About last night …

PricePens

What’s to be said about a crazy game like that?
Shall we accentuate the positive?
Everyone thought it was all over but the crying 13 minutes into the second period. The Penguins, who had looked much the better team to that point, scored three unanswered goals to go ahead 4-2.
Over.
Done and dusted.
But your Montreal Canadiens did not quit.
They clawed back to tie it.
They took a 5-4 lead and blew it
They trailed 6-5 and tied it again to send the game into OT, gaining a point that might be valuable when April 28 rolls around and the NHL is filling out postseason dance cards.
So credit the lads with character and resilience.

More positives?

Brendan Gallagher cemented his spot on a line with David Desharnais and MaxPacioretty, the only Canadiens trio that ended the game intact. I’m very keen to see Gallagher against the Bruins on Sunday evening.

Brian Gionta, who went seven games without scoring in February, found the net for the second straight game and had his first two-goal effort of the season.

P.K. Subban scored the goal that made it 4-4 and played 22:19 – up from the high-teens games with which Michel Therrien eased him back into the Canadiens defensive rotation. By the end of the game, P.K. was partnered with Josh Gorges on the second pairing, and that’s probably where we’ll see him in Boston … even though Gorges was minus-3 and they were on for Brandon Sutter’s overtime winner.

Max Pacioretty had seven shots on goal (as did Pittsburgh’s Sutter) and scored his seventh goal in as many games. Max-Pac has arrived for the 2013 season. He and the super pest on right wing have brought DD’s game to life.

Oh, and Tomas Kaberle had two assists and was plus-3 in 12:36 of ice time.

Thus endeth the positives. I may have omitted a couple. It was a hectic night.

Negatives?

Carey Price was lousy. Any goaltender who gives up a converted touchdown is off his game.

But Price didn’t get much help, as evidenced by the 14 shots fired at him  by the Penguins in the first period. Pittsburgh was the first opponent to rack up a double-digit first-period shot total since the Leafs had 12 on that Saturday night we have tried to forget – an amnesia aided and abetted by how well the Canadiens had played in the three weeks since.

And with all due respect to Tyler Bozak, Clarke MacArthur, James Van Riemsdyk and the other stars of that Leaf romp, they aren’t Sidney Crosby, James Neal, and Chris Kunitz.

And Dion Phaneuf  isn’t Kris Letang.

Even without Evgeni Malkin, the Pittsburgh lineup packs firepower equalled by few in the league. The Penguins have size, skill, the incomparable Crosby and, on Saturday night, a game plan that pressured the Canadiens, reducing the home team’s time and space as few have managed to do this season.

So while all the usual suspects crawl out their damp places under rocks to knock Price – some caller to the TSN 690 postgame show suggested the Canadiens trade their franchise goaltender for a big centre – the Canadiens lost this one as a team.

That said, even the most enthusiastic Price fans – and I count myself among them – have to acknowledge our boy has yet to steal a game for the Canadiens this season. Maybe Sunday in Boston, since I’m pretty sure Therrien will come back with his number one goaltender against the Bruins.

I’ll not hazard a guess as to the coach’s forward lines, other than the DD unit.

By the third period on Saturday night, Lars Eller had replaced Tomas Plekanec between Brandon Prust and Gionta, while Tomas Plekanec was centring Michael Ryder and Alex Galchenyuk. Travis Moen also had a couple shifts on that line, as Galchenyuk struggled and played 11:15 – less than any other forward except Ryan White.

Perhaps Therrien will just write off the 7-6 gong show as the aberration it was and go back to the forward lines and defence pairings that had  carried the Canadiens to the lofty perch atop the Eastern Conference from which the Bruins dislodged them by beating Tampa Bay on Saturday.

The Canadiens can regain top spot by winning in Boston.

After losing to the Leafs three Saturdays ago, the Canadiens went down to Florida and beat the Lightning to begin a five-game winning streak.

They have not lost a game in regulation since the Leaf Laugher, picking up at least a point in 10 straight starts.

That streak was not built on the basis of the kind of run-and-gun hockey the Canadiens tried to play against a Pittsburgh team that has superior runners and gunners.

It will doubtless be back to basics against the Bs.

266 Comments

  1. seantfoster says:

    Just like you said Ryder looks lost and out of place. Now everyone knows why we got a third round pick.

  2. gerrybell says:

    good to see micheal ryder bringing back the old memories – by being invisible.

    the only way i will applaud that move is after we get rid of him again and see what player we sign to a large deal [perry???] with the money saved by trading cole.

    g
    b

  3. PLHab says:

    Hey Guys,

    I’m re-posting my earlier msg, I need a bit of help with tix

    ….a long-time reader and follower, first-time poster

    I am coming to Mtl (I am a Canadian living/working abroad) in April to catch the Bos-Mtl game on the 6th, I’d like to show my Euro-girlfriend a hockey game anyone know a good site for tix or perhaps someone who want to sell 2 tix to the game that night.

    Cheers,
    P.

  4. Sal from the Hammer says:

    Price will never be replaced by a better goalie currently playing in the NHL. Not because there aren’t any goalies better than Price. That’s not the point. He is what many lesser, and, many more talented lineups wish they had. As talented as the Penguins are, they gave up six goals to a lineup, that on paper, shouldn’t be on the same ice! What I don’t get from the people who would trade him for what they perceive to be something lacking in the Habs lineup, is, what do you replace him with? The Habs have a bonified numero uno with certain falabilities. Without Price the Habs are not in the race, and, more importantly, he willingly plays in Montreal, a place that takes a special character to play, in the first place. The league is full of players that don’t have the balls to play in a place like Montreal, because they don’t want their feet held to the fire. Carey Price has the character and the balls to play in Montreal. That can’t be underestimated, or, taken for granted. He’s a first class person, an outstanding member of the community, does his due diligence when it comes to his responsibilities as a pro hockey player in a big city, and, he’s got a great sense of humor to boot! That’s what I think keeps him centered.

    Vinnie Lacaville won a cup with Tampa where a mere handful of hockey fans, compared to the Habs, even cared. Suppose he made the move to Montreal when he had the chance a few years ago, and, suppose he lead Montreal to the Stanley Cup, he could have established the status of an icon. Like Guy Lafleur. Guy will forever live in the annals of Hab lore. Instead, he is Vinnie Lecaville, a very productive NHL player with a Stanley Cup ring, that while a supreme accomplishment, pales in comparison to the accolades he could have achieved if he had the balls to play for the Habs! So Carey Price has not so far proven to be Saint Patrick, that’s lofty indeed. He is nevertheless, the core of what every team that aspires to the goal of a winning tradition needs. Plus, he has what it takes to play for the Montreal Canadiens…God’s team!

    • Kfourn says:

      Very well said.

      _______________________________________________________
      Well, he’s kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace “accidentally” with “repeatedly” and replace “dog” with “son.”

      “It’s sad when our rookies have no NHL experience before they jump up to the NHL.” – nunacanadien

    • The Juice says:

      +1

      __________________________________________________________________________

      “To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high!”

    • habsinthegap says:

      Agree 100%.

  5. icky pop says:

    Give price a weber, hedman, bogosian, pronger type dman, who is big, viscous, and can play 25+ minutes, and see how good he is. Aside from kaberle, I would want to have any one of our dmen on a team I was running. Just not all at the same time.

  6. Gormdog says:

    Gallagher and Maxpax once again our most effective forwards…

    I had seen Gallagher play with Hamilton and even Vancouver, and I never billed him as a top 6 guy. I projected him as a third liner who could play in all 3 zones and maybe score 10-15 in the NHL.

    I`ve been cheering from him from the start so maybe i`m wearing Habs coloured glasses, but this kid is carving out a top 6 spot pretty effectively. I knew he had the shot, the energy, the drive… What I never realized how high his hockey IQ was!

    Maybe it’s because in Hamilton he didn’t have the NHL talent with him, guys able to hit him in stride, help him find the gaps, or finishers who can take advantage of his quick hands and feet…

    Did you see how quickly he pounced on that puck and took it to the net on the Pacioretty goal? To add to his hands and motor, Gallagher has hockey sense through the roof that is only really showing up now ( in the majors no less) that he has top tier linemates to play with. He’s on a better ppg pace than in the AHL. Impressive stuff all around.

    He’s been the single biggest different to our offensive game this season. No offence to Galchenyuk, who has incredible hands, but there are lots of shifts where he comes and goes and you barely notice him. Maybe I’m just blinded by his speed and stature, but when Gallagher is on the ice, he is ALWAYS on the puck. Always. A godsend for Therien and his swarm system… This kid was built for it!

    We are still giving away points like last season, but instead of getting 0 where we should get 1, we get 1 when when we should get 2. A few key players can make all the difference between seasons. We won’t win the division, but who cares? This team is moving the right direction.

  7. munch17 says:

    I don’t really understand all the criticism directed towards Price.
    He had a weak game last night- which goalie never has a weak game?
    He rarely gives up the type of weak goals that our opponents do or like you see on the highlights – e.g. Gionta last night.
    Goals against him are usually bounces and deflections and screens.
    Most of the time he makes things look easy – as against stamkos in shootout.
    Turning point against Leafs was when he stopped Grabs on penalty shot- again made it look easy.
    He is also our best penalty killer and saves our D-men a tremendous amount of wear and tear the way he handles the puck ( usually but not always well).
    Our D is not great. We usually play good team D – not lasted night.
    Halak is long gone ( Steve Penney also had a good play-off series once). Forget him..

  8. icky pop says:

    Roy had a 3.20 and an .894 in 92-93

  9. --Habs-- says:

    Take a pill everyone! Price stunk! So did the Habs D. So did the Pens D and Pens goaltending. Take a pill. They didn’t even have a bad game they played the wrong type of game. If anyone had a reason to be concerned its the Pens even though they won….IN OT!

    Go HABS Go

  10. icky pop says:

    Malkin, not Mallon. Stupid smart phone.

  11. nova scotia vees says:

    I don’t comment often any more as I am tired of Boone trashing anyone who criticizes Price. But here goes…Price is not a great goalie..although I think he could be. Too unwillingly to correct his weaknesses. Mr. Complacent.
    Sidney Crosby is the best..even with plumbers for linemates.
    HNIC is a disgrace. I switched to a b-ball game during the panel. I watch Cherry only to confirm what I already know. He is a bitter old bully and Leaf cheer-leader. TSN Panel is so much better and I hope they get the contract. No more Healey,Stock, McLean, Friedman, et al.

  12. icky pop says:

    Yes, lets trade back for halak, who is posting a .901 save percentage while facing 20 shots a game. Not all goalies walk into the NHL and dominate. Aside from broduer, and fasth (who I believe will be a flash in the pan like Elliott was last year) name a goalie playing today that was a superstar before the age of 25. You should also look at our blue line. It doesn’t strike confidence in being able to clear the front of the net, or keep big forwards from crashing in. Look at the Toronto game. Most of the goals were scored from net crashing. Price lets some weak ones in. Can ward let a weak one in as well, (weaker than any goal price has let in) but I doubt Carolina fans demand he be traded. Everyone here knows Roy was a superstar. Remember the game that saw him demand a trade. He played horribly, and he knew he was playing horribly. But no one doubted how good he was. Price has yet to steal a game, that’s truth, but the habs are playing well this year, and he hasn’t needed to steal games, like he did last year. He lost a shoot out. Oh no. He let in two of six. Why is it not the other players fault for not scoring? No one thought he was a hero when he stoned Tampa, and made stamkos look like a junior player on his shot. Sorry, but price can’t have a shut out every night. Every goalie lets in weak goals. But I guess if the goalie is wearing a CH on his chest, he can’t have weakness. No one looks at the fact that emilin at 6’2″, 220 is our biggest dman. We have bouillion, kaberle, Diaz gorges. We have no bruising dmen that can clear the crease, and make people weary of going to the net. Price does more crease clearing than any dman we have. After a seven goal game, price is sitting at 2.11 and .915. He is still in the tops, and he was left out to dry quite often, against the penguins, and Crosby. Had Mallon been in the game, it would have been worse. The habs got out worked last night. Shots don’t mean anything. Scoring chances do. Give price a little time, and he will become the goalie the habs need. He’s still learning, and is just starting to enter his prime. Think how good his positioning has become. His glove is a lot better too. Price isn’t making highlight reel saves anymore, cuz he doesn’t have to. He’s right there to make the save. Look at the goalie leaders. Not one of the leaders this year, were amungst the leaders last year, aside from rinne, who is a beast. Sure halak is posting 1.9, but that’s with a .901. Aside from 09-10, price has been amungst the best goalies in the league. Take all the years he’s been playing, and compare them to the stats of other goalies in that time span, and you will see that he is amungst the best out there. Consistency you say? His stats are better every year.

    • New says:

      Price is fine. Hockey is a team game. St Louis doesn’t get 20 shots because everyone else forgot where the net is. A lot of people just like to blame someone when they don’t get their wishes. All activity in hockey goes towards the goal and the highlights are goals. So they pick on Price. They picked on Roy, Dryden, Plante, Worsley, all of them.

      Jake Allen is better than Elliott or Halak and Bishop is better than Halak and Elliott. Halak isn’t steady but is better than Elliott. Neither is a horse. There can only be a number one and a backup, tandems don’t usually work. St Louis had big money tied up in their goalies so Bishop was expendable and was worth a second. They might get a second for Halak, or a third for Elliott. I think they will try and make Allen their goalie but first they have to move Halak and will be waiting for a crisis with a team going for it.

      • Chris says:

        Tandems can work through the regular season, but then you have to ride one goalie in the playoffs.

        If anything, I think too many teams are trying to ride “horse” goaltenders for no justifiable reason.

  13. kirkiswork says:

    I have been in the UK for two weeks so I have been missing the Habs play, I watch replays on TSN but it’s not the same as the complete game.
    Since I finally had a day off and the Habs are playing the goons tonight I will try to catch a nap and watch the game on front row sports at midnight and a 1/2. Can’t wait.
    Don’t understand all the hate for Pricey and hope that Ryder shows some of his goal scoring ability.
    Love Gally too.
    Could be a tough one cause the goons are riding a hot streak of their own.
    Hope PK nails Marchand again and while he’s at it, lay a couple on Cooke as well.

    GOHABSGO

  14. billylove says:

    Sure, Price had a shitty game but there were so many frickin breakdowns in front of him it was ridiculous at times. Many times when we had puck control and flat out failed to clear the zone. Price may warrant an “F” but so did many others. I can’t lay all the blame on Price when so many mistakes are made in front of him. I’m still looking for 2 points against the B’s and I think we’ll do it.


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