Quick hits

Let’s hear it for the PhD line.

Appropriately scholarly, because Jeff Halpern and Mathieu Darche are graduates of Princeton and McGill, respectively.

Benoit Pouliot?

Magna cum laude from the School of Hard Knocks.

Benny lost his father when he was still in junior hockey.

He lost his mojo in Minnesota after being the Wild’s first-round choice, fourth overall (just ahead of Carey Price) in 2005.

After a promising start with the Canadiens, Pouliot lost his confidence. He bounced from one line to another, went months without scoring.

Then Jacques Martin put Benny with two hard-working veterans, and the line caught fire.

Pouliot and Halpern have each scored four goals. Darche has two (in nine games).

Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez have one goal each.

Mike Cammalleri has three.

Ostensibly the third line, PhD is carrying the Canadiens. Jacques Martin lauded their “simple and very efficient” play. 

Oh, and Carey Price was excellent. Again.


Price kept the Canadiens in the game through an early Buffalo flurry, during which the Sabres had a 10-2 shot advantage.

Really, we couldn’t have hoped for a better early season from Price. The Canadiens are the only team in the league that hasn’t allowed more than three goals in a game – and that requires good goaltending.

Some notes:

• Andrei Kostitsyn played really well with G&G, his new linemates. Four shots on goal, three misses (a couple of which should have been goals) two blocked. As has been the case in almost every game, AK46 skated, hit and looked interested.

• Mike Cammalleri had five shots. The goals will come. And I liked the new power-play alignment, featuring Cammalleri and Andrei Markov at the points.

• The PK was perfect on four disadvantages. Great stuff, but the Buffalo PP is a tragedy.

• The Canadiens were 25-32 on faceoffs. Against a better team than the Sabres, that would have meant chazsing the puck all night.

• Every player on the roster, except Lars Eller, played double-digit minutes. That will mean legs against Ottawa.

• Jaro Spacek played a manageable 16:20 and save for being caught on Buffalo’s first goal, was pretty solid.

• Gomez and AK46 were minus-2.

• What was with Gomez stopping on a breakaway? You don’t see that every day.

• 14 Canadiens had shots on goal, just 11 Sabres

• Trailing 1-0 on home ice, Buffalo had four SoG in the third period. Pathetic.

• The Antichambre gang talked about MAB. Please.



  1. Propwash says:

    ^ Facepalmworthy.


    You clearly don’t watch the games.


    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  2. sidhu says:

    Forget about MAB, how about Weber — 7 goals in the A!

  3. Xtrahabsfan says:

    Ya mean Price too you was erotic…..Cause Hero is a  very big overestimation.! Carey played well against a very week Sabre’s team and while  even I am incouraged ,the real pressure has yet too be applied  by a Team like Vancouver OR the Hawks so we’ll see…..

  4. Chorske says:

    Gomez has an aversion to shooting. It’s astonishing. Was at a party tonight with some folks from France who had never watched a game. And this one guy kept saying, mais ce numero onze, il ne tire jamais!

    Price wasn’t just excellent. He was heroic. Every game he plays like this helps me believe the Habs brass backed the right guy.

    Halpern should have been first star- not to take anything from Benny, but Benny’s goal from the left was 100% a product of Halpern crashing forward, distracting the goalie.

    Good game against a weak opponent. Remember that these were the kinds of games we were losing last year…

  5. habitual says:

    Happy to grind out a win – I love Darche’s work ethic and good for Benny.

    God, Gomez and Gionta have no confidence.  Gomez bails on a breakaway, cuts away left and passes the puck to Gionta who cuts away right, & doesn’t get a shot off.  The puck goes the otherway and into our nets.

    Surely the Canadiens can afford a sports psychologist for these two.

  6. Wayne says:

    Yes, it WAS really nice to see Benny score tonight. He seems to have heeded to a notion that if he can’t find his old-game, just keep your legs moving, hit everything and hustle till you get rewarded by your efforts. Sheesh, I’m starting to sound like my wife.

  7. cheentron says:

    great article boone. it’s only you that i reads on the regular these days!  didnt catch this game, but good on us for capitalizing on a struggling team, without plex our best forward.  sounds like martin made some astute changes to the top six, (something like i would have done), and good to see pouliot finally get some results, which he deserves.  i feel his start of the season is promising, and i’ve been slightly annoyed with how little of a chance martin gives to up and coming players, something carbo was very good at.  but winning a game against a division rival without plex is great, and sounds like markov was better used too.  dont play him with subban, they’re both too creative.  imagine how awesome our team will be with one of these guys on the ice every night for 50-55 minutes.  you’ll see goals, from somebody.  our highest paid players will start earning their money.  i’m so happy for the future of this team with subban, kids a superstar.  i love the guy.  and price can come back.  i still have love for him (still have for halak too).  so i think most of the changes that have to made for us to be a good team will be made internally (coaching decisions, hoping the best from martin here), and maybe we can free up some space by trading spatch, but its fine if he stays.  him and andrei + prospects for an elite forward seems like a good trade.  anyways, see you guys tomorrow, night

  8. Shiloh says:

    Two points and we didn’t really play that well. Ottawa is hot so we’ll see tomorrow if we’ve turned the corner. Can anyone remember a game where Darche didn’t give 100% – even if he only played a few minutes?

  9. Wayne says:

    Hey Mike, Thanks for the game call and great wrap up as usual. We appreciate your efforts once again.

  10. Jbird says:

    Being on the 3rd line ain’t that bad.  Love live PhD!   . . . . till a couple more games from now when JM takes Darche off the line to get Cammelleri going.

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