Quick hits

Credit Castor with posting the line of the night to the Comments section:

Jekyll and Habs..

For the sixth time in their first 24 games, the Canadiens followed a loss with a victory.

They’ve suffered consecutive Ls only once.

What made this W surprising was the vivid contrast with that horror show in Atlanta.

A significant stat: 

Against the Thrashers, the Canadiens won only 38 per cent of faceoffs.

Tonight against Buffalo, it was precisely reversed: 62 per cent of the faceoffs were won.

Lars Eller was 8-0. Jeff Halpern 3-0.

It helps, against the Sabres or anyone else, to not be chasing the puck all night.

Mathieu Darche, who is meshing nicely with Eller and Benoit Pouliot, said simplicity is the key to consistency, which has eluded the Canadiens since consecutive wins over Carolina and Philadelphia two weeks ago.

“I don’t think it’s working harder, it’s working smarter,” Darche said. “If you don’t have play, instead of trying to make a play out of nothing, you cut your losses. You put the puck deep, you change and next time you might get another chance, instead of forcing it.”

In winning his 14th game, Carey Price has exceeded last season’s win total. The goaltender said the Canadiens have been on a roller-coaster of lat – a view echoed by the red-hot captain.

“The last couple of weeks we’ve been up and down,” Brian Gionta said. “It’s nice we’re not letting things slide, but we need a more consistent effort.

Jacques Martin bristled at the view, popular among virtually everyone else who watched the Friday game, that the Canadiens had totally sucked in Atlanta.

The coach said his team had competed against the Thrashers in the first and third periods. Martin also praised Atlanta as a strong squad in a league where “every team is capable of winning.”

Well, maybe every team except Buffalo. The Canadiens have won all three meetings with the Sabres this season, and most of tonight’s game was one-sided.

You have to wonder how bad Craig Rivet is to be a healthy scratch on a team the Canadiens outshot 20-8 and outchanced 10-0 in the first period.

Buffalo has an All-Star goaltender and not much else. martin was able to roll four lines and watch his team spend long stretches in the Sabres’ end of the ice.

Fourteen of the Canadiens’ 18 skaters had at least one shot on goal. Brian Gionta had 8 and P.K. Subban 6.

The Sabres blocked six shots and there were 19 misses. That’s a lot of puck possession; and as Darche said, the Canadiens played mostly smart hockey, moving the puck efficiently and not reaching for plays that weren’t there.

Both Gionta goals were beauties, the first off a perfect pass by AK46, the second after Tomas Plekanec managed to outfight he much larger and allegedly talented Tyler Myers.

(At the final siren, the latter joined Mike Richards and Zach Bogosian on the rapidly growing list of players who are REALLY ANNOYED by the Canadiens effervescent young defenceman).

A couple more numbers:

• 15 players had hits.

• Josh Gorges blocked five shot … nonbe with his head, after losing his helmet during a Buffalo power play.

• The PK pitched another shutout and at 90.1 is second only to Pittsburgh’s kill percentage of 90.2.

• AK46’s power-play goal moved the Canadiens up to 15.6 per cent efficiency, 20th in the league.

The team has Sunday off.

Are you ready for some football?

 

62 Comments

  1. HardHabits says:

    Gainey-Carbo-Nilan. Now that was one line nobody wanted to play against.

    And your wrong about perceptions. Jacques Lemaire got run out of town because of defensive hockey. The 1986 team was a real Cinderalla story. They were the unlikliest of Cup favourites that year. I can just imagine had there been an HIO back then. OMFG!!!!

    Defense became fashionable for a while but only because everyone knew the teams offensive limitations. It wasn’t popular believe me. The current Habs team is more fun to watch than a lot of what we saw in the Roy era.

  2. light_n_tasty says:

    The problem is, HH, that Gomez is gettin’ paid to put in 22 star-quality minutes.  He’s paid to be our #1 centre.  I’d rather see Gomez get 0 minutes and the Habs have an extra 7.357 in cap space. But since that’s not gonna happen, I’m gonna try to be happy about the 1 shot he got tonight.  And he was 50% on faceoffs. Baby steps.

  3. Shiloh says:

    I’d take him – instantly the power play is locked and loaded.

  4. light_n_tasty says:

    Or, the NHL could make it really clear by keeping only 2 columns: W and L.

    But you’re right, “loser point” vs “winner point” is all semantics, which is my point.

  5. NoTinFoilCups says:

    You’re kidding right?

  6. Chris says:

    “I still don’t get what all the griping is about. You people would’ve crucified Bob Gainey if half of you ever saw him play.”

    I sincerely doubt that.

    1) Bob Gainey had a clearly defined role (3rd line checker) at which he was the best in the NHL, if not perhaps the entire world. Guy Carbonneau was equally beloved for becoming the best defensive player in the NHL. Habs fans are not generally stupid, and recognize brilliance in a prescribed role when it is appropriate. Gomez can do a lot of little things that help teams win, but he’s paid to pick up points and he’s not doing that.

    2) No sane individual questioned Bob Gainey’s dedication or drive. Gomez, on the other hand, often leaves you wondering if he cares when he is struggling.

  7. Da Hema says:

    Sigh. I’d rather the Canadiens signed Avery. Kovalev is revolting.

    ————————

    An important announcement from the Government of Canada:

    Health Canada is reminding Canadians that consumption of the Toronto Maple Leafs has led to vomiting, fever, bloody diarrhea, dementia, and penile dysfunction.

  8. Chris says:

    Skipped the Habs game tonight and instead watched the Guelph Storm host the London Knights in OHL action, getting my first look at the Habs’ 1st round pick of last season, Jarred Tinordi.

    My impression, for what it is worth after seeing him only once live: he won’t be wearing a Habs jersey anytime soon. When draft pundits said he was a work in progress, they really weren’t kidding. I was there in a group of four other people, and all were shocked after the game to hear that he was a first round NHL draft pick. He was almost completely invisible.

    Tinordi is obviously big (listed at 6’7″ in the program, but I would guess he is closer to 6’5″), but he needs to fill out his frame (he plays at 212 pounds). Despite being 18, an age where most top defencemen are logging heavy, heavy minutes in the OHL, Tinordi does not play the first wave on the PP or the PK and his shifts were suprisingly short (almost always less than a minutes).

    After watching elite OHL defencemen like Ryan Parent, Drew Doughty, Andre Benoit, Daniel Girardi, Danny Syvret, John Carlson, P.K. Subban and Alex Pietrangelo in recent seasons, Tinordi is light years behind those guys in terms of his game. This isn’t to say he won’t make the NHL someday, but that goal is a long, long way off and I wouldn’t be surprised if he maxes out as a third pairing kind of player.

  9. Lafrich says:

    Would not support. Would give nothing.

     

    Wait. Strike that. Is MAB on our team? No? Ok, then what I said in the first place stands.

  10. HardHabits says:

    As someone earlier noted Gomez’ ice time was 15:56 minutes with Eller picking up the slack at 11:59 minutes.

    I still don’t get what all the griping is about. You people would’ve crucified Bob Gainey if half of you ever saw him play. Tonight Gomez chased a Buffalo player from the offensive zone and stripped him of the puck all the way back in the Habs’ defensive zone and then got the puck out which led to another breakout.. He had an excellent pass to Kostistyn’s stick and Miller made the save, but nevertheless it was a quality scoring chance. You can see how he looked after the save in frustration. What does he need to do to buy an assist!

    Boone pointed out the Habs win/loss ratio with Gomez over/under the 18 minute mark. I’d rather Gomez put in 16 quality minutes than 20 lazy ones.

    —————————————————

    Gomez’ assist mechanism is snake bitten.

  11. Vid says:

    A.kosts needs to grow some chin hair so that we can call the AK-Plex-Gio line the Goatee line.

  12. sidhu says:

    A few thoughts:

    - Eller > Gomez

    - Quietly playing great — Picard. Who would have thought he’d be playing solid minutes.  He provides good balance to PK’s game.

    - Please get Darche off the PP.  Yes, we scored a PP goal, but it was on a 5on3. The 5on4 PP didn’t score and it needs to improve.

  13. Exit716 says:

    I figured out why Cherry nailed P.K. tonight. In the first period, P.K. absolutely destroyed that fourth rate slug Kaleta with a hit.

  14. BJT says:

    Does ‘nonbe’ mean ‘none’ or ‘one’? (re: Gorges shotblocking with his head)

     

    Formerly known as Camel_Larry..
    ..”No more Looser on this teams!!” – Canadienboy

  15. Mr.Hazard says:

    Plekanec is on pace for 82 points. Price is playing insanely well. I’m happy.

  16. Chuck says:

    Meh. For all we know, Gomez’ conscience is getting the best of him, and he’s only keeping $4 million of it and is cutting cheques to the rest of his teammates behind closed doors.

    Centre Hice: Price in a charitable mood

  17. light_n_tasty says:

    Even Gomez had a shot tonight.  Total domination.

  18. Ayan_SB says:

    Hah, no thanks.

    JM preaches hard work and defensive accountablity, while Kovalev is far from that.

    I’d rather see the Habs try to go for Gionta’s friend, NJ Devils Jamie Langenbrunner.

  19. SeriousFan09 says:

    Rather not, if we’re going for deadline deals than I’d rather someone who fits into the core of the team better, need a player who will play at least something of a power forward role in Top 6. Don’t need someone fancy, we need someone with sandpaper who can keep up with our forwards.

     

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

  20. HardHabits says:

    OK. Hypothetically speaking. The Senators by trade deadline are out of the playoff picture. Markov is out for the season. My question is, would you support the Habs trading for Kovalev and if so what would you give?

    My answers; yes and a 2nd round draft pick.

    Discuss.

    No better yet argue.

    Wait a second. Don’t tell Bugs. He’d be insulted by my offering of only a 2nd.

  21. SeriousFan09 says:

    Dubnyk isn’t exactly a Vezina candidate, but then again those are the goalies MTL has the most trouble with.

     

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

  22. Chuck says:

    Interesting seeing so may Riders fans at the Oilers game decked out in green.  :)

    And Edmonton is making a late comeback, showing why they can’t be taken lightly on Wednesday.

    Centre Hice: Price in a charitable mood

  23. athanor says:

    Actually, there are ties at the end of regulation time. Each team is rewarded for that. The team that then wins in OT or SO gets a bonus point.

    Perhaps the NHL could make it clearer by changing the OT label to RT (regulation tie) and adding an OW column. That would let fans know how many games the winning team was unable to win in regulation.

    So it could easily be argued that the ‘loser point’ complaints are about semantics.

  24. Shiloh says:

    So were all the single points for ties that Rocket Richard and Guy Lafleur’s teams got just “loser” points? Has the league been awarding “loser” points for all these decades? No – you know that’s not the case. The only change is the single point awarded for an overtime win.

    Now – you are correct in mentioning that the listing which indicates OTL is ludicrously stupid – it should say OTW – and it has changes in the standings this year.

  25. Chris says:

    I wouldn’t say Jacques Lemaire got entirely run out of town…he also maintained that he hated the media microscope that came with coaching the franchise.  The 1986 “Cinderella” team was 6th overall and finished 6th in goals for and 4th in goals against.  Those are pretty elite numbers.

    The Cinderella story of that season wasn’t that the Habs won, although the Habs did go into a late-season slump that had the team in revolt and the veterans allegedly took over the team from Jean Perron, who had lost the dressing room. The Habs only beat one team that finished ahead of them in the standings, and that was the Calgary Flames who finished 2 points ahead.  All of the other teams, including the three dominant regular season teams (Edmonton, Philadelphia and Washington) were upset in the divisional playoffs so Montreal never saw them.

    My argument was not about which style of hockey was more entertaining.  It was about the perception of a player’s job.  If Mats Naslund or Bobby Smith were not scoring back in 1986, people got on them…that was their job to do, and they wouldn’t have been doing it.  Nobody would get on Carbonneau or Gainey for not scoring 30 goals and/or 80 points.  If the opposition was piling up points, then they would have a problem, because it was their job to ensure that the other team wasn’t scoring.

  26. RGM says:

    Those are some ridiculousnumbers. A fantastic month in the books for Carey and the team.

    Go Habs Go!

  27. HardHabits says:

    Gomez’ salary is an issue for number crunching fans. Gainey did not give SG that contract, Sather did. Gainey did not go get Gomez for his salary, he got him despite it. Gomez was brought in because he is the type of player that fits the system he and JM are building. Unlike KovyII in NJ.

    That is what drives me insane. You all compare Gomez to Kovalchuck, Crosby, Malkin and Ovechkin. He’s not that type of player. Stop thinking salary and just watch Gomez play. He’s a great player to have on the team, notwithstanding his cap hit. It’s a fact of life that Sather gave him that contarct.

  28. HardHabits says:

    They are loser points. The team get’s a point for an over-time loss. They don’t say over-time win and allot 1 point for that and have atie section. If they did that a lot of teams would show their real win-loss record. The current system skewers the standing results to make it look like every team (or almost every team) is above .500. It is also intended to keep the standings close so as to render final playoff spots determined on the last day of the season. It makes sense from a marketing perspective but it is a perceptional alteration to appease fickle fans and those with a limited knowledge of the game.

  29. usversusthem says:

    In case anyone was wondering… 

    With the Habs’ November games in the books, here’s Carey Price’s numbers this month. Do I smell a Player of the Month? Doubt it, but damn if he’s not close. 

    GP: 12 (716 minutes)
    RECORD: 8-4-0
    GA: 19 (0 empty net goals)
    GAA: 1.59
    SA: 392 (32.85/60 min)
    SV: 373 (31.26/60 min)
    SV%: .951
    SO: 3

    Worth noting: 2 of those losses came in games the Habs were shut out in. Meaning: In the 10 games the Habs actually scored a goal, Price went 8-2. (Of his 7 regulation losses so far this season, the Habs have scored 1 or 0 goals in 4 of them.) Also: Keep in mind, he let in 8 of those 19 goals in the first three games of the month. Over the last 9 games, he’s been insane! 7-2-0, 1.23, .964, 3 SO… It’s unlikely he’ll be about to retain his Movember mojo going forward, but if he puts up anywhere close to these numbers for another couple of months the Habs shouldn’t have too much trouble clinching the division even without Markov. 

  30. light_n_tasty says:

    Semantics.  When the losing team gets a point, it’s the loser point.  Pretty simple concept.  The winning team gets the same amount of points no matter when they win.  There is no winner point.  The winning team always gets 2 points.  There are no more ties.  So why award a point for one?

  31. SeriousFan09 says:

    Is there such a thing as a tie game anymore outside of college hockey? No. Therefore, the tie game was done away with in favour of making sure each game produced a winning team. With that in mind, I’d argue for no points awarded for an OT or SO loss and only one point awarded for a shootout win.

    You lose, no points. Forget rewarding a tie game when it’s not actually a tie game, it’s just going to go on until you get a winner.

     

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

  32. SeriousFan09 says:

    Tinordi showed much better poise in pre-season for the Habs than he has for the LDN Knights I’ve read by some  observers at the HF Boards, not exactly sure what’s going on in LDN, they’ve only got 3 wins in their last 10 games. To be fair to him as well, this was his first game back after getting his knee banged up a few days ago.

     

     

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

  33. Shiloh says:

    I see the same old false argument popping up about the “loser” point. There is no point awarded for losing – there is a point awarded for a regulation tie just the same as there was prior to overtime being introduced. Nothing has changed because of a non-existent “loser” point. The extra point awarded for the winner of overtime is new, however. So the standings may be bunched somewhat because of the winner point, but there is no point for losing and there continues to be a point awarded for a tie – no change there.

    If you guys want the “good old days” of boring, stifling hockey, just get rid of the overtime. If you think for one nano-second that any sentient GM would allow two points to be awarded for a shootout win, I’ve got some swampland I’d like to sell you. And overtime has to end quickly during the regular season because of travel – so something like a shootout has to remain an option.

    So keep up the wrongheaded incorrect mantra about “loser” points because you may have heard it somewhere and the sound appeals to you. But it’s pure fiction.

  34. Timo says:

    Are any of the shananigans in the end of the third worth searching for on youtube or other sources? Damn PVR thing just cut off. 

     

    I want Habs to destroy Edmonton on Wed… not cause I hate them but just cause. Will Auld play?

  35. DearyLeary says:

    Not really, Myers just grabbed PK and tried to toss him.   Likely because PK tried to pull a ridculous move on Myers earlier in the period.  Really a non-issue, other than people trying to get away with attacking PK because Donald decided his vendetta should result in PK’s career getting shortened via injury.

  36. sholi2000.com says:

    OK great game, but seriously, how much was Eller’s bill Thursday night?  :)

    I know I know, what happens on the ice stays on the ice ;)

    They Call Me Shane

  37. FormalWare says:

    You’re talking about the dinner where the rookies treat? The bill would have been Eller’s AND PK’s to split–right? Probably no more than a few grand; the Habs are a disciplined bunch. (What the hell do I know?!)

  38. SUMO says:

    Thanks Mike.

    You forgot to mention that even when Gorges lost his helmet, he still stepped into the shooting lanes to lay his body on the line to block shots. You win championshipswith guys like this.

    A few players and CBC’s dickhead hate Subban,but Chris Chelios was also a hated player……

     

     

  39. Timo says:

    Cheers, thank you, sir. And if PK is hated now, I can’t wait how much Cherry and the rest of the CBC homers are going to froth at their mouths when PK starts to get really nasty in years to come.  

  40. Exit716 says:

    I’m sure it all comes down to autographs.

    PK can sign his name.

    Don gives people a great big X

  41. andrewberkshire says:

    Just an observation, but this team lost all consistency when Markov went down. That’s when the .500 hockey started. The people who want to trade him should recognize that.

  42. punkster says:

    Shows what a pivotal role he plays and how much of an impact he has for the team. If he doesn’t come back until next season it’s a huge hole to fill but the main thing is that he comes back. This year, next year, whenever. Just come back, please!

  43. HardHabits says:

    Ahem. The only two losses in a row were when Markov came back. It works both ways.

    Markov healthy yes, but IMO he needs a year off minimum. A Markov prone to injuries becomes a disruption to the team.

    I want the Habs to put him on LTIR to gain the cap space and move on for this season. Trading him is not a good idea either but the Habs shouldn’t sign him unless that knee is fully healed. It’s too much of an investment to put into a player if he’s to go down again.

  44. VancouverHab says:

    It’s an observation that has the virtue of being correct.

  45. Bill says:

    Except, didn’t they go 7-3 to start the season without him?

    Full Breezer 4 Life

  46. FormalWare says:

    Am I ready for some football? Am I ready for some football?!

    Been a Riders fan since I could say “Go, Riders, Go!” Last year’s finish was just wrong.

    Am I ready??

  47. Ayan_SB says:

    I hope you’re ready to lose again ;)

  48. lemess says:

    GO RIDERS!!!!

     Green is the colour……..

  49. andrewberkshire says:

    Agreed. At this point there’s little choice in what to do. You don’t trade a player of Markov’s calibre when his value is at an all-time low. You sign him to a multi-year deal for the rest of his career. Give him security and watch him pay you back for it for years.

  50. Timo says:

    Nah… they just need to re-gel. See, they did some gelling before Markov, he came back, they re-gelled, then he went down and now they have to go back to the original gelling. It’s not easy, you know. Markov is a jerk for making his team doing all that gelling and re-gelling all the time.

  51. Ayan_SB says:

    Markov is disrupting the System with all his injuries.

    All hail the System.

     

  52. VancouverHab says:

    Do you think that will be what happens? (I very much hope so.)

  53. NoTinFoilCups says:

    True, but when they finally gelinate what a wonderful sight it is to behold!

  54. Timo says:

    I couldn’t give a crap about football but yeah… go… umm.. Montreal football team.

  55. Chuck says:

    In Atlanta they played like they were hungover. I’m sure that the bill was worth more than a few thousand.  :)

    Centre Hice: Price in a charitable mood

  56. Chuck says:

    Meh. Those two losses were due solely to the team readjusting to having Markov back in the lineup.  ;)

    Centre Hice: Price in a charitable mood

  57. HardHabits says:

    I wish that were the case. It was the same thing with Koivu. Koivu always in and out hurt the team.

    Markov is an elite defenseman. Healthy one of the best in the world. That knee though is worrisome but what’s more worrisome and no-one wants to admit it is that I percieve Markov as having poor decision making skills in that he is allowing himself to get into situations where he is vulnerable to getting injured. He doesn’t have a cat-like ability to land on his feet so to speak. The Grabovski hit, the Cooke hit and the Staal hit belie a decision making process that isn’t quick enough to get his body out of harms way. He’s looking like he’s turning to glass. I question his long-term durability but I still believe it boils down to mental lapses as opposed to freakishness or bad luck. In sports you make your luck.

  58. Da Hema says:

    I was thinking something similar about Markov himself being partly responsible for the Cooke and Staal injuries. That Cooke hit–given what every player should know about Cooke–tells me Markov’s sense of self-preservation needs significant refining. He is neither big nor strong enough to play physical along the boards. I wish the Habs had a Ludwig-type defenceman to play with Markov. The fact that a mouse like Grabovski was able to end one of Markov’s seasons concerns me.

    ————————

    An important announcement from the Government of Canada:

    Health Canada is reminding Canadians that consumption of the Toronto Maple Leafs has led to vomiting, fever, bloody diarrhea, dementia, and penile dysfunction.

  59. VancouverHab says:

    Incredible how tight the League is: only ten points separate first from 20th…

  60. HardHabits says:

    Hello loser point. Everyone is above .500 hurray!!! ;-)


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