About last night …

As befits a hockey coach who works in Washington, Bruce Boudreau is adroit at diplomacy.

“It was loud and it was crazy,” Boudreau said of the Bell Centre as the teams took the ice. But lest his words be misconstrued, Boudreau hastened to add that the raucous atmosphere was “crazy good.”

A couple hours later, as the minutes ticked down on a convincing Washington win, the crowd was not crazy good or crazy bad.

At least half had left the building – proving they weren’t so crazy after all.

The test of sanity is still to come, as fans spend an off day wondering if their team can rebound from two crushing defeats.

Never underestimate a Canadiens fan’s capacity for self-delusion, but seriously, folks:

How crazy do you have to be to still think they can win this thing?

 

 

Credit the Canadiens with heart and their seventh man with spirit.

Despite losing a game they led 4-1 in Washington, the Canadiens whipped their amped-up crowd into a level 11 frenzy by playing what Mike Cammalleri called their best first period of the season.

They outshot the Capitals 10-7 and had maybe five or six quality chances. But they couldn’t bury them.

And as was the case in Washington when the Capitals won a game they should have lost, you had the sense an opportunity had been blown. 

The Canadiens won the first 20 minutes, but games last 60. And when Boyd Gordon’s fluke shorthanded goal opened the scoring and sucked the enthusiasm out of the crowd, you knew the first period mojo had vanished … and Big Mo was about to change benches.

By the time Jaro Halak skated to the bench 8:33 into the second period, he’d allowed three goals on 13 shots. He didn’t get much help from his defencemen, and the net-crashing Caps cuffed him around pretty good. But I gotta believe Carey Price gets the start on Wednesday.

I haven’t checked Twitter. Did Allan Walsh Tweet anything about the Canadiens’ goaltending?

My great and good friend Red Fisher, who has forgotten more than I’ll ever know about hockey, was kind enough to offer a few insights on this pivotal game:

• The little guys killed the Canadiens. Not little in terms of size, because most of the Capitals are bruisers, and that’s beginning to tell in the series, but four of the Washington goals were scored by the supporting cast: Gordon, Brooks Laich, Eric Fehr and – long after the issue had been decided – Matt Bradely.

• How many times, Red asked, is every member of a top forward line minus-4 in a playoff game? Tomas Plekanec, Mike Cammalleri and Andrei Kostitsyn were on for four even-strength goals by Washington.

• Marc-André Bergeron, minus-3,  is not a defenceman in the estimation of Mr. Fisher, who has been watching Canadiens’ blueliners since Doug Harvey and Tom Johnson. “MAB has a good shot, Red grants, and he’s an asset on the PP. But while Boudreau denied it was a strategy, Red said the Caps were dumping the puck on MAB’s side all night – with predictable misery for a Dman who isn’t as good as Harvey, Johnson or Gaston Gingras.

Question for discussion: Have we seen the last of Jaro Halak in Montreal?

I’d bet dollars to donuts Price starts Game 4. Either he’ll win or, if the erstwhile Franchise loses, the Canadiens will come back with Halak in Washington, where the Caps, up 3-1, will close this out.

Alternative scenario: the Canadiens ride a hot Price back into the series.

In either case, it could be adios, Jaro.

And you wonder what the playoffs, which began so spectacularly for him, have done to Halak’s trade value.

•  •  •

Best of the Canadiens?

Brian Gionta (which is the case almost every game), Benoit Pouliot, Mike Cammalleri, minus-4 notwithstanding.

Another quiet night for the third and fourth lines. Glen Metropolit, in his first game back, played 5:37, Mathieu Darche 2:22.

In 9:21 of ToI for Washington, Eric Fehr had a goal and an assist.

•  •  •

Boudreau, gracious in victory, called Jacques Martin “one of the smartest, if not the smartest coach in the league.”

Maybe so, but the brilliant moves have included Martin relegating Ryan O’Byrne to the pressbox in a series against a big, physical team that has run mugged the Canadiens’ goaltender.

And while the Andrei Markov injury left him with few options, Martin’s use of Roman Hamrlik and Jaro Spacek have left the aging defencemen running on fumes at the most important stage of the season.

•  •  •

Scott Gomez, who helped screw up Game 2 with that stupid fight, took a misconduct for yapping at the ref.

If he gets kicked out of Game 4 it will be some sort of Eddie Shack hat trick.

•  •  •

Boudreau on his PP, which is 0-for the playoffs:

“Yeah, we suck.”

 

231 Comments

  1. NaturalizedCanadian says:

    It’s just unbelievable. What exactly is the point of using replay if you just get it wrong? I don’t even see how that goal could possibly be dissalowed. If you have not seen the disallowed goal and you believe in the Bettman-hates-Canadian-teams-and-will-do-anything-to-help-them-lose conspiracy theory, you  might want to check this one out. I hope the Canucks get revenge.

  2. phillyhab says:

    No goalie stopping those goals.  I think it was a “momentum shift” move that fell short.

  3. shootdapuck says:

    MAB has acquitted himself in a regular shift???

    Surely you jest?

    Then why does Washington target him as the weak link? They must be stupid or misinformed!

    He is not a defenseman, he is a one dimensional hockey player who would be excellent as a designated shooter if the NHL ever adopts that concept!

    His shooting accuracy is on par with former coach Jacques Laperierre who as a player used to spray pucks all over the rink but once and a while would put one on net with spectactular results.

    The entire back-end of this team(minus Markov) should be given the same treatment as the front end was last year. FLUSH!

     

    “The three stars as selected by Red Fisher of the Montreal Star:
    1st star: Henri Richard
    2nd Star: Doug Harvey
    3rd Star: Jacques Plante

    Final score Detroit Red Wings 5 Montreal Canadiens 3”

  4. shootdapuck says:

     

    Andrew please qualify that comment by “I was blitzed at a a bar and drank my way to the 3rd period”.

    Yappierre was as usual a waste of oxygen!

    Hardly in the same league as Gionta who was the best player last night in a group of mediocrity!

    Hope he enjoys his new home in Edmonton and enjoys surviving/playing in San Jose multiple times next year!

    His free pass expires very soon!

     

    “The three stars as selected by Red Fisher of the Montreal Star:
    1st star: Henri Richard
    2nd Star: Doug Harvey
    3rd Star: Jacques Plante

    Final score Detroit Red Wings 5 Montreal Canadiens 3”

  5. Tis Himself says:

    Don’t use that as an excuse. This franchise went in the crapper well before the salary cap was introduced.

  6. G-Man says:

    Price will not return to favourite son status. He will suck if they play him in Game 4.

    Actually, the way SK keeps dishing those behind the back passes at the blueline to Ovie is a good reason to bench him.

     

  7. G-Man says:

    It’ll be way more than 2 if Price starts Wed.

  8. Nahlsy says:

    Couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s easy for people to just blindly throw that nonsense out there, it takes someone that actually pays attention to point out that they had as much or more home grown talent on their roster last year than any other team in the Majors (nobody knew that though did they?)

    What they do is find guys like Rivera, Posada, Cano, Soriano, Matsui, Jeter, Pettite, Joba, Bernie Williams, Hughes, Gardner, Nick Johnson, Vazquez etc. Occasionally they’ll move one of those out for another part such as the Soriano for A-Rod deal. Then like all other teams they compliment their roster with some free agents of course but, the roster that those free agents are complimenting is already EXTREMELY deep and rich with home grown talent and that home grown talent is the reason they continue to win.

    Their batting order in the World Series last year saw Jeter, Posada, Cano, Gardner, Matsui & Melky as guys that had never played for another MLB franchise 6 guys in their regular batting order. Tex and Damon were the ONLY REGULAR BATTERS that had come over as free agents, A-Rod and Swisher that came over in trades.

    Their pitching staff? Pettite, Joba, Hughes, Rivera and company are all Yankee products, only CC and Burnett came in as free agents on pretty much their entire WS pitching staff.

    Four free agent acquisitions on an entire World Series roster.

    Sorry, you were saying they just buy their entire team from other MLB clubs right? Care to count how many players on the Phillies were home grown? Or the Red Sox? How about the Blue Jays? Pick a team, any team really….

  9. Clay4bc says:

    Right you are, Andrew – as always, only YOUR opinion matters. Everyone else should just keep their pie-holes closed.

    _________________

    Don’t argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.

  10. badbalance says:

    Well Halak doesn’t seem to be winning games for us, Now it’s Price’s time to shine. Price was getting basehd for the same crap this season, and guess what each time he got bashed the most, he only let in 2 goals..

  11. Josh says:

    Boudreau says that Martin is one of the smartest only because Martin insists on playing Bergeron 20+ minutes a game while keeping the Habs only physical defenseman in the pressbox. What a complete joke his coaching is; it’s almost like Gaineys decision last year to play Laraque on the top line. Can’t we ever get a break as fans and have a decent coach who knows what he’s doing?

  12. Bob Barker says:

    The thing about the Yankees is that they just scout other teams in the league then offer ridiculous contracts to their best players effectively making themselves a contender every year. 

     

  13. Mr.Hazard says:

    I considered it, but my resolve must be way stronger than yours lol. Or my beard not QUITE as “scruzzy” as yours. But I submit you’ll regret it, if we win this series!!

    “love cannot drown truth, Nefertiti”

  14. Mr.Hazard says:

    I am a huge Halak fan, and always have been. Price should start next game. And I hope to the Almighty above that he can pull it off.

    COME ON HABS.

    “love cannot drown truth, Nefertiti”

  15. Nahlsy says:

    No, unlike the Yankees, this club has no scouting, no GM worth his weight in salt over the past 30 yrs now, and a predjudiced hiring process that handicaps themselves needlessly. Therefore unlike the Yankees, this team can’t EARN championships.

     

  16. habsfanmandy says:

    Ugh, I can imagine. Horrible.

  17. Y says:

    Yup, everyone here in Vancouver is pissed.

  18. PattyBoy31 says:

    Sorry guys, my version of a playoff beard is way to thin and scuzzy to be kept with an effort like tonight

  19. PattyBoy31 says:

    I’ve got a price jersey and all…but honestley, how was halak at fault for those goals? Spacek drilled him into the net on one, another was a low shot with a quick cash on the rebound, and another was through heavy traffic. This is a very difficult situation to gauge if your JM…and gauthier. Who knows tho (i hope price picks it up since my $300 is on the line)

  20. Richrebellion says:

    The main difference tonight was goaltending, Halak was average and Varlamov was stellar. Habs controlled the play in the first period and he kept us out. I hear excuses as the goals werent his fault and they werent completely. But as anderson showed last night and many goalies have shown in the playoffs, for you to win games your goalie must be stellar.

    Halak hasnt been stellar the past 2 games, and although he brought us here its time to turn to price. Geber and theo both brought their teams to the playoffs and they were switched out 1 of them won a cup the other cud be on his way…. Play Price hope he hits a groove like the calder cup and we might have a chance.

  21. habsoul says:

    Some observations:

    Jaro is gone. It’s likely we have seen his last game in rouge, blanc, et bleu. This series was his launch pad to stardom and he came to earth like Discovery. Thank you Mr. Halak and good luck at your next stop.

    It will be interesting to see how Price responds to his return to favorite son status.

    Jacques Martin is a dipswitch. Why would anyone bench Sergei Kostitsyn in favor of an ineffective Greg Metropolit? Is it really worth losing a playoff series to teach the young Belarussian a lesson? Habs fans know what comes next; next year Sergei scores 30 goals as a Nashville Predator and gives interviews about the ineptness of the Habs’ management.

    Can we send Martin down to Hamilton and call up Boucher?

    Emotionally, we know it’s possible for the Habs to take this to 7 games. But we also have to accept that there’s something inevitable about these Washington Capitals. I hope Les Boys can steal another game, but the momentum the Canadiens earned in the first two games has evaporated.

     

  22. habsfanmandy says:

    So what do you guys think about the no-goal call in L.A. before?

    I think it’s a good goal. He is not kicking, he’s just skating past.

    Effing NHL.

  23. sidhu says:

    “How crazy do you have to be to still think they can win this thing?”

    I still believe.

     

  24. Wops says:
    MAB 3 0 0 0 -5, enough said
  25. ooder says:

    that is a lie.. MAB can hardly be considered a D-man

    ——————

    “I like what I’m seeing right now,” assessed Markov. “We’re not perfect, but we’re trying to be.”

  26. andrewberkshire says:

    Lapierre was one of our best players tonight, by the time he took that penalty the game was LONG over, who cares.

  27. ABHabsfan says:

    Perhaps we think the same, I guess. Scary

  28. Y says:

    Now taking bets for the Finale on friday

    Halak’s last game as a Hab?

    O/U is 4.1

     

     

  29. andrewberkshire says:

    Well unlike the Yankees, they can’t buy championships so it’s a little different.

  30. Bob Barker says:

    People say that all the time about red fisher. Boone has said it more than once. 

  31. Duracell3 says:

    Two years ago we finished first in the East, I’d say thats a contender.

  32. Duracell3 says:

    The thing is with the cap situation, Halak can probably ask for more, and I don’t know really where we are going to get that cap space, especially if they re-sign Plekanec (who will be getting a somewhat handsome raise). It would also be doubtful that someone would make an offer sheet on Price before Halak (as he’s a 1st round pick, meaning they’d have to give up a first round pick), and Halak probably has more value in the eyes of other teams at this time.

     

    While I, like everyone ele would love to keep both, it would take a great stroke of math to do it. I think a  choice will be made, and my guess is that management will choose Price.

  33. ABHabsfan says:

    If Lapierre doesn’t eat hotdogs next game then there is something seriously wrong. That penalty at the end of the game was terrible. He makes a good hit then goes ahead and punches Green in the back of the head. I’m not saying that the Habs could have come back because the outcome was decided but Habs were laying a good foundation for Wed nad instead ofpushing hard for the last 3 minutes they are killoing another dumb penalty then guess what, another goal where the D-men stand there and watch the Caps 4th line take turns whacking at the puck. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem and #40 is clearly the latter

  34. Tis Himself says:

    Given the past 17 years, this organization is lucky that they are just three championships behind the NY Yankees.

  35. ABHabsfan says:

    Mr Boone, the line about how Red Fisher has forgotten more about hockey than you (we)will ever know, are the exact words I used in a post on this site about 2 weeks ago when Mr. Fisher made a comment about signing Jaro Halak. I thank-you for the emulation, it is a compliment to me that an actual journalist would use my words.

  36. ooder says:

    i just hope, behind closed doors they actually try to take care of this.

    i expect more out the management and the owners

    ——————

    “I like what I’m seeing right now,” assessed Markov. “We’re not perfect, but we’re trying to be.”

  37. Tis Himself says:

    I think the Habs may actually be part of the conspiracy!

  38. Tis Himself says:

    All the ‘dogs needed was a touchdown to win!

  39. ooder says:

    btw.. the nhl will make sure the habs don’t pass the capitals.

    bank on it

    ——————

    “I like what I’m seeing right now,” assessed Markov. “We’re not perfect, but we’re trying to be.”

  40. light_n_tasty says:

    He sure didn’t look good tonight…7-2 loss….

  41. shakey says:

    start price next game.

    halak has played well enough that we should get quite a bit for him – don’t let him play his way out of that value. trade him and go with price.

     

  42. shakey says:

    this series was over after the second game. you cannot give up a lead like that and expect to win a series, especially where you are so overmatched. good push in the first tonight, but without a lead after all those chances – that was just the nail in the coffin.

    o’byrne is sitting because he  makes a questionable first pass, and takes too many penalties. I’m not an MAB fan, but the decision to play him is not terrible – he’s acquitted himself well in a regular shift, and he is a powerplay asset.

    someone who should sit – pouliot! he has worse than disappeared – he is a liability. NO physical presence, NO strength on the puck, unforced turnovers and errors and NO offensive creativity. Softer than butter in the sun. put darche on that line or someone with some intensity. Terrible.

    and gomez’s intensity is all misdirected – he should be playing smarter than that. his fight in game two – a key part of that melt down.

    however, there is a good core for next year, if pierre can add to it. gainey’s rebuilding was the right move – we have a team that wants to win now. there is hope for the future.

  43. ooder says:

    i just saw the 2nd and 5th capital’s goal…

    are you effing serious.. MAB wtf?!?!

    after a not bad start to the series those 2 goals are directly his fault.

    did he actually try to go for a piggyback ride on the capital player?

    ——————

    “I like what I’m seeing right now,” assessed Markov. “We’re not perfect, but we’re trying to be.”

  44. zozotheclown says:

    I would play Price next game to turn momentum and try something new, Halak’s been fighting the puck even on saves since they started crashing the net, and we have to try something. But to say this is Halak’s last game in Montreal is a big stretch I think. If by some miracle Price can stone the Caps and turn the series around, then maybe Halak won’t see action this series, but even thats doubtful. If in the unlikely event Price gets all games from now till the end, I still don’t see why Halak is done in MTL. These guys are both RFA’s and won’t be able to negociate major raises if any, its perfectly possible to keep both if we drop some salary like Hamirlik, whose been very meh this playoffs.

     

  45. Habsfan_jay says:

    Boone, you’re right about Ryan O’Byrne needing to play.

    Hall Gill is our only D man without a minus rating right now. Now what do Gill and O’Byrne have in common?

  46. ooder says:

    i tuned into the game in the middle of the second period and here are some thoughts.

    Jaro not impressive, especailly after watching Anderson’s, Niemi’s and yes even Nabokov’s( who made some very nice saves) performances.

    Defence, weather due to nerves or scared that Jaro won’t back them up was horrible and weak

    playing metro, who hasn’t played in over a month and has yet to practice with the team after a very serious injury over sk74 who is younger faster and was playing very well. This is NOT a knock on metro but a game like that is not a place to bring someone in. 

    Price was not super impressive but at that point of the game, who cares really… he gets the nod for the next game.

    the refs are disgusting scum bags… when the players finally stand up for themselves and the goalie they get penalized. They actually went up to JM and told him that the players have no right to talk to them or complain any more.

    that to me says volumes.

    Moen… used to be a warrior and hurt people, what happened? weather it’s a passive coaching issue or a coach who can’t fire up his palyers i don’t know. But after years of palying a style that got him into the NHL and won him a cup, this guy is a ghost of his former self.. and that’s very strange.

    Pouliot… lol

    on to the next game, hopefully they bounce back, but who knows.

    ——————

    “I like what I’m seeing right now,” assessed Markov. “We’re not perfect, but we’re trying to be.”

  47. larrymills says:

    In A Nutshell:

    * This team has potential (2nd or 3rd round next year and finals the year after).

    * We can’t possibly hope to advance past a first round with a defence like ours this year.

    * After Markov and Gorges the next four would not make the roster on the top six teams this year.

    * Hopefully next year with PK Suban and at least one other tough nut defenseman (Obyrne has

    some promise but he will have to improve marginally this summer) we can keep other teams from

    crashing our goalies.

    * We have huge potential with our top six forwards (anyone of them could be 30-40 goal scorers)

    * Our goaltending is solid with excellent futures in Hamilton in case one gets injured.

    In conclusion

    * Two years ago we had several concerns and a long way from a contender. Now if we do minor

    tweeking and stay with our core of forwards, goalies etc. we will have a decent run next year. 

  48. light_n_tasty says:

    As usual, Spacek had a number of shots towards the net, including one where the net was wide open.  And as usual, he missed by a mile.  This guy couldn’t hit the broad side of Bruce Boudreau’s butt.

  49. joeybarrie says:

    Difficult situation? Doesnt matter. Its the Montreal Canadiens Management. They could trade Halak for Ovechkin, Kesler, Crosby and the Sedin Twins and if Halak has a 50-50 season then we were Stupid and took all these salaries that will plague our team for the next 10 years………… There is NO WIN for this city thats good enough. 6 in a row is the only way to keep us happy and even then its only good for 6 YEARS………

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

  50. Tis Himself says:

    The only man who can save us now is Cedric “The Entertainer” Desjardines.

  51. Habsfan_jay says:

    The Jaro/Price situation has been a no win for management for awhile.

    Let’s face it, in the organization’s eyes Price is the future, has been since the day Gainey drafted him. This is no different under Gautier, because he’s Gainey’s boy, so to speak.

    Earlier in the year when Jaro made his “play me or trade me” move, Gainey tried to move him but the deal didn’t work, because as I understand it, they weren’t offered enough in return.

    So then Jaro plays great and saves the team’s bacon, and his trade value slowly increases. So now what? Trade him when his value is high? You can’t trade him he’s saving the team…

    So if he turns out to be an absolute star and leads the Habs deep into the playoffs management would really have to rethink the whole Price is the future stance, and possibly ship off Price, a highly touted asset. Now how much would you get for Price? Probably not a lot considering he’s yet to prove himself. However, if you trade Halak after he’s become a superstar, the fans and media will have a field day, because it probably wouldn’t be in the best interest of the team.

    But if Halak tanks in the playoffs, you’re right back at square 1, trying to trade him and not getting anything in return in return.

    A difficult situation at best.

  52. joeybarrie says:

    Honestly, Boone, your comment about OByrne is making me think. I dont usually say what a coach should do, because I know JM is a much much better coach than I, and he also has the unique position of being in the middle of everything. Unlike myself, as i get most of my info from this website…

    But playing MAB 20+ minutes a game, and sitting out our biggest D doesnt make alot of sense to me. I know MAB has a great shot. But he is not as good as OB on defense, and we need a little size in there. They are scoring because they a literally CRASHING the net.

    Its not s though MAB’s shot has done anything in this series. I think his lack of defensive skills is hurting Markov’s chances of being useful in the attack. I think maybe he has to watch out too much in order to be offensively effective. MAB is fast. But id take the penalties OB give up over MAB’s team leading -5 in 3 games… We play better on the PK than anything else anyways…

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

  53. habs4cup says:

    2 years ago, in the playoffs, we lost 4 straight to Philly.

    last year we lost 4 straight to Boston. this year we’re going to lose 4 straight to Wash. when will this broken record stop? I’m fed up!

  54. Tis Himself says:

    Looks like those beautiful trace horses that I saw when the Habs were up 4-1 Saturday night really were mice and the gilded coach a mere pumpkin.

  55. habaholic68NJ says:

    Hey Bugs, what is with your boy Pouliot?  When he first came up, he went straight to the net with his head up and good things happened as Gomer and Gio or rebounds would find him resulting in a quick shot and a goal at a pace of 50/year. Since he returned from injury, he tries to carry the puck for too long and make pretty plays.  Looks like it is not working.

  56. joeybarrie says:

    You know, Markov and Spacek didn’t have a single shot on net tonight.

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

  57. ColRouléBleu says:

    Why are the Habs asking fans to wear red at the game when they sell more t-shirt in any color OTHER than red?  I know this has nothing to do with what went on on the ice but I had to mention it.


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