Quick hits …

The good news: Boston lost.

The bad news: Where do you start?

Jacques Martin, never one to rival Conan O’Brien during his media briefings, was particularly terse after this one.

The thrust of the coach’s analysis: Had the Canadiens played their system – which is to say, his system – they would have beaten the Flyers.

Although there were 10 giveaways by his defencemen, Martin spread the blame around, noting his forwards did a poor job of supporting the D.

“When we have five players in the picture, we’re effective.” Martin said. “When we don’t, we’re not.”

Martin did not say, nor did anyone ask, why Lars Eller was on as a penalty-killer with five minutes remaining in a 3-3 game.

At that point, the Canadiens had battled back heroically from a 3-1 deficit and were in the process of killing a penalty to Tomas Plekanec.

Granted, Pleks is the team’s best PK man. But after Jeff Halpern had centred the first wave of the PK, why put on a rookie who had, at that point, played one shift in the third period and eight in the game for less than six minutes total ToI?

Scott Gomez, who returned to action with a strong game, was available. So was Max Lapierre.

A curious decision.

But you can’t hang the defeat on the rookie or the coach.

And on that backbreaking goal, what the heck was Jaro Spacek doing deep in the Flyers’ zone on the PK?

Credit the Canadiens for perseverance. They ceded the early momentum and the lead to the Flyers but never quit. 

They fired 41 shots at Sergei Bobrovsky. The Flyers blocked another 22 and there were 21 misses.

That’s a lot of puck possession.

Comparable stats for the Flyers were 30 SoG, seven misses and 12 blocks by the Canadiens. The visitors were opportunistic, and Carey Price wasn’t the best goaltender on the ice.

Bob-Bob’s efforts won him a First Star, but the homer fans voted Brian Gionta (eight shots) and P.K. Subban the second and third.

I thought Jeff Carter (seven SoG, 9-7 on faceoffs, plus-3 centred a line that was great all night) was the best forward on the ice. But I was too busy, what with our ongoing HIO server issues, to vote.

A couple firsts tonight:

• First three-game losing streak of the season

• First time Price has given up four goals in regulation

Not much time to mope, with the Bruins in town tomorrow for a good old-fashioned Northeast Division four-pointer.

The Canadiens are two points ahead, but Boston has two games in hand. And they’re tied at 38 points with Tampa Bay and Atlanta in a tightening Eastern Conference race.

More tomorrow.

65 Comments

  1. Chuck says:

    Another good sign: we scored more goals against the Flyers than did the Pengiuns.  :)

    Why we lost against the Flyers tonight is completely fixable. You could’t say that about the Hab team from even 3 or 4 years ago.

    Centre Hice: Sainte Flanelle, illustrated history: 1935-36

  2. MathMan says:

    Martin is a lot easier to follow if you realize that he says things to the media to appease them, not necessarily because he really thinks them.

  3. MathMan says:

    The good thing about this year is how even the way they lose is encouraging. The Habs grossly outchanced and outplayed the Flyers. If Martin believes deviation from the system led to this result, I’m hoping he doesn’t crack the whip too much.

    Coaches and players can’t say something like that, especially to the media, but at some point, we as analysts (amateur analysts, natch) have to understand how the game actually works, and admit that the luckiest team won — no matter how much “luck” might be a dirty word in some parts. It’s too big a part of hockey to keep being quiet.

    We can use the “opportunistic” euphemism, or talk about “bounces”, but ultimately it’s luck. Sometimes a team scores 3 goals on 10 chances and the other guys get 1 in 20, and there isn’t much one can do about that.

  4. Shiloh says:

    I was mad as hell after the first period – but I feel fine after the last two. There were some good things tonight. MaxPac was a force – and Gomer hasn’t looked as good all year. That line looks ready to bust out. PK was awful, then brilliant, then not-so-hot again – but he finally broke out of the tentative mold and became a presence again. Carey Price was fine – there was one bad goal – but he was due for a game where he didn’t stand on his head. Good to get this one out of his system.

    Weber might be a good choice tomorrow with Picard getting a day off. One thing for sure – the Bruins better be ready for some serious speed.

    We played as well as the top team tonight – and I think we beat Boston tomorrow – 6-2.

  5. Samovich says:

    I agree HNS, we did not have much puck luck tonight, and the Flyers had it.  As far as management, well the Habs could be worse, and the Flyers again got lucky! 

  6. ctony says:

    Boone pointed that Eller sat most of the game and then plays on the PK late in a tied game. JM does some odd stuff.

    After each of the Flyers first three goals, JM sends out a scoring line and we get some energy.  With a minute to go, down two he pulls Price and puts out the Halpern-checking line. He makes a point of saying prior to the game that he want AK on the fourth line to match the Flyers depth, then moves AK back to the FIRST line in about 10 minutes. Two weeks ago, a PK mistake leads to the Oiler’s tying goal and JM puts PK out in the OT — then benches him for three games.

    I don’t understand JM sometimes.  A little consistency and some conventional thinking go a long way.

  7. JIMVINNY says:

    As bad as the team was, the reffing was worse.  Two blatant missed calls where Flyer goals came very soon after. 

  8. HNS says:

    Philly had some luck. The boys beat themselves…….Montreal needs the cup more desperately than a 40 year old virgin needs to get laid. Habs management needs to study how Philthy’s management signed all that talent long term under the cap. WTF Molson?

  9. Danno says:

    December has been tough. But a win tonight will bring us over .500 for the month.

     

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

  10. phillyhab says:

    Hammer almost buried the GW!  I liked the guts — would have like the points better, but I liked it.

  11. phillyhab says:

    Hell yeah brother.  My feelings exactly!

  12. phillyhab says:

    I must have seen a completely different game than the rest of this site.

    Maybe it’s because I missed the Detroit game’s 20 minutes of glory, but for me — despite the OMG-crunch in the standings (in mid-December) — I thought this was a “moral victory”.

     

    1)  We didn’t quit.  There were some wierd bounces and gaffes on both ends of the ice.  I didn’t see the Habs quit on one shift.  Even after I broke the seal and was ready to give in to my bladder at offsides and icing calls, our boys played their asses off — even down by 2 in the third… with a division game tomorrow!!!!

    2)  Maybe I’m not that hockey saavy, maybe I got drunk way too fast — but I’ve NEVER seen better puck support from this squad — from this TEAM since the lock-out.  Certainly not for 60 minutes.  Mind you I usually watch games on ATDHE streams, not an HDTV at the local pub.  But still!

    3)  AK had a spark on every line Coach threw him on.  I thought he was an ox all night.

    4)  Subban — though he manage to cancel himself out plus-minus wise — had a lot of that swagger we missed since the doghouse.  I thought he played good hockey with flashes of brilliance.  That solo rush at the end of his shift was magic.  He misses that strong anchor in Markov, but still… he’s got a wow-factor we haven’t seen since playoff Camm or that every other season Kovy magic.

    5)  Reffing and bounces.  I mean really, when refs are blowing mandatory delay-of-game calls… I just hope that 2-Man didn’t fill our PP quota for the week.  We didn’t get the bounces.  A very skilled, big, but sluggish Flyers team did.  I may be in the minority on this, but this is not the first time a Canadiens squad out-played and out-hustled a Flyers team in nearly every aspect of the game and managed to lose. 

    The Flyers are that good…  they can play stinkers and still manage a 5-goal road win capitalising on everything blatant bad judgement calls to odd bounces and ref blind-spots.

    I’m not sure Max-Pac (or Subban or Weber for that matter) belongs in the NHL, but I think he played a smart game, a tough game, and the line shake-ups are a very good thing.  All the usual suspects have younger, hungrier players breathing down their necks and they’re playing up to it — Subban and Pac had that bench electrified.

     

     

     

  13. mbplekfan says:

    Picard is soft. Always has been. PK would’ve been better off with OB but for whatever reason JM ran OB out of town.

    Our D has little ability to clear the crease, tends to get out muscled down low, and isnt strong enough to handle loose rebounds in traffic.

    With geezers like Spacek, Hammer, and Gill all getting older why would we trade our biggest defensive asset?

    Bournival is years away and likely little better than a third liner. Not much return for an NHL calibre guy.

  14. Samovich says:

    Well Said!!!

  15. Born in a Bad Year says:

    PK was fine the last couple of games, a little reserved, but alright none the lest.

    Picard on the other hand is a waste of space.  Go back on the NHL website and look at the goals he was on the ice for in both our losses to the Leaves.  He doesn’t do anything on four goals. No clearing the net, lets both the passer and the shooter open when he should at least stop one thing from happening. He made O’Byrne look bad in the first game and he made PK look bad on Saturday. He plays with absolutely no physicality except after whistles, when the linesmen are already in the scrum. I think he is made of Teflon, nothing seems to stick on him.

    Meanwhile in Colorado, O’Byrne is rock stable, plus 11, more hits than any Hab defenceman, over twenty minutes a game and is considered to be their top paring defenceman. Six minor penalties in eighteen games. He was one of the candidates on the Av’s network as their “unsung hero of the season” viewer poll.

    How many more kids does this coach get to screw over with his “system”?  I don’t think he has a system.  If the team wins, he congratulates everyone and puts the same team out the next game. A win is a thing of perfection, which you don’t dare change anything, no matter what could be tweaked or fixed.  A loss and the baby goes out with the bathwater.  A mediocre coach is satisfied with a win.  A great coach still sees the flaws in the diamond.

    Hammer-Pk

    Gill- Gorges

    Spatches-Weber

    Three rocks, three sparks.  Looks good.

     

  16. MathMan says:

    Shooting percentage is a big factor in winning games, but it is very luck-driven — one of the reasons why luck is such a big factor in hockey. It is also largely independent from chance quantity and even chance quality on aggregate — something that is counter-intuitive, but in general, chance quality evens out over time.

    In general outshooting is something teams have much more control over; a team that outshoots consistently will win some games and lose some games, but will tend to win more than they lose because the variations in shooting percentage will even out.

    But it’s hockey. It’s a game where the very best team in the league wins less than two thirds of its games.

  17. Bouleau noir says:

    Agree with Boone’s quick hits content except for Spacek. I thought Spacek did the right thing to support a two on one opportunitie when we were killing the penaltie with 7 minute left…..  the bad decision came when Eller decided to go with them as a third man over commiting himself to far down the ice which left Hamrlik as the sole player ready to defend,… you cant do that if you are on he ice to kill a penaltie, even more so when the score is 3-3 with only 7 minutes left to play….. I like Jacques, but not for his choice on this particular occasion. 

    Still what I remember most from the game is that we were able to come from behind to make it 3-3 and that we managed 40 shots against what is probably the best team in the league…… would Markov be with us, things would be different, specially now that we have a Pacioretty who looks like a much improved player from what we saw last season.

  18. SeriousFan09 says:

    Avtsin is a favourite of mine on the prospect chart, a steal by the Habs and now he’s playing in HAM. Not off to a roaring start but he had a wrist problem and he wasn’t getting many minutes. Adapting to the NA ice will take time but he’s got those slick hands you only tend to find with Russian-trained players and he could be a serious threat down the line for the Habs.

    Always judged the players on results and not their birth, Detroit pretty much blew the whole Europeans can’t measure up stuff out of the water in the last 20 years. Just not enough places in the NHL that respect them.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  19. ctony says:

    Let’s check the numbers. At 12-5-1 our PP% was 15.7%.  In our most recent 13 games, we are 6-6-1 and
    our PP% is 17.6%.  My previous post using
    scoring percentage as an (admittedly rough) indicator of quality chances/ability
    to finish was a subpar 7.3%, not good enough for us to win.

     

    Great discussion, but I have to call a night.  

  20. Samovich says:

    I agree, Markov has a lot of heart and dedication, a lot of Russians and Europeans do, they just get a bad rap in the Canadian media, I think on this site and on CBC it is pure racism. I made a point on this site about the prospects of Avstin and I got shot down because he was Russian! I had a lot of support on this site also , but the point is that no one should judge a player because of their nationality !

  21. ctony says:

    Thinking about how to predict wins, I noticed that PP% for
    us has been a poor indicator of our win/loss record.  Your comment about scoring chances is a good
    one. I don’t have scoring chance data handy, so I used shots and shooting
    percentage as a proxy.

    In 14 of our 18 wins, our shooting percentage is north of
    9%.  In fact, in 11 of those wins, the
    percentage was double digits, including a high of 21.2%.  In wins this season, we average 10.8%.

    In 12 of our 13 losses, including OTL, our shooting
    percentage was under 9%.  In fact, it
    averaged a pathetic 4.7%. 

    Tonight, our shooting percentage was 7.3%.  Good, but not good enough for us to win.  

  22. Habs Fan in Oil Country says:

    I missed the first period but thought that the team looked really good. Max Pac seemed to fit in really well with Gomez and Gionta and might just be what that line needs. Even Cammy looked way more energized tongiht, probably happy to be back with Pleks and AK (who looked like the beast he can be). The loss hurts becausae we made such a comeback but these will happen.

    I will probably get flack for this but the officiating is nothing but pure garbage and I am getting really tired of watching one sided games. And honestly I think that even if Habs brass complains, it won;t do anything and in fact might actually make it worse (if that is possible).

    Martin should stick with the same combos tomorrow and if the team comes out with the same jump that they had in the second, we will beat Boston.

    Just my thoughts….

  23. OneTimer says:

    I like your style, Dustin…go Habs go!

  24. SeriousFan09 says:

    The All-American line seems set for now I think, Pacioretty gives them serious jump and they should be a solid impact line tommorow.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  25. SeriousFan09 says:

    I don’t think behind the bench, Markov needs to dedicate himself to rehab right now but every couple of weeks or so just taking some time to sit down with PK and talk to him about what he’s seen (you can bet Andrei’s watching the Habs every game) and what he can try to do differently, when to hold back and reducing the telegraphing on his shot.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  26. Fargo Habs Fan says:

    I don’t care if this gets me ripped or not.  Tonight we saw the two best teams in the East.  We had ‘em and let ‘em go.  Sucks the big one, but we just need to figure out how to beat ‘em by April and, from what I saw tonight, I think we’re well on the way.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m PO about this one, but we did NOT get outclassed, and don’t give me the back to back game excuse; every team has them.  I like where we’re at. Losses like this will burn our boys’ arses good and teach them a few lessons.  Three in a row?  No worries.  We’ll get them back in January-February.  I like this team.  Shake it off Habs fans; tomorrow we go bear slaying.  See you then.

    GO HABS GO

    -Dustin-

  27. Samovich says:

    I can dig that…. so Markov behind the bench? I think PK is making mistakes and some great plays, just like a talented rookie, I remember Eric Dejardins doing the same… it was nice to have Jaques Laparriere though…

  28. avatar_58 says:

    Yes, yes he did. I suggest Martin leave that line alone

  29. MathMan says:

    No. The Habs were the better team tonight on aggregate, by a significant margin. Yes, they made mistakes that led to goals, but teams make mistakes like that every game, it just so happened that tonight this led to more goals than it usually does. It’s hockey, it happens.

    They play Philly like that on a regular basis, they will win more often than not. Tonight’s game may reflect the current play of these teams, but if so, then it’s Philly who should be worried.

    The PP was bad at the beginning of the season but it’s climbed up to 11th now, which is not only not bad on agregate, but gives some inkling of how hot it must be lately to make up ground from all that time spent in the league doldrums.

    This is not a .500 club. This is a vastly superior club to last year’s. The goaltending is still very good, but the difference is that instead of taking a lottery team up to mediocrity, it’s now making a division leader out of a good club. And there’s still upside.

  30. Samovich says:

    Who Liked MaxPac? I thought he was very good, thrown right into the fire and being effective, he made Gomer look younger!!

  31. Just A Guy says:

    the perceived comfort zone is what I was talking about in my original post. It’s the Spatch and Hammer aren’t mentoring theory.

  32. SeriousFan09 says:

    I wonder if the Habs could look to having Markov meet and advise Subban on his play throughout the year, he was supposed to be a big part of the development of Subban by playing the majority of the season with PK and just talking to him in the room, on the bench and when the team travelled. The Habs have lost that critical tool to the development of their star prospect and while I know Markov is gone for the season (possibly for good), the impact of not having him around has made the work of developing PK a harder task while the team tries to cope with Markov not being around. I know I’ve harped on Markov being absent before, but when you consider what he could be teaching PK, it hurts on a whole other level this season in a way.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  33. Fargo Habs Fan says:

    Best post of the night; here’s hoping it makes Boone’s ALN.  Not enough four letter words to go around.

    -Dustin-

  34. Samovich says:

    What do you mean by ” out of the comfort zone”  I think the Habs D are effective but some play too many minutes

  35. SeriousFan09 says:

    I think Hamrlik did well for himself, it was Spacek’s gamebreaker pass and mindless joining of the rush on the PK that ended the night for the Habs. Right after they fought back, another defensive mistake buried them.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  36. ctony says:

    I was thinking about the puck possession thing during the first
    period.  Every time we were hemmed in,
    Price would catch the puck and force a faceoff. 
    Last year, he’s glove seemed (I have no data for this) suspect.  He would miss a bunch and Halak gave up
    rebounds off his pads.  It meant dealing with
    a lot more scrums for pucks in front of the net (like the Flyers goal tonight).

  37. ctony says:

    I think we would lose to Philadelphia in a 7-game series (like last year) and we lost tonight.  In my opinion, tonight’s outcome reflects the current play of these teams.  

    Our 5-on-5 is better than last year.  Our PP is worse than last year.  Basically, an offset.  Our PK very strong both years.  Since November 18th, we are 6-6-1.  Price was one of the three stars in EVERY win
    for the past month.  Sounds a lot like
    we’re a back to being a .500 club that is highly reliant on goaltending.

  38. avatar_58 says:

    It’s funny –  we all got what we wanted. Martin trusted the youngsters, he gave them the benefit of the doubt. Subban, Picard, Eller, Pacioretty – all put into big situations. Some shifts they came up big, others they failed miserably and showed us why you need vets.

     

    I question why Martin had Subban and Picard out during end of periods and shorthanded scenarios. Did he expect not to get burned? Rookies on the PK are just asking for it especially.

     

    I don’t know, it’s not like our vets did any better – Hamrlik, Spacek AND Gill were all terrible.

  39. MathMan says:

    Gionta is just a much better fit for Gomez than Cammalleri ever was, and, knock on wood, they may have found their third guy in MaxPac. A big guy who can follow them and doesn’t have the tendancy to get caught below the goal line like Pouliot did (which wouldn’t be such a big deal except that Gomez and Gionta are also similarly super-aggressive)

  40. OneTimer says:

    I agree with all three dudes above me. Someone give these guys a megaphone around here!

  41. MathMan says:

    His AK decision was about getting AK going before sending him up; AK was never going to stay on the fourth line, he’s too important to the Habs’ top-6.

    I dunno why he had the Halpern line out with a minute to go, but I suspect it may have been sending a message. One of Martin’s major flaws is a strong tendency to coach to send messages rather than to win games. Well I call it a flaw, but if this sort of thing (sending a message at a point where you’re highly unlikely to win) leads to improving results down the line that wins you even one standing point, that was a shrewd coaching decision, even though the short-term sub-optimal coaching infuriates me on the spot.

  42. Just A Guy says:

    Gill does a good job keeping wingers to the outside, but he is pinching a bit much for my liking as well. I think the D are being instructed to activate more often on the offensive support, though with the Gill/Georges pairing, its a bit of a lose lose situation, holding the redline is another story. I just think my little venture as a arm chair coach takes Hammer and Spatch out of their perceived comfort zone and as a result, would see Gill with reduced 5v5 minutes.

  43. Josh says:

    Oh, look at that. See what happens to the Gomez line when they’re not playing shorthanded? Tons of scoring chances from Pacioretty’s work along the boards and winning battles all night long.

  44. MathMan says:

    Bill Parcells is a football coach, and in football, the better team is MUCH more likely to win the game — likely to the order of 80% or upwards, unlike hockey where 60% would be calling it generously. Gridiron football is just a much less luck-driven game than hockey, which is why they can have one-game playoffs and have it mean something, whereas hockey requires 4-of-7 to have some semblance of relevance.

    Besides, while cliches are good for coaches to drop with the media, if you want to predict future performance, you need to analyze WHY the Habs are 7 games over .500 (massive year-over-year improvement in 5-on-5 game, especially puck possession) and why they lose games.

    If the Habs were 7 games over .500 playing the way they played in the playoffs, I would not hesitate for one moment to call them a bad team being propped up by unsustainable goaltending and due for a fall, but that’s not what we’re dealing with here at all — the Habs have completely turned around their 5-on-5 game relative to last year, going from easily one of the 5 worst in the NHL to one of the 10 best.

  45. HardHabits says:

    I agree there’s a progression at play. My perception has the Habs improving as they move ahead into the future.

  46. ctony says:

    Bill Parcels always says, “you are what you record says you are”.  Which means no excuses for losses and no need to justify how we are 7 games over .500.

     

  47. RJB says:

    Last home game of 2010, lets go lay a beatdown on Beantown!

    “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”
    – Bilbo Baggins

  48. JasonM says:

    - Price didn’t have his best game. Hopefully, he’ll play better the next game. The bounces weren’t very much in his favor tonight

    - Subban will have growing pains. We’ll see if he’ll learn from his mistakes.

    - Referees didn’t let them play, they let things simply GO. The turning point of the game was a blatant missed high stick on Pouliot which caused in the following seconds to make Pleks take a penalty. Flyers scored on the following PP. Nevermind the fact that Spacek shouldn’t have pinched at this point in the game. There’s something also fundamentally wrong for a team dominating their opposition in puck possession and shots to have 4PP in 3 games and 4PP in 5 games if we removed one game. We average less than a PP game during this stretch. Conspiracy? I think not but the numbers simply don’t lie and tonight’s game WAS decided by a missed call that both Refs SHOULD have seen and called it as it was… a high stick in the face.

    Ever see the movie Fight Club?

    In the movie everyone knows there’s a Fight Club, heck, everyone is in the Fight Club but there are not allowed to talk about the Fight Club. If they would talk about the Fight Club, then the other people of the Fight Club will make this person who spoke about the Fight Club REGRET their actions.

    Well apply that to the current Reffing system in the NHL. Every year, bad Reffing will directly affect a quarter or more of ALL NHL games simply because the Refs are human and will make errors that will affect games. However, they are NEVER accountable for it unless it’s the playoffs, which by them, bad Refs like Chris Lee will fuck over your team and not get to Ref another series thereafters. Not that you’ll give a damn, since well, your team is out of the playoffs. After the Campbell fiasco early this season though, my faith is slim to none that the actual system in place is broken.

    I look forward tomorrow in getting great satisfaction tomorrow as the entire Montreal press will once again tuck their tails between their legs and fail to claim things the way they are.

  49. Samovich says:

    Good points, what do you think of Gill playing less minutes, like MAB but on the defensive side… In my opinion he pinches too much and he always seems to be chasing five on five. How about we restrict him to PK time and when the Habs are in the lead? just a thought.

  50. ctony says:

    Doesn’t explain his in-game decisions.

  51. RJB says:

    Agreed with everything you said, for PK, them’s the breaks. He’s young, he’s learning, but he showcased today a glimpse of what we should all be excited about. Habs had some bounce, but they need to be better in their end, they are better than that in their own end usually, I dunno what happened tonight. I thought Gill was really soft on the Zherdev goal, but I can’t complain about Gill, whose a fantastic guy to have on this team.

    “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”
    – Bilbo Baggins

  52. Just A Guy says:

    Someone suggested that Picard sit next game, I think I agree, what would everyone think of a pairing a little like this

     

    Hammer/Subban

    Spatch/Geroges

    Gill/Weber

    The shorus that was crying foul over Spacek playing his “wrong” side might have subsided, but it might still remain poignant. I also get this feeling that Spatch and Hammer are insulating themselves from the team, nothing insidious or anything, but I just get the feeling they are too comfortable, perhaps not taking the mentoring role seriously. We keep hearing about Darche setting a good example for Eller and Halpern giving him lifts to practice, giving him pointers, even though he’s in direct competetion for his ice time. Once again, I don’t think its necesarily a problem, but maybe its not a solution for the fact the habs have 3 inexperienced blue liners on the team.

  53. SeriousFan09 says:

    I think it’s time Picard sat, he hasn’t been the stabilizing force he was for PK in the early part of the season, seems more of a liability. if Weber’s going to be up here, he needs to play, Picard was signed as a 7th defencemen, Weber has to be tested to see if he can be a regular player on the Habs. Hamrlik-Subban, Spacek-Weber tommorow night and see where it goes.

    Subban was very much up and down, but these are his growing pains and we have to go with them as he corrects the little things. He redeemed himself on the initial goal and showed why he needs to be with the team, he gives them a weapon from the back end to create offence and confound the opposition.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  54. MathMan says:

    The Habs game still has upside, too. It was completely awful last year, it’s pretty good this year, but they still have the horses to have a more controlling offensive game than they do now, and we’ve seen signs of it over this last losing stretch, when they were trying to come back.

    They won’t become as good a team as they can be by being ultra-conservative. They can force Ottawa into errors that way but it won’t work against the Flyers. It may work against Boston though; that team is not a very good puck possession team and a lot of its success is based on Thomas’s unsustainable goaltending. But only by dominating possession are the Habs going to become a genuine contender, and they have the horses to do it.

  55. Samovich says:

    The Habs are right there in the thick of things, if they said, at the start of the year, the Habs would not have a 3 game loosing streak until mid-December then I would have taken it. Lets end it tomorrow against the Ruins!

  56. andrewberkshire says:

    I’m just glad December is half over. Bring on January!!

  57. Chuck says:

    The good news: The game was in our hands. Cut our the mental mistakes, and we’re talking about a hard-fought Hab win. It’s a positive sign to know that when they play their best, they can beat anybody. They’ve got to play sound defensive hockey to do that, though.

    Centre Hice: Sainte Flanelle, illustrated history: 1935-36

  58. SeriousFan09 says:

    Five goals on Price btw Boone.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  59. andrewberkshire says:

    I think his point was that it’s the first time he’s allowed more than 3 in regulation. Which honestly is one of the most amazing stats of the season. In my opinion it’s as impressive a streak as Crosby’s 20 game point streak.

  60. Number31 says:

    Do the Flyers have some secret HBO camera crew following them around or what?

    I’d like to see Martin yell at a ref, just once, for missing the high stick right in front of his eyes on Pouliot before Plekanec had to take a penalty to cover for Spacek and for that trip on Gomez by Richards where the evidence was on the ice and the ref was looking right at them. On both occasions the Flyers scored. It just adds to this supposed conspiracies that fans already have on their minds. Frankly I’ve been more suspect of NHL officiating since that e-mail fiasco was quietly swept under the rug… NOT saying they lost ’cause of it, but they sure had a hefty hand in it. It’s maddening what I’ve seen these past few games and this season in general. And if PK can get called for a phantom hook on Hedman in a close game right at the end… These are so blatant infractions it’s despicable. As Pierre Houde said, if the officials did their job those goals wouldn’t have happened.

    And why Spacek gets to kill the penalty when he was having a tough 3rd to begin with, when he was responsible for Pleky taking the penalty, and gone somewhere on the shorthanded rush that ended up going the otherway, I will never understand.

    I don’t know about Gomez having a good game either. He was on and off. He was just as much to blame for the first goal as PK (and Picard who had Carter right by his side and did nothing).

    It was like a collective brainfart all over, from Hal Gill not poking at Zherdev to Kostitsyn absolutely missing the golden opportunity backdoor on a wide open net. Houde said the Flyers should pinch themselves at their good fortune tonight ’cause EVERYTHING went their way.

    Guess the only solace in this is Habs broke Pronger, somehow, who left the game with a lower-body injury.

  61. Bill says:

    December is almost always a bad month for the Habs. Hope it can be nipped in the bud this year.

    With all due respect to the true believers, I feel this crew has overachieved this season, and they can thank Carey Price for their high standing at this point. I feel this way because in terms of offensive production, this is not a playoff-calibre team.

    On the bright side, defensively, and in net, this is a Cup-worthy team (okay, not tonight it wasn’t, but still).

    Address the loss of Markov: they need a 25-minute, puck-moving defenseman who does it all. After that, they need to add either a big, goal-mouth winger with finish or a strong top-line centre. If they could add all three of those pieces, they could compete with the Flyers and Penguins and whoever else is out there.

    I hate the Bruins more than the Flyers and hope for better things tomorrow.

    Full Breezer 4 Life

  62. Samovich says:

    The Habs can’t get too down, there is a tough game to play tomorrow, and I think P.K should start. If you sit him 3 games then put faith in the guy with as much gusto!, I think there were a lot of positives, like Max Pac, AK was better, and Gomer had a decent game.

        The Habs, however, can’t count on Price to be perfect all the time! they need to score more than 3 goals in a game …. the Habs should drink it off tonight and come back for a big one tomorrow!!!

    There is no time to wallow in the NHL…..

  63. HNS says:

    No need to sit PK, just show him his mistakes on tape, about 30 times…..

  64. CHsam says:

    LOL Boone, tell them to get more bandwidth…. cause right now it looks like LEAFLAND hackers are crashing the site

  65. Chuck says:

    Maybe it’s ADD. Get the kid a perscription for Ritalin.

    Centre Hice: Sainte Flanelle, illustrated history: 1935-36


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