Quick hits

One team is a serious Stanley Cup aspirant.

The other is going down to the wire to make the playoffs.

You know which is which … and in your heart of hockey hearts, you probably knew it before they dropped the puck in Philadelphia.

Contenders 5 Pretenders 2.

We can talk about special teams.

The Canadiens, who’ve had one of the NHL’s better power plays lately, went 0-for-7 and had three, maybe four shots on Sergei Bobrovsky.

The Flyers scored twice during the 5-on-3 that changed the game and added another against a penalty-kill unit that’s supposed to be one of the league’s best. 

But let’s try to be serious.

Your Montreal Canadiens didn’t lose because of special teams.

Philadelphia is better. End of F. story.

The Flyers have proved it in the playoffs, and it’s carried over into this regular season: three wins in four games, the last two five-goal explosions.

In analyzing the Canadiens’ fatal parade to the penalty box, Michel Bergeron said he didn’t want to hear about indiscipline.

“It’s laziness,” he told the Antichambre audience, pointing to holding, slashing, interference – calls that are made when you’re chasing the play.

And, of course, the obligatory bench minor for Too Many Men. The Canadiens’ NINTH of the season.

For the first 10 minutes, it was a hockey game. Jacques Martin was rolling his four lines, play was up and down the ice with neither team dominating.

But the late 5-on-3 changed everything.

Andrei Kostitsyn was off for slashing, and the Canadiens killed the first minute of his penalty.

But that was with P.K. Subban and Hal Gill on D. For some reason – possibly James Wisniewski’s numerous jittery turnovers during his early shifts, Jaro Spacek and Yannick Weber found themselves on the PK.

Spatcho was called for holding. P.K. was called 20 seconds later.

And that was the ballgame.

The Flyers didn’t need their numerous PPs to demonstrate dominance. There was a 5-on-5 sequence in the second period when Philadelphia held the puck in the Canadiens end for 1 minute, 34 seconds.

And we’re not talking cycling or grinding. For that entire time, the Canadiens didn’t touch the puck.

It was a hockey clinic … with the Canadiens as the slow kids, sitting in the back of the classroom.

There was more to come. In the third period, the Canadiens went nine minutes without a shot on goal.

The Antichambre guys were all over Scott Gomez, who was responsible for the Too Many Men call. They thought he should have been benched.

But you can’t pin the loss on one player.

The list of underachievers includes Tomas Plekanec, Brian Gionta, Kostistyn, all the Dmen with the possible exception of P.K.

Players who showed up to play competitive hockey in one of the league’s toughest buildings?

Mathieu Darche, who managed to finish a 5-2 loss at plus-2; Lars Eller and David Desharnais, neither of whom was intimidated by the Flyers. Max Pacioretty, who continues to play physical hockey with sore ribs.

Also Carey Price, who was under constant pressure and had little chance on the four shots that beat him. I agree with my man Stubbs, who Tweted the wish that Price had the All-Star break off to recharge his batteries.

The Canadiens have 32 games left.

The Dash for Cash gets serious after the All-Star Game.

And unlike Philadelphia, the Canadiens are going to need great goaltending.

More manana.

•  •  •

Curious stat:

The Flyers blocked 31 shots, the Canadiens eight.


  1. Timo says:

    Where is fun in that? Nah, for the money he’s making he will be called out ALL THE TIME just because… unless of course he starts scoring in proportion to the amount of money he collects.

  2. pedro says:

    Gomez is not a team player.I did not like him when he played against the habs and now he is a liability ,no team in their right mind would take over his contract,any ideas on how to unload this selfish ,under acheiving freeloader?

  3. ManApart says:

    Hey folks, you just saw the real Montreal Canadiens tonight, against a real deal team. same as the old Montreal Canadiens I’m Afraid. The thing that confuses me the most is how you fools who are complaining didn’t see this 6 months or 12 or whatever ago. Team is ok, but nothing special. I’ve been saying it for almost 2 years now.

    Love DD, Darche, Max Pac and Subban. The younger guys are not bad. It’s the older, overpaid weight that dumb-dumb Gainey brought in that hurts the team.

  4. MathMan says:

    Meh. I still think Lucic is overrated.

    Gionta is the team’s most consistent net-crasher. He practically lives sitting on the goalie.

    Montreal is a pretty strong puck possession team. I think we’ve been force-fed the “need more grit/toughness” notion that we’ve completely lost sight of what the team right now actually is, and what it really needs.

  5. Duracell3 says:

    Toughest guy on the team is probably who, Ryan White maybe? Of regulars, Gill, Moen, maybe even PK? All I know is, we can’t beat the flyers, and they seemingly scare our players s—less.

  6. Black Snake Moen says:

    thanks, I’m just tired of hearing the old addage that we’re a team built on speed and puck movement alone and there’s no room for some real tough guys on this team.

    Chris Nilan, undoubtedly our best enforcer of all time, said this about the Hartnell hit:

    RT from @All_Habs:

    “That’s the time you crack someone in the jaw and make a little noise”

    and at this point, I agree with the guy…I’m so sick of seeing things like Pouliot falling to the ground and turtling because he knows Pronger is coming after him for making a CLEAN hit.  And Carcillo face-washing Gionta? 

    wheres their balls?

  7. Lafrich says:

    Doom Gloom Doom Gloom. Gauthier’s a genius, Gauthier’s an idiot, Martin’s a genius, Martin’s an idiot, Gomez is awful, Gomez is…ummm…errr… In any case, RELAX! It was just one game.

  8. ron181 says:

    Black snake moen,you are absolutely right. An excellent posting and it’s the naked truth. When are Gauthier and Martin realizing that this is not a swiss league. If the habs make the playoffs they will probably face this team again and they’ll be crushed in 4. They should have at least one enforcer like a Parros just to let the Flyers thugs know that they can’t bully DD , Gionta and PK. By not having one , the smurfs have to stand up for themselves and are running the risk of serious injury like Kulemin  last night.

  9. Duracell3 says:

    I’m not talking about fighters. I’m talking about players tough enough to go into the corners, and win. Who don’t get pushed off the puck every time they touch it. The only 2 who were healthy and playing well tonight to me were DD and Eller, and they well exemplify those problems. They win because they can crash the net AND score goals off nice plays. They win because we have to take shots from the tops of the circles or face having a DD, a Cammy, or a Gio try to cycle against Pronger or Coburn. Instead of overpaying for a Gomez, let’s overpay for a Luicic a little.

  10. MathMan says:

    The Flyers are a team built around speed, skill, and small forwards. Kind of like the Habs, only better.

    Yeah, they have dirty snots, Pronger is a jerk, and Richards is a despicable headhunter, but enforcers have zero impact on that (enforcers are, actually, a net negative). But the idea that they win by being the Broad Street Bullies is largely PR and inertia from their old reputation.

    The Habs have trouble beating the Flyers because the Flyers are a very skilled and very deep team. Philly’s a good hockey team, plain and simple. Toughness is a red herring.

  11. Timo says:

    … and the love with Gomez goes on no matter what. Incredible.

  12. VancouverHab says:

    Wrongo Timo: after the first period Gomez was brutal and probably lazy. Martin called him out and correctly so. Not good enough for the money he’s making. He’s got to stop that and now.

    OK? But how about we knock Gomez when and only when he, you know, iactually has a crap game….not all the time just because?

  13. Robert L says:

    Um, that’s not the REAL Chris Nilan…and I’d to have seen him throw knuckles at John Ferguson!

  14. Displaced says:

    We’ve been .500 (10-10-3) since December 4.  That means, it’s a good time to play “glass half full/glass half empty”, the game show that dares to ask, how good are we really?  The winner gets a Stanley Cup champion the loser, gets a pink slip and some nasty parting shots.


    Half Full: Considering that .500 stretch includes the brutal December road losing streak and bad run of injuries to key players, that’s not bad.  If we play .500 the rest of the way, we end the year 41-32-9, good for 91 points.  That’s 3 points better than last year and likely in the playoffs and would have been good for 6th last season.  A resurgent PP, improved production from Gomez, PK and additions like Patches, DD, Wiz we should play better than .500 in the second half.


    Half Empty: This team was built on veteran free agents.  That usually means a short window of opportunity.  And, this may not be our year.  Yep, injuries suck.  But they happen.  If this wasn’t our year are we really going to be better next year?  Gionta, Cammi and Gomez aren’t going to score more as they get older.  Patches, Subban, and Eller aren’t ready to lead us. Plecs, AK and Price have shown their full potential. We are a 90-ish point team for the third straight year that can’t seem to overcome inert mediocrity. 


    After a short break for our corporate sponsors we like to call the All Star Weekend, we will return for the lightning round.

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

  15. Black Snake Moen says:

    I was simply stating the source..Re-tweeted from an official Habs blog…Chris Nilan did say that, in fact

  16. OneTimer says:

    Hey dude, where ya been? Your last post before this one was like 10 days ago. All it takes for you to come back is one loss, huh.

  17. bigdave says:

    or possibly mid-terms?



    “The Allo Police Media – a collection of bitter ex-coaches, players and wannabees whose collective lack of success accounts for their present positions in Sports’ equivalent of a Jerry Springer Show”

  18. andrewberkshire says:

    The melodrama over one game on here is so ridiculous it reminds me why I’ve been ignoring this site for the better part of the last two months.

  19. patience is a virtue says:

    I was playing pond hockey and only caught the last 30mins.  It was frustrating not to score on that string of third period PPs (which serves to balance all the ref-bias-moaning, at least for last night, doesn’t it?).  On the whole, PP+ES, Montreal outplayed Philly during the third, as should be expected when a team is trying to come back.  They got one, but couldn’t convert the follow up.  Philly scores on an open net.  Remember – that was a 4-2 game.

    I tend to agree with Berkshire.  I’m not sure where the impression came from that the Flyers were so vastly superior last night (the last 30mins, nor the shot totals certainly didn’t reveal it).  It’s easy to be far superior playing 5-3.  That, and a couple of saves by Bobrovsky’s post, seemed to be the difference-makers in a competative game. 

    Yet, I expect fire and brimstone round here today.  Most disappointing is that Boone is leading the negativity with his tact and tone.  It’s not just perrenial whine-boxes like Man Apart.  I like reading those who take a dimmer view on the team, when they provide evidence for their opinions.  But I don’t like the atmosphere created by Boone preaching Habs mediocrity every chance he gets. 

    Our team has done well since coming out of their terrible slump, despite injuries.  They played the top team in the division (the NHL?) and played them hard.  Sure Philly is tougher, deeper, less-injured, on-a-hot-streak, etc. But last time I checked we are 4 points out of 5th and 2 points out of 3rd.  Not back off the bubble yet, but respectably making our way since the slump ended.

    Take advantage of the break and come back hard boys!  A good balance of tougher and weaker oponents coming in Feb.






  20. G-Man says:

    Bounces- like the shot in the 1st between Babofski’s legs that clanged off the post- ditto in the 3rd- made this a 3 goal difference. All the talk was about how much better the Flyers are compared to the Habs- so much depth and so much sandpaper, but all I saw was indiscipline by the Habs causing SH goals against.

    Gomez, with his SELFISH crosscheck early in the game, started the parade to the penalty box. WTF is up with him lately? Pleks chose an inopportune game to be…well…. ordinary.

    With each passing game, Desharnais is looking more and more like a keeper. He is smart with and w/o the puck and makes plays. When Cammi returns, look for Desharnais, Pouliot and Kostitsyn to dominate when they are on against other teams’ lesser lights. That will be a huge plus down the stretch.

    Price has been good to great this season, but I have noticed a trend. His lateral movement from his right post to his left is nowhere near as good as his left to right movement from the left post. Many goals lately have been the completion of a pass from his right side to his left. I know the D has to block those passes, but I”m just saying it’s been noted by other teams.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.