Liveblog: Winning streak stops at 2

Halak
Returning to the scene of his playoff glory, Jaroslav Halak had a very quiet night at the Bell Centre.
In notching his second shutout of the season, Halak made only 19 saves …only a few of which were remotely difficult.

UPDATE: Patrick V. Hickey is day-to-day with an upper body injury. I’ll be writing for the dead-trees edition of The Gazette, which means a terse and pithy live blog that stops early in the third period. I’m counting on the Commentariat to soldier on.

985 Comments

  1. 2habs3 says:

    For you people that MAY understand sports?
    This team was built by a USELESS retired jersey HOFer——–Gainey.
    The smurfs he signed (Gomez, Gionta, Cammy) were/are USELESS.
    His pick of Scary Carey is a point of concern.
    When Gainey stepped down as GM to become an “advisor”——advisor to what????—–the hot dog stand????
    Gainey hired Goatier & Martin————-why fire them????
    Fire Gainey——-numero uno——-SORRY——not french.
    Scary Carey will NEVVVVVER be an NHL premier goalie————-lacks intelligence———-makes the same mistakes———over & over————the press calls them SOFT goals——Bull S__t
    Gainey will be with the Habs until he sees his prize pick (scary carey) get a $5+ mil per year contract.
    Geoff Molson is bamboozled by Gainey’s HOF playing stats.

    • 24moreCups says:

      Cool story bro.

    • Cam_1 says:

      @2habs3 – Mark my words…Price will win a cup in his career. Just not with the Habs. Price is not the problem !!!

    • Seps says:

      Im sorry did you not watch any part of the season last year, where Price was the one and only reason we made the playoffs? That’s like saying Cam Ward isn’t a premiere goalie because the Canes aren’t doing well. Let’s not blame the goalie, it’s the 18 players in front of them.

      • nunacanadien says:

        Why are we not suprised we lost? After all Cunneyworth continues is defensive streak when the Habs need offense. Something stinks this year. I wonder if Geoff Molson is trying to drive the price and value of the Habs name so he buy off the remaining shares. Wouldn’t be the first time a hockey owner drives the value of his team down so he can buy it out….why do it at the expense of the team and fans? Keeping Gauthier and Cunneyworth and Gainey is the formula for driving down the value of the habs.

      • DorvalTony says:

        Waah waah waah. Up 2-0 leaving Boston he went straight into bananaland.

        ——————————–
        “Okay, everybody take a Valium.”

  2. The Dude says:

    That’s one real big and talented St.Lou team.They totally owned us and Halak was how I remembered him … AWESOME! I don’t recall a former player getting SUCH A LOVE-IN at the end-o-game,WOW …JUST WOW! Halak Attack!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yer a bum Gauthier,lol

  3. Michael says:

    When I watched the game tonight, all I saw were big thought bubbles coming from every Hab’s head with a great big, black-and-yellow B in the centre. They were looking way past St. Louis.

  4. Un Canadien errant says:

    It’s hard to feel enthused about the Canadiens near future and their players on a night like this. At the start of the season I tempered my enthusiasm and predicted that the Canadiens would battle to get into the playoffs, seeing as they didn’t have the depth or talent of the Phillys and New York Rangers and Bruins (gag!). That prediction is proving false not only in their being unable to hover around eighth place in the East, but also in the ‘battling hard’ aspect. They looked listless and dispirited tonight. The frustration exhibited by their captain as he left the ice with an apparently aggravated injury may be leaking on to the team, or maybe is an accurate reflection of what the collective psyche is.

    It’s hard to write a recap of the game that is positive and illuminating on a night like this. The torpid Canadiens did nothing to catch a viewer’s eye and hold his attention. There were no surprises or interesting developments, the Glorieux played down to their results so far this half-season.

    The Plekanec-Gionta-Cammalleri line simply doesn’t work. I understand a coach being patient with his players and giving them time to develop a rapport, but their lack of cohesion and their impotence is highlighted when the other two ‘scoring’ lines are not picking up their slack. Mr. Gionta’s injury will require a line shuffling again, so this point becomes moot, but it’s disheartening when the players who are drawing the big salaries and should be your leaders are sputtering.

    Lars Eller teases us with his flashes of brilliance, we are dying to affix the nickname ‘The Great Dane’ on him when he really takes off, but I think that’s an apt moniker right now. My friend had a Great Dane puppy and he was the meekest, most timid, most uncoordinated dog you ever saw until he turned about a year old, and a German Shepherd charged at him and attacked him. The puppy yelped and howled and got his ass kicked and it took a while for his owner to get to him and break up the fight. That seemed to be a turning point for him, because from then on he became the biggest baddest dog around, he seemed to realize that he needed to take care of himself and the next time a dog tried him on for size he knocked him down and dominated him real quick. I keep hoping for Lars to have this moment when everything clicks and he learns to command his considerable size and skill. The Winnipeg game seemed to have been that moment, but we saw him again tonight generating lots of heat but little light.

    In the wake of the Brad Marchand suspension, which he incurred only because his clipping of Sami Salo’s was so flagrant that even the perfidious Colin Campbell couldn’t massage it into a ‘hockey play’, I have to comment on the state of the refereeing in the NHL, and the network analysts who comment on the game. In the seconds leading up to the clipping call, Mr. Marchand punched Sami Salo in the back of the head, from behind, completely gratuitously and unprovoked, without a whistle from either referee. Twice. The clipping was obviously intentional not only judged by the mere witnessing of the act itself, but also by this violent preamble that says a lot about the state of mind of the perpetrator. In this ‘new era’ of concussion ‘awareness’, and with Sidney Crosby back in the stands after another bout of concussion symptoms, that the play wasn’t whistled dead before the clipping incident, with Mr. Marchand safely in the penalty box for a two-minute roughing call is incomprehensible. That Jamie McLennan of TSN described this sequence as being good ole-fashioned battlin’ for the puck is an indicator that the League and all its enablers are complicit in the continuing murder of hockey, and that the game must be rescued from Gary Bettman and his orcs.

    Mr. Julien tried to bend the facts to purport that Mr. Marchand was trying to stick up for himself and was only defending himself against a bigger opponent, Mr. Salo being well known as a rough and tumble player with goonish tendencies and a huge mean streak, but really what Mr. Marchand was doing was making a bad situation he created even worse. If Mr. Salo was approaching not to play the puck, but, as is the contention of the Bruins, to exact vengeance upon his assailant, this wouldn’t have been an unprovoked attack on a defenseless innocent.

    This kind of play and refereeing was evident in two plays tonight. One was the offsetting slashing and roughing calls drawn by Mike Cammalleri and David Perron respectively in the first period. Mr. Cammalleri was the clear aggressor, crosschecking Mr. Perron repeatedly in the back during a corner puck battle. Mr. Perron eventually turned around and crosschecked Mr. Cammalleri back, well after the referee should have whistled or raised his arm to indicate a Canadiens penalty. Mr. Cammalleri retaliated with a cross-check to the face-chin of Mr. Perron. At this point the whistle blew and the stick swinging continued, and both players were sent to the bench. This was a ridiculous but routine NHL-referee decision. The recipient of the initial crosschecks can either absorb them without complaint, or retaliate, or ‘dive’ or embellish by faking an injury. The crosschecker either gets away with it, or at most gets offsetting minors. In the case of the exasperated crosscheckee, his options are to allow himself to be mugged, to lash out with an act proscribed by the rulebook, or turn into a soccer player.

    These conditions are the kind which allow the Bruins to thrive. This is how Sean Thornton can slash the ankles of an opposing player who is on his way off the ice onto the bench, and then be outraged that that player swings his stick back, and causes Mr. Julien to play the offended virgin and point to this act by Mr. Burrows to expiate Mr. Marchand’s many heinous crimes.

    The offsetting minors encourage goonery and thuggery. As long as any scrums and reciprocal facewashes are judged to be self-cancelling, the behemoths will have free rein to intimidate and assault with impunity. When a player crosschecks another five times, when a Brad Marchand punches a Henrik Sedin in the head five times, when a Mark Stuart can slash an Andrei Kostitsyn ten time (by my count) as he desperately tries to thwart the faster forward leading him on a circular chase around his zone, the two minutes should ring up like in a pinball game. Mr. Marchand should have had five minors, Mr. Stuart ten.

    Another situation which caught my attention was when Jamie Langenbrunner caught up to Alexei Emelin in a race to the puck in the Canadiens zone along the boards and gave him a body check with a full, strong elbow. No whistle, no call. Since Mr. Langenbrunner is shorter than Alexei, the elbow caught him in the ribs or shoulder, and was therefore allowable. Apparently. Unless Alexei had made a great show of falling down and being hurt, for which he might have drawn a penalty, but would also have incurred the wrath of Don Cherry, who would thunder that the refs should “let them play”, and not call ‘ticky-tack’ penalties. I hate that word, ticky-tack.

    ———————————
    How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  5. Xkhann says:

    What has Kopitar done for LA that Carey hasn’t for Montreal? Are the Kings any closer to a championship than Montreal? Oh ya, and Kopitar doesn’t speak French, so he would’ve eventually been hated anyways..I think he barely speaks English…Miss ya Halak, but damn is Hitch a great freakin’ coach!! I was tellin’ my Leafs buddies that they should’ve dropped Wilson last year and hired Hitch as a coach…now I’m thinking Habs should’ve just fired Martin long ago and signed Hitch, but alas, c’est la vie…since Cunney’s an “interim”, he’s able to go back being an assistant, right? I say we either offer a position to Marc Crawford and move him back to that role. Crow would be a nice addition and I’m sure he’s tapping his fingers waiting for Montreal management to call…He’s accomplished, successful in the NHL, and pretty sure he speaks french too, So…what’s wrong with it? Or, what I think may be an even better solution, is to go after Don Hay. I like him a lot as a coach and think he did a great job with the juniors and is a great mentor to Brendan Gallagher, who will likely see a few games next year. So there’s my three cents.

  6. Seps says:

    Shall I point out Koivu had a hat trick tonight, now there is a real captain with heart and was always loved in Montreal.

    • SlovakHab says:

      “Love” posts like these.

      Guys, seriously.. Build a team with Koivu, Halak, D’Agostini, Sergei Kostitsyn, Latendresse, Hainsey, Grabovski and whoever else people are crying for.. and it will be weakest, softest team in the league. Period

      These guys, if they do well, it is because they are surrounded by other players of REAL quality.
      These players rarely play in Montreal, because we sign poorly (Cammalleri, Samsonov, partially Gionta), trade below average (Rivet for Pacs and Gorges was offset by Gomez fiasco and we don’t retain players we waste our 2nd rounders on) and we NEVER have a super-high pick to draft a tough, superskilled player.

      Guys, do not cry for ex-Habs, they would not make any change!
      Including Halak, Koivu, MAB, Tanguay, Grabovski, Moore etc etc.

    • DorvalTony says:

      Sakless Koivette, B player. 14 goals a year. Mike Keane was a better captain.

      ——————————–
      “Okay, everybody take a Valium.”

  7. Da Hema says:

    Things are looking a little better after tonight. Montreal currently has the seventh overall selection at this year’s upcoming draft.

  8. HardHabits says:

    4 of the 6 original six teams are top 10; Bruins, Red Wings, Rangers, Black Hawks.

    • matt jordan says:

      And a fifth, the Leafs, are four points up on ninth after winning their fourth in a row.

      And as a sixth seed Toronto would get the honor of playing whatever loser team wins the SouthLeast division, which is right now Florida.

      Plenty of time for that to change though.

  9. The Jackal says:

    They made Halak look good tonight.

  10. Michael says:

    I’m amazed that anyone answered the poll that trading a backup goalie with 1 career hot streak for the Habs’ second-best centre was a bad move.

    “Nearly every one of you is bafflingly insane.” – Me, to you guys. xoxo

  11. billylove says:

    Markov should just write off the whole season. The team isn’t going anywhere. He should continue rehab and give it a go next year. Why risk anything at this point.

  12. caladin says:

    Here where we go from here.

    We rest price a lot more, play Weber more, trade away a few players (gill for a 3rd or 4th, Moen for a 2nd or 3rd and 1 of Plecks, Gionta or Cammilari for a first) in feb and have a great draft year.
    Then the CBA talks create a buyout opportunity, and we get Gomez off our books.
    We discover that Mike Babcock is fluently bilingual and has been waiting for his chance to coach in Montreal.

    Or Markov comes back, plays well and we end up 9th in the east.

  13. durocher says:

    Halak thanking the Montreal fans for the love:

    http://watch.tsn.ca/featured/clip598600#clip598600

  14. PureGuava says:

    Halak is still a star in Montreal.

  15. DorvalTony says:

    Ovation for Halak (censored by RDS)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DG1GZE0kwZw&feature=share

    ——————————–
    “Okay, everybody take a Valium.”

  16. matt jordan says:

    Leafs win, Bruins win, habs lose.

    Good night eh?

  17. SmartDog says:

    FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

    1. PRICE vs HALAK. Not Pricey’s best game but Halak didn’t steal this. Our guys put pucks in his stomach.
    2. BIG IS BETTER.
    A couple years back the Blues drafted a bunch of big forwards. And viola. Funny how that works.
    3. SILVER LINING.
    I hate to lose, hate to have a “losing” team, but I’d rather CLEARLY miss the playoffs and have a chance to sell some assets for a better future than to be a bubble team and mortgage part of our future (draft picks etc.) for the chance to TRY to pull past other teams and maybe play 1 round.
    4. CAMI – PLEKS. Pleks just had a baby. Cami just settled down. Big life changes for these guys. The only reason I can think why they are both lacking that edge and finish that defined them before. Not making excuses… but the human factor, it’s there.
    5. FOR SALE!!
    Man, who ISN’T for sale on this team! I’d sell anyone over 25 except for Gorges, Pleks, and Cole. Keep the youth and size… sell the little old guys.
    6. PG is DOA.
    Gone like the dodo bird. I give him 2 weeks tops. If Molson has any brains he wants someone else in there before the trade deadline. PG’s a lame duck.
    7. ELLER.
    It bugs me that a few posters are trashing Eller for not living up to the hype. Halak is good, but Eller is too – we have a great goalie in Price, Halak has a better team in front of him. Eller is still a kid and getting better every month.

    SD
    ————————————-
    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • DorvalTony says:

      Price can’t even go one round.

      ——————————–
      “Okay, everybody take a Valium.”

    • matt jordan says:

      pretty much sums everything up, especially PG, i hope he doesn’t get to make one more decision.

      He sucked as a pro scout, sucked as an assistant GM and now he’s at the height of his incompetance

    • billylove says:

      1. Halak didn’t “steal it” but the early save on Pleks was big.
      2. The way the game is played today, bigger is better.
      3. Don’t worry, the boys will not be a playoff contender and will finish as one of the bottom feeders.
      4.”Life changes” can certainly have a negative impact but not so sure this is what’s going on especially with Cami. He looks like he’s healed physically from his leg injuries but I wonder whether he’s healed mentally.
      5. Price has to be on the list too.
      6. Probably won’t happen until season is over but PG is gone.
      7 Just waiting for Eller to bulk up a little more. I think the jury is still out on how much more upside he has.

    • durocher says:

      It’s not Eller’s fault that PG didn’t get more of a return for Halak. Any comparison between Eller and Halak is an indictment of PG, not Eller.

    • Michael says:

      Those big forwards weren’t doing much until they brought in Hitchcock. A good coach goes a long way.

    • VancouverHab says:

      All agreed–but Cunnyworth must surely be gone with or before PG….

    • nunacanadien says:

      The sad fact is Gionta is so fricken small, it was easy for the Blues to take advantage of the small size of the habs. Sad truth. You could see that in Emelin being tackled cause the Blues smelled blood when they can plaster the Habs captain all over the boards. I am sure Monsieur Gainey is laughing at us all for choosing Halak over his throroughbred horse Price. Give the nasty habs fans tiny tykes to cheer. Gainey is having the last laugh.

  18. Storm Man says:

    Well what can I say about this team after tonight?. With no hockey next year and this year a wash what will the 2014 team look like?

    • Mad Habber says:

      Look at the bright side if the Habs suck this year, and their is no hockey next. The Habs could have two top ten picks with only one year of suck.

      • SmartDog says:

        And one less year of Gomer!

        ————————————-
        Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

        • nunacanadien says:

          Who will the next Gomer be in Geoff Molson’s bid to drive down the value of the Habs? Its sad when a committee oversees the leadership of this organization. No wonder a Gauthier can sit at the helm and tweak his nose at us by signing a Gionta as captain, and saying Gomez is a top 6 forward. Honestly, only in Montreal.

  19. roady says:

    closer to the bottom 5 and a lottery pick …all good in my view…

    take your drink to the end of the bar buddy…come on now, don’t be a fool…


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