Undefeated in Carolina this season

Sheldon who?

The Canadiens score five power-play goals en route to a 7-4 win over the Hurricanes.
Four teams in the NHL have fewer PP goals ON THE SEASON!!!!

Mark Streit called it “un match fou” – a crazy game.
That’s about right.

Carolina – which lost for the first time in regulation this season – made it mildly interesting in the third period, cutting the Canadiens’ lead to 6-4 before Mathieu Dandenault used his speed to catch up to a puck and bag an empty netter.
But this one was all over but the crying after 20 minutes, by which time the Canadiens led 5-1.

Tomas Plekanec had two goals and two assists.
Andrei Markov had three assists.
Streit had a goal and an assist.
Guillaume Latendresse had three assists.

12 different players got on the scoresheet.

On to Pittsburgh.

Sorry everybody. I managed to lose my third period blogging … again.

The last 20 minutes were fairly uneventful.
Canadiens eased up, which is inevitably when a team jumps out to an early and large lead.

Carolina came on, but it was – stand by for cliché – too little, too late.
(But not too little to make the Canadiens minus-6 on a game they won by three goals.)

Guy Carbonneau didn’t like his captain falling asleep on Carolina’s third goal. On the next shift, Kyle Chipchura centred Christopher Higgins and Michael Ryder. Koivu played a shift with Steve Bégin and Tom Kostopoulos.

Great work by the second and fourth lines.
Solid play by all six defencemen. They don’t give up the blueline, and unlike last season, they don’t panic.
The transition game is MUCH better.

Tomas Plekanec has rediscovered his form from the second half of last season.
If Alex Kovalev had playedhis first 999 NHL games the way he played his 1,000th, he’d be a lock for the Hall of Fame.
Mikhail Grabovski looks more comfortable in every game.
Bryan Smolinski plays textbook positional hockey.
Kyle Chipchura, Steve Bégin and Tom Kostopoulos play like they’ve been together five years.

Just because they were afraid P.J. Stock would lose interest, Carolina tried to goon it up.
It didn’t work.

A very satisfying win.

Third Period 20:00 Cheerleaders. How pathetic is that?

• • •

Benoit Brunet didn’t like Justin Williams jumping on non-combatant Mark Streit.

Rod Brind’Amour and Matt Cullen are 16-9 on faceoffs.

Roman Hamrlik has played 16 minutes, Andrei Markov 15:27

J.T. on the second period:
What a boring period…only two goals. Okay, yeah, I’m kidding.

Apparently, the officials in the NHL are hoping that if Komisarek is high-sticked enough, it will improve the dental work his parents scrimped and saved for. He should inform them that, no, it won’t.

I think the refs feel bad for the ‘Canes. When the Habs are on a PP, they won’t call even an obvious penalty, just in case it goes to double digits. I wonder if they’ve been told by the Bettman police to keep everyone equal. Although, if you’ve read “Animal Farm,” some animals are more equal than others.

I’ve heard twice tonight, “Beau joue Brisebois.” Okay…I’ll soon believe Yvon.

I think Kostitsyn is starting a petition to return the position of “rover” to the NHL so he can get some ice time.

Begin kills penalties like John Wayne killed bad guys.
• • •

Carolina had a 14-6 edge in shots during the second period.
Canadiens let the Hurricanes come to them a bit.
I guess it’s hard to keep pedal to the metal with a 5-1 lead.

Last time the Canadiens scored five PP goals in a game was in 1975 en route to a 12-3 rout of Chicago.

Second Period 20:00 TOMAS PLEKANEC!
I guess they must have imported the Bell Centre boards.
And how about Kovy taking a Mike Commodore check to make a pass?

Second Period 4:02 Justin Williams goons Streit and goes to sit.

Second Period 5:10 PENALTY SHOT!
Eric Staal
Hold onto your hats.

Second Period 5:30 Just get out of the period without giving them a second goal.
Tis isn’t Toronto, right?

Second Period 6:05 Haven’t seen that in a while. A fight wipes out a goal.

Second Period 6:40 Cristobal: DON’T HANDLE THE PUCK!!!!

Second Period 7:11 Easy PK. And Nokisarek is back.

Second Period 8:35 Big PK here. Can’t let Carolina back into this thing.

Second Period 9:30 Don Larsen redux. Tomas Plekanec is laying a perfect game.

Second Period 11:30 RDS quiz: Who gives the Canadiens the most troube, Martin Brodeur, Daniel Alfredsson or IErik Cole.
I say Brodeur.

Second Period 11:31 Almost halfway through the period, and the home team hasn’t roared back. Best chances to score have been by the Might Machine in white.

Second Period 14:00 Komisarek has gone for repairs, so it’s Breezer and Markov.

Second Period 15:00 Wonder what’s going through Andrei Kostitsyn’s mind.

Second Period 17:08 That will key their comeback. Matt Cullen cross-checks Komisarek in the mouth.

Second Period 20:00 Ward out (GAA has gone from 1.85 to 2.37). John Grahame in.
Four PP goals in a period ties a team record.

• • •

Carolina will come hard to start the second period.
Keep them off the scoreboard and this sucker’s over.

• • •
Canadiens play their best first period since … oh, about 1978 to take a 5-1 lead over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Kyle Chipchura who’s 5-1 on faceoffs) started the deluge, followed by Tomas Plekanec (who added two assists), Alex Kovalev (800th point of his career, in is 1,000th game), Saku Koivu and Mark Streit.

Four of the goals came on Canadiens power plays

Alex Kovalev is playing like his hair is on fire.
So’s Tomas Plekanec … and he has a buzz cut.
Christopher Higgins’ news stash may catch fire.
And Tom the Bomb Can’tstopoulos is going to burn down the RBC Arena.
Nine Canadiens on the scoresheet.

And I have to correct something I posted before the game began: Peter Laviolette doesn’t let his players fight … unless they’re being blown out of their own building.

J.T.’s notes on the first period:

Apparently, Cam Ward doesn’t like his dad much. Laviolette is wishing he could go to Gerber.

Three points for Pleky already tonight. Is it possible he wears an invisibility cloak enabling him to hide himself from all non-Habs fans? Because no one else seems to realize how great a player he is.

Whoever opened the floodgates on the Habs’ scoring ability stuck a wedge in there because it won’t close.

Higgins draws penalties the way Warhol draws soup cans.

Latendresse seems surprised to find himself alone in the crease. It’s uncharted territory, which must apparently be mapped by waving his stick ineffectually in Ward’s face.

Whistles seem to be very slow in coming in Huet’s crease. I don’t want to get into a ref-slamming thing, especially because the Habs are drawing most of the penalties, but I’m predicting the ‘Canes will score a goal by banging two or three times at a puck that would be whistled dead most nights.

Chipchura isn’t a Carbo clone. He has better hands.

Smolinski is good at lots of things…winning the puck on the boards…at least tonight…isn’t one of them.

I want to see the moonwalk. Go Kovy!

First Period 1:24 If this were a fight, they’d stop it.

First Period 1:54 Tic-tac-toe The Captain makes it 4-1

First Period 3:41 What a sequence. Michael Ryder makes a great pass to Higgins and Eric Staal takes a tripping penalty.

First Period 5:20 Houde and Pedneault are riffing on Montsre Mash being played on the PA. “Not White Christmas,” Houde says, “but a great song for Halloween.”

First Period 5:25 High-flying they may be, but the Hurricanes do not have a great defence corps.
Or is it just that the Canadiens’ forwards are channeling the 1990 Edmonton Oilers?

First Period 7:36 Break up this dynasty! Kovy’s 800th point is a one-timer off a pass from Andrei Markov … and a great, sprawling play by Plekanec.

First Period 9:39 Jeff Hamilton gets behind my man Roman Hamrlik and cashes an Eric Staal pass

First Period 11:20 What a machine! Mark Streit, takes a pass from Latendresse, smokes one from the right point, Plekanec jumps on the rebound and bangs it home.
Two goals on two shots

First Period 11:51 Chris Higgins wins a battle on the boards wth Justin Williams and Carolina takes a penalty.
First PP
Will this be Kovy’s 800th point?

First Period 14:07 Huet looks a tad shaky. Pedneault says he has trouble with pucks close to him.

First Period 15:10 Grabovski hauls down Kaberle in the offensive zone. Bad play.

First Period 16:42 Great shift by the fourth line. And Chipchura goes top corner, glove side on Ward.

First Period 19:18 Great chance early. Cam Ward stops a Tomas Plekanec backhand. Very nice feed by Guy!

• • •

Benoit Brunet says Canadiens are better prepared mentally for games this season.

• • •

Kovy wants to play until he’s 50 … which will jeopardize Guy Carbonneau’s chances of living until 60.
Kovy’s first NHL game: Oct. 12, 1992 – against the Hartford Whalers, who became the Carolina Hurricanes.

• • •

No Chantal Machabée tonight!
Quel dommage.

• • •

I didn’t know Pascal Leclaire played junior with the Montreal Rocket.

• • •

Devils finally move into their new Prudential Centre tomorrow … in beautiful Newark, N.J.
Danny Markov has signed with Dynamo Moscow.

• • •

Nice feature on the great Rod Brind’Amour.
First ballot Hall of Famer, guaranteed.

• • •

Zdeno Chara demolished Chicago’s David Koci. He’s on the DL with face injuries.
Why would any sane person fight that big galoot?
Let me rephrase that: Why would anyone fight?

• • •

Attention Don Cherry Nation:
Fight clips after the commercial break … in HD on RDS.
Another reason why I like Carolina coach Peter Laviolette: he won’t let his guys fight.

• • •

Benoit Brunet says Michael Ryder shouldn’t be carrying the puck. It causes problems for his linemates.
Jacques Demers says it’s a “question of time” before Ryder starts scoring.
How much time?

• • •

What the difference with Alex Kovalev this season?
“Bob Gainey,” says Yvon Pedneault.
The GM has Kovy motivated.
Gainey has been busy this week: watching gamesin New York, Washington, back in NY and in Raleigh today.
Compiling a book, Pedneault says, on what’s going on in the league.

• • •

The great Jean Béliveau talks about pride in playing 1,000 games – a milestone he hit in 1969.
• • •

Hurricanes have their parents down in Carolina this weekend.

• • •

Hey, Higgy is growing a moustache!

• • •

“Big weekend for the Canadiens, Luc.”
Luc Gélinas nods sagely.
Christopher Higgins says the team “never got down to the source of the problem” that would explain difficulty in back-to-back games last season.
It’s only October, but the Canadiens will play their second and final regular-season games in Carolina and Pittsburgh tonight and tomorrow.

Weird schedule.
The Canadiens play the Leafs and Sabres three times each in November. Next month
shapes up as crucial: 11 of the Canadiens’ 14 November games are against Northeast Division opponents.

• • •

These games are the first of 10 back-to-back sets the Canadiens will play this season.
There were 15 in 2006-’07 – and the Canadiens were swept five times, scored one sweep and split 10 back-to-backers.
They were 4-11 in first games, 6-9 in seconds.
The Canadiens will play back to back games against Tampa Bay and Florida Dec. 27-28 and and not again until Feb. 12-13 (another double in the Sunshine state).
During crunch time, there are two sets: Feb. 29-March 1 (at Buffalo, home to New Jeresy) and March 28-29 (at Buffalo and Toronto).
• • •

La Presse’s François Gagnon on Alex Kovalev’s milestone 1,000th game tonight:
“At the risk of drawing the ire of big Kovi’s defenders, Alex Kovalev has the reputation of playing one game out of three, which means tonight’s he’ll be playing the 334th game of his NHL career. Some say he plays one in four … others one in five, but I’m in a good mood today.”

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