Quick hits

Weird game.

After the ovation that greeted Saku Koivu skating to centre ice for the opening faceoff, the Bell Centre settled into a deep slumber.

The home team awakened in time to snatch a point, and the final few minutes had the fans in a frenzy.

But for much of the evening, the game limped along in a succession of curious reffing calls and no-calls and some excellent goaltending by Jonas Hiller.

Not that Carey Price was bad. 

The first Anaheim goal, a Cam Fowler long shot on a ;power play, was deflected past Price. The subsequent two were scored from close in by two scorers who know how to go to the net and bury loose pucks past napping defenders: Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry.

On the Ryan goal, 16 minutes into the second period, Lars Eller was late getting back in coverage and Jacques Martin applied his Rookie Rule: One strike and you’re out.

Eller watched the rest of the game from the bench, his night’s work done after 10 shifts and 5:54 of ice time.

That meant Travis Moen and Mathieu Darche seeing third-period duty with Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Kostitsyn.

And it produced Darche’s late goal, a deflection of Yannick Weber’s shot with less than four minutes left.

Then it got crazy.

 

Memo to fans who knock Jacques Martin’s system for late-game passivity and inability to protect leads:

What do you say to Randy Carlyle?

With his team up 3-1, Carlyle watched his Ducks surrender a whopping 23 third-period shots to the energized Canadiens. Hiller saw many of them, but the Anaheim goaltender made some huge saves and topped his performance by stoning Benoit Pouliot, AK46 and Brian Gionta in the shootout.

Because Ryan was the only shootout scorer, he became an automatic choice as the game’s first star.

But fans voted the Second Star to Koivu, who had one assist and took three minor penalties, when Hiller was the obvious choice for the honour.

Oh well, it gave number 11 the chance to wave to his fans one more time. We won’t see Koivu at the Bell Centre again this season unless the Canadiens and Ducks are Stanley Cup finalists.

Anaheim is fifth in the Western Conference, the Canadiens clinging to sixth in the East. A chance to renew the love affair with Koivu in late May/early June is possible, but don’t bet your Lars Eller rookie card on it.

Eller can derive solace from the slow, painstaking develop of Max Pacioretty. The former first-round draft choice continued to solidify his status as a Top Six forward and a ficture on the Scott Gomez-Brian Gionta line.

Max-Pac had two goals on six shots, adding a couple hits, bad ribs and all.

Later, Pacioretty talked about the Canadiens’ late-game urgency.

“We played with desperation,” he said. “If we put 60 minutes like that together, we can play against any team.”

It was odd that the Canadiens’ desperate 20 minutes occurred at the end of their second game in 24 hours. 

Now they have two days to prepare for a visit to Philadelphia.

•  •  •

Odd stats for James Wisniewski and P.K. Subban.

Each had SEVEN shots blocked by Anaheim defenders.

Subban got six of his shots on goal, and another three missed the net. That’s 16 pucks off the stick of Mr. Excitement.

•  •  •

The Wiz led all players with a whopping 30:30 ToI – including 8:18 on the PP.

Subban’s 26:18 included 7:52 on the right point when the Canadiens had the man advantage.

41 Comments

  1. Chris says:

    Gomez was as much a contributor to those goals last night as Mats Naslund.  He may have been on the ice for the first one, but his pass did not “set up” the goal. 

    Sometimes an assist indicates a great play by the passer.  Sometimes an assist indicates that you were one of the last two teammates to touch the puck before a guy makes a great individual play.  Gomez’s assist falls into the latter camp.  It isn’t all that often that a pass to a guy down on the goal-line is considered as “setting up” a goal.  That one resulted was a surprise.

    This isn’t intended as a knock against Gomez, but just a plea to give Paccioretty his due.  His great play this past month has come about from a change in attitude and a willingness to attack the net.  I just finished watching all his goals since November, and while Gomez picked up three assists on the six goals, only one of them falls even remotely into the category of leading directly to the goal, when he put a nice saucer pass to Pacioretty against Calgary despite being covered by two Flames.

  2. twilighthours says:

    Is Timo brokering the deal?  He can’t be the shooter – I really doubt he can lift the puck.

  3. smiler2729 says:

    As soon as the buzzin’ 4-on-4 OT ended, the whole game, the whole comeback became so anti-climactic cuz Shootouts are just a coin flip – it ain’t even a game anymore and it’s a TERRIBLE way to end a hockey game! Wake up Bettman, extend 4-on-4 OT to 10 mins. and we’ll hardly ever see the stupid shootout (the second dumbest idea in NHL history after the instigator rule)

  4. smiler2729 says:
    • Midway through the 3rd, I mentioned to my frothing-at-the-mouth uber Hab fanatic buddy who is always complaining about what the team does wrong that Anaheim was sitting back protecting their lead (like he says the Habs always do) and that it would come back to bite ‘em. I said watch from a Ducks fan prospective and you can just see the Canadiens tying it… Et voila!

    Exciting point but not getting the full two points once again falls to the lack of burying scoring opportunities by one too many passes and NOT HITTING THE FREAKIN’ NET! Holy baloney, the Habs must lead the league in shooting wide!! Maybe hire Ray Bourque to teach them ACCURACY.

  5. smiler2729 says:

    Aww, come on! lol Cruel but fair!

  6. Displaced says:

    Hated losing… Love our new never-say-die-ATTITUDE..Who’d like to see 4-on-4 all the time.WOW!!!… Plecs getting multiple breakaways every game is a joy to watch… Approppriate and well deserved accolades for Saku to start and end the game…

     

      Who’s leg do I have to hump to get a dry martini around here?

  7. Timo says:

    LOL! I was thinking the same. How classic Koivu was that last penalty with about a minute left? :)

  8. Rusty says:

    JM is a very average coach and definitely a poor educator. A head coach who leaves crucial time-outs to his assistants shouldn’t be a head coach. But the most annoying thing is his one-strike-you-are-out policy, which does not develop players and this has unfortunately become a Montreal tradition. Carbo was a terrible coach who couldn’t communicate and he allienated players. Because of him, players like Ribeiro and Grabovski were traded (for nothing) and Streit didn’t want to sign because he was misused. JM now works the next trick on Eller. Yes, he could have played the situation, that led to the 2-1 goal, better. But what do you gain by benching him, giving him a total of 5 minutes and playing concrete-hands Moen with Pleks and AK46? Nothing. Chances are big that Eller will walk the same way as SK74, worthless in MTL but somehow useful scorer in Nashville.

    And please don’t give me this late-equalizer-by-pulling-the goalie trick. It’s a no-brainer to pull a goalie when you trail. Eller is a smart kid, he understands when he has made a mistake and he’ll learn. But it’s very difficult to learn by sitting. Why is it that Montreal that used to have the best coaches in the business hires coaches that no one else would hire?   

  9. sidhu says:

    I agree with the other posters who are calling for another solid D on the blueline — Weber makes me nervous and Hammer was brutal on the rebound goal.

  10. habs001 says:

    we need to pick up more points on the road if we hope to win the division…tampa bay has played 49 games and 29 of them has been on the road

  11. Da Hema says:

    I suspect Timo would gleefully volunteer for that.

  12. Chuck Chuck Goose says:

    Hiller made some big stops, but I thought Max Pac was the player of the game.  I was lucky enough to have a seat in the blues at the Bell, and from about the first 10 minutes onward, he was the most impressive guy on the ice

  13. SeriousFan09 says:

    It’s taken Max Pacioretty 19 games this season to double his career goals in the NHL and he is three points from matching his career-best of 14 points in a season from last year when he had 3G, 11A in 52GP. Safe to say he’s exceeding that total at his current pace, who knew getting blasted in the ribs by Wiz made you a better scorer? Someone line up Gomez to take one.

  14. Klondike Habs Fan says:

    I can’t help but feel a bit nostalgic, after all it was exactly like old times… Koivu with three penalties, and the Habs Lose. 

  15. Duracell3 says:

    Gomez needs to get pucks deep instead of trying to be h. sedin, because half the time when someone off the rush is open he randomly won’t pass to them anyway. Also, Plekenec should be getting more minutes than Gomez, and Eller should probably play at all.

  16. Timo says:

    Some will say this was an exciting game, a good comeback, show of character, never quit blah blah blah… i say we lost yet a again cause we haven’t started playing until about 10 minutes left in the 3rd. Lucky comeback that won’t be repeated too often. Habs offense did nothing most of the game unless you count 30 footers as offense. PP was laughably predictable and PK wasn’t its stellar self. 

    Penalty shots… what can I say. USE THE ##%(*&% TUTOR SHOOTER to practice!!!

     

    Good for Koivu – you could see he was moved by the crowd’s reception. 

  17. PeterD says:

    Our Older D are starting to show their age and cracks…I still believe we need to add one more large younger stud D-man to solidify our D-core…But it sure would be nice to have at least one goal finisher like a Ryan or Perry.  I am loving Patches…what a warrior to come back after the bruised ribs and play like he has these past two games…but we need at least one more warrior his size in our top 6.  With a butt load of confidence I think Pouliot could be that guy…man I love how he skates, stickhandles and his wrist shot is powerful…with the right amount of confidence in his own self and a good Center man and winger he could be out next and long awaited 50 goal scorer, but only if he gets his confidence up and get it to stay up.  Of course we would need a coach that would give him the latitude and playing time to keep scoring consistently, probably just dreaming though about all of that.

  18. _Habsoloutly_ says:

    I habsoloutly luv the PP pairing of PK and the Wiz.

  19. bandaide says:

    totaly agree

  20. VancouverHab says:

    Who’s setting MAxPac up for his goals, SF?

  21. bigdave says:

    As per TMZ!

  22. habsfaninboston says:

    Unrelated but did I hear Komisarek was accused of striking a woman in a bar?

  23. HabsProf says:

    Yup.  See the following link.

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=350568

    _____________________________________

    They brought their f____ing toys with them!

  24. HabsProf says:

    By the way – we may only have picked up one point, but Carolina lost to Pittsburgh in regulation.  Also, the Rangers-Thrashers game resulted in a regulation win for NY, so we gained ground on Atlanta as well.  My real fear for that game was that it would go to OT with each of them picking up points. 

    _____________________________________ They brought their f____ing toys with them!

  25. habsfaninboston says:

    That would be an all time low in his career.

  26. Matt_in_TO says:

    I thought playing for the leafs pretty much nailed that

     

    - In Price We Trust

  27. Top Corner says:

    SNAP!!!!

  28. Number31 says:

    Jacques Martin’s notebook definitely doesn’t have “Hamr and Spacek on the PK = goals against”. Happens pretty much every time unless the forwards insulate them so much so the puck never goes near them…

     

    Disappointed that Randy Carlyle didn’t put Saku in the shootout AGAIN. You would think that tonight he would do him the honour?

  29. Mike Boone says:

    He’d have been their third shooter.

  30. Olivier says:

    Good point on Carlyle’s system, Boone. Boy, Anaheim is a passive team; I had the habs leading scoring chances 15-10 at even strength, even tough they had only 2 in the first period… ANA had 3 in the first and then 2 every other period. Pleks and AKost again had superb even strength numbers while Gomez really lit it up on the PP.

    Spacek must be hurting pretty good; no way he’s that bad just because he’s on the left and without Hamrlik (who looks better by the minute with Wiz).

  31. Bill says:

    The outcome is satisfactory … any time you come back from down by two and grab a point it’s a moral victory, at any rate. A very valuable point.

    Full Breezer 4 Life

  32. twocents says:

    17 points in the last 11 games.

    Not too friggin’ shabby.

  33. BeachHabFan says:

    i have tired of the webber-picard band-aid. we need a big lug like Andy Sutton back there to make space and prevent those ugly 2 ft jam-ins. (remember how much better Ottawa was with hard hitters like Sutton and Volchenkov, who knoced Cammy out for a few weeks?) other than that, a fun 3rd period, love the comeback effort, happy for the Koivu love-in, and hoping for a solid one versus philly and not a mail-in before the break. 

  34. Shiloh says:

    AK46 had some zip most of the night. Hiller was really good. And the zebras were a joke. Lets have far less talk of the non-existent ‘loser’ point, shall we? You get a point for a regulation tie – and another point if you win the OT.

  35. Timo says:

    I don’t see why we couldn’t have gotten 22. Anything wrong with 22 out of 11 games?

  36. Da Hema says:

    Yes, especially in light of the additional injuries to Gorges and Cammalleri and the challenge of integrating the young players as their replacements.

  37. Timo says:

    Nobody can ever out-do MAB. His awesomeness is untouchable.

  38. Exit716 says:

    Brisebois and Yzerman like this.

     

  39. SUMO says:

    Good blogging and comments tonight people. For the most part, comments were constructive and personal attacks/criticisms of fellow fans were down. Good self-restraint. 

    Much like the Sabres game a week back, although the Habs “lost” they played valiantly in defeat and I think thats what most fans want of our team. You can’t win every game but as long as the guys show up, give their best and don’t give up you can accept the outcome. 

    I normally don’t complain abt the refs. Bad calls are part of the game in any sport, I can live with it and accept they eventually even out. The call on Pouliot was total horses**t, it nullified a great defensive play but it was called “hooking”. However, there were 2 possessions in Ducks zone when the Ref was clearly out of position. He was on the other side of the net when the puck was still live yet he blew the play dead. This is a mistake, he needed to be behind the net to see if the puck was loose. This happened twice!! With the kind of money the NHL generates can the owners and players not find a better way to improve officiating standards?

    The questionable officiating took away from the main storyline return of Saku Koivu and the great come-back of the Habs.

  40. Cool Ice Price says:

    Carey Price was good. Hammer was terrible. He was respondsible for two goals on Carey.

     

     

    Habs Passion unites us all

  41. bigdave says:

    Not to mention the “dynamic duo” of Spacek and Webber doing their best “deer in the headlights” MAB impersonation!


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