Quick hits

Half empty building. Quiet as a tomb.

As the third period ticked down, the Nashville Predators must have thought they were playing a home game.

As it was, the visitors played a perfect road game; they skated, they battled for every inch of ice, they did not let the Canadiens skill players get untracked.

And when it was over, Jacques Martin was uncharacteristically calling out his stars.

“Our better players weren’t good enough,” the habitually sphinx-like coach said. To illustrate his point, Martin suggested the media check plus/minus figures.

Tomas Plekanec and Mike Cammalleri: each minus-3.

Brian Gionta: minus-2

The top defence pairing, Roman Hamrlik and Jaro Spacek: minus-3 and minus-2 respectively … although Spatch’s total could change because a late-game collision on the boards may have left him minus a few teeth.

Martin credited Nashville with being “more determined” and winning more puck battles.

“We needed to go to the net for rebounds and deflections,” Martin added. “We didn’t.”

When asked if the occasional dip were inevitable in a long, hard, 82-game road, Martin refused to bite on that particular excuse.

“I can accept losing when we have a strong effort,” the coach said. “But we just weren’t good enough in a couple areas.”

“The biggest thing against the Predators,” Mike Cammalleri said, “is they’re going to skate and they’re going to compete.”

Those aspects of the Canadiens’ game were not much in evidence.

Against Nashville,” Hal Gill said, “you have to be sharp, move the puck, move our feet.

“We didn’t.”

The aforementioned struggling stars got their ice time, but Martin shortened his bench in the third period. Reduced to single-digit ToI were Jeff Halpern and Mathieu Darche.

Lars Eller played 12:48 and was one of the few Canadiens to display energy and grit. Eller elevated the play of his linemates, Tom Pyatt and Travis Moen, and his skills continue to offer tantalizing hints that he will find himself among the team’s Top 9 forwards, and maybe soon.

More from the stat sheet:

• Frankie the Bull played 22:20, had two assists and six hits.

• Sergei Kostistyn played 11:28, including 2:28 on the PP and 1:49 shorthanded

• Tomas Plekanec could not get untracked, but won 14 of 22 faceoffs.

• The PP took another 0-for.

So what is it with Nashville, which has hung goose eggs on the Canadiens in two straight meetings?

“it’s not Xs and Os,” Martin said. The difference, the coach said, was intensity and the willingness to go to war and win individual battles.

Barry Trotz’s team is very good at that, year in and year out.

More tomorrow … maybe.

It was a totally crap game.

•  •  •

Barry Trotz ties Scotty Bowman in wins with one team: 419.

•  •  •

Pekka Rinne’s SO streak against the Canadiens: 138:55.

Maybe he’ll extend it when the Canadiens play Nashville in the Cup final.

•  •  •

Steven Stamkos against the Flyers:

Three SoG, three goals.

The kid has 19 goals in 19 games.

You don’t need a calculator to see that projects to 82.



  1. MathMan says:

    +1, in spades. They’ve never failed to collect 40 wins since the lockout, they were a 47-win team last season, and they play in the toughest division in hockey. Putting them in the same sentence as Toronto is insulting. Nashville is a very good hockey club.

  2. MathMan says:

    “Steven Stamkos against the Flyers:

    Three SoG, three goals.

    The kid has 19 goals in 19 games.

    You don’t need a calculator to see that projects to 82.


    3 goals on 3 shots is actually a clue that his goal totals are being inflated.

    If you have a calculator, though, you’ll notice he’s scoring on 25% of his shots — double the typical rate for goal-scorers.

    Stamkos might be a statistical anomaly of a type unseen in post-lockout NHL history (and quite a few years before that, too). Or it might just be a temporary high, and he’ll revert to a more normal 12-15% in the future.

    It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see his scoring totals dip significantly this year, and especially in future years. He certainly won’t get 82 goals. And there may be a time in the future where we wonder why Stamkos isn’t as good at 25 as he was at 20… he will actually be better, but the pucks may not go in at quite the same abnormal rate.

  3. B says:

    Nashville is a very good team, it seems like the Habs top players are not the only ones who take them too lightly. I am surprised how many posters here inaccurately dismiss them as bottom feeders. It was no fluke that the Preds were a 100 point team last season, Trotz is a top notch coach.

  4. dh says:

    Maybe but the PP sure looks a lot  less organized without him.

  5. BeachHabFan says:

    i haven’t been reading the blogs or posting much this season, and of course the first time i get a chance to do so the boys mail one in (i shouldn’t really say that, because they work harder in a shift or two than i do all day, but stilll…)

    so nashville comes in after an embarrassing loss to the Laffs, a lock-down team meeting, and being called out by their coach. They had a lot to prove.

    habs come in after emotional victory over the Lividelphia Liars with the prospect of the Laffs Saturday and a philly rematch monday. This was going to be ‘intermission’, at least subconsciously.

    dull, hockey, frustrating to watch, but boy it would be great to have a speedy do-or-die wreaking ball like tootoo on our team (maybe not all the suspensions, but it comes with the package).

    bag skate today? maybe not, but man, get yer heads back in the game boys!

  6. HabFanSince72 says:

    As I understand it, if Souray gets called back by the Oilers, all NHL teams have a shot at picking him up, starting from bottom of the current standings. Maybe someone else would take him since they would only be on the hook for half his cap hit.


  7. JF says:

    That’s ridiculous.  We didn’t play well, end of story.  Markov would have made no difference.  The game was a bit like the Columbus game, and the result was the same.

    But this loss could be a good thing because the team usually rebounds well after this type of game.  The players know what they have to do to win, and I’m hoping they’ll do it against Toronto and Philly.

  8. nightmare_49 says:



       Daily Hab-it: A sense of occasion



       Not many hits after the loss. Where is Timo, not another snow storm.

  9. Johnny_D says:

    Judging by the post-game interviews, this might actually turn out to be a good time for a loss.  In a couple days we’ll be able to tell, but I think this might make them think harder about the Toronto-Philly games coming up. I don’t think anybody was happy with the game.

  10. Eric37 says:

    Two things:

    The Canadiens play up to their opponents level (Flyers, Bruins, Canucks), and unfortunately they also play down to their opponents level (Nashville, Toronto, etc). It’s a mental thing. They have to get up for games like last night.  No easy wins.

    Is it time to bring up Pacioretty or Palushaj to replace Pyatt and play alongside Eller?  That line needs another goal scorer.


  11. light_n_tasty says:

    This is exactly the kind of game that we win when Markov is in the lineup. Those who think we will be fine without him are kidding themselves. We are good team with him, and, at best, a playoff bubble team without him.

  12. habs001 says:

    the only pp pointman we have is pk but he is raw and learning…using spacek,hammer,gorges and picard on the point will resultv in our pp being ranked between 20-30 all year…

  13. ProHabs says:

    Is Sheldon back from his injured hand yet.

  14. Mr.Hazard says:

    But I did need a calculator to calculate that he’s also on pace for 151 points.


  15. ron181 says:

    It’s pretty obvious that our PP is ineffective especially with Markov gone. Gauthier should consider bringing back MAB or better yet how about Souray . I know that it could a cap problem but he should look into it. Not only will Souray help the PP but he”ll also bring some toughness  as opposing teams [ hello philly] will try to play rough  which could injure some of our star players[PK] and although courageous, guys like Laps are not the answer. Maybe after mondays game in Philly , Martin and Gauthier might have to reconsider their ” we don’t engage” stance.

  16. andrewberkshire says:

    Total crap game. Forget it and look forward to the next one.

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