About last night … (updated after Sunday afternoon game)

IrishBerge

OK, Marc Bergevin isn’t Irish.
Moreover, there is a rapidly accumulating body of evidence to suggest the Canadiens general manager is good, rather than lucky.
But check the calendar: It’s March 17.
Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.
And while the Blarney Stone has not been relocated to the seventh floor of the Bell Centre, good fortune and Irish eyes (maybe Brendan Gallagher’s) are smiling on the Canadiens’ executive suite.
It’s almost spooky: Everything Bergevin and his staff do comes up smelling of clover … or shamrocks.

The latest example is Jarred Tinordi.

The defenceman is recalled from Hamilton and makes his NHL debut against the Devils in New Jersey. Partnered with Francis Bouillon, Tinordi plays almost 15 minutes. He does nothing egregiously wrong on D, picks up an assist on Tomas Plekanec’s winning goal and ends his first game in the bigs at plus-2.

On the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, the Canadiens skated out on the ice of the Prudential Center as a fourth-place Eastern Conference team. Saturday afternoon wins by Boston and Pittsburgh knocked them out of the lofty perch the Canadiens had occupied since a 3-1 win over the Rangers lifted the Canadiens into first place on Feb. 19.

But by 10 p.m. – after a typically hermetic New Jersey defensive effort in which the Canadiens had to scratch and claw for each inch of the ice – they were back on top of the conference with a 19th win in 28 games.

It didn’t last. The Penguins edged the Bruins 2-1 Sunday afternoon; and by the time the last Celtic celebrant is poured out of the pub on Sunday evening, the Canadiens find themselves in second place in the conference, two points behind Pittsburgh with two games in hand.

The Canadiens remain atop the Northeast Division. They’re a point ahead of Boston, which has played one game fewer.

The Sunday afternoon game was costly for both teams. Kris Letang and David Krejci left with injuries..

Canadiens fans should congratulate themselves for staying awake through the 2-1 Saturday win. Until its last few frantic minutes, the game at the Pru was stultifyingly boring.

You want excitement in New Jersey? Watch the Sopranos or read Philip Roth. Devils hockey is about as exciting as watching Tony wash his car or Portnoy pleasure himself.

The Devils gave the Canadiens nothing. The home team had a 33-22 shot advantage, outhit the Canadiens 26-18 and set up a wall of sticks and bodies in front of goaltender Johan Hedberg. New Jersey effectively stifled the Canadiens’ speed and skill.

Playing against his old team, Brian Gionta was held without a shot on goal. His futility was matched by Alex Galchenyuk and Andrei Markov.

Heck, Colby Armstrong had a shot. And it went in, Armstrong’s first of the season.

In his postgame remarks, Michel Therrien praised Armstrong for contributions that escape the scrutiny of many fans. The coach made an in-game adjustment, moving Armstrong to the Lars Eller-Alex Galchenyuk line in the third period and dropping Gabriel Dumont down to play with little-used Ryan White and Michael Blunden.

And for a late defensive-zone faceoff, Therrien used David Desharnais, who won 13 of 24 draws on the night (Plekanec won 19 of 29).

P.K. Subban led the Canadiens’ modest shot parade with five. Lars Eller had four, Brendan Gallagher and Max Pacioretty three each. Four players accounted for 15 of the team’s 22 shots.

The Canadiens power play went 0-for-3. The PK allowed New Jersey’s only goal, by Peter Harrold.

Fans have been waiting for Carey Price to steal a game. This might have been it. With the game in the balance, Price made 18 saves in the third period.

Some stats:

• The win lifted the Canadiens’ road record to 10-2-2. Last season they were 15-20-6.

• The Canadiens have scored first in 21 of their 28 games. This speaks to the team’s level of preparedness.

• The Canadiens have one regulation-time loss in their last 17 games. They have not lost consecutive games in regulation this season.

• On L’Antichambre, Stéphane Leroux talked about the eight-game segments of the Canadiens’ season. They have gone 6-2-0, 52-1, 4-1-3 and, to date, 4-0-0.

The latter should get a boost this week, when the Canadiens play Buffalo twice at the Bell Centre, sandwiched around a visit to Long Island.

Perhaps Brandon Prust, Michael Ryder or Rene Bourque will be cleared to rejoin the roster.

Recovery will take longer for Raphael Diaz. But Tinordi’s play in New Jersey merits another start Tuesday against the Sabres. And maybe the big galoot, for whom the Canadiens traded up in the 2010 draft – will be around for a while.

Once everyone is healthy, Bergevin will have some personnel decisions to make.

May the road rise up to meet the Canadiens GM. May the wind be at Bergevin’s back.

And a happy St. Paddy’s to all HIO readers.

Hickey is buying.

 

 

574 Comments

  1. Adams says:

    1st- max-trade desharnais-gallagher

    2nd-Galchenyuk-pleks-bourque

    3rd-prust-eller-ryder

    4th-trade moen-white-blunden

    no need of colby, gionta, moen and desharnais

    Desharnais is playing well but don’t fool yourself, not a center you’re going to win the cup with if hes on the top two lines and no room for him on the 3rd or fourth line.

    we need-top center and a fourth liner

    with tinordi coming up next year at the latest i think our d is strong.

    two pieces and i think we are a cup team.

    • Steve C. says:

      Habs have their centre, he just isn’t ready yet. And they’ll just so easily find some good players to replace those you want to get rid of?

      Teams can’t just trade for a top-flight centre.

      You’ll also have to find hearts as big as DD’s and Gio’s to replace them with if you really want to at this stage of the Canadiens’ journey.

      And your third line doesn’t work, as we saw when Ryder first arrived with the team. He doesn’t belong there.

    • tophab says:

      why trade a guy thats playing well

  2. Richrebellion says:

    I love what MB has done since becoming the GM of the habs and so does the media and he definitely deserves it as he has done a great job. However, I think some credit should be given to Gauthier, I get last season was a disaster and he didn’t handle the situation properly. Yet this team would have no chance at a turn around like this if not for him. Pretty much everyone on the team was brought in by Gainey and Gauthier. They drafted great players in Pacioretty, Price, Subban, Gallagher, Tinordi and Emelin as well as traded for Eller and Gorges. They also signed Diaz, Gionta, Desharnais and Moen. Yes they made some mistakes but they did a great job at acquiring the pieces of this team. This team is where it is because of them so maybe try and give them some credit.

    Now I’m not taking anything away from MB has he put the finishing touches on the team that were desperately needed. But I hate seeing the media continually tear apart the past regime for their ineptitude and focus so hard on their mistakes. They did way more positive things than negative.

  3. frontenac1 says:

    LaLa gets his second goal of the week? Is he now tied with Gomez?

  4. Dr.Rex says:

    ITs starting to feel like the 07-08 season all over again.

  5. frontenac1 says:

    Hey Boone! Irish Lancer,Hunters Horn, Finnegans,Rymarks!! Saludos Amigo!

  6. likehoy says:

    kristo should sign according to the agent’s tweet:

    https://twitter.com/Buccigross/status/312920961991192576

  7. Cape Breton says:

    But let’s not get too cocky folks, because in life stuff happens. And last nite’s game was sort of a effort, that is, aside from Price’s perfomance betwixt the pipes. Indeed, we were lousy but nonetheless won. Great stuff!

  8. HabFab says:

    JT advises caution in acquiring play-off run players;
    http://habsloyalist.blogspot.ca/

    • punkster says:

      Just read that and I have to agree. No matter what I would like to see a run of good Habs teams, perennial playoff contenders and a team among the top 5 in the league for quite a few years to come…and maybe a Cup or two to boot. That requires patience on both sides. For the first time in decades we may actually have the beginnings of something here.

      ***SUBBANGIN’ NOW BABY!!!***

  9. Hobie Hansen says:

    Was taking in some of the Pens Vs Bruins game in the pub and rose to my feet after Krejci took a slap shot off the inside of the knee. Boston lost 2-1 and their #1 center looks to be out a while, hopefully.

  10. punkster says:

    Just went back in the poll archives (click on the link under the poll) to see what the commentariat had to say about a few burning issues. Some very interesting trends there…make of them what you will.

    The first grouping are 4 polls conducted between March 22, 2012 and January 10, 2013 asking if the Habs will make the 2013 playoffs.

    Do you think the Canadiens will make the playoffs this season?

    Yes (70%, 1,541 Votes)
    No (30%, 658 Votes)
    Total Voters: 2,202
    Start Date: January 10, 2013 @ 8:01 pm

    The Hockey News predicts the Habs will finish 13th this season. Where do you think they’ll finish?

    Fifth to eighth (61%, 1,651 Votes)
    Ninth to 12th (24%, 662 Votes)
    First to fourth (7%, 200 Votes)
    Thirteenth to 15th (8%, 192 Votes)
    Total Voters: 2,706
    Start Date: August 20, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

    Q: With the changes the Canadiens have made during the offseason, do you think they will make the playoffs next year?

    Yes (72%, 5,991 Votes)
    No (28%, 2,370 Votes)
    Total Voters: 8,377
    Start Date: July 2, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

    Q: Do you think the Canadiens will bounce back and make the playoffs next season?

    Yes (81%, 5,163 Votes)
    No (19%, 1,215 Votes)
    Total Voters: 6,387
    Start Date: March 22, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

    Then there’s the two polls, from June 2012 and January 2013, asking whether the hiring of Therrien is the right move. Again, interesting results.

    Q: Do you think the Canadiens made a good move in hiring Michel Therrien as their new head coach?

    No (64%, 4,067 Votes)
    Yes (36%, 2,237 Votes)
    Total Voters: 6,309
    Start Date: June 5, 2012 @ 4:35 pm

    Do you think new coach Michel Therrien is the right man to lead the Canadiens this season?

    Yes (72%, 1,249 Votes)
    No (28%, 490 Votes)
    Total Voters: 1,739
    Start Date: January 17, 2013 @ 11:58 am

    ***SUBBANGIN’ NOW BABY!!!***


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