Quick hits

That’s why I don’t bet on sports events.

The Vancouver Canucks came in with the most dangerous power play in the NHL.

The Canadiens killed four penalties.

The Canuck centres are among the league’s best on faceoffs.

The Canadiens won 30 of 53.

That’s why they play the games – because they’re unpredictable … and in this case, very big fun.

“Everybody brought our A-game,” said Roman Hamrlik, who certainly brought his, scoring the insurance goal on a third-period power play. “The character was there.”

The Canadiens’ game plan, Hamrlik said, was to keep the Canucks to the outside and “keep the middle tight.”

Done and done … in no small measure because Hamrlik and partner, Jaro Spacek, did a superb job against the ultra-dangerous Sedin twins – an assignment they didn’t get till just before the game.

“We were sitting on the bench, and Perry (Pearn) said ‘Hey guys, Hammer against Sedin.’ We were hoping we’d get the second line, but …”

Coach Jacques Martin said the win was one of the most satisfying of the young season. Comparing the game to a chess match, Martin was pleased he could get the centre match-ups he wanted: Tomas Plekanek against Henrik Sedin, Scott Gomez on Ryan Kesler and Jeff Halpern against Manny Malhotra.

Each of the three Canadiens centres won nine faceoffs, and Gomez was particularly dominant, winning nine of 12 while Henrik Sedin lost 11 of 13.

Henrik didn’t get a shot on goal. Daniel had none until the third period.

Christian Ehrhoff had 10 of Vancouver’s 35 shots. The Canadiens blocked 21, including five by Hal Gill and four by Hamrlik.

Andrei Markov, in his best game this season, played almost 25 masterful minutes and scored his first goal.

Carey Price posted his 

second shutout of the season. And while he was, as always, anxious to spread credit around, Price made some spectacular stops, notably against Daniel Sedin, Jannik Hansen and Ehrhoff.

Price was to mention that a key to defusing Vancouver’s powerful PP was obliging the Canucks to make several passes in order to set up, thereby eating minutes and robbing the man advantage of its rhythm.

In developing his game plan, Martin said, he noted that his Canadiens were statistically a better 5-on-5 team than the visitors. With last change, he was able to get the match-ups he wanted, and the Canadiens’ PK took care of business.

Early in the game, my pressbox neighbours and I wondered why Martin was employing the seemingly suicidal strategy of playing his oldest Dmen against the lethal Sedins.

“In the first half of last season, with Markov out, those two (Hamrlik and Spacek) kept our team afloat,” Martin recalled. “They played against the opponents’ top lines. It was nice to see them elevate their game tonight.”

Martin also had praise for Markov – “very strong, we need him to play that kind of game”  – to Price and to his buddy Pearn for preparing the team’s PK strategies.

Also praiseworthy:

• Tomas Plekanec, spectacular as usual on the PK

• Maxim Lapierre, skating, hitting and forechecking ferociously in his new role on the Gomez line

• Josh Gorges, who looked more at ease with Markov

• The PhD line for consistently getting the puck behind a slow Vancouver D and making the Canucks work hard to move it out.

• P.K. Subban, who’s settling into the 18-minute role that’s probably right at this stage of his development. And he’s still making spectacular plays.

A great W.

More manana.

 

68 Comments

  1. HabFarmer says:

    Agree totally, man.  Teams that win usually find different ways to win almost every night.  I think Detroit is a good example of that (it’s an all round game).  They kill you in a lot of different ways – I’d love to see the Habs do that sort of thing night in and night out.

    The tendency here is to over analyze.  If the team was 5-9-1 I could understand it.

     

    A man’s attitude… a man’s attitude goes some ways. The way his life will be. Is that somethin’ you agree with?

  2. CharlieHodgeFan says:

    It’s interesting to watch Pouliot out there. He is becoming a solid player, and a presence on the ice. It seems that the year Price may be getting it together may well be Pouliot’s too. Two young guys with potential finally finding their feet is a great thing to watch. The season is long, but the signs are very positive.

     

    Once they trade the forwards they have and pick up Gionta and Cammy in return, they will be that much better. Someone described the game as a strange, fast and disjointed one – that’s kind of what the season has been. There have been streaks, and games like last night to get the realists smiling, and a few stinkers to makes the sad eyed depressives dream of fired coaches, fired GMs and overpaid centers going to the AHL. It’s a real something for everyone season so far. And a great game to watch last night.

    I was reading some Canucks fan postings and if you change the names of the players, they read exactly like the postings here after a loss. Apparently, their coach and GM suck and the forwards are soft and overpaid. Oh yeah, and the goalie can’t score, you know.

  3. G-Man says:

    ‘E’s joined the choir invisib(u)le.

  4. G-Man says:

    A 2-0 win has to answer your line combo query. Sometimes, it’s about keeping the other team off the score sheet and not worrying about personal stats.

    I agree the Habs need to score more, but this group can’t. There are no 40 to 50 goals scorers on the Habs. Hopefully 3 or 4 30-35 goal scorers, but right now, even that looks like a stretch. All players can do is work through it.

  5. CharlottetownHabbies says:

    I’m late to the game on this discussion, but TSN kept drumming this up last year when all the talk was hottest.  The take then was that the majority of gm’s polled would take Price over Halak.

     

    This dead horse needs to be sent to the glue factory before it rots any more on us.  That being said I just want to point out that the GM’s job is to get long term value/benefit from their assets.  The fella’s in charge saw Price with the highest upside, began to shop Halak, and took the best deal for the team this year and in years ahead.  I would suggest that maybe Eller might not have been the best return for the present, but might have had the most potential long term value.  The NHL isn’t your fantasy hockey league, trades don’t just happen on a whim, and you can’t always get exactly what you want.

  6. Danno says:

    cap space

     

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

  7. Danno says:

    Gomez has only three points

     

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

  8. Danno says:

    He sounds so classy he should really jump ship and become a Habs fan

     

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

  9. Jbird says:

    Martin wanted the face off mactups. Tomas Plekanek against Henrik Sedin, Scott Gomez on Ryan Kesler and Jeff Halpern against Manny Malhotra.  That would be 1 2 and 3 folks.  Thats Awesome.

  10. KamiDave says:

    The accuracy of my tenure is funny…

    HI/O member for: 3 years 3 hours

    Haven’t looked it forever. I’m coming to Montreal some time again in early ’11, a very nice Rabbi sold me tickets last time I was there for HIO… is it best if I just post here for tickets, or just get raped on StubHub?

  11. KamiDave says:

    Still don’t get why we didn’t keep him.

  12. KamiDave says:

    Was gonna say… Price looked great. For a game that wasn’t too pretty, it was still exciting to watch. I already have tix for Habs when they’re @ Van in February. Stoked!

  13. Frank2468 says:

    First a really good game tonight, Carey has really stepped up his game.  The club is off to a pretty good start.  Theres only a couple of things that worry me. 1) I really hope the team figures out the problem with the power-play it’s really a concern since just last season the power-play was good.  I really can’t believe that not having MAB on blue line is effecting the power-play LOL.

    2) I really hope that Cammy, Gionta, Pleks and AK47 come out of this slump thing and start finding the back of the net soon.  It could and probably will come back to bite us in the behind if this slump goes on for to much longer, hence probably why the power-play is suffering.

    Just as a side note, I don’t know if it’s been discussed on here or not I’ve been away for awhile but the new Leafs song is a real piss off.  It’s actually insulting to the rest of Canada and figures that MLSE would be this arrogant.  I have a link that is an interesting read as to whats going on in the heads of Laffs Land.  They are now trying to bring politics in to there new song and had 30 new Canadians take the oath in the Leafs change room as a venue.  If this is what they are trying to do I motion that all of us other Canadians call our Member of Parliament and complain to them about this silly travesty that MLSE is trying to do.  It’s gone beyond hockey.

    http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/299309

  14. andrewberkshire says:

    If we kept Halak and lost Plekanec due to cap issues, we’d be looking at a lottery pick.

  15. NightRyder says:

    Price is younger and bigger and has a pedigree of championships.

    I love Halak, but he was not very good against Philly, when their bigger players got in his business, so to speak. That’s where a bigger goalie comes into play. Plus, they’ll eventually actually crack down on the goalie equipment and could even make the nets bigger.

    Size matters. I’m not denigrating Halak.

    But if I have a guy for the next five years, the choice is Price.

    And it would be that way for 2 out of 3 GMs too.

  16. habs001 says:

    after camm,ak46,gion and plecks ..pouliot is the only forward we have who has some scoring potential but i dont see himm anything more than 15- 18 goals a year at best..

  17. Exit716 says:

    He’s pining for the Fjords.

     

  18. J.Ambrose.OBrien says:

    We are hardly in a rebuilding phase. We’re not the Oilers. Of course we are trying for the cup. This year AND next.

    I remember Dec. 31, 1975

  19. andrewberkshire says:

    Agreed about Gomez. The thing that’s been bothering me about Gomez lately isn’t even his play, just the fact that if he was payed what he earns we could add another very good player to an already solid team.

  20. andrewberkshire says:

    No problem.

  21. J.Ambrose.OBrien says:

    As in “mate, you could put a thousand volts thru him, and he wouldn’t zoom.”

    I remember Dec. 31, 1975

  22. Mr.Hazard says:

    lol! It wasn’t meant as a GM-attack, if anything I was making fun of Gomer! For my part, I was sure Samsonov would be in the KHL within a year or two after we let him go.

  23. HardHabits says:

    As good as Halak is, Price is the right choice over the long term.

  24. J.Ambrose.OBrien says:

    “Eller will be here for 5-10 years at the least”

    Really? Well, now I’m assured for I tend to value the opinion of shorts-wearing undergrads. :)

    I remember Dec. 31, 1975

  25. J.Ambrose.OBrien says:

    A player who “will” develop into a great asset?! So sorry, I obviously wasn’t aware of your mystical ability to see the future. Me, mere mortal that I am, have to go on what I see before me. And that is a bad one-sided trade that should have reaped much greater bounty. But I bow before your superior fore-sight. Oh, and revisionist hindsight as well (“got to keep Pleks”).

    I remember Dec. 31, 1975

  26. Shiloh says:

    You make a good point. If it’s 2014 and Halak is still hot and Price has continued to develop and improve, Price will be the better deal financially – and there won’t be a significant difference in production.

    If we were set up for a run at the Cup now – definitely Halak. I’m not sure we can take a run at the Cup with 1/8 of our salary going to Gomez – not slagging him completely but it’s such a massive hit against the cap.

  27. Shiloh says:

    I’m pretty sure both moves (Samsonov release and Gomez acquisition) were Gainey’s. And he can’t be fired anymore.

     

  28. Lafrich says:

    Wow. I was hoping someone would get the comment. Thanks!

  29. Richrebellion says:

    OK the team played great tonight but one thing is starting to get on my nerves, why does Martin continue to play Kostitsyn and Gomez together? Kostitsyn started off the year on a torrid pace and ever since hes been moved to the Gomez line hes done nothing. He didn’t even get a shot on goal tonight, and its not like gionta is having major success with pleks and cammi either. My question is why break up your best line?

    For me the line combinations should be easy at this point, Kostitsyn, cammi and pleks were stellar together and for a good part of the year the only line scoring, we take them apart and start to lose not rocket science put them back together! The gomez line has been struggling and I dont think its only because of Gomez, the left wing on that line as we know has been the problem. Without a scoring threat on both wings it makes it easy to cover either kostitsyn or gionta. The move should be to re-unite Pouliot with gomez and gionta, last year they had chemistry. Pouliot has found his game now its time to fix your 2nd line, why can’t martin see that? Ok the PHD line has been good but what would you rather a solid 4th line or a solid 2nd? Put them back together and let them gel for a couple of games, clearly nothing else is working. Getting 2 goals from d and relying on Price and good d to win us games isn’t going to work all year. 

  30. andrewberkshire says:

    I depends on where the organization is currently. If the team is going for a cup this year or the next, 100% they’d choose Halak. If they’re rebuilding or think they’ll be primed in 3-4 years or more, they’d likely choose Price 100% of the time.

  31. andrewberkshire says:

    Maybe he was talking about the reactionary retardation that occurs in most posters on this site to judge a trade 14 games into a season, when in all likelihood Eller will be here for 5-10 years at the least.

  32. Shiloh says:

    No wonder I shake my head when I read some of the stuff here. I was being generous by saying that 5 might choose Price. Maybe that will change over time, but if you really believe that 2/3 of the GM’s in the NHL would take Price over Halak then I can’t help you.

  33. Exit716 says:

    Samsonov’s tenure with the Habs is the hockey equivalent of Monty Python’s Parrot Sketch…

     

  34. Mike Boone says:

    You’re right. I fixed it. That’s why I love writing for the Internet.

  35. Lafrich says:

    Oh brother. Relax. I meant it as a happy post. A post saying let’s move on and enjoy Carey. But in response to your comment, we have Carey doing well in nets, and a player who will develop over the next few years into a great asset. Oh yeah, we also got to keep Pleks.

  36. NightRyder says:

    I’d say at least 20 would say Price.

  37. NightRyder says:

    Conklin: 0.96 GAA, .960 save percentage.

    Auld: 1.00 GAA, .970 save percentage.

    Who needs Halak or Price?

  38. Mike Boone says:

    Hey, let’s celebrate a nice win by firing the general manager. You’re a beauty, man. Never change.

  39. 21BIGGionta says:

    “Since my leafs suked really really bad tonight i thought i would come on here and say congrats to the habbies for welcoming the canucks out east. Maybe that will quiet down some of the nucks fans for a day or so. Didnt see the game but the score speaks for itself..good on carey price …keep it up kid. Congrats habs on a big win. cheers…””

    It’s nice to see a classy leafs fan….not too many of them out there…!

  40. J.Ambrose.OBrien says:

    Which BS? If you are referring to the collective frustration of trading away a major asset for a player struggling to stay on the roster, then I’d have to say no.

    I remember Dec. 31, 1975

  41. Shiloh says:

    What Halak BS? Ask thirty GM’s which one they’d rather have and I have to believe that at least 25 would say Halak. Price is playing well – standing up far more than he has for years. He is definitely a keeper right now – but Halak is no BS – he’s a game stealer.

  42. HardHabits says:

    Only for tonight.

  43. Mr.Hazard says:

    Also, Dominic Moore has 5 goals (and 1 assist) in 9 games played with TB.

  44. Shiloh says:

    Earlier today I called that the Habs would take a 2-0 lead and then Price would have to stand on his head. That’s a first for me. Boston will be a tough game, but they already have 2 points in the bank for this difficult week.

    Going to watch Canadiens Express now – just got home.

  45. Mr.Hazard says:

    Here’s a quick hit for you:

    Sergei Samsonov: 11 GP with 8 points and a +3
    Scott Gomez: 15 GP with 4 points and a 0

     

  46. Lafrich says:

    So. Will this finally lay the Halak BS to rest?

     

    Carey Carey Carey!

  47. 21BIGGionta says:

    “Carey Price posted his first shutout of the season. And while he was, as always, anxious to spread credit around, Price made some spectacular stops, notably against Daniel Sedin, Jannik Hansen and Ehrhoff”

    Did i miss something….i thought this was Price’s second shutout..

  48. RJB says:

    Price has two shutouts Booner, but otherwise spot on again sir!

    “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

  49. Mike Boone says:

    Yup. Fixed it.

  50. Propwash says:

    Correction, 2nd shutout

    “Carey Price posted his first shutout of the season”

     

    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  51. NightRyder says:

    Some of the 330 or so NHLers that have more points than Scott Gomez this year:
    Johnny Oduya
    Cal Clutterbuck
    Brad Richardson
    Mathieu Darche
    Mike Santorelli
    Mike Weaver
    Patrick Kaleta
    Brett Clark
    Willie Mitchell
    Dominic Moore

    Some of the scoring stars who have at least TWICE AS MANY points as Gomez:
    Josh Gorges
    Jordin Tootoo
    Mark Methot
    Blair Betts
    Guillaume Latenderness

    Some of the big names that have the same amount of points:
    Derek Dorsett
    John McCarthy
    Tyler Sloan
    Jassen Cullimore (!)
    Mike Mottau
    Tom Kostopoulos
    Rob Scuderi
    Matthew Corrente
    Theo Peckham
    Davis Drewiske
    Chris Butler
    Frankie Bouillon

  52. Propwash says:

    Eesh…

     

    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  53. Chorske says:

    I smell a dead horse.

  54. SeriousFan09 says:

    It’s Price’s second shutout of the season Boone, he shut out the Sens on the 23rd. It’s his first at home though for the year.

    Easily Markov’s best game this season and I look forward to seeing him and Subban work the back end this season, always fun to watch puck-moving Ds play their game.

     

     

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

  55. RJB says:

    You smell it too?! So it wasn’t just me!!! ;)

    “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

  56. Chorske says:

    It’s awful stinky. And showing many signs of post-mortem beatings.

  57. HardHabits says:

    That’s so old he’s just poking a stick in glue by now.

  58. MathMan says:

    In developing his game plan, Martin said, he noted that his Canadiens were statistically a better 5-on-5 team than the visitors.”

    This, right here, is why the Habs are so much better this year than last — they are actually a good 5-on-5 club. That’s a lot more important than being a good PP club, but a bad 5-on-5 is a lot harder to fix than a bad PP!

  59. andrewberkshire says:

    Agreed 100%

  60. JD_ says:

    Difficult to fathom that a team that’s managed to ice in and around the league’s leadin’ PP for a couple of years, includin’ last year’s edition, whose personnel is not dissimilar from this year’s, is gonna spend the bulk of the season in the basement.

    Inversin’ the Loafs’ current trajectory in the overall standin’s, the Habs PP has nowhere to go but up. Although Metro popped a disproportionate number of his goals on the power play, I’m quite certain he’s not the missin’ ingredient. Havin’ said that, he wasn’t afraid to implicate himself in and around the goalie’s immediate perimeter, often cashin’ rebounds from the point.

    Lesson to be had by the rest of the crew if they want to get back to business and hopefully start winnin’ games with the stronger goal differential that a team with that kind of 5-on-5 record should have.

  61. Chorske says:

    HAHA! Halpern took a faceoff with 30 seconds left. ANd won it.

    Which brings me back to my SUnday post-summit comment- why wasn’t Halpern out to take the Faceoff vs the sens when we had Price out, and a faceoff deep in the Sens zone? Could it be that JM adjusted his startegy? Or was tonight’s situation different (protecting a 2 goal lead vs being down by one and desperately needing to score)?

  62. J.Ambrose.OBrien says:

    I remember thinking that when I saw him send out Gomez, who’d been awful in the circle all night. Even if Halpern loses, he always ties up his man.

     

    I remember Dec. 31, 1975

  63. Propwash says:

    Something tells me Halpern deserves to be on one of the top two lines….

     

    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  64. J.Ambrose.OBrien says:

    My first post of the season, so I’m allowing myself the right to repeat what I wrote on the other page:

    Some thoughts:

    • I had to laugh watching the ‘Nucks’ stretch passes getting picked off repeatedly by our defenseman cutting them off. They looked like the Habs of two years ago. 
    • Cudo’s to Piere Groulx. He stated his intention at the start of the season to get Carey to stand up and challenge shooters rather than collapse into his default position of covering low. Success! You could see the ‘Nucks’ shooters waiting for Carey to go down, but he declined, and they were left firing into his chest and shoulder. He’s playing with terrific confidence.
    • Gionta, on the other hand, isn’t. And you saw it on that play in the third when he received a pass on Luongo’s right, and held the puck for a few seconds, thinking about the shot rather than relying on instinct. But the instinct will return. Same goes for Cammy. On a power-play early in the second, Cammy was set up for an easy tip-in at the left post, but he’d drifted away from the front of the net.
    • However, what do we do for a second-line center? AK must wonder what he did wrong to get saddled with Gomez. The only chances he and Laps had were when they broke into the ‘Nucks zone together, minus Gomez. There was one moment, at the 13 min. mark of the 2nd, when AK carried the puck in with Gomez on his right. He fed him a lovely pass which Gomez proceeded to lose within seconds, and suddenly the ‘Nucks streaked back and had a scoring chance. AK must watch Pleks out there dishing out those seeing-eye passes,  and silently whimper.
    • At almost the exactly same point of the 1st, Gomez had a wide-open shot from about 9 feet out, and he chose to try to hit Gionta. Then, a minute later, similar situation, he does shoot, and Luongo gives up a juicy rebound off his trapper. Will he learn? Doubt it. 
    • I am all for splitting Gomez and Gionta up because Scott must get out of his habit of simply dumping the puck off to Gionta and expecting him to make a play happen. And the chemistry that Pleks and AK were developing early in the season should be allowed to flourish. But what to do with Gomez?
    • As for Pleks, what can one say, other than: take that all you who claim that players only produce when their contracts are up! In the first period, Cammy put a pass into Pleks’ skates which, without breaking stride, he kicked up to his stick, and laid a beautiful pass into Gionta, which, after another Luongo rebound,  ended up on Markov’s stick for the first goal. And he has become one of the league’s premier penalty killers. Like Datsyuk, he’s a constant threat to score short-handed.
    • Meanwhile, cudo’s also to Benny who is slowly developing into a solid two-way forward. And Eller clearly doesn’t want to return to the press-box. He had one of his best games yet. And to all those who smeared Darche (and all francophones) by claiming he has a spot only because of his gallic name, this finger’s for you. He is game-in and game-out, one of our hardest working players. 
    • Last thought: as happy as I am about this win, and the $25 I won from my brother out on the left coast, if JM can’t fix that PP, the win column is going to cower next to the hulking loss column.

    I remember Dec. 31, 1975

  65. andrewberkshire says:

    It’s always especially sweet to beat down one of the best in the west. Really thought we could have scored a few more if Eller WASN’T benched and played with Kostitsyn and Lapierre instead of Gomez.

  66. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …Canucks are a good team …that did NOT play ‘good’ tonight (Crescent Street Syndrome ?)
    …great watching this game here in British Columbia …watched it on Sportsnet (John ‘Shorty’ Shorthouse & John Garrett) …understated play by play that One can knit One’s socks to …sipping an Earl Grey Tea
    …but at least with a post-game analysis (which I seldom experience out here post-Habs’ games …followed by an immediate replay of the game (Hab-Heaven on the Wrong Coast !) …which, though, I just reluctantly had to turn-off to allow My Boy to finish His homework
    …well, tonight was the first of the Statement Games I had bookmarked to measure where Our Team and Carey were realistically ‘at’ …Boston NEXT !
    …a focused, determined and razor-sharp game by Carey …IF Our Team EVER learns to put the puck in the net, this will be a very exciting season …You could see how zoned Carey was tonight when He almost dislocated Pleks shoulder, shoving Him out of His line-of-sight at one point …it was nice He had His extended family and friends see Him at His best vs the Canucks …this game was important for Himself

    …Vancouver experienced what the Capitals and Penguins experienced last Spring …We are a deeper Team this go-round …only missing a catalyst to make the offence purr consistently
    …this is where PG either earns His bread …or not
    …PS: …to those anxious Spacek and Hammer be cut, traded or alternatively euthanized …that talk always befuddles Me …like Martin said, next to Jaro Halak, Whom saved Our bacon last year when Markov went down more than Spatch & Hammer ??? …physically aging ? …yes, absolutely, they obviously are …but these 2 still have more between-their-ears than all the rest of Our D-men combined, with an exception only for Markov Himself
    EDIT: …before Someone correctly corrects Me, …I obviously forgot to include My Hero Gorges amoung Our Einstein D Quartet)

     


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