Quick hits

A brief one tonight because I have to get home through the snow.

Your 2011 Montreal Canadiens have become the Comeback Kids.

Through the first part of the season, they were 0-11-0 when trailing after one period.

In the new year, the Canadiens are 4-1-1 when trailing after 20, 7-2-2 when allowing the first goal.

Jacques Martin lauded his team’s patience, their commitment to the game plan.

They don’t panic.

Down 2-0 in Washington? No problem.

Down 1-0 to Florida? Again, no problem.

The game was not one for the Classic DVD set, but the Cnadiens played with confidence and kept plugging away until they dented Tomas Vokoun.

Martin noted that his team’s three goals came off hard work and players going to the net. All were scored at even strength, which is an area the coach had wanted to see get better.

Mission accomplished – but now the power-play has gone cold. 

Another 0-for tonight, and the PP is scoreless in 18 opportunities over the last three games.

But two have been wins, and Martin seemed unperturbed, saying PP tweaks await video study tomorrow.

The penalty-kill was perfect – and of greater significance was the Canadiens taking only three penalties, one in each period and only one, Scott Gomez’s retaliation, that could be calssified as brain-dead.

There were only penalties in Washington also. 

Contrast that to seven in Philadelphia just before the All-Star break. So that’s a positive trend.

As is shots on goal. The Canadiens had 41 on Vokoun, following 38 on Semyon Varlamov.

A few stats:

• Every forward except Tom Pyatt and Travis Moen had a shot

• By beating Florida, the Canadiens rang up their first back-to-back sweep since beating Buffalo and Ottawa in mid-October.

• Scott Gomez went 12-6 on draws, Tomas Plekanec 18-11.

• Max Pacioretty had six shots and two hits.

• Yannick Weber played 16:17 and did only one bad thing, a horrendous turnover he atoned for by making a play to prevent a shotg.

• Wiz played 24:05, high on both teams.

• P.K. had five shots on goal and five that missed the goal, plus one that was blocked.

• Roman Hamrlik had four blocked shots.

• Everyone except Tom Pyatt played double-digit minutes.

• Jaro Spacek played 15:09, which is about right for a geezer.

• Alex Auld raised his record to 4-2. His GAA is 2.17, save percentage of .929. Both are better than Carey Price’s numbers.

Let’s have a goaltender controversy.

Kidding.

More tomorrow.

25 Comments

  1. danp says:

    Good things come in small packages.

    I was ready to give up on them after the first against the Caps and again against the Panthers but they came strong in the second in both games. Even AK46 is playing with some emotion.

    Dan

  2. Olivier says:

    You’ve nailed the important one, Boone: They are again drawing more penalties than they get. The PP is cold now, but the chances are there. The Wiz and PK are fearsome and will get things rolling sooner than later.

    Martin says they stick to the game plan… Well, I just say, they adjust. This is the great thing about this year’s team. Whenever they get their teeths kicked in in the first, they get the cues from the coaching staff in the intermission, adjust and then grind it trough the long change. I’m a geek, and that’s the thing that makes me giddy about those guys. It doesn’t always work, but they do it again and again.

    Also, Pleks is turning into a poor man Datsyuk right before our eyes. He is splendid. I used to like 13/14/46, but 67/14/21 is just an astonishing trio of heavy lifters.

    Too small, eh?

  3. J.Ambrose.OBrien says:

    A few quick observations:

    Roman Hamrlik has received a lot of criticism in the past on these boards, but lately he’s been terrific. Jumping into the rush at key times, and making smart defensive moves. Hall Gill on the other hand… What was he looking at on that first goal by Timmons?

    I’ve also been impressed by Yannick Weber’s improvement. His speed is a big asset in winning races on d-zone dump ins. He still gets bodied off the puck too easily, but if he develops his upper body strength in the off-season, he’ll be a keeper.

    Speaking of which: Max Pacioretty!!! He gets better with every game. He’s gaining confidence and a realization of his abilities. As such, he no longer panics when he has the puck, and is willing to patient and try bold moves. And playing with Pleks certainly helps.

    Meanwhile, how must Gomez feel watching all his ex-wingers prosper once separated from him. Like a guy seeing his ex-girlfriend happily in love with a wealthier, better-looking guy? We need more GM’s like Glen Sather in the league so we have someone willing to take him in trade in the off-season, because I just don’t see his value going forward. Only the millstone of his contract weighing us down. Frankly, I think Desharnais is out-playing him, and should be our second-line center (although that will never happen). And what happens when Cammy returns? Surely JM won’t break up that Pleks/Patches/Gionta line? So Cammy and AK — two under-performing scorers — have to try to get their touch back with Gomez? And I don’t even want to talk about his on-going brain-dead penalty habits.

    Speaking of AK, he is clearly suffering from a lack of confidence. The fire-in-the-belly that Ovy is renown for goes hand-in-hand with his firm awareness that he is better than 90% of the others on the ice — and visa versa. AK looks uncertain, and that affects his passion. As many have stated, his problems are between the ears. But if he ever starts to believe in himself again, watch out. He has wonderful hands and is more solid on his skates than almost any other player. Well, except for on that hit from Ellerby.

    Eller? I just don’t see what others are apparently seeing. IMO, he should’ve been down in Hamilton for months now gaining confidence. I still don’t see the talent that tempted PG to give up the team’s most valuable trading asset in many years. 

    Pouliot on the other hand looks to be on the brink of a big break-through. He had a brilliant 1st period, and even drew a penalty. The P, D & D line was easily are second best line, and early on, our best. However, he is still prone to dumb plays, like in the previous game when there was a delayed penalty on the Caps, Carey went to the bench, and Pouliot just dumped the puck into the Caps zone. 

    Finally, when was the last time we led after the first period? I LOVE the fight-back, never-say-die, but why do we start off so flat so often?

     

     

    I remember Dec. 31, 1975

  4. G-Man says:

    You two are out to lunch on this. Gomez is better than you think and will deliver come playoff time. The short memory on HIO is rather astounding.

  5. Bob_Sacamano says:

    Gomez has to go this summer, as simple as that. We can´t trade him away, so we have to do what the Blackhawks did with Huet or the Rangers with Redden. 7.3m$ is enough to pay Desharnais+Gorges+Wisniewski next season. We can´t afford to waste that kind of money on Gomez.

    AK: Whenever he doesn´t score someone has to comment on him. Why is that? He has 4 points in his last 5 games, is still the team´s 3rd or 4th best scorer (depends on if you count Wisniewski) and a +12 for the season. He only took 10 minor penalties so far and in the end he´ll probably have 45-50 points. That´s simply not so bad for a 3.25m$ player.

  6. sidhu says:

    Another character win.

    If we can get the PP going and the Gomez line going, we’ll be in great shape.

    Go Habs Go!

  7. sidhu says:

    DiPietro = Glass Joe from Mike Tyson’s Punchout

  8. ProHabs says:

    Rick Dipietro sure is no Rocky. Johnson 1 punched him tonight in a goalie tussle. Gotta love when goalies go at it.

  9. HugeHabFan says:

    not a great start tonite (again) but the end was great…I am making the long drive to Montreal this weekend with tickets to both games… Super excited…have not been to the Bell Centre in over 5 years…tickets were through a “scalping agency” and are hugely overpriced but two wins over NYR and NJ will make it all worthwhile…

  10. HardHabits says:

    Is Auld better than Halak? Finally a Halak versus Auld controversy. Or is it.

    Not. No. Gomez it seems is everybody’s new whipping boy since Price has made everyone forget Halak. I honestly think the negativity about Gomez’ cap hit is starting to affect him. It’s showing up very expressively in his idiotic retaliations. My only advice to Scott is this. Take down the license plate. Get even later. Be as dirty as you want to be, just get away with it, as in do the dirty deed outside the ref’s POV and not when the cheap shot against you occurred.

    Off topic.

    Bobby Orr redefined the defensive position for his offence. Gainey ditto for the forward position with his Selke Trophy inspiring play. Brodeur became like a 3rd defence-man with his passing and puck handling skills.

    It is a testament to how the game has evolved to see that even though the last face-off was in the Panthers’ end, they still had their goalie pulled. And yes, the subsequent shot on goal after the face-off was blocked.

  11. G-Man says:

    That face-ff was a testament to the Panthers’ desperation behind the bench. Deboers is done.

  12. light_n_tasty says:

    Gomez was a whipping boy last year because of his cap hit.  But last year, he basically performed at his usual career pace. This year he’s a whipping boy because he is having a terrible season offensively (on pace for 40 pts), is -10, and takes a lot of bad penalties.

  13. andrewberkshire says:

    I also thought it was really gutsy that they kept the goalie on the bench with the faceoff in their zone.

  14. HardHabits says:

    His puck handling on that play was exceptional. The way he batted the puck off the boards and controlled it after was sheer artistry.

    That was clearly an example of exuding confidence.

  15. rogieshan says:

    The Pacioretty drive to the net that resulted in Gionta’s crucial goal was my highlight of the night, a rarity to see from a Canadiens forward and reminiscent of a young Bob Gainey.

  16. Klondike Habs Fan says:

    I was on RDS, but laughed in french at Brunet stating: Et Higgins lance, et ill manque de justesse. Only true thing he said all night I think.

  17. Da Hema says:

    It was deja vu all over again listening to the Florida commentators scream “Higgins SHOOTS, just wide….”

  18. christophor says:

    i believe he also tweeted that patches had broken ribs and was out a month.

    but that seems easier to get wrong than seeing a guy on crutches.

  19. Castor says:

    Marinaro just tweeted that Pouliot left the Bell Center on crutches.

  20. ooder says:

    well that sucks

    ——————

    GWG = game winning gionta!

  21. andrewberkshire says:

    Game winning Gionta hahaha. Legit lol.

  22. usversusthem says:

    You want to know why Auld’s numbers are so good? Let’s have a look at who he’s faced. 

    New York Rangers – 7th in the East

    Atlanta Thrashers – 8th in the East

    Florida Panthers (twice) – 11th in the East

    Toronto Maple Leafs – 12th in the East

    Calgary Flames – 12th in the West

    New York Islanders – 14th in the East

    The reason we don’t have a goaltending controversy isn’t because Price is the anointed one, it’s because Auld’s numbers mean literally nothing when compared to Price’s. 

  23. Castor says:

    Your entire post was useless as every single Habs fans knows this and is not saying anything to the contrary,

    I like Alex Auld though and he deserves credit. He’s 4 and 2 with good numbers and he sits around most of the games. A good team & character guy.

  24. Duracell3 says:

    It’s Alex F. Auld,  what do you expect.

  25. JIMVINNY says:

    LOL.  Goaltending controversy.  Love it.


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