About this afternoon

History was made at what might have been the last game at the Bell Centre this season.

Your Montreal Canadiens were shut out for the third time in this series.

In the glorious franchise’s 100 years, that has never happened in the playoffs.

The Canadiens have racked up three shutouts, says HIO resident historian David Stubbs. They did it to Chicago in 1965.

But they’ve never been blanked three times.

And Michael F. Leighton – career minor leaguer – has a chance to make it four.

 

How often does goaltender get a shutout without being named one of the game’s three stars?

It happened to Michael F. today, and his snub is indicative of the Canadiens anemic attack.

They managed a grand total of 17 shots on goal – five by dangerous sniper Maxim Lapierre.

Mike Cammalleri, the leading goal-scorer in the playoffs, had one shot. He had another four blocked by a stifling Philadelphia defence that had 27 blocks by a dozen players – including six by Matt Carle.

This was a pretty good hockey game for 11 minutes.

But from the time Marc-André Bergeron went off for holding in the first period, the Canadiens seemed to lose the energy with which they’d started the game.

Philadelphia dominated the last half of the first period and absolutely owned the second.

The Canadiens were outshot 13-1 in the middle period.

How do you manage one miserable shot in your own barn?

After the game, Scott Gomez talked about flow – and lack of same.

The Canadiens were never able to generate the sustained pressure, line change after line change, we saw in Game 3.

Maybe Thursday night was an aberration. The Canadiens showed up, the Flyers didn’t and everyone in Montreal started smelling the Cup again.

That intoxicating perfume wasn’t wafting through too many nostrils today.

By the time the final siren sounded, the Bell Centre was half empty. And long before that, the usual 21,273 had settled into somnambulance, turning the NHL’s most raucous rink into a mausoleum.

Credit the fans with sophistication and keen awareness of what they were watching. The Flyers were dominant for 50 minutes, and people who understand hockey could smell something that wasn’t the Cup.

The players said all the predictable things about failure to execute, inefficient puck management, etc.

Peter Laviolette, in assessing his team’s defensive effort, said “the neutral zone was really tight, which eliminates rush opportunities.”

Jacques Martin traced the Canadiens’ anemic attack to an inability to get the puck deep behind the Flyers’ not-overly-swift D, as had been the case in Game 3.

“We played in what you call a danger zone,” Martin said. “The blue lines are usually a danger zone. Your own blue line you’ve got to get the pucks out, and the offensive blue line you’ve got to get the puck in deep.”

Martin also lamented turnovers, two of which led to Philadelphia goals.

The first was a brilliant individual effort by Claude Giroux, who wheeled around Josh Gorges when the Canadiens Dman was hampered by a broken skate guard. Giroux continues to demonstrate why all trade talk this winter screeched to a halt when the team dangling a goaltender – Jaro Halak, Florida’s Tomas Vokoun – mentioned the can’t miss centre/RW.

Giroux is that good. And he’s young … and cheap for a while.

The second Philadelphia goal was off a misplay by P.K. Subban that turned into Chris Pronger’s soft lead pass to Ville Leino.

Subban has not been great in this series. The kid has played like what he is: a talented rookie bright with promise but prone to mistakes playing a position that requires experience.

So enough with the Bobby Orr comparisons, eh?

P.K. will be a very good player for a very long time, but right now he’s part of a depleted D corps that had a lot of trouble handling the puck and clearing the zone against a Philly forecheck that shifted into overdrive after MAB’s penalty.

What was dispiriting about the loss – apart from yet another goose egg – was the way the visitors crafted their W on speed, skill, defensive strategy and discipline.

The erstwhile Broad Street bullies didn’t play shorthanded until almost seven minutes into the third period, when Carle flipped a puck over the glass.

That’s how non-threatening the Canadiens were. One of the NHL’s most penalized teams didn’t have to hold, trip or interfere with anyone.

The Canadiens will have to be a lot better in Philadelphia.

Maybe Game 5 will offer what we haven’t seen through four games of this series: Both teams playing their best for 60 minutes.

You got the feeling today, however, that when the Flyers play their best, the Canadiens can’t get their game untracked.

Lest we forget, this team came back from 3-1 down against Washington.

But the Flyers aren’t the Capitals.

They play sounder two-way hockey than the run-and-gun regular season champs.

And Chris Pronger isn’t Mike Green.

After an off-night in Game 3 that had the punditocracy and fans speculating he was hurt and running out of gas, Pronger bounced back with 31:07 of ice time in which he controlled play like a symphony conductor, speeding the tempo up, slowing it down, moving the puck efficiently to Flyer forwards.

It’s what Nik Lidstrom does in Detroit and Andrei Markov, at his best, does for the Canadiens.

Pronger takes the temperature of a game and responds accordingly.

On a warm afternoon in Montreal, he was a cool customer.

 

103 Comments

  1. HardHabits says:

    Suffice it to say that the next game is a must win.

  2. Habadabadoo says:

    To be fair the Olympics did push things back a bit this year. But I definatly agree.

  3. WestHab says:

    If anything the reality of playing without our best d is catching up to the Habs.  5 playoffs wins without #79.  For now I’ll take one more W just for the sake of restoring some pride.  I’m still proud of this team, lets not get too flaky after all the fun they have provided this far.

    Les Schtroumpfs Sont La!

  4. lx2008montreal says:

    seems to me the habs are not willing to do the dirty work, not willing to pay the price in the corners, in front of the net and just about anywhere. i believe their afraid to get hit. plecs was 10-12ft  away from the net when a pass came through the crease. andre(“please don`t hurt me”) K. does not want any part of the flyers. he meanders slowly around the rink looking for an open spot, trouble is, that spot is no where near where scoring opportunities occur. if he does not want hit, send him back over-seas! he STINKS!! theres no fire in their hearts. at least not now. i don`t even believe the coach has fire. if being on the brink does not stir some embers, nothing will. if being shut out THREE TIMES in one series does not do anything for them, nothing will. i guess their looking forward to summer vacation. some of the fans have a lot of nerve calling crosby a baby. they need just to look at the twenty-couple players on the ice, i see plenty of scared babies! see ya next year! flyers win game 5 by a blow out.

  5. habfab14120 says:

    A little levity on the morning after the afternoon before…

    I keep seeing Slap Shot in this year’s playoffs.
    First we go up against the might Caps, who’s coach was IN the movie.

    This series, we’ve got the big bad Flyers, whose colors were used for the Syracuse Bulldogs.
    Everytime I read an article about Cammy sticking his tongue out at Carcillo and see Carcillo quoted as saying, “It’s embarrassing.”, I have the vision of Tim McCracken complaining to the ref while Nick Braeden strips.  Cracks me up.

    Come to think of it, Kovy was back in town for a fashion show this season.  None of the players happened to wiggle their d at the audience, did they?

  6. Shublips says:

    Well that sucked. Hard.

    The Habs came out with fire in their eyes but gave up after about 10 mins. Sad. Very sad. With the veteran leadership on this team, I don’t expect them to rollover on Monday, but the Flyers will come hard to try and eliminate us.

    Let’s hoping we see at least 1 more home game! http://www.habsaddict.com/2010/05/canadiens-flyers-michael-leightons.html

    Habs Addict.com
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  7. Danno says:

    Habs must obey the Golden Rule…

    Do unto the F-liars as they have done to the Bruins.

     

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

  8. HabFanSince72 says:

    I think another problem is that both Gomez and Plekanec are not goal scorers. They are both very good 2-way players and play makers, but when you are down a goal against a trapping team they aren’t necessarily going to bring you back.

  9. Coach K says:

    Hi Rob D.

    While you raise an interesting point, I wouldn’t necessarily say that most NHL rinks have poor ice conditions.  I’ve, had the luxury of playing on the ice at Scotiabank Place on three different occasions and the only time it was crappy was during the NHL lockout season.  I suspect the reason was that there was no requirement to maintain it to NHL standards.  The one time I played there during the playoffs (oddly enough a Sens/Flyers series) I was really impressed.  It was about this time of year and at least 28 degrees outside – we showed up in shorts and t-shirts.  I know it was May becasue when we sere sitting on the bench I remember commenting that we were doing something the Leafs weren’t … playing hockey in a NHL arena in May lol!

    I digress, the main point is the ice was surprisingly hard and fast throughout the game and didn’t “snow up” quickly like some of the local, less high-tech arenas do in the warmer months. 

    During TV time-outs at the games, I’ve seen arena staff walk around the ice surface and stop at specific locations for a few seconds  where I think they have sensors embedded in the ice or the concrete.  (I do remember seeing dark spots laid out in a pattern beneath the ice) What  I think they are doing is taking readings on the temperature/density of the ice using feedback from those sensors, then using that information to precisely control the ice conditions.  I’m a tech by trade if anyone’s wondering. These buildings are ususally purpose-built with hockey teams as the main tenant and I suspect, have a much better ability to control temperature and humidity than the older ones did.

    At the end of the day, I think what you say about the ice conditions would be true for the older arenas but for modern facilities like the Bell Center I can’t see it being that big of an issue.  Besides, if that really were the case then the Flyers would have encountered the same problem.  I didn’t see them having any trouble making good passes.

    Just an observation from the cheap seats.

     

     

     

  10. showey47 says:

    so true,without the koivu eye gouging the canes would have been probably been out in 4 straight in the 1st round.

  11. SlovakHab says:

    Is that you, Scotty Bowman?

  12. SlovakHab says:

    Bring the series back to Montreal and see what happens. Game 7 is not THAT far away. We need to adjust and the next game will show whether getting to the Conference Finals was Halak’s/Cammalleri’s excellence, or this whole team is really good enough to be where they are.

  13. punkster says:

    I’ll be glad to see them back in Philly Monday. Bet their a whole lot more at ease there and it will translate into sharper play. I commented yesterday that our forwards were getting forced to the outside after that first 10 minute burst of excitement in the first. Habs had access to the middle of the ice until that point then, bang, the Flyers shut it down effectively shutting down our speed advantage. Passes can’t be completed if the receiver can’t get open.

    Still, all in all, I’m just happy we made it this far. Never thought we would. And if they pick up another W on Monday, well, you never know with this team.

    FEEL THE PRIDE!

  14. punkster says:

    My tag line is “Feel the Pride”.

    Yours is “The Sky is Falling”.

    Who do you think has a more healthy outlook on life?

    FEEL THE PRIDE!

  15. 24 Cups says:

    Chris – the gaffes by Gorges (unsecured equipment)and Subban (unsecured blueline) that led to Flyer goals were lamentable but we still had a chance at overtime if we ourselves could produce two goals in sixty minutes. Is that asking too much? So many Hab forwards have hit scoring slumps at the worst possible time. The components that make up our first two lines have always been questionable and we are now finally paying the price.

    The irony of being beaten by a team that has successfully rebuilt their top two units only makes the pain sting even more.

  16. HabFanSince72 says:

    20 years of reaching the conference final?

  17. 24 Cups says:

    ht – Thanks for the insight.

  18. Bob Barker says:

    It seemed in the first period they were passing the puck well but afterwards, it was all downhill. 

  19. Propwash says:

    It aint over yet. Philly has to win one more.

     

    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  20. habbytown says:

    this team should have tanked when they had the chance. now it’s too late and they will never get better. at least not in  my lifetime.

    and as long as these francos are running the team…… well at least another 20 years of this same crap!

  21. smiler2729 says:

    This isn’t over and you never know, etc… but realistically, can the Habs do this again for the 3rd time in the playoffs? Hopefully but it doesn’t look good… three frickin’ shutouts, sheesh.

    Even the most casual NHL fan knows that this is Chicago’s year anyway but it’d sure be nice to be at that dance. But like the Habs, I’m losing interest in the playoffs with the weather being so nice and un-hockeylike, why do the NHL playoffs have to go so late? The Cup should be handed out in the last week of May, not mid-June.

    All in all, this has been a good season with the Habs beating teams they had no business beating and losing games to teams you’d think they’d win easily. I really like this team and I hope the idiot bashers can see that this is the best team we’ve had in a long time and lay off.

  22. Chris says:

    I don’t understand how the Habs could such a huge and perfect egg. Of course, one has to give credit to Laviolette and the Flyers…they got back to what they did in Games 1 and 2, and took away the time and space that the Habs enjoyed in Game 3.

    On the other hand, three things really jumped out at me: 

    • the Habs simply had no jump whatsoever — they were running around like they were skating in sand while the Flyers were blowing past people all over the ice, as they did in the first couple of games
    • the passing (particularly in the neutral zone and offensive zone) was absolutely atrocious — couldn’t count the number of times a pass was behind a player, too far in front or passed to their wrong side for good shooting opportunities
    • too many players (especially Plekanec, Pouliot and Kostitsyn) have absolutely no confidence right now…they are passing when they should carry the puck, refusing to take any calculated risks even when the team is down and peeling off for changes when the Habs could possibly have some odd-man rushes

    We know the Habs can come down from 3 games to 1.  But it is looking increasingly likely that they will make it 0 for 7 for teams that required 7 games in their first two rounds.  With the Flyers seemingly figuring out how to neutralize Gionta and Cammalleri (each with 1 goal and -3 ratings in 4 games, after combining for 19 goals, 11 assists and -4 rating in the previous 14 games), the Habs desperately need something from the other offensively gifted players on the roster.  Unfortunately, those other players are busy crushing the carbon in their hockey sticks into diamond.

  23. habsfan0 says:

    The Habs have the Flyers exactly where they want them. Habs in 7.

  24. Dunboyne Mike says:

    That’s the game I saw, too.

    Flyers identified speed as the single factor that defeated them in Game 3 and then completely neutralised our speed with tight play on the forecheck and between the blue-lines. Only needed one score to win because they figured out how to stop us from even shooting, never mind scoring.

    Not sure if this makes either Laviolette a genius or JM a dog. For Laviolette, it was obvious he had to take away the Habs’ speed. For JM, once his lone advantage (apart from Halak) was neutralised, there was simply no answer.

    Which means the outcome — of game and utlimately the series — is and will be about personnel and execution, not coaching.

    (Except for Martin’s mind-boggling commitment to the profligate MAB).

  25. Rob D says:

    Very good stuff, Coach K. I would say that one factor in this is the generally horrid condition of the ice in MOST NHL arenas these days. Man, we used to joke about MSG’s ice being brutal (I remember a Habs/Rangers game in the 70`s where there was actually no ice in spots in the corners! Skate on concrete, Mssr. Lapointe! LOL..

    Now its not quite that bad but the puck bouncing around like a crazed Peter Puck is normal.

    The age of the exploding stick has its drawbacks…

     

  26. Peter Young says:

    Well, I was wrong when I said last time that the Canadiens were a better hockey team than the Flyers, since the proof is in the pudding and the Canadiens certainly did not play better hockey Saturday afternoon.  I’m terribly disappointed, in fact, terribly sad, because this team is much better than it showed in Game 4.  Speed means very little if the passes do not connect, and the Canadiens yielded the ice between the bluelines to the Flyers.

     

    But– since it’s the fashion among some on this blog to pander to the hoopla and hype of the day rather than putting things in perspective–not to worry because in Halak we have a better goaltender than Plante, Dryden and Roy, and in Cammalleri, a better playoff scorer than Richard, Beliveau and Lafleur.

     

    Where was Cammalleri–who, according to this blog, is having a better playoff scoring year than Richard, Beliveau and Lafleur ever had—in this must-win game today?  The answer:  he was almost invisible, making only one shot on goal in a team-leading 24 minutes on the ice.  Had Richard, the greatest clutch scorer ever, been playing in a Game 4 at home (or away, for that matter) and down 2 games to 1, he would have scored or almost died trying, and you would have known it by virtue of his efforts on the ice.  Let us hope Cammalleri has a better game next time, when we’re on the brink of elimination once again.  I’d love to see him match some of Richard’s clutch performances.

     

    Yes, as a long-time fan, I still haven’t given up hope.  This is the same team that displayed great character and discipline in coming from behind in both the Washington and Pittsburgh series, and they can still take this series if they can impose their skating and passing game on the Flyers for three straight games, a huge task but not an impossible one.  Win Game 5 in Philadelphia and the series is up for grabs once again.  Although I recognize that Philadelphia is an altogether different type of opposition, with a much stronger defense,  I’ll give up hope only if and when the Flyers win a fourth game, and then only because I will have to.

     

    Once again, my team pep talk for Game 5 (borrowed in slightly modified form from World Cup winning England national football team manager Alf Ramsey):  Guys, you’ve trounced them once already.  Now go out there and do it again.

  27. habsoul says:

    Another SF Bay fan here. Yes, dreams of a San Jose-Montreal Final are almost dead. Too bad. A great ride for Les Canadiens, but Flyers are just a better overall team. Just goes to show, you can have the best goalie in the playoffs but he can’t win if you don’t score.

    Last night I was bemoaning Heatley’s defense on the OT goal. Tonight I am just stunned that this team was shut out three times by a journeyman goalie.

    I know everyone here is very disappointed but it was sad to see the exodus of Bell Centre crowd from what they must have known would be the last home game of the season. 

    It was a Cinderella run that we all knew would end at some point. Hopefully we can put it in perspective a few weeks or months from now.

     

     

    Every time Scott Hartnell scores a goal, a stripper breaks a heel.

  28. danhabsfan says:

    Very good observations BUT… I do not like the use of “No one”.

    I did expect them to make the playoffs.
    I told friends and family that they would beat the Caps in 6 (was off by one).
    I also told them they would beat the Pens in 7.
    I expected the Habs to win this series in 6.

    So please, do not say “No one”.  If no expects, then no one would cheer, watch, believe, or buy tickets.

    You are so right… JM MUST GO!

  29. danhabsfan says:

    Sorry to disagree… (in part I guess)… but this run has no bearing on the future.  This is a Cinderella run… the Boys needed to take full advantage of this run, like the miracle run of ’93, it may be a long time till they get this far again.  In ’93, I never thought it would take this long to get here again.

    Somebody tell me how they could not be ready to play this game… I think JM has to go, he has proved it in this series.  I have not been a fan since the minute they announced him.

    They need to shed the 2 K’s, and get a BIG winger, and then add some other size.  I say they need to find a way to keep both Keepers also.

  30. Exit716 says:

    Laviolette beat Montreal without Koivu, Buffalo that had major injuries on defense and Edmonton which had a third string goalie. If he wins the series, which I doubt will happen, he’ll face a healthy Chicago team.

    He’s a hack. Martin will school him in the next three games.

     

  31. danhabsfan says:

    Did anyone tell the Habs that the openning faceoff was at 3 p.m. EST, I think they thought it started at 7 p.m.

  32. billylove says:

    NORCAL HABS FAN

    Hoped I would see a Habs/Sharks final. It’s been a great ride, but the boys can’t rely on another miracle. I think they’ve already used up their allotment. Must say that the future looks brighter, but there are glaring weaknesses that need to be addressed. Puck possession (size), goal scorers, toughness (size) and at least one more good defensive minded blueliner. AK, SK, Bennie, MAB – goodbye. Also, what’s happened to 14, he looks tighter than a snaredrum. Habs should re-sign him, but don’t count on him being a major building block.   

  33. habsperspective says:

    Why is no one giving credit to where its deserved.  Peter Laviolette, is an impeccable coach, he knows how to win, and found ways to do it behind the bench in Carolina to win the cup.

     

  34. mp says:

    The sad thing is Captain K would have resigned for cheap.

    *sigh*

     

    Koivu – You will be missed.

  35. nova scotia vees says:

    While I do think it is finally over…you never know with this club.  But, JM has to sit AK.  He is so dreadful and a real rally killer.  Dress Darche…he at least, tries.  MAB…power-plays only, please….and not on the point.  Put him on the half -wall where he might get his shot through.  Every team knows to block his shot from the point.

    Is Gomez late for an appointment in Alaska?  He has no intensity.  Play Pouliot until he drops….he needs the icetime to get going, and to rebuild his confidence.

    Refereeing….I know, I know..Boone says it’s just an excuse…’Scuz me, but no way Philly is that clean.  Pronger for boarding and then holding.  The calls on MAB and P.K. were Bett-i-ful.  Get my point?  The fix is in, baby.

  36. SeriousFan09 says:

    Nice analysis, with a team that is built to run on a speed game since they can’t control the game with size, the need for precision passing all the way through the zones has to be there. If it isn’t, well the team’s going to have to rely on the lucky breaks and brilliant goaltending that have carried them through this year.

    The lack of a solid faceoff specialist and a clean transition game are missing factors that have haunted this team all year. Markov has the brilliant first pass that would often set up the breakout play, but that was often necessary because only he could reliably put the puck on the stick of a forward on the opposition blue line, allowing the team to avoid the neutral zone play that’s killed them most of the year. If you can’t put a man out to reliably win a faceoff or set up a passing game that goes end to end, you’re not going to win a championship when your top 6 lacks the size to muscle through.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  37. habfan01 says:

    They’ve been doing that all season. When people complain about the d not clearing the zone- it’s usually the forwards fault

  38. Mike Boone says:

    Very astute analysis

  39. dean roberts says:

    love my habs, love the playoff run, but one and we’re done. no emotion at all today. damn, i hate afternoon games. bloody yanks(buttman)

  40. Danno says:

    You’re spot on Coach K.

     

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

  41. Coach K says:

    Anyone watching today’s game with even a bit of hockey intelligence, would have seen that today’s showing had nothing to do with a lack of effort.  The effort was there but what was very evident was their poor management of the puck from their goal line out. 

    Time after time, play after play, the defence would gain control in their end and make a good first pass to a winger on the half boards.  What transipred next was that the forwards repeatedly failed to make a solid, tape-to-tape second pass from their own half-boards to the neutral zone.  The end result was watching the Flyers gobble up that errant 2nd pass and turn it back up ice to start their attack. If any of you have the luxury of video tape or a PVR you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.

    The Habs inability to make that clean 2nd pass, killed any forward momentum and made it impossible to get the puck in deep behind the slow-footed Flyer defence.  That lead to further frustration by the defence and caused them to just chip it out off the boards or glass to take the pressure off.  That’s ok once in a while but when that becomes your break out, then your in big trouble.  Forwards (no matter how skilled) can’t be expected to pick up a shoulder high chip pass with any kind of control.   That second pass is maybe even more critical than than a good first pass, particularly if they want to be able to back the opposition’s defence up and use their vaunted speed. You can’t “get it in deep” if you don’t have control of it.

    It amazes me that million dollar players can’t grasp the concept of making passes that go tape-to-tape.  At the price they are paid, I don’t think its unreasonable to expect them to be able to make passes that aren’t 2 feet behind the recipient, in his skates or four feet off the ice.  It was really frustrating to witness the number of broken plays and missed opportunities
    caused by their lack of attention to that one, most fundamental detail.  Even the Peewee team I coached this year understood the importance of good passes.  I’m sorry but for that kind of money, there’s no excuse.

    Just sayin…

  42. makka83 says:

    Laracque is an enforcer. An enforcer fights and scares players. Laraque did not do that so goodbye. I don’t care what JM, Carbo or BG told him… he is old enough to know why he was hired. If not then he should have asked.

  43. Big Bird says:

    I agree.  Koivu showed up each and every playoff.  I want him back on the team.

  44. Ali says:

    Martin has returned to things that were causing us problems against Washington like using MAB on a regular defensive shift. I dont care how beat up we are, the guy turns the puck over way too often to be playing more than O’Byrne, who could use this experience to get better.

    Also, really dont agree about Gomez. Sure maybe its cuz i loved Koivu, but can anyone honestly say Koivu would have gone 16 games without a goal? not for a second, Saku was a playoff beast. Gomez also takes terrible stupid retaliatory penalties, and is inconsistent on faceoffs. but whats done is done. Gionta would be my choice for captain.

    Pleks has hurt his UFA status with this playoffs again. 12 games wihtout a goal. AK46 has scored in one game in this playoffs, just like Gomez. Pouliot has lost his game totally, and when he’s not scoring, he’s useless. for such a big kid he has no use for his size, hit someone Benny!

    anyway, the team has overcome a lot this year, and im proud of them. but we need guys to step up again, other than cammalleri, gionta and halak.

    Oh Captain my Captain…

  45. Big Bird says:

    A couple of cents from the peanut gallery:

    1. I was disappointed by our showing (or lack thereof) in the 2nd and 3rd periods.  But our team is clearly out of gas.  There is only so much that Camalleri, Gionta, Pyatt, Moore, Gill, Georges, Lapierre, Markov, Subban and Halak can do on a consistent basis. The rest of the players are passengers more often than not in my opinion.  In particular I’ve found Pouliot and the Kostitsyn brothers to be utter disappointments.  If only their hearts matched their skill.

    2. I’m not angry or upset.  This team has overachieved beyond our wildest imagination.  No one expected them to make the playoffs at the start of the season.  Especially when Markov went down in the season opener.  They did.  No one expected them to beat Washington.  Especially after being down 3 games to 1.  They did.  No one expected them to beat the defending Stanley Cup Champions.  Especially after being down 3 games to 2.  They did.

    3. I’ve come to the conclusion I don’t like Jacques Martin as a coach.  He never achieved anything in Ottawa and Florida and I’m afraid history will repeat itself in Montreal.  Even if the Habs beat the Flyers – I believe the team will win in spite of him.  Strong words but really we’re only here because Halak and a couple of players played incredibly well.  If Halak was not exceptional we would have been golfing after 5 games in the first round.  I believe we’ll have to put up with him for another season and then hopefully he’ll move upstairs and Guy Boucher will come in.  I do not believe Guy Boucher is the messiah and he will need to learn at the NHL level but he has more upside and potential.  

    4. I’m worried about the team lineup.  We should have had 2 solid scoring lines but the Kostitsyn brothers and Pouliot are showing their true colours.  No heart.  Camalleri, Gionta, Gomez and Plekanec don’t make 2 lines.   We need skill/size and that will need to be addressed in the off season.  Moen isn’t enough.  I also suspect Plekanec will be gone which won’t help us. 

    5. I do feel we have a strong leadership core with Gomez, Gionta, Cammalleri, Gill and Georges.  One of them has to wear the ‘C’ next season and my money is on Gionta.  This team with such a proud franchise needs a captain.  I’ve always disliked the three “A’ system.

    6. I also do feel we have some good young prospects in the organization with Subban, O’Byrne, Pyatt, Maxwell and others.  I haven’t given up on Pacioretty or White either.  But please leave them with Boucher or Martin will ruin them.  How he continues to rely on MAB while he doesn’t play a big young defenceman like O’Byrne infuriates me to no end.

    7. It’s been an interesting season so far and maybe it isn’t over yet.  If it is I do salute the team.  They overachieved and perhaps they have finally run out of gas. But over one glorious month they let me enjoy hockey late into May which hasn’t happen since back in 1993.  For that I thank the players who showed up every night to make that happen.

     

  46. Will Longlade says:

    I was worried about this game. Habs dominated Game 3 enough to come into this one overfident and I have never ever seen the Habs play a good afternoon tilt. Lots of guys who played brilliantly on Thursday gave the mirror opposite performance in Game 4. Pleks, AK46, Pouliot and a host of others played indifferently. There was no heart, minimal effort and not enough team play.

    Can the Habs come back against Philly? It’s possible, but for the first time this post-season, I really don’t see it happening. Philly is schooling the Habs in how to play good D and Pronger is on his game. He’s a thoroughbred and unfortunately for the Habs, he gets the same treatment as Crosby and some of the other elite players in the league from the refs.That’s not good news for Montreal’s forwards. Just ask Gomez.

    Having said all that, the Habs dominated the first twelve and a half minutes of the game until the MAB penalty. Another phantom call, this one just happened to suck the momentum from the Habs and it was downhill from there. If they can’t get back on their wheels and find a way to fix their PP, they’re done.

     

  47. avatar_58 says:

    Are you joking? Caps and Pens tanked, did they get far this year? No they lost to the “lowly” habs. Guess what? The cup is hard to get. Sometimes you get beat and beat badly.

    I don’t understand how ANY hab fan could be anything but pleased with this team’s accomplishment. In their FIRST year together. Once some adjustments are made in the next year or two I bet we make an even better run for it.

  48. HABdriven says:

    Habs won’t go down without a fight.  They will play better on Monday, but will need to get the first goal.  Shouldn’t count them out yet.  We’ve been there before.  BELIEVE! 

  49. avatar_58 says:

    You know what? This “first goal!” nonsense is why this team never wins once they allow it. They give up. Here’s a better idea – LAST GOAL is what is most important. Tying goals are most important. Game WINNING goals are most important.

    Who really cares who gets the first goal? The players shouldn’t. Halak shouldn’t. Get in there and tie it. The first goal happens in the 1st or 2nd – that leaves plenty of time for an answer. Relying too much on this first goal mentality is what sinks teams. Forget it and score your own goal. If you get the first fan F tastic but it means nothing – they will come back and tie it. Almost guarunteed. So stay on them and score that second.

     

    Just my two cents…

  50. HUDSONHAB says:

    I don’t want to feel Monday night like I did Saturday afternoon.

    Losing this series isn’t the worst thing to happen but losing it the way we have lost the three games so far will leave a bitter taste and I will be very angry if they don’t give it their all and play like a team fighting with pride and for each other and their fans.

    Hallelujah!

    ….Hab4life….

  51. habbytown says:

    but they did go down in 3 of the past 4 games without a fight, without a whimper, as if they no longer cared.

    did you guys notice that when Chicago was down by 2 goals, they didn’t quit and came back to win. but when habs go down by 1 goal, they quit, give up.

    until we get bigger tougher goal scorers, thios merry go round will continue. 17 years and counting…tick. tick. tick.

    SIZE DOES MATTER. just ask Philly and Chicago.

  52. Exit716 says:

    Georges was asked to fight. He never did. He let Lucic hammer Komisarek. He let Tom Kostopolous get hammered by Kurt Sauer.

    Georges is an attention whore. He’s a useless player and Gainey’s worst signing as GM.

    Just go away into obscurity Georges. No one cares.

     

  53. The Cat says:

    He wasnt at all asked to fight. BGL is right JM handcuffed him, hes done that to all the other tough guys hes ever had! Ottawa used to get beat up by Toronto, what did JM do: have Rob Ray and Andre Roy sit on the bench or not dress them lol Why I guess so they wouldnt take penalties…and hope for precious powerplays -its always about special teams with JM its the only thing he knows.

  54. SeriousFan09 says:

    The incidents Exit just mentioned went on during Carbo’s coaching, like when Kurt Sauer tried to take AK’s head off and Kostopolous had to try and stand up for the team instead. Lucic beating down Komisarek, same result, BGL watched while the non-fighters tried to defend the team.

    A team enforcer shouldn’t need engraved invitations to do his job, which he wasn’t interested in doing.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  55. SeriousFan09 says:

    Actually, the management tends to face mostly opposition from the fans in the last while.

    The draft record, not trading the Kostitsyns, the playing of Carey Price, the use of MAB outside of a PP, sticking with Pleks (oh the anger last summer with him), Pouliot was a fan favourite at first who then became a dog that has to go… If this were a movie, we’d be the angry villagers and JM would be Dr. Frankenstein.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  56. Exit716 says:

    Georges is a fat tub of goo that never bothered to put in any effort with the Habs other than cashing his cheque.

    He should give back the money.

  57. Tis Himself says:

    BGL??? You must be on ‘ludes! I mean, you can’t be serious! Who the hell is supplying you? He/she should be behind bars for life!!!

  58. SeriousFan09 says:

    No one was scared of Laraque when he played for us, they just avoided him and he did nothing. Everyone took liberties with Montreal regardless of the roster composition. We had enforcers in the past, but they did things when their teammates were getting pushed around, Laraque did not, regardless of his coach.

    This is self-serving garbage on the level of Guimauve’s Poor, Persecuted Me act when he went to Minnesota.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  59. TripleX says:

    Have you considered JM told him under no circumstances to take an instigator penalty as it will mean he is benched?  We know JM has his favs and people he punishes and it has NOTHING to do with on ice performance.

     

    “Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement.”

  60. avatar_58 says:

    Yeah because last year BGL was a big ‘ol meanie who really made the habs feared right? Oh wait no he wasn’t.

  61. TripleX says:

    Ummmmm….did you understand the question?  If the coach tells an enforcer under no circumstances take a penalty, you do understand the enforcer has his hands tied?

    Kinda like a coach telling a young player you need to play with more confidence then benching the player at the first mistake.  You might be surprised to know that a coach can positively and negatively influence the way a player plays.

     

    “Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement.”

  62. avatar_58 says:

    I have NEVER seen Laraque stand up for a player. Not during Carbo, not when Gainey was in there and not when Martin was in there. Yet BGL singled out Martin. So you tell me.

    What I see is sour grapes from a guy who can’t play hockey – wanting to be paid millions of dollars to play on a hockey team.

  63. habz says:

    We’re Done, It’s Over, I Can feel it. Sad but true.

  64. Danno says:

    Just don’t break your ankle jumping off the bandwagon.

    It ain’t over until it’s over.

    Habs in seven.

     

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

  65. Tis Himself says:

    It may very well be. But, on the bright side, we got to see the Habs play 19 more games than many of us myself included expected.

  66. punkster says:

    Well, his version at any rate.

    FEEL THE PRIDE!

  67. Drive_For_25 says:

    The real story is that Gainey saw his SUPER retarded commercial before it came out and got rid of him immediately.

  68. Josh says:

    The real story behind Laraques departure finally comes out.

    http://oilersnation.com/2010/5/21/georges-laraque-his-side-of-the-story

  69. SeriousFan09 says:

    The truth, straight from an over the hill enforcer with a bad back desperate to protect his reputation as one of the most feared pugilists in the NHL, whatever. Didn’t stand up for his teammates for his entire time here, his ‘Code’ was a joke and he was a nightmare on the ice in all situations.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  70. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    thanks for finding that Josh….we really could have used the LAROCK EFFECT right now against PHILLY… and I am not surprised it was JACK MARTIN that screwed up this element of HABS HISTORY… we have always had an enforcer on any serious rendition of this great franchise….a great element to have at your disposal, to use when needed…

    the article clearly proves that JACK MARTIN doesn’t like enforcers and gets rid of them….well:

    GET RID OF JACK MARTIN NOW…IDIOT….WHY DON’T YOU PUT MAB OUT THERE FOR 59MINUTES.

  71. TripleX says:

    Not surprising in the least.  Habs fans invariably take the side of management, never realizing there is always another side to every story.  BGL is a dog, SK is a brat, Lats is loser, Pleks is a girl, O’Bryne is mistake prone, AK is lazy, Pouliot is lazy…etc. etc.  It never ends in this town.

     

     

    “Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement.”

  72. avatar_58 says:

    “I heard when he came to Montreal, he didn’t want to have a tough guy.
    But Gainey was the coach in the playoffs the previous year, as everybody
    remembers, and I did a good job against Boston and he played me lots. I
    assume he must have told him to wait, or whatever.”

    Wut. BGL in the playoffs was one of the biggest jokes I tried so hard to forgot. You did NOT play good my friend, and Gainey was flamed big time for even attempting it. The “big bad” Bruins didn’t even have to play rough.

    “”I’m not a four-shift-a-game player. I can play more than that”

    Again – no. You aren’t. If guys like Metropolit and Darche can’t play top minutes then you have no hope in hell my friend.

     

  73. Danno says:

    I agree. It’s just a thing TV commentators like to say. Sure, getting the first goal is a positive sign, but it is no guarantee of anything. It’s not as if a team cannot blow an early lead or anything…

    The key is to hammer them. Then hammer them hammer them and hammer them. Then hammer them some more until they are down for good.

     

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

  74. HUDSONHAB says:

    How about just getting the next goal?

    ….Hab4life….

  75. Slovak says:

    I hope they can make at least one and Halak will hold them off so 1:nothing suits me fine and this goal will be first and last – that is juts my hopeless vision of bright future :)

  76. Danno says:

    More on Georges Laraque.

     

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

  77. Tis Himself says:

    In my opinion, he’s being charitable to Laraque.

  78. Lafrich says:

    My sentiments exactly.

  79. HabFanSince72 says:

    It’s a minor issue but is anyone else tired of hearing how important a player Ian Laperriere is?

  80. HabFanSince72 says:

    Sharks get swept despite playing pretty well. They just found a way to lose every game.

    Thornton (3 goals in 15 games) and Heatley (2 goals) lived up to expectations.

     

  81. danhabsfan says:

    Yes… Absolutly Yes!

    That is a lesson to take out of Pittsburg’s book.  It would be about time.

  82. SeriousFan09 says:

    Subban will be great for Montreal, but he isn’t going to be Bobby Orr right off the bat folks. Andrei Markov is still a vital part of the defence and having him around to mentor Subban will be an important part of his player development. Subban should be rooming with a team veteran next year, enough of setting these guys loose in Montreal with a pile of money and no one to give them advice.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  83. alfieturcotte says:

    I’d rather lose in 6 than in five, but either way, Habs took us about 15 games longer than most of us expected or hoped for.  Please JM – no MAB on defense.  Let’s not go down without a fight boys…..

    Line Combos for Monday’s Game:

    Forwards:

    Gomez / Gionta  / Cammalleri

    Pleks / AK 46 / SK 74

    Moore
    / Lapierre /Pyatt

    Pouliot / Moen / MAB

    Defense:

    O’byrne / Spacek

    Gill / Gorges

    Subban / Hamrlik

  84. vic says:

    Any one wonder why so many players have lost their confidence.Suban looked shaky and hesitent last night.

    Why/

  85. showey47 says:

    I don’t think he is shaky,i think he is trying to do too much and is getting caught out of position.

  86. billylove says:

    Rookies, even good ones like PK, show their inexperience at times. Some players are affected by the intense spotlight shining during the big games. As a die hard Habs fan living in Shark country, I have witnessed a number of Shark “superstars” who constantly come up short in the playoffs. Many commentators are saying that Thornton had a good playoff – if so, how do you explain his -12! Some players just can’t get it done what everything is on the line. I hate to say it, but I think #14 of the Habs falls into this category.

  87. avatar_58 says:

    You know what I’m sick of? The sports world indicating we should have kept Leighton as if HE is winning this series. So their opinion TRULY is the that the current Montreal squad + Leighton would be better? Better than Jaroslav Halak? That’s so HILARIOUS I forgot to laugh.

    Leighton is protected. 14 shots? Any goalie could have gotten a shutout tonight. The habs beat themselves.

  88. SeriousFan09 says:

    Halak would probably have set a playoff shutout record if he was
    behind Chicago’s D these playoffs.

    Leighton’s been protected, if
    Niemi and Huet can rack up a combined 11 shutouts in the regular season…
    Niemi’s been good these playoffs, but the Chicago D is clearing those
    rebounds with incredible efficiencyt as well.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  89. B says:

    Perhaps even more than 19 games.

  90. RetroMikey says:

    Time for the club to send an announcement and send Pyatt, Maxwell and Subban down in Hamilton.

    Game 6 tomorrow  night at Copps and we need these players to bring us our second Calder Cup in Hamilton.

    I does not help Maxwell riding the press box when he can help the Dawgs by playing.

    Great season for the Habs, they made the Conference final, don’t know if this will happen again in years to come.

    We need to get bigger up front next season. a trade perhaps?

    Lots of work ahead for the club to compete next season.

    Kudos to the Flyers, they were a contender in the East before the season began and are starting to play better hockey as the playoffs progress now that Carter is back in the line up.

    Season is not over but it appears we ran out of gas in the third round.  Even if we played Boston, the series it ould have been a tough series as well favouring Boston IMO.

    Summer is near and can’t wait for the World Cup in South Africa to begin as well, but it will be sad knowing our Habs are once again not playing in a Cup final like the old days.

    I’m betting on Chicago to take the Cup, these guys are young, fast, big and have skill on offense and defense.

    Hopfully, we will be sipping from the Cup one day as well in the near future again.

     

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

  91. Danno says:

    It ain’t over until it’s over.

    Habs in seven.

     

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

  92. avatar_58 says:

    Huh? Last time I checked there is still hockey to be played. Sorry to be frank but F the calder cup. It’s meaningless. All that matters is the STANELY cup. I say this even as a hamilton resident and dogs fan.

  93. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    Its not the Flyers…its the Habs, in game 3 they were skating like the wind, today they were sluggish, tired, i don’t know if it had to do with an afternoon game (rarity for the Habs), but for a team that lives on speed, they didn’t have it, nobody wanted to take the puck and beat that first defender to make a play, everyone was dishing it off to the next guy and that just slowed our game to a crawl and turnovers.

    Sure the first 10minutes were riveting, but I guess we should have scored, because we ran out of gas from there.

    I still don’t see the Flyers as a better team/series than WASH/PENN… but I do see a Montreal team that is changing, getting tired, wornout, hoping for miracles instead of consistent hardwork to a stifling game plan…Is it MARTIN?.. I have to blame him because for some unknown stupidity he continues to use MAB and SUBBAN error after error, he continues to tweak and triple shift instead of letting things develope over time, instead he is too quick to insert and rearrange the lines in pathetic style….not to mention his worst error, destroying a pounding defensman like OBRYNE by benching him FOR NO REASON.

    Obyrne should be registering 29mins / game….that would be the first correction to make.

  94. howtathor says:

    If losing the game wasn’t bad enough, I got beer dumped on me from the gutless bastards hiding above. You’d expect that from the goons in Philly but not at the Bell Centre!

  95. Chuck Chuck Goose says:

    I thought Mikey F. was the 3rd star…..at least he was on CBC

  96. shootdapuck says:

    Disappointing lack of effort all round.

    Looked like the locals were skating on cement!

    Jekyl and Hyde, but who can predict which will show up from day to day!

     

     

    “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″

  97. Josh says:

    Try reading it next time and then comment on it.

  98. SeriousFan09 says:

    Try watching the 65 games he ‘played’ with the Canadiens.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  99. avatar_58 says:

    I read it and here’s what I got “WAAAAAHHH”

     

    Sorry BGL – you had your chances. I don’t buy any of this and further more -Martin gets to choose who is played. When we are losing a game you don’t go sending out some big lug who takes staged fights. If he actually stood up for our players MAYBE Maritn would have loved it. Instead he did nothing but make a complete ass of himself.

    I for one am glad Gainey put an end to that charade.

     

    The worst part? While I hated his lack of skill I had a lot of respect for BGL’s happy attitude and dedication. However all this nonsense trying to get on TV, NOT going to Haiti despite crying that he couldn’t due to the habs, etc – I’ve lost it ALL. He’s nothing but an attention whore.

  100. showey47 says:

    We eliminated the biggest team in the league in the first round,the 2nd biggest team lost in 4 straight to the hawks. 7 out of 10 top point scorers in the playoffs are under 5’11”. The top goal scorer in the playoffs is 5’9″. Your redundant, whinny posts=fail. Here’s another one for you. The last 2 playoff year,2 of the 3 smallest teams in the league played for the cup. You should probably do some research,we are on average bigger and heavier  then the flyers and the sharks were bigger then the hawks. Who are the flyers that are beating us? The 5’10” players in briere and giroux,a 5’11” player in gagne. Their “bigger” forwards haven’t done squat. As usual you get proven wrong.

  101. tony d says:

    This season’s Habs are the team that has frustrated us all year long, so why should we be surprised or disappointed by today’s effort or lack of. They always have an amazing game and follow it up with a dialed in stinker. The question is can they surprise us yet again? If they are a destiny team, then the end result rests in their hands. Monday night will tell the tale.

  102. avatar_58 says:

    So….

     

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpdaBNuvJ6w

     

    It’s unfortunately happening again. As the song says – “SO CLOSE”. Closer this time. C’mon guys, don’t go down without a fight!


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