Quick Hits

jacques-martin-sourire

Your Montreal Canadiens helped their coach win the war of the Jacques.

Martin’s much-maligned system beat the much-admired style of Lemaire.

They looked pretty good for a disgruntled team, eh?

I guess the mutiny will have to wait.

The Canadiens did what game hero Mathieu Darche, echoing the philosophy of his coach, always says they must do to win.

Keep it simple.

Nothing fancy.

Play north-south.

The JM System had one of its best nights of the season, and it couldn’t have come at a more crucial time.

The Canadiens held the home team to 21 shots – six of which came in the final five minutes of the game. For most of the evening, the Canadiens were hard on the puck, forwards getting back to help their banged-up defencemen gain possession and clear the zone.

At the other end, they got pucks behind New Jersey’s horrible D and  peppered Martin Brodeur with 29 shots.  A  lesser goaltender would have given up six goals easy.

My favourite game stat:

Every Canadien except Ryan White played double-digit minutes. And White got right into Adam Mair’s face after the Devil tried to get physical.

Another critical number:

One. The Canadiens took one minor penalty … plus the Hal Gill hook on a breakaway.

Freed of the requirement to kill penalties for five or six minutes, Scott Gomez and Tomas Plekanec played like Top Six centres.

Pleks had four shots on goal, won 11 of 15 faceoffs and put some wind in the sails of linemate Mike Cammalleri, who had seven SoG.

Gomez had a tough night in the circle, 4-10, but skated hard all night. He and Brian Gionta – who have struggled piteously since Max Pacioretty was injured – benefited immensely from the forechecking, puck-digging and scoring of Darche.

Credit the captain for both goals. Gionta – who usually does a lot more shooting than passing – put the puck on Darche’s stick twice.

I also liked:

• The sheer genius of P.K. Subban through 24 minutes: four SoG, three hits, innumerable plays that can be performed by very few Dmen – and none of the poor stiffs Lemaire is stuck with in New Jersey

• The bounce-back effort of Lars Eller, who played seven minutes more than he did in Carolina and was brilliant in all three zones. Man, the kid made the Devils look slow.

• Benoit Pouliot had three hits and keyed a good night for linemates David Desharnais and Travis Moen

• Tom Pyatt did what he does best: make smart plays and skate miles against a team that couldn’t keep with him.

Carolina won. Buffalo lost in OT.

They play tomorrow.

Canadiens – and their agonized fans  – get a day off.

70 Comments

  1. Habfan4lfe says:

    It wasn’t JM’s plays that scored the 2 goals. It wasn’t dump and run. It was 2 guys who alone won the game for us. Subban secured it with a blaster and had the game been 5 mins longer it could have happened that NJ could have tied it up because the team was in panic mode at the end of the game again, chasing the other team around the ice. JM’s plan is dump and run into the corners. Sadly, yes, Martin continues to heave air on the bench.

  2. Thomas Le Fan says:

    How can you really fault Martin when he can make the playoffs with a team missing two top defencemen all year, many others, off and on for most of the year, no thirty goal scorers and with Scott Gomez as a top line centre? Magic! And Carey Price!

    • Caper says:

      I agree. The man won’t receive, but deserves to be in the talk as coach of the year. I didn’t like his hiring however I have a lot of respect for his coaching and handling of our young players.

    • Ron in Ottawa says:

      Get real. JM has never one the big one. In Ottawa he took very talented teams deep, not because of his coaching but because of the players. he did his best to destroy Spezza and in Florida he almost destroyed Horton. in Montreal PK will always be on the outs with JM because he plays with flair.
      Last year the team moved into the conference final in spite of JM. The players took over the room and Muller provided the ideas. JM was just a bystander. Montreal wil not win until they get rid of him and PG.

  3. temekuhabs says:

    win is a win

  4. GrimJim says:

    new avatar test

  5. habstrinifan says:

    Boone:
    “My favourite game stat:

    Every Canadien except Ryan White played double-digit minutes.”

    Your article is a great read Boone. I posted earlier on you observing in your blog that Eller was on the ice late in the game. Good for JM tonight.

    You press guys with access to the coach need to praise the hell outta him for tonight so that he uses all his plays, especially the youth, as he did tonight… and gives folks like Eller confidence boosts.

    I think Eller, P.K, Pouliot, White loaded with confidence heading into the playoffs will make this team have an amazing run.

  6. Propwash says:

    Where is that smacktard, FigNewton?

    • Jim Edson says:

      He’s watching his beloved Red Sox getting the living Sh_t knocked out of them by the Texas Rangers!

      or

      His mommy erased all his UFC shows off the family PVR because Dancing with the Stars has restarted and he’s gone to bed cranky!

      …..My empire is crumbling, my international sponsors are deserting me, my authority is questioned, I am held in contempt wherever I go.

      Who am I: Mohamar Ghadaffi or Gary Bettman.

  7. jbroderi says:

    I said it earlier how bi this game was. eliminate a team, exorcise the martin f. demon and put together a solid win. i am too drunk to talk, but good job, see you tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    “I’ll take potent potables for 500, Alex” JB

  8. SeriousFan09 says:

    First game I completely miss due to work, Habs kick the Devils around in their own barn… Figures.

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

  9. dicktracy says:

    So when we have a playoff spot clinched before the last game vs the leaves and lets just say that the leaves need a win to make it, do the guys really care about spoiling the party, does JM rest Price and some vets or does it matter because seems as if we can’t beat a team that ‘needs’ the win more anyway.

  10. SHUTTemDOWN says:

    GDG line was a revelation…especially in NJ, at least Cptn. G was down for the homecoming.
    Holding my breath for someone else to score besides P.K and Darche.
    Wonder who will show up against the Stanley Cup Chimps.

    “The sh*t is CHESS!NOT CHECKERS.” Denzel W.(Training Day)

  11. jgib says:

    I’d like to apologize for all the idiotic habs fans that have flailed this team throughout the year, especially most recently, from management down on to stick boy for every possible offense from the beginning of time. I suspect they will wait until the next loss to appear again. In the meantime lets give kudos to JM for a great game plan tonite – apparently it was the only good thing he’s done all year. And while were at it let’s take a moment to cheer PG for having the guts to trade Halak and keep Price – where are all those Price bashers now? Guess PG knows something about goalies eh! And kudos PG for
    picking up Mathieu Darche and James Wiesnewski and Lars Eller and giving David Desharnais a chance……..but only for tonite cause next time the Habs lose the “experts” will be out again and you’ll be idiots again

  12. OneTimer says:

    Nice writeup, Boone.

  13. Chuck says:

    Let’s go Buffalo!
    (for tomorrow night, anyway…)

  14. PeterD says:

    First off I have to apologise to the ” thousands and thousands” of HIO commentariat, alas it was I that was thinking that it would be great if Carey Price got another shut-out tonight at just about the time Kovi scored the Devils only goal…so that’s my bad. I know better than to think of shutouts during the game…but man did Carey deserve another one tonight. He has played remarkably all season and the guy in net tonight really wanted to get the win for his team and I think it motivates him a little bit to be playing on the same sheet of ice as Martin F.

    Like many here I have been in a funk these last few weeks wondering if the Habs would start getting their collective game together and finish the season on a role and with strength and not what we had seen last year by drifting in by the seat of their pants.

    I liked the game plan tonight and how everyone came to execute and commit. Every player to a man was on their game…we chased the Devils with speed, passing, heads up plays and hitting.

    Pouliot looked good – speed, agility, deft passing and stick work.
    Eller is a speed freak – always pressuring the D and forcing turn overs in tight quarters along the boards…just love that guy and hope he is with us for many years to come.
    And Ryan White…I love that kid tough as nails and can play – loved that he went after what’s his name when Sopel got dumped into Carey’s net…he is not afraid of anyone and will back up anyone of his team mates…hey Pierre and Jacques, lets keep this guy in the lineup OK?
    PK Subban gave me a couple of fits when he did some dipsy doodles at their blueline and gave it up…but I still love the guy and with his skill, talent and speed and constant passion for the game he can make some mistakes and I will still love him…but come on PK shoot some more OK…loved his goal. I dream of PK and Markov on the Blue line next year…for full season…then add in Gorges and Wizi…a good start on our Defense for sure.
    Gomez has been a favourite of mine to bash whenever he gives me an opportunity to bash him, and hey that has been a lot this season…but I gotta give him props when he plays with his head in the game and not up his a–. He came tonight with leadership, passion, skill and speed to burn…along with Gio and Darche they looked threatening every shift they were out there.
    I can’t really say anything too good or bad about Mara and Sopel – maybe it is a good thing to not notice some guys if they are just playing steady shifts and not looking like a liability out there. I do think Martin should start cycling Weber back into the line up to get him in playing shape and keeping him there. He is a talented kid with speed and he has improved a lot this year. Yeah he’s not a big physical presence out there but he is a servicable D-man and he has skills, speed and can move the puck out of the zone with passing and speed. I would like to see Weber in the next game and let Sopel rest.

    So OK, that was tonight and now on to play the Blackhawks on Tuesday…who are we going to see Jekyll or Hyde…it should be a great game that should seal the deal for the playoffs…and Chicago is still fighting for their lives so shoudl also be a tough one…

    So drop the puck aready lets Go Habs Go!

  15. 365fan says:

    Another Montreal-free HNIC broadcast. I wonder what would have been said if PK had made the golf swing that Marchand did? I don’t like double standards. Interesting to see which series Ron and Don are assigned to. Last year CBC could hide them in Ottawa for a while – nobody else in the east this year.

  16. JohnBellyful says:

    “Hello Canada and Hockey fans in the United States and Newfoundland, Gary Cole here with Bob Galley, all set”
    “Uh, my name’s Garry, Bob, and your name’s … Bob.”
    “That’s right, Greg, it should be a dandy game tonight, with the Montreal Canadiens fighting to hang on to a playoff spot, and the New Jersey Devils hoping to repeat as Stanley Cup champions, Jacques Lemaire has done a wonderful job leading the Devils back into contention, wouldn’t you say, Garry, even though he no longer has Guy Lafleur on his wing?”
    “Uh, that’s right, Bob, he no longer has Lafleur on his wing. But he does have Zack Parise back tonight which should give the team a big boost.”
    “It could, but he’s got to be careful. You don’t want to fool around with a knee concussion. It can end a player’s career. As can any major injury. Eddie Shore hasn’t been the same since he died.”
    “Uh, good point, Bob. Death has a way of cutting into your playing time. Jacques Martin has come under criticism for the way he handles the rookies but death isn’t one of them. He either benches a player or doesn’t dress him, which”
    “Garry, I think we’re long past the days when coaches have to dress their players.They’ve got moreDarche just scored on a backhander and it’s 1-0 for the Canadiens! Garry, that was a nice setup by Gionta. Uh oh, it looks like they’re calling it a non-goal. Here comes the referee…”
    “Uh, Bob, he’s going to drop the puck for the face-off at centre ice.”
    “Gomez wins the draw. He pushes the puck back to Subban. Subban circles inside his own end, he goes behind the net, he goes around the net, he passes to Gill who passes it back to Subban who gets by Clarkson, dipsy-doodles past Elia, headfakes Gomez, outraces Zubrus, and comes to a stop behind the Canadiens’ net while Montreal completes its third line change. New Jersey has just called a timeout. Garry, is this a good time for New Jersey to pull its goalie?”
    “Uh, I wouldn’t, Bob, There’s still seven minutes left in the first period.”
    “And the Devils are coming on strong. They’re being outshot 14-2 but Price had to be sharp on the last one, it took a funny bounce just outside the blue line. And now Devils will get a chance to even up the score as they go on the powerplay.”
    “Uh, Bob, New Jersey’s the one getting the penalty. Clarkson just skated 20 feet and rammed Subban into the boards from behind.”
    “You’re right, Glen, but it looks like the Montreal player is getting a penalty as well, for diving.”
    “Uh, I don’t think so, Bob. The trainer is carrying him to the team bench not the penalty box.”
    “Well, the Canadiens dodged a bullet there but they will be hard-pressed to kill off their power play. And there goes the siren. Montreal 3 New Jersey 1. Lemaire has done wonders with the team, Garry, but the ghosts of the Forum were just too much for him tonight.”
    “Uh, Bob, the game was played … never mind.”

  17. naweed235 says:

    Bahahaha Price’s interview On RDS is effin HILARIOUS … WOW Kudos to him

  18. mrhabby says:

    A nice solid win. all players hard on the puck and skating with intensity. Price not over worked and looking good and happy.
    i love it when marty gets pissed. has had his way with us for years time to turn the table…eat it marty.

  19. Timo says:

    So, here is a million dollar question – will they bring the same level and execution to the game against Chicago on Tuesday? SHould I go to see a movie again?

  20. deuce6 says:

    Wow, its amazing what our top 6 can do when not killing penalties, eh, Jacques? Plex didn’t look tired at all out there…Our key to success and key to dominating is staying out of the box..Not to mention, not having our top 2 centers killing penalties..Let the scrubs do the spade work…Keep our Corvettes off the PK and let them wheel like they are built to do..

    ——————

    Yes, I’m a Hab fan..Wanna fight about it?

  21. Habitoban says:

    Some observations: Benny: a very sound game. Better net positioning, crisp passing, some creative offence, timely hitting – sadly though, staying out of the box translates into less robust play. Goals will come for Benny and Eller, but it may be next season. Mara: I like this pick-up more and more. He seems to be playing with more confidence and I find myself believing in him as well, although I will defer to those who know the position as to whether that is misplaced or not. Dezzy: I wasn’t convinced that he could play in the bigs given his size. He is slowly convincing me otherwise. White: a pleasure to watch someone who enjoys playing as much as he does. Looks like he’s just skating on outdoor Manitoba ice in January — of course, once your feet freeze and so you are feeling no pain. I think he brings a joyful spirit to the team that sometimes looks like it is coached by Vatican emissaries. I don’t know about the System, but four lines rolling…. That’s the Formula!

  22. JF says:

    I got up this morning wishing the day and the game were over. I was sure I was going to see a repetition of last Saturday’s dismal effort against the Capitals. Instead, what I saw was an almost perfect game: lots of intensity, solid defence, guys going to the net, almost no penalties. Even so, with a 1-goal lead, I thought our missed chances would come back to haunt us. The two quick goals at the beginning of the third were an overwhelming relief, and the only flaw in that period was the bad shift by the Desharnais line which resulted in the Devils’ goal.

    JM’s patience with Scott Gomez may finally be paying off. His line played a great game, and we may have seen why JM keeps Desharnais as a third-line centre. He does not have the brute strength to go up against the other team’s top line.

    Mathieu Darche is the nearest thing we have at the moment to a replacement for Max Pacioretty. He does what Pacioretty does, and tonight he got the results.

    It should be great for the team’s confidence to have finally solved Brodeur and Jacques Lemaire’s stifling system. Hopefully they can carry their solid play over into next week. When they execute JM’s system well, they’re tough to beat.

  23. PrimeTime says:

    A much needed win and good on the team to play well enough to beat a very dificult, although tired, team. But you know, so many here will say “ya they won but….”. Whatever, those same “fans” are happier when they can b*tch about a loss and slay everyone involved.

    “Extremism only serves one’s selfish desires”

  24. CranbrookEd says:

    No the planning for the mutiny can continue, just with a more level headed approach . . . either the system which does not seem to work often enough is modified, or the owner of the system is shuffled to another position in the organization . . . he is an excellent hockey person, but that does not always translate into being an excellent coach/motivator . . .

    CranbrookEd
    Mr. Beliveau: “Pure Pak mais oui”!

  25. rocketsglare says:

    How ironic the Habs eliminating Habs killer Brodeur and the Devils from
    playoff contention. Life is good!

  26. doogie says:

    93 points means only 2 more and we’re good to go!

  27. otter649 says:

    Ekland makes The Habs E4 (is that good ?) to make the playoffs……lol

  28. J.Ambrose.OBrien says:

    I sure love what Darche brings to the rink every night. I sure hope PG gets him re-signed in the off-season.

    I remember Dec. 31, 1975

  29. Timo says:

    I guess i should go to movies more often. So, guess the parade is back on. I have a spare ticket if anybody’s interested.

    Sounds like a pretty solid effort… and from what I saw in highlights Brodeur was getting pretty pissed… not used losing to Habs, ahole.

    Too bad Carolina won, so we are not completely off the hook yet.

    • _Habsoloutly_ says:

      No Timo, parade is not on. We are in the playoffs. Mathematically? No, but we’re in. It’s just the trolls like you and observer who want to dwell on the math. No parade, we’re one of 16 teams who will get a chance to play for the right to win the cup. But don’t worry, cuz NEXT YEAR Tarrana’s gonna be a contender.

    • G-Man says:

      It was a good team effort and opportunism. Solid for 3 periods- worth watching the pvr version.

  30. slapshot777 says:

    Great win by the guys. Nice to see we do the smothering of the Devils for a change.

    To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high.

  31. smiler2729 says:

    Chicago, then at Ottawa and at Toronto… simple.

    I have a feeling Buffalo doesn’t make the dance and the ‘Canes do.

    “My second favourite team is whoever plays the Leafs”

  32. Muckbringer says:

    nice, solid team play vs a desperate team!!
    i want to draw attention to “the curse”
    maybe this has something to do with it?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHmVs0JNv-E&feature=related

    meh oui/non?

    i blame the silent film fan to the right


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