Quick hits

celebrate

In the immortal words of Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, what a long strange trip it’s been.

Your Montreal Canadiens are in the playoffs.

There will be mid-April hockey in Montreal – and at least two home-game revenue takes in Geoff Molson’s pockets – because Carey Price, the goaltender who suggested everyone chill out more than six months ago, was sizzling hot in the most important game of the season.

To date.

In his record 71st appearance of the season, Price faced a bombardment of 43 shots – 20 in the third period, when a 1-1 game was on the line.

He made 42 saves. His teammates blocked another 25 shots, and the Hawks missed the net 15 times.

That’s 83 times the puck was off a Chicago stick and heading in the general direction of Price.

Price did what he’s done since October. He gave the Canadiens a chance to win … in this case, against a highly-talented team that needed two points even more than the home side.

OK, I interrupt this celebration to observe that I’m watching Mario Tremblay in fighter-pilot gear on L’Antichambre. It is Cherryesque and ridiculous.

But I will not let it blow my high.

The Canadiens had to win in New Jersey, and they did.

They had to win back home, and they did.

And now they won’t have to win in Ottawa and Toronto.

“We earned our way in,” the franchise goaltender said of the impending post-season. “We’re not falling into the playoffs.”

Jacques Martin talked about an “exceptional win” in a crucial game for both teams. He lauded great goaltending in a game that was “a treat for the fans.”

it was that. Given the circumstances, the quality of opposition and the atmosphere in the Bell Centre, this was the Game of the Year.

Not the least of its qualities was the complete absence of thuggery. Maybe the teams were conscious of playing an Original Six game under all those Stanley Cup banners and retired numbers. Maybe Chicago likes its chances in a game decided by speed, skill and, yes, goaltending.

Whatever the explanation, there was none of the embarrassing BS that characterizes Eastern Conference games involving Boston, Philadelphia and even the Rangers when John Tortorella sends Brandon Prust out for the first shift.

The game was hockey the way its should be played, and the customary 21,273 got their money’s worth … which hasn’t been the case 41 times this season.

Some stats:

• Michael Cammalleri and Andrei Kostitsyn each had five shots on goal, Cammalleri had a goal and an assist and AK46 had two assists. The line, which was the Canadiens’ best when the season began, has rediscovered its mojo at a most opportune time.

• Brent Sopel played 17:05 and blocked six shots.

• P.K. Subban and James Wisniewski played top minutes, 23:46 and 23:24, respectively.

• Wiz blocked four shots.

• David Desharnais played only 9:59 but 2:13 of it was as part of a penalty-killing unit that was perfect in five shorthanded situations.

• Tomas Plekanec – playing his best hockey in a month – played more than four minutes on the PK, as did Travis Moen.

• The Antichambre gang routinely bitches about Scott Gomez’s ice time. Against the Hawks, he played 17:51 and keyed a solid effort by a line that is still in search of the kind of LW play Max Pacioretty provided.

It was sweet.

More in the morning.

69 Comments

  1. Nina76 says:

    Be HAPPY we won the game…a GOOD GAME ,CONGRATS AGAIN , they are OUR CANADIENS WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  2. matrags says:

    Every now and then a game comes along that reminds me why I love the game. Tonight was one of those games. Speed , skill , great goaltending , and a great ending , topped up with a great display of youthful exur berance by the teams future that made me smile and feel just a little jealous . Still smiling when I look at that pic.of Price and Subban , A band of Brothers Indeed.

    • Marc10 says:

      Those two kids sum up everything I love about the game.

      And I’d echo the sentiments of many posters. This was by far the best game I’ve seen without significant contact. Riveting stuff.

      Hats off to AK46 and Gomer. Play like that and you’ll be just fine… We’ll all be just fine!

      Carey, Carey, Carey, Oi, Oi, Oi!!!

      • Richard B says:

        I agree with the AK and Gomer comment. Gomer just needs to bring it consistently…and AK, I don’t blame him! Why has it taken JM so long to move AK back with plecks. I’ve been asking myself this for the past 4 months. About time JM woke up!

        Richard B

  3. The Cat says:

    A very entertaining game. Makes you wonder if body checking should be scrapped altogether.

    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  4. Marc10 says:

    That’s it. I’m watching this game again! What a finish. The cornerstones of OUR franchise collide at center ice after carrying the load all year. Only one thing will top this game and we all know what that is…

    16 wins baby.

  5. S_Dot says:

    It feels so good to feel the intensity of a playoff game again…the ups and downs and butterflies at every puck that flies to the net…

    Here it is again everyone, hockey in late April, and let’s hope May and June…

    Let’s give credit where credit is due…

    Not much left to say about the obvious, PK Price AK Cammy, but how about Gomez tonight? Maybe there is something about this little theory that he coasts until this time of year…his playmaking along with Gionta created multiple chances and that line had some great opportunities in the 1st period in which we dominated…

    The celebration after final goal is why we all love hockey, it was great to see the guys smile and celebrate a hard earned win to put us in and salvage some rest during these two last games…

    One thing I didn’t like? The face-offs…not so much the disparity, but the timely ones we didn’t get, the ones at the beginning of PPs and PKs, the ones in the offensive zone, we need to work that out…

    It’s been a rollercoaster ride this season, that’s why we love the regular season, but this is real hockey now, it’s that time of year…can’t wait

  6. J.Ambrose.OBrien says:

    I watched tonight’s game with a fellow from Budapest who recently relocated to Mtl. Unfortunately my first attempt to introduce him to hockey was the Sabres game, which I spent trying to explain that hockey isn’t usually that boring. Redemption was mine tonight. That first period alone was breathtaking. Transition-game hockey played at hyper-speed. And the only thing that kept it from being a double-digit score was the goaltending at both ends. BTW, if we ever needed further proof that this fan-ballot voting for the 3 stars is ludicrous, it came tonight. Crawford made 33 saves, many spectacular (what a glove hand!), and surrendered only one goal in regulation. Yet the three stars were all Habs. Nonsense. But I digress.

    I am soooo happy that PG didn’t move AK before the trade deadline. He is back in a big way. Perhaps it was the Danish tonic known as Eller that somehow revived him. Whatever the reason, he more than deserves his place back on the top line. He orchestrated both goals with passes that were masterpieces. And while Pleks may not appear on the scoresheet, his shadowing of Toews was brilliant.

    On that note, I am concerned that, other than Pleks, we don’t have a true checking line that can handle the likes of Kane et al. He was a nightmare for Eller, Pyatt, etc. all night. Halpern back at centre just might help there.

    Meanwhile, Gomez and Gionta seem to be getting their mojo back, and I suspect Darche has something to do with that. His tenacious play frees G&G up to be a bit more artful. However, I have no idea why he got bumped from that line in favour of Pouliot in the third. Benny is a giant-sized dose of frustration.

    I’m also not sure why DD was short-changed (no height puns please). His speed gave the Hawks defense a lot of trouble in the first. That kid really has wheels!

    PK was, of course, a thrill to watch. And I do mean thrill, as in thrill-ride, with its moments of panic. I loved the shot of JM’s face after PK took that hooking penalty after he had coughed up the puck in his own end trying to make an ill-advised dipsy-doodle, and the Hawks got a couple of good scoring chances. Still, I’ll line up for that carnival ride any day.

    Finally… Carey. To me, the biggest difference between CP 2010 and CP 2011 is his ability to make the key save at the key moment. Yes, the 42 saves are impressive. But it was how and when he made them. This imbues tremendous confidence in the troops who feed off his inspirational stops, much as they did last year with Jaro. There are always going to be lapses in a game. But when the opponent’s Goliath pressure gets snuffed out by one calm, cool, lightning-sharp backstopper, the team feels like a platoon of Davids.

    I remember Dec. 31, 1975

  7. CHsam says:

    CONGRATS TO LES CANADIENS!

    I’m one of the guys here who have been bashing THE SYSTEM all season long… though I like JM and have no problem with him.

    I think I had a change of heart tonight. Watching that game, and after seeing Price’s HUUUUUGE 3rd period save and Subban’s game-winner, I think our team can hold it’s own against any other team.. whether we play the system or not !

    It’s all about heart, baby! Who wants it more ?

    I’m looking forward to spring playoffs. Let’s enjoy.

    Bravo, Habs.

  8. Number31 says:

    Best game I have EVER been to. I’ve had these tickets since the day they went on sale. They were on my fridge all year. Now they go into my momento box.

    The other day I declared that the perfect situation would be an OT win for the Habs so the Hawks could get a point. (I’ve always had a soft spot for them…mostly ’cause of the uniform). When it went to OT I told my brother that Subban would score.

    Won a doughnut today in a roll-up cup too ;)

  9. beebZ says:

    Best game I’ve been to all season…… gotta say I was nervous the last few minutes of the third…… Now I can’t seem to stop smiling :)
    I read all the posts here everyday & I’m wondering where that “Observer” guy is tonight hmmmmm

  10. Kristopher7 says:

    “OK, I interrupt this celebration to observe that I’m watching Mario Tremblay in fighter-pilot gear on L’Antichambre. It is Cherryesque and ridiculous.”

    Made me laugh out loud.

  11. 44har48 says:

    What a great game and a treat to watch! Even if it was on the Hawks broadcast…the only thing that would have been better, is if the game was brodcast on CBC, not becuase I would have watched it on CBC, but I would have switched over to CBC after the game to watch them cry and blat like babies:)

    How bout them Habs Don, Mike, PJ, and the rest of you Leef lovin Bruin bums???

  12. jhaze says:

    I was at the game and I must say it was such a pleasure to watch. The speed of the game was incredible and it’s all because both teams playing have built their teams around speed and skill. What a pleasure. This is the way hockey should be played.

  13. Da Hema says:

    TSN’s staff are indeed bitter tonight. Its report on the Habs game stated “Subban drew an iffy tripping call” in overtime. Iffy? I was watching the Hawks’ broadcast, and even their commentators conceded it was a legitimate call.

  14. Timo says:

    I just finished watching the game on PVR and all I am going to say today is:

    SUBBAAAAAAAAAAAAAANG!!!!

  15. Nahlsy says:

    “We just looked at each other, we were skating as hard as we can at each other and we were both really excited, and I buried him,” ~ Carey Price on the hit he threw at Subban after the OT goal.

  16. Edmaster says:

    Quenneville was not happy with the overtime penalty call on Toews against Subban. To be honest, I wasn’t sure myself until I saw the slow-mo replay later in the evening. Toews definitely got his stick under PK’s supporting skate. It was a penalty and was called as such.

    Expos, please come home.

  17. Edmaster says:

    I can’t help but mention that Corey Crawford is from my hometown of Chateauguay. Having been given the opportunity by Chicago to play in a grand total of 8 NHL games since 2005/06, he was finally promoted this season. From what I’ve seen so far and certainly in tonight’s game, he’s going to be a keeper. Pun intended.

    Expos, please come home.

  18. king ddd says:

    if tampa and philly gets eliminated early and we don’t get to play them, watch out peeps cause we maybe in for a long ride!

    ** Buck Fruins **

    • Nahlsy says:

      Philly struggling and the Pens are creeping up on them. Flyers could catch the #4 seed shortly if they’re not careful. That puts either Tampa or Philly out in round 1.

  19. JasonM says:

    I’m going on the record and express my admiration for Brother Andrei, especially the way he’s been playing the last few games. While this may not have been his best season, he’s been a key player who in the last half of the season did his bit on several lines.

    Recently his work has been appreciated and he’s been getting some PP time and puts himself in front of the net allowing our point shots a better chance to find the back of the net as he obstructs the view of the goalie with his Belarussian Bear-like body that other team’s defensemen seem to have arguably a very hard time to move out of the way.

    Keep up the good work Andrei.

  20. OneTimer says:

    AK46 makes another compelling argument as to why we shouldn’t trade him. He hits like a truck, has a wicked wrister, and is actually a great passer (primary assist on both goals tonight). Looks like the guy will be a real late-bloomer.

    • nick says:

      Not to mention he has as many points as those making twice as much as him.

    • Number31 says:

      Totally. I swear if he’s traded by the Draft I’ll scream. Andrei deserves to stay here. He’s done everything this team has asked him to, even while mucking around with his linemates every time he gets comfy… He’s even way more aware defensively now. And he skates great. Wish people would stop trying to run him out of town :/

      • Nina76 says:

        You will always have people trying to run certain players out of town that is how we have lost so many good players @ have really excelled elsewhere. Great job guys good for Chicago great game.no GOONS just a good hockey game……………..How does that game suit you RECHIE,RICHARDS,&the goon who put Max out. That is the way the game should be played we don’t need goons like you guys ,a lesson for CLAUDE PLAY STRAIGHT HOCKEY without intent to hurt CONGRATS to my team for winning. GO HABS GO!!!!!!!!

  21. Harani says:

    Price: 72 GP, 37 wins (T-1st), .923 SV% (5th), 2.37 GAA (9th) 4 146 mins played (1st). What an incredible bounceback season for Carey!

    Just to give you a perspective on Price’s insane numbers. Halak last year (regular season + playoffs): 63GP, 35 Ws, .923 SV%, 2.48 GAA. Jaro in the series against Philly looked gassed after all the game-saving performances. Carey has done just that all season & still plays solid hockey. I don’t see any reason why that wouldn’t hold true in the playoffs! If Brodeur can do it, so can Carey!

    “It must be love!”

    • OneTimer says:

      Attagirl, Harani! Where ya been lately?

    • king ddd says:

      as much as i love Carey. if brodeur can do it its b/c hes brodeur and every time he did he had a fortress in front of him(nidermayer,Stevens,rafalski etc.)compare that to habs d core. anyways if habs want to go far price has to be beyond human, more than what halak was last spring

      ** Buck Fruins **

  22. habs001 says:

    no sign of observer….flash bulletin…he is standing in line in front of the toronto star and toronto sun boxes…he is waiting for mondays paper that every year has the same apology letter to leaf fans by mlse and advising them wait for next year…he has a a very nice collection from many past years

  23. leezalidis says:

    It’s OUR Canadiens. We are the seventh player on the ice!

  24. leezalidis says:

    I keep hearing that Price kept us in the game. And I agree. He was just incredible! He deserves all the accolades and awards that have come and will come his way.
    Tonight though, Crawford kept the Hawks in the game as well. The score would have been quite different if he was not. Let’s give our forwards the credit they deserve. Defense was great as well.
    We HAVE to watch the penalties. That is the only moot point tonight.
    Playoffs! Here we come!

    • wotever says:

      Crawford’s apparently a Montrealer, a good show for him. Great game by both goalies.

      (btw, either moot doesn’t mean what you think it does or I disagree: you’re completely correct about the penalties but there were some weird calls tonight)

      It’s just a game.

  25. Olivier says:

    I liked how Gomez looked too, but it seems he took a pounding if you look at the raw numbers. Martin actually took him away from Brouwer and matched him against the Hawk’s third line in the third period, while benching Desharnais/White/Darche and sending Eller/Moen/Pyatt against Kane/Frolik in the third.

    Poor Eller had a nice move while dodging Brouwer, but the kid got bent over with 3 minutes remaining in the third. Still, he went over 4 minutes head to head with Kane and got out of there alive. Baby steps.

    http://enattendantlesnordiques.blogspot.com/

    • habs001 says:

      darche could not handle the kane line…as i mentioned earlier in the game if you are going to have a player like pyatt on the team with no scoring ability at all he better be able to shut down top wingers…

  26. DLS HAB says:

    Rest Carey, play some of the young guns to finsh out the season, and bring on the Prunes or should I say Bruins. The Boys seem to know how to kick it up a notch, JM and crew were patient and les Habitants must have listened to the team shrink last week. Who needs the Tampa coach!
    How about Pernell Karl!!!! Do not tell me his celebration at the end was unwarranted! To all who gave this kid grief this past season, stick this overtime goal and celebration in your ears and blow it out your…nose!
    Go Habs Go!

  27. since1988 says:

    Sadly i missed the game but glad we aren’t waiting for game 82 to make the playoffs. Also on a side note (some may disagree) but i like the way Brandon Prust plays however it may be biased as I’m from London and he played for the Knights.

    “I savour it every day, sometimes before practice I’m skating around and I’ll look at the logo on my jersey – I’m playing for the Canadiens!”
    – Mathieu Darche

  28. habs001 says:

    sabres home vs flyers on the road vs columbus

    rangers home vs atlanta and devils

    pitts at islanders and atlanta

    flyers at sabres and home to islanders

    we can still play one of 4 teams …less likely we finish 8th…if flyers tie caps they have the tie breaker…

  29. avatar_58 says:

    When you think about it both goalies were incredible, this could have been high scoring on both sides if not for these guys. So many chances denied, I can’t believe Carey kept them in it till the end.

  30. BoomBoomMax says:

    First off, I must admit with Mr. Boone… That was the game of the year. Sure watching PK score a hat trick as les Habitants demolished les Sauvages was entertaining, but nothing beats a good old thriller between original six teams… I mean, why is it that we only play Chicago and Detroit once a year? As much as I enjoy our rivalries here in the Northeast Division, I somewhat wish the Habs were playing in the Central Division… I just love Western Conference Hockey! I agree with Boone on our conference as well… Save for Washington and Tampa Bay, it seems like most of the powerhouses in the East actually rely more on Don Cherry “bullism” than actual talent to win games… Even Pittsburgh is borderline in my book. Basically I’m just really sick of goons, meat heads and cheap shot artists.

    I hope the NHL finds a way to get rid of intimidation, fighting and questionable hits. I don’t have to scramble much to find valid arguments, just look at tonight’s gem… Like Mike pointed out, just 21 combine hits between the 2 clubs, no fights and not one scrum after the whistle. Was the game boring? Not one bit… But would such a tilt be voted game of the year by Bruins fans? Not by a long shot. Will it be discussed on Coach’s Corner this coming saturday? Well, Grapes might criticize PK’s “over the top” celebration with Price, but I’m not holding my breath for any praises in regards to this fast pace, skill oriented affair as all the goals were scored by “soft” players wearing visors…

    The worst part is… The hypocrites who preach “respect” are usually the same morons who celebrate thug wars and desperately try to muzzle young (maybe exuberant but none the less greatly talented) rising Stars… Which brings us back to Subban. As you probably already noticed, he keeps popping up in my comment… But how can one ignore the brut force he is on the ice? I dare you to name 10 players that are more dynamic, exciting and flamboyant on a game to game basis than the Subbanator. He is right up there with Sid the Kid, the Great 8 and Tim Too Tall. And tonight, he was at his best as were all the skilled players, given a chance to play a REAL game of Hockey… The NHL would be nuts, not to encourage this style of Play, but then again, their feuille de route suggest they don’t have a clue…

    Don’t you all wish we got to enjoy real Hockey every night? I sure do.

    • Alexandra says:

      Do you (or Mike Boone) remember what style of hockey the Habs played not so long ago? The “goon” or “thug” hockey you’re referring to was actually considered Canadian, and the Habs had plenty of goons; talented goons. The more finesse style, or the one you desire to see now, was labeled Euro, and ironically, admonished and criticized by Canadians for years because the style would lend itself to “diving”and was perceived to cheapen the game. “Goon” hockey, as it is so referred, is historically true-Canadian style. The style the Habs and Hawks play now would be considered Euro.

    • Edmaster says:

      Wonderful post. It really is sad that there are so many people who prefer to have goonery and fighting in sports. I do, however, understand it. It’s for the same reason that our world is so f…..ked up and that is that most of us can’t overcome our animalism and often savage underlying genetics. At this point in our evolution as a race, we should be able to control it, but sadly we often don’t. I too am a huge fan of hockey and I also play the game and I must admit that I sometimes disappoint myself in enjoying a good fight, but it’s wrong. At the root of what it really is, it’s wrong, with supposed intelligent members of the great human race, bashing each other. It’s just wrong. Regardless of my emotional beliefs, I know that, if ever these great hockey athletes were given the opportunity to show their skills without having to worry about being blindsided by 215 lbs, hockey would be a display of true artistry and skill. What a game should be.

      Expos, please come home.

      • Trisomy 21 says:

        Emotion is savage? PK, Spacek, and Price are animals cause they’ve fought? Fighting has always been a part of hockey. It’s a fast paced game with intense emotion. You take out fighting, you lose some intensity. And the consequences of making hockey softer, you wouldn’t lose a lot of elite players who are in the game today. Power forwards would basically be useless. You are being quite ridiculous. Don’t forget the type of hockey played by guys like Boom Boom and Big Bird.
        I think if the habs weren’t so soft you would think otherwise..
        “Goonery” is a part of hockey. It’s unfortunate that our habs basically have to take it

        • Edmaster says:

          Sorry, I can’t agree. “You take out fighting, you lose some intensity” Wow, that’s certainly a statement from someone who likes fighting, which is to each’s own. I’ve played a lot of sports in my time and I can tell you that no loss of intensity occurs because there is no fighting. The will and desire to win is as intense without it. Any anger garnered from the other team must then be expended in working harder towards the most important part of the game, scoring goals and winning. Yes, fighting has always been a part of hockey but that doesn’t make it right. Many players fight because they believe they have to and for the ones who don’t want to, or aren’t very good at it, they must fight in self defense most of the time. I’ve brought this up with many of my team mates over the years and the feeling is usually mutual. When one of our own guys gets into a fight, it delays the game, can stall any intensity for the guys who just want to play with skill, and in many cases, puts the team into a penalty killing situation, all bad. Just play the game, skate, dangle and score.

          Expos, please come home.

          • Nina76 says:

            Agreed fighting only brings penalites thet is what the oppostion wants for us to be sucked into……..just play hockey great game!!!!!!

  31. PrimeTime says:

    Sadly, newer fans of Bruins, Philly and others will never understand or appreciate the true game as we witnessed tonight which was proof of how entertaining our game can really be.

    “Extremism only serves one’s selfish desires”

  32. Game of the season, easily.

  33. the H4Bs says:

    Corey versus Carey was sweet.
    P.K. goal bringing Habs to the playoffs is incredible.

    Habs making playoffs the same night Toronto misses for the sixth straight year? That’s bi-winning.

  34. Naslund26 says:

    Aaaah that was a good game, even if the Habbies would have lost they looked great (all four lines) I haven’t seen them play like a complete unit since last years playoffs. Well done boys, that’s the team we’re proud to cheer for.

  35. 100HABS says:

    Only mention of Subban is Ice time??
    C’mon Boone, he was fantastic even before that goal!

  36. dhenry1234 says:

    And Pouliot kicking it up a notch and making me think for a second that his the 5 on his jersey was really a 6.

    I think if Montreal can win the next 2 games in dominant fashion like they did tonight, this team will have it’s head in the right direction to make it far into the playoffs. Let’s see what’s up when Spacec returns against Ottawa hopefully.

    I really liked what I saw tonight. That was playoff hockey and I’ve missed the excitement. It’s wonderful to know that we have at least a couple weeks of this. I’m really hopeful that The Canadiens can compete. Can you imagine how crazy it would be?

    Here’s to hoping that the habs can keep it up, exit the season expressing great wins in their last 4, and make the next 4 just as good against the Bruins, or whoever we end up playing against.

    • habs001 says:

      maybe its just me but i saw an error prone pouliot who had no chances to score any goals…if this is what he does he will again end up with one goal in 30 games like last year

  37. EricInStL says:

    It ain’t our Canadiens, it’s the Canadiens. They are not ours.

    Also very good win, but it has to continue in order to get some momentum in the playoffs. The Ottawa game will be a let down to be sure.

    It will be a tough call on what to do with the starters here on end. Gill, Hammer, Cammy, Pleks and Gomer need some rest before the playoffs.

    Give more time to players who need the ice like Eller, White, AK and Pouliot. We need them to be at their best.

    The Toronto game will be very important as you don’t want to be sucked into a trap game in terms of it being a meaningful game for the LEafs in order to salvage something to their season.

    Tough call for Martin.


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