D goes MIA

Canadiens fought back from a 3-1 deficit and took a 4-3 lead early in the third period, but then the roof caved in.

A bad cross-ice pass by Mike Komisarek: bada-bing, the league’s newest superstar, Evgeni Malkin, scores.

An ill-advised charge by Roman Hamrlik: bada-boom, Sergei Gonchar scores from the point – the Penguins’ second-power play goal … and one among many on which Cristobal Huet did not look great.

It’s a safe bet we’ll see Carey Price against Columbus on Bob Gainey Night. And maybe, after two five-goal games, we’ll see the Canadiens getting back to defensive hockey.

Which would please the Captain.

"The odds of winning when you’re down two, three goals are pretty slim," said Saku Koivu. "You can do it once in a while, we’ve had a few highliights. But I think right now we just have to relax and get that focus back, not think about what’s happened or what’s in front of us."

It’s the oldest cliché in team sports: one game at a time. In the case of Canadiens, it’s time to get back to their D game.

"At this point in the season, we have to realize we do have enough offence to score the goals, which was a question mark earlier," Koivu said. "Right now, what’s really made us successful is a defence-first mentality. And that’s what we have to get back to – not necessarily playing a fancy game or a pretty game but an effective one."

• • •

Their Russians were better.

First star of the game: Malkin, one goal, two assists, four shots, plus-2

Third star: Gonchar, one goal, four shots, three blocked shots, plus-one

Alex Kovalev: Two assists, but two giveaways (a generous estimate), minus-1 and in the box when the winning goal was scored

Andrei Markov: one assists, three giveaways, minus-2

• • •

Canadiens definitely hhad the worst Frenchman on the ice.

Huet gave up five goals on 30 shots, looked shaky all night.





  1. Chuck says:

    Does Dandenault get credit for that goal? 😉


    “All bow down before the Komisaurus Rex!”

  2. The Teacher says:

    Huet ALMOST got the deflection

  3. Shawn S says:

    Laraque was dishing out the hits. Good Shift by Ryder. And opponent scoring first again. Don’t make this a habit!

  4. The Teacher says:



  5. lemess says:

    Thats what Komi used to do – let’s hope the kid develops as well as Komi did.

  6. The Teacher says:

    Whoever questions why OB doesn’t dish out more hits. You have your answer, because it leaves a HUGE hole if it’s not the right time to do it.

  7. PattyBoy31 says:

    Already Ole’ing hahahahaha!

  8. PattyBoy31 says:

    Gorges has been playing like a vet. lately hopefully he keeps it going

  9. HabsProf says:

    Certainly, Ryder did not get as many good shots.

    Souray was the big, well-publicized weapon on the power play, but I seem to remember Ryder getting a lot of goals from the left wing on cross-ice passes from Kovalev. One reason for his drop in production may be that Carbo has maintained the regular lines for the power play, which meant that Ryder has not been getting time with Kovalev. Instead, Kostitsyn the Elder has been getting that time.

  10. PattyBoy31 says:

    i think it pretty much crashed the site last time so they’ll probably have to change servers or work something out before the next chat

  11. The Teacher says:

    I think Pittsburgh will have to try and weather the storm for the first ten minutes tonight.

    A standing O before the game. I love it.

  12. HabsProf says:

    Yes, though that is only a recent development. I say keep it up (though I am not sure I like Sergei on the point). Maybe Dandy or Cube on the point for the power play.

  13. J.T. says:

    No way! He shouldn’t be with Koivu as long as Higgins is on the line. I’m convinced part of Ryder’s problem is that Higgins is taking more of the shots on that line than he used to. Ryder’s been scoring when he’s playing with other guys who are more inclined to dish the puck to him. I like him with Streit.

    I do agree he’s always looked more comfortable on the left wing, though. That big power move off the left wing boards with the hard shot from the circle was one of his patented moves in the past.


  14. HabsProf says:

    Well, my point is that he has been producing lately.

    As for being one-dimensional, I’m not so sure. He is a plus player over this time and he has been throwing his weight around with some nice checks. Yes, Koivu and Higgins have a broader game, but Ryder is not that one-dimensional.

    Besides, if you are only going to have one dimension, it is a good one to have. While I am not going to say he is the level of Brett Hull, I remember when Hull was once dismissed as one-dimensional: “all he does is score goals”. Well, isn’t that the primary purpose of most forwards?

  15. MikeL says:

    He has been playing on the PP. Sergei plays the point with Koivu Higgins and Ryder up front.

  16. HabsProf says:

    Whatever line you play him on, I would probably make this change: he should get power play time with the Koivu line. I know Carbo has adopted the idea that his power play lines are the “regular” lines, but this might be an exception. He is willing to put Streit on the point for the power play even though he is playing forward otherwise. Given the past history of Ryder playing with Koivu and Higgins, it shouldn’t be too disruptive to put him up there for power play time, even if you keep him on another line otherwise.

  17. MikeL says:

    Because he is a one-dimensional player. If he is not scoring, he doesn’t have much use.

  18. showey47 says:

    I would actually move higgins off that and try ryder in his spot. As much as i like higgins, the guy either has no finish or one of the most snakebitten players in the league. Ryder is a better pure shooter than higgens and would benefit from having 2 good playmakers like saku and sergei.

  19. HabsProf says:

    Maybe. But here’s the point – for every “easy” goal someone gets with a wide open net, there is some other point he doesn’t get because the goaltender robs him blind with a highlight reel save. Some say his shot Tuesday that went off of Streit’s leg was fluky, but these things happen and they still count. Even more so, they tend to happen to good goal scorers, and that is for a reason. I say credit to Streit for going to the net to screen Lundqvist and credit to Ryder for releasing a hell of shot that was deliberately aimed to go between Streit’s legs (the sort of shot good goal scorers take all the time – witness Kovalev).

    My gosh, we all love Higgins, but he has only 5 points in his last 17 games. Saku has only 10 points in his last 17. They each get more ice time and more power play time. No one is talking about benching either of them, so why is Ryder still in danger of sitting games out?

  20. Ian G Cobb says:

    Heading out to watch this one on RDS with Postie Jim.

    Hope you all enjoy how we get these two points.

    Later. –Ian

  21. HabsProf says:

    I’ve been wondering the same thing. It is not as if the current Saku line has been productive or shown lots of chemistry.

  22. wd40 says:

    are we doing the live chat again tonight?

  23. MikeL says:

    I just watched the Top 10 and it showed Marek Malik’s crazy shootout goal. It got me missing John Davidson as a color commentator. He was easily the best in the business. Any of you guys remember him doing the 2002 Habs – Bruins series? It was a joy to listen to.

  24. showey47 says:

    Should he be given another shot on the saku line while he has the hot hand? I am also starting to wonder if ryder should be a left winger, he seems more comfortable shooting from his off-wing, which would also give him a better shooting angle.

  25. sidhu says:

    More like, “my name is Patrice, how may I help you? Would you like fries with that?”

    (I’m just joking around people, I wish him well….)

  26. MikeL says:

    I don’t want to take anything away from what Ryder has done, but he has gotten quite a few bounces recently. His goal against Philly was an open net, and goals in last game were pretty fluky. The only vintage Ryder goal was his first one in last game. I hope he keeps getting bounces like he has, I just can’t see it happening.

  27. sidhu says:

    He must mean Martin Jagr, the best bus driver and skate sharpner in all of Europe.

    As for Jaromir, fuggheddaboutit.

  28. HabsProf says:

    Startling stat (at least it was to me): Michael Ryder has scored 11 points (7g, 4a) in his last 17 games. Over an 82 game season, that translates to about 34g, 19a, and 53pts. Has he been out of his slump for a while and we just haven’t noticed?

    Arguments that say no, he still is not out of his slump:
    1) Of those 11 points, 6 of them occurred in two games and he scored 0 points in 10 out of the 17.
    2) He just hasn’t been a “presence”, even if he wasn’t scoring, in most of those games. In the Rangers game, even if he hadn’t scored, you could see him moving and getting chances. Otherwise, he just hasn’t looked like the Ryder we’ve come to expect.

    Arguments that say yes, he has been out of his slump and we just haven’t realized it:
    1) As if those point totals in the last 17 aren’t enough, note that his ice time has been reduced (12.9 minutes per game over that 17 game stretch as opposed to 16.1 minutes last season). This makes his production even more efficient.
    2) He has been getting little power play time. In the past, over 50% of Ryder’s points have been gathered on the power play (89 out of 176 in his first three seasons). Of his last 11 points, only 2 assists were from the power play. That means he’s racked up 9 points in 17 games at even strength, often with 3rd and 4th line minutes and linemates, which is actually a higher rate of production than in his first three years.
    3) His shooting percentage until this streak was < 5%. Over this streak, it is almost 30% (his average over his first three years is about 12.5%). he was getting and taking bad shots at the beginning of the season, but now is getting open and taking great shots. What is the truth? I don't know. I do know this - I would give Ryder more time and minutes, and wouldn't just bench him after one game just to get someone else into the lineup. Ride that horse (no pun intended) for several games in a row and see if he continues to produce. HIO'ers, what is your opinion?

  29. Wayne says:

    No to a Hossa trade, myself.

    It’ll be a letdown if they come out flat again. Other than that, I’ll be looking for 2 things. Will they gel even more and appear as a team readying for the playoffs? For the next few games, I want to detect that “nuance” that will convince me they are on the right track. Number 2, Ryder scores again.

    Enjoy the game.

  30. MikeL says:

    Jagr, are you serious?

  31. RS says:

    Hossa was commenting the other day about the crazy Canadian media. And that was before the tempest over the hockey gloves!

    Okay, I think Gainey should lay low until July 1 and then try to sign Jagr. There’s your impact player.

  32. RS says:

    Now if only we could get Hamrlik out of the line-up!

  33. Blitzen says:

    I think the last game answered that in spades. I doubt anybody will take them for granted moving forward…
    Remember February 19th: The Comeback

  34. Blitzen says:

    Are we getting an experimental (or is that mental) chatroom tonight?
    Remember February 19th: The Comeback

  35. MikeL says:

    What time does the ceremony start?

  36. MikeL says:

    Nah, it’s really nice turning on sports shows and hearing about the Habs first thing. As a fan, I’m lovin it.

  37. likehoy says:

    i hope we lose…so we can fly under the radar again…

    don’t want to peak too soon.

  38. Rogie30 says:

    The three scratches are all from this years free agent crop, what a terrible crop that was, LMAO.

  39. moser17 says:

    Thanks Rachel Ray. 🙂

  40. PattyBoy31 says:

    the eyes of the NHL are on this game, everyones starting to think “is Montreal actually for real”?

    hopefully the habs can get the W and say yes

  41. Sbah Reverof says:

    Agreed, Boone.
    As wonderful as the comeback victory was, it ain’t gonna happen that dramatically or that often. I hope I’m proven wrong, but thanks for the cold shower nonetheless.

  42. the_larry says:

    Not Brodeur?? Thats a suprise

  43. Les-Habitants says:

    We win, and they’ll be 4 back.
    They win, and they tie us.

    Big game…every game is huge. Even the one against the jackets is, cause of gainey’s number being retired…and those 2 pts of course
    I love post All-Star hockey.

  44. Kilgore Trout says:

    penguin: it’s what’s for dinner

  45. tony d says:

    Brisebois?, table for 3 in the press-box!

  46. moser17 says:

    Sabourin, really? Conklin has been playing great lately, and got the last two wins convincingly: stopped 36 shots against Buffalo and was the third star of the game against Florida.

    Maybe Sabourin is starting because Conklin is tired? That would be good news.

    Or, maybe Sabourin is starting because Therrien has a theory about the Habs and goalies from Quebec.

  47. The Teacher says:


    No line rushes but head coach Guy Carbonneau is expected to go with the same lineup and scratches from the last two games, with the exception of his goalie. Cristobal Huet will start in goal. Tom Kostopoulos, Bryan Smolinski and Patrice Brisebois are the expected scratches.
    Dany Sabourin will start in net for the Penguins, he is one of three Quebecois goalies who have either shutout or beat the Canadiens at the Bell Centre this season. Jocelyn Thibault (BUF) and Marc Denis (TB) are the other two. – TSN

  48. MikeL says:

    I’ve waited 15 years to be this excited. It’ll take more than a bucket of water to cool me down. Plus, I don’t think that was Boone’s intentions.

  49. nick says:

    Better yet, we win, Penguins are 2 points behind us 🙂

    I think Mike means that no matter what happens tonight (well almost), it’s not going to be anywhere near as thrilling as the last half of Tuesdays game was.

  50. saskhab says:

    How can this game not be a letdown, Mr. Boone?

    If we win and Ottawa doesn’t, we’re in first place. For the first time since, what… 1992?

    I’d be pretty pumped about that.

  51. moser17 says:

    “Gino”? really? Nice.

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