Lucky to salvage a point

The Canadiens lose 3-2 to the Atlanta Thrashers in a shootout, with Ilya Kovalchuk beating Carey Price for the deciding goal.

It shouldn’t have come down to that … and the Canadiens knew it.

“We didn’t show up in the first two periods,” said Saku Koivu. “We were pretty lucky and very happy to get a point.
“We didn’t play anywhere near where we can – and where we have to.”

Coming off two wins on the road and four straight Ws, the Canadiens were flat for 40 minutes. Koivu characterized the team’s early play as “lazy … taking shortcuts, not getting the puck deep … not doing the things that made us successful early in the season.”

“We can all agree,” Koivu concluded, “we’re happy with a point.”

And Christopher Higgins was happy he wasn’t among the 21.273 paying customers at the Bell Centre … or the audience tuned to RDS and TSN.

“If I were watching this game on television,” Higgins said, “I’d have turned it off.”

Both Canadiens goals came on their league-leading power play.
Both Atlanta scores were at even strength.
So the Canadiens were a team minus-10 on the night.
No extra minuses, however, for Andrei Markov and, most egregiously, Josh Gorges, whose giveaways led to the Thrashers’ goals.

• • •

Giveaways: Atlanta 5, Canadiens 15.
Blocked shots: Atlanta 24, Canadiens 12

• • •

Ilya Kovalchuk played almost 24 minutes and had six shots in regulation time and the OT … not to mention the shootout winner.
What a horse!

• • •

And what a Hossa!
When they anounced Marian Hossa as the game’s second star,, all the media people – waiting for the elevator down to dressing room level, wondered why.
He had eight shots.

• • •

Kozlov stopped
Pleks stopped
Little scores on a nifty backhand
Koivu dekes and scores
Kovalchuk scores … rather easily, with a wrister
Kovalev stopped

• • •

Christopher Higgins scores on the power play to tie the game and the teams batttle through OT and head for a shootout.

Carey Price must be getting used to these.

OT 00:00 ANOTHER shootout
Final shots: 33-33

OT 2:30 Wow! Chipchura in OT.

Third Period 00:00 Hossa on the short side .. Stopped.
OT

Third Period 1:27 D-zone faceoff.
CRAZY game.
Chipchura, Koivu, Kostopoulos.

Third Period 1:58 Chris Higgins scores on his 22nd shot of the game.

Third Period 2:10 Smolinski, Bégin, Kovy. Penalty to Atlanta.

Third Period 3:20 I think we’re going to find out how fast that big galoot can skate to the bench for an extra tttacker

Third Period 4:00 Latendresse, Pleks, Grabovski

Third Period 4:19 Canadiens’ 25th shot by Pelks … right at Hedberg … again.

Third Period 5:31 Chris Higgins is just snakebit.

Third Period 5:47 Another good set-up, and Higggins can’t score from in cllose.

Third Period 6:22 5-on-3. Nice set-up, but MMarkov shoots righ at Hedberg.

Third Period 7:30 Just pray Markov isn’t injured.

Third Period 7:52 Pleks line reunited.

Third Period 9:00 Dandenault, Grabovski, Smolinski

Third Period 10:00 The 18th shot was by Josh GGorges, and it travelled the length of the ice.

Third Period 10:47 Best part of the Canadiens tonight: the PK.

Third Period 12:00 17 shots, most of them harmless, in 48 minutes at home.
Weak.
Very weak.

Third Period 13:29 The rejigged lines are playing like they met in a bar half an hour before the game.

Third Period 13:48 Ryder, Chipchura, Latendresse.

Third Period 14:49 Price has made 24 saves. Atlanta is gettting chancces as Canadiens press.

Third Period 18:00 Here we go with the Carbo Show. Beegin with Pleks and Kovy. Then Smolinski, Kostopoulos and Grabovski. Then Higgins, Dandenault and Koivu.

Third Period 19:00Ryder! He’s killing me.

Third Period 20:00 Well, this should be fun.

• • •

Where do we wants Latendresse in the third period?
The pressbox.

• • •

Is Atlanta this good?
Was Bob Hartley that bad?
The Thrashers are winning the races for loose pucks. They’ve pounced on mistakes and turned them into goals.
They’re forcing the Canadiens to make poor passes and bad decisions.
The visitors are outhustling a team that has to hustle to win.
And it ain’t pretty.

I knew this game wouldn’t be easy.
But I didn’t suspect it would be this hard.

• • •

Second Period 00:00 I like Smolinski, but what was he doing on the power play?

Second Period 1:00 5-on-3 here. Canadiens are up to 12 shots.

Second Period 2:47 And even more brutal giveaway by Gorges, and Slava Kozlov makes it 2-1.
The crowd is not enjoying this.

Second Period 3:44 Brutal giveaway by Andrei Markov. Price had no chance on Eric Perrin
1-1

Second Period 4:02 Grabovski with Plekanec and Kovalev.

Second Period 5:52 Weird game. No rhythm. A bunch of white guys trying to dance.

Second Period 7:21 Signs of offensive life. Atlanta has to open up a bit to gget a goal. So we’ll see odd-man rushes.

Second Period 9:40 Another great PK Shots are 19-5

Second Period 11:40 Brisebois for delay of game.

Second Period 11:50 Kovy takes his sweet time teeing up and ..
1-0
On the Canadiens’ fourth shot of the game. Unassisted. His sixth.

Second Period 12:55 Obvious makeup call on Nilas Havelid

Second Period 13:25 Price makes his 17th save. Why do I think he’ll need a shutout to get a W tonnight?

Second Period 13:30 Price pounes on a puck in the crease, after four giveaways by his teammates. Shots are 16-3.

Second Period 15:00 PK’s been great.

Second Period 16:28 Third shot. Kyle Chipchura, shorthanded. Forces Hedbberg to make a ttough stop.

Second Period 17:12 Ryder get his stick up and sits for two.

Second Period 20:00 Fearless prediction: No free wings tonight.

• • •

First Period 0:00 Yahoo! An effective PK.

First Period 3:00 Second shot. A 100-footer. Crowd goes wild.

First Period 5:00 C’mon guys, do something. I’ve got a blog to write here.

First Period 5:58 They didn’t like Eric Boulton crowding Price … who has made eight saves.

First Period 6:31 First chant of “BORING!”

First Period 8:28: Canadiens have one SoG.

First Period 9:41 117 comments. Are we gonna hit 400 … against ATLANTA???!!!!
Keep your powder dry for Toronto on Saturday.

First Period 10:48 Gorges on the PK, takes a swipe at Darren Haydar for harassing Price.

First Period 12:11 Smolinski for a hit from behind. Colin Campbell is in the house.

First Period 12:30 Fashion note: I can’t read the names on the Atlanta unis.

First Period 12:38 Good puck movement on the PP but no chances.
Shots are 3-1 Atlanta.

First Period 14:52 First PP.

First Period 15:15 Good positioning by the kid, but that was a dangerous chance for Kovalchuk

First Period 16:30 Another great shift by the fourth line.

First Period 18:00 Komisarek stands strong on Kovalchuk.

First Period 20:00 Okay, roll up the carpet and let’s play hockey

• • •

Ceremony honouring 1,000-game guys, Scattered boos for Colin Campbell; big cheers for Henri Richard.
11 Stanley Cups, for crying out loud.
Honourees: Roman Hamrlik, Bryan Smolinski, Alex Kovalev
The Bell Centre LOVES Kovy … till the first bad pass.

• • •

At least two poppies tonight: mine and Charles-Prévost Linton’s

• • •

Grabovski in, Kostitsyn out. I must have been having acid flashbacks during the warmup.

• • •

Pre-game videos by a good guy and a Great Guy: Mathieu Dandenault and number 10.
Number 25 does the player intros.
Huge applause for Koivu.
Hey Guy Bertrand: why don’t you blow 21,273 hockey fans?

• • •

Don’t know what it means, but there’s a battalion of scouts here tonnight.

• • •

Brutal numbers on the Thrashers roster:
Steve McCarthy: minus-12
Jim Slater and Alexei Zhitnik: minus-7

• • •

I see Kostitsyn, not Grabovski, in the warmup.

• • •

Josh Gorges takes the place of injured Francis Bouillon and will play with Mark Streit. Patrice Brisebois will play his 800th NHL game, partnered with my man Roman Hamrlik.
Mikhail Grabovski will play LW on a line with Bryan Smolinski and Matheu Dandenault.
Andrei Kostitsyn is a healthy scratch.
Are the Canadiens in the process of screwing this kid up?

• • •

Johan Hedberg, who has never beaten the Canadiens and is 0-5 at the Bell Centre, will be in nets for Atlanta.
Kari Lehtonen is injured … and he sucks when he plays.
Hard to figure this guy as the second overall draft choice (behind the solid-gold Rick Nash) in 2002.

• • •

I expect many astute comments tonight, since the game is coast-to-coast (I think) on TSN.
Commentators are Gord Miller and Pierre McGuire, two good ones.

Wonder if Don Waddell will use Carey Price’s start as motivation for the Thrashers:
“This is what they think of us, a 20-year-old goalie … yada-yada-yada”

Dressing room oratory or not, Atlanta will be a challenge.
There are no gimmes in the league anymore – at least none for your Montreal Canadiens.
If the home team works hard and avoids penalties for 60 minutes, they can play competitive hockey against anyone in the league.

If the Canadiens let up … well, it just doesn’t bear thinking about.

Third Period 7:30 Just pray Markov isn’t injured. Good time for a great PP.
And 79 is out there.

Third Period 7:52 Pleks line reunited.

Third Period 9:00 Dandenault, Grabovski, Smolinski

Third Period 10:00 The 18th shot was by Josh GGorges, and it travelled the length of the ice.

Third Period 10:47 Best part of the Canadiens tonight: the PK.

Third Period 12:00 17 shots, most of them harmless, in 48 minutes at home.
Weak.
Very weak.

Third Period 13:29 The rejigged lines are playing like they met in a bar half an hour before the game.

Third Period 13:48 Ryder, Chipchura, Latendresse.

Third Period 14:49 Price has made 24 saves. Atlanta is gettting chancces as Canadiens press.

Third Period 18:00 Here we go with the Carbo Show. Beegin with Pleks and Kovy. Then Smolinski, Kostopoulos and Grabovski. Then Higgins, Dandenault and Koivu.

Third Period 19:00Ryder! He’s killing me.

Third Period 20:00 Well, this should be fun.

• • •

Where do we wants Latendresse in the third period?
The pressbox.

• • •

Is Atlanta this good?
Was Bob Hartley that bad?
The Thrashers are winning the races for loose pucks. They’ve pounced on mistakes and turned them into goals.
They’re forcing the Canadiens to make poor passes and bad decisions.
The visitors are outhustling a team that has to hustle to win.
And it ain’t pretty.

I knew this game wouldn’t be easy.
But I didn’t suspect it would be this hard.

• • •

Second Period 00:00 I like Smolinski, but what was he doing on the power play?

Second Period 1:00 5-on-3 here. Canadiens are up to 12 shots.

Second Period 2:47 And even more brutal giveaway by Gorges, and Slava Kozlov makes it 2-1.
The crowd is not enjoying this.

Second Period 3:44 Brutal giveaway by Andrei Markov. Price had no chance on Eric Perrin
1-1

Second Period 4:02 Grabovski with Plekanec and Kovalev.

Second Period 5:52 Weird game. No rhythm. A bunch of white guys trying to dance.

Second Period 7:21 Signs of offensive life. Atlanta has to open up a bit to gget a goal. So we’ll see odd-man rushes.

Second Period 9:40 Another great PK Shots are 19-5

Second Period 11:40 Brisebois for delay of game.

Second Period 11:50 Kovy takes his sweet time teeing up and ..
1-0
On the Canadiens’ fourth shot of the game. Unassisted. His sixth.

Second Period 12:55 Obvious makeup call on Nilas Havelid

Second Period 13:25 Price makes his 17th save. Why do I think he’ll need a shutout to get a W tonnight?

Second Period 13:30 Price pounes on a puck in the crease, after four giveaways by his teammates. Shots are 16-3.

Second Period 15:00 PK’s been great.

Second Period 16:28 Third shot. Kyle Chipchura, shorthanded. Forces Hedbberg to make a ttough stop.

Second Period 17:12 Ryder get his stick up and sits for two.

Second Period 20:00 Fearless prediction: No free wings tonight.

• • •

First Period 0:00 Yahoo! An effective PK.

First Period 3:00 Second shot. A 100-footer. Crowd goes wild.

First Period 5:00 C’mon guys, do something. I’ve got a blog to write here.

First Period 5:58 They didn’t like Eric Boulton crowding Price … who has made eight saves.

First Period 6:31 First chant of “BORING!”

First Period 8:28: Canadiens have one SoG.

First Period 9:41 117 comments. Are we gonna hit 400 … against ATLANTA???!!!!
Keep your powder dry for Toronto on Saturday.

First Period 10:48 Gorges on the PK, takes a swipe at Darren Haydar for harassing Price.

First Period 12:11 Smolinski for a hit from behind. Colin Campbell is in the house.

First Period 12:30 Fashion note: I can’t read the names on the Atlanta unis.

First Period 12:38 Good puck movement on the PP but no chances.
Shots are 3-1 Atlanta.

First Period 14:52 First PP.

First Period 15:15 Good positioning by the kid, but that was a dangerous chance for Kovalchuk

First Period 16:30 Another great shift by the fourth line.

First Period 18:00 Komisarek stands strong on Kovalchuk.

First Period 20:00 Okay, roll up the carpet and let’s play hockey

• • •

Ceremony honouring 1,000-game guys, Scattered boos for Colin Campbell; big cheers for Henri Richard.
11 Stanley Cups, for crying out loud.
Honourees: Roman Hamrlik, Bryan Smolinski, Alex Kovalev
The Bell Centre LOVES Kovy … till the first bad pass.

• • •

At least two poppies tonight: mine and Charles-Prévost Linton’s

• • •

Grabovski in, Kostitsyn out. I must have been having acid flashbacks during the warmup.

• • •

Pre-game videos by a good guy and a Great Guy: Mathieu Dandenault and number 10.
Number 25 does the player intros.
Huge applause for Koivu.
Hey Guy Bertrand: why don’t you blow 21,273 hockey fans?

• • •

Don’t know what it means, but there’s a battalion of scouts here tonnight.

• • •

Brutal numbers on the Thrashers roster:
Steve McCarthy: minus-12
Jim Slater and Alexei Zhitnik: minus-7

• • •

I see Kostitsyn, not Grabovski, in the warmup.

• • •

Josh Gorges takes the place of injured Francis Bouillon and will play with Mark Streit. Patrice Brisebois will play his 800th NHL game, partnered with my man Roman Hamrlik.
Mikhail Grabovski will play LW on a line with Bryan Smolinski and Matheu Dandenault.
Andrei Kostitsyn is a healthy scratch.
Are the Canadiens in the process of screwing this kid up?

• • •

Johan Hedberg, who has never beaten the Canadiens and is 0-5 at the Bell Centre, will be in nets for Atlanta.
Kari Lehtonen is injured … and he sucks when he plays.
Hard to figure this guy as the second overall draft choice (behind the solid-gold Rick Nash) in 2002.

• • •

I expect many astute comments tonight, since the game is coast-to-coast (I think) on TSN.
Commentators are Gord Miller and Pierre McGuire, two good ones.

Wonder if Don Waddell will use Carey Price’s start as motivation for the Thrashers:
“This is what they think of us, a 20-year-old goalie … yada-yada-yada”

Dressing room oratory or not, Atlanta will be a challenge.
There are no gimmes in the league anymore – at least none for your Montreal Canadiens.
If the home team works hard and avoids penalties for 60 minutes, they can play competitive hockey against anyone in the league.

If the Canadiens let up … well, it just doesn’t bear thinking about.


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