secondary scoring in case the Pleks line went M.I.A. for any reason in particular. The pressure, in my opinion, isn’t on the top line as much as it is the Koivu line – and they seem to be re-emerging.

  29. J.T. says:

    If it’s not one thing with our Habs, it’s another. Now that the goaltending has drifted between great and spectacular for the last couple of games, the goalscoring has dried up. The Pleks line has been effectively shut down outside the PP for the last several games. Kovy looks like he’s playing hurt and Plekanec is getting shoved around under heavy checking.

    If the boys are to give Philly the seven-loss itch tonight, the goalscorers had better show up and earn their pay.

    Oh…and start Price. Every point counts and he’s in the zone.


  30. Chorske says:

    All of us and Mr Gillette, as well.

  31. ebk says:

    I would imagine Carbo just trusts Bouillon more in PK situations. I think it was because he is a kid but you are right, you never know.

  32. Cable Guy says:

    your exactly right.

  33. Habs-Kat says:

    Go with Price, a starting goaltender is one that can handle back-to-back games. I don’t see Luongo or Brodeur taking these kinds of nights off. If we want Price to be what we expect him to be one day, then start giving him the experience.

  34. Mike says:

    so whats going on trade wise?

  35. showey47 says:

    Brilliant thing to do but probably not the most brilliant thing to say, nonetheless 2 points for us.

  36. nightmare_49 says:

    Usually i’m not to happy with our bench management but last night i applaud them and in O’Bey’s case i see their point. The two games in Florida he played great but last night he didn’t have the same confidence and seemed uncertain and the fact that Hamy and the Cube were on top of their game as well as Gorges for the most part dictated few shifts for O’Bey. In Florida also he started both games with great outlet passes and built from there and it all comes down to developement. A veteran may have a shakey start and play steady for the rest of the game where as a rookie may go south. Confidence is so important in a young defenceman as Gorges can attest to. Using Gorges sparingly in the 3rd was wise due to his bout with the flu lately. Nice post Ed but a little less stats and a little more analysis would be welcome IMO. Constructive criticism.

  37. showey47 says:

    don’t get we wrong, cube is probably pound for pound one of the toughest in the league. I just feel having obyrne’s overall size and strength plus the area he can cover due to his size would of been a benefit on the penalty kill. I just hope his lack of ice time was due to being a rookie and not because he is being punished or injured.

  38. The Teacher says:

    I love those kind of players 🙂 Absolutely awesome when they’re on OUR team!

  39. Steiner says:

    “Tom Kostopoulos joined the pile and later admitted he did so to obscure the view of the overhead camera that Toronto would use to decide if the puck was in.”

    Absolutely brilliant.

  40. RetroMikey says:

    Wow! Anti Huet! You’ been spending to much time in Southern California and being a couch potato watching and observing Price on the dish than coming to see him play in Hamilton where I’m from and watching his development with the rest of the kids. We’re going to win the Stanley Cup not this year but when we do win it, it will be with Carey Price in goal. That’s all I am saying and most will agree with me. Don’t understand why you hate Huet so much kid. Too much sun does the brain damage, I suppose.

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

  41. N.B.habs fan says:

    Hi Kjdavid,
    I too think Price should play tonight,he was the 1st star last night and had a shutout.He is hot and we should keep the same line up tonight.They deserve that much for winning.

  42. Cable Guy says:

    There is no question that Carey Price has to start tonight.

  43. ebk says:

    last night, I’d rather have Bouillon on the ice than O’Byrne. I think he has been playing well for quite awhile.

    I do like O’Byrne though, he skates well for a big man and looks like a keeper.

  44. showey47 says:

    it still really makes no sense, who would you rather have out there when being short handed clearing bodies in front of the net when komi and markov are in the box. I like gorges and the cube but obyrnes size alone gives him leverage over players standing in front of the net. Especially the likes of knuble. I wonder if the thumb is still bothering him?

  45. The Teacher says:

    True, I don’t recall him making a grievous error. You must be right.

  46. howtathor says:

    Mike, thanks for the tip on the ticket stub! Maybe if I put it up on ebay today I can make enough to buy Springsteen tickets!

    Interesting discussion vis a vis Price/Huet. Sounds like a good old fashioned goaltender controversy. Personally I feel that Price has to carry the ball to be effective. He’s not a backup goalie, never has been, never will be.
    He’s always carried the load and as evidenced by last night’s performance, when he’s in the zone he’s unbeatable.
    I envy those people who sit in the corner where he skates over to between plays because I would love to see the fire in his eyes. I think we should ride him all the way like the horses on his mask!
    M. Huet can be used to secure that final piece of the puzzle that we’re missing whether it be a defensive centerman (Peca, Holik) or a bonafide goal scorer (Prospel, Fedorov). Notice that I didn’t say Hossa because I don’t feel we shoud mortgage the future (Higgins, O’byrne) for one player. Soon the UFA’s will be knocking at the door and maybe there won’t be any room at the inn!

    Price tonight (because it’s right)!

  47. ebk says:

    The game had a ton of penalties and that would be my best guess as to why O’Byrne received so little ice-time

  48. The Teacher says:

    God, I miss the playoffs…

  49. Ed says:

    It’s amazing what a great goal tending performance can do for both a team, and for the fans of a team. It enables a team to win, when they probably should not, and it gives the fans the impression that the team is playing outstanding hockey. This is exactly what Carey Price has done in the last 2 games, both won by the Habs. He has faced 36 and 34 shots, and gave up only 1 goal. The Habs only scored a total of 3 goals in those 2 games, but won both of them. I give full credit to Price. Without his performances, the Habs probably would have lost both of them.

    In the last 5 games, the team has won the last 2, and lost 3 in a row before that. In those 5 games, we have been outscored 14 – 8. That’s right, we have scored only 8 goals in the last 5 games. The offense has fallen off dramatically, but Price has compensated for it in the last 2 games. As for the 3rd and 4th lines, I see in the last 2 games that some of those guys were missing in the hit and/or shot departments.
    Kostopoulos – last night; 0 shots, 0 hits; previous game, 2 and 1
    Smolinski – last night; 0 shots, 0 hits; previous game, 1 and 0
    Dandenault – last night; 2 shots, 0 hits; previous game, 0 and 0
    Latendresse – last night; 0 shots, 2 hits; previous game, 0 and 2

    Lapierre has played well, having 1 shot and 1 hit last night, and 3 shots and 3 hits in the previous game. Streit also had 3 shots and 1 hit last night, and 3 shots and 0 hits the previous game. Most of his shots probably came on the PP where he played 7:00 and 7:15 respectively.

    I can’t see why O’Byrne played only 7:56 last night. He played well, and had 2 hits in the 1st period. On The Score today, they are calling him O’Brien, when they show the hard hit he had last night.

    It’s on to Philadelphia today, and we need another strong goaltending performance if we are to beat them again.

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