About last night …

PriceBoston

First place in the division and second in the Eastern Conference after 30 games.
When have we seen this movie before?
Not all that long ago.
Last March 21, the Canadiens celebrated the vernal equinox by beating the Islanders 5-2 on Long Island.
The win moved them two points ahead of Boston in the Northeast Division.
The Canadiens were three points behind Pittsburgh for the conference lead.

On paper, last year’s edition was a better team after 30 games.

The Canadiens were 20-5-5. They had scored 97 goals and allowed 75, a differential of plus-22.

Thursday night’s thrilling 2-1 conquest of the Bruins at the Bell Centre lifted the Canadiens to a record of 18-9-3 – six points fewer than they had after 30 games last season.

They’ve scored 82 and allowed 63, a differential of plus-19.

So with the numbers favouring last spring’s Montreal Canadiens, how come I like this autumn’s team more?

Two words: Carey Price.

Another word: Character.

Both were the keys to victory in a game of playoff-level intensity against a very good Boston team.

In stopping 32 Boston shots – half of which were directed at him during the third period – Price outplayed Tuukka Rask, whom the Canadiens beat twice on 27 shots. Price has allowed two or fewer goals in his last nine starts. He’s gone 7-1-1 with a goals-against average of 1.54 and a .951 save percentage.

Since the season began, Price is 13-8-2 with a GAA of 1.95 and a save percentage of .938. Under the tutelage of Stéphane Waite – general manager Marc Bergevin’s best off-season acquisition – Price is playing the best hockey of his career.

He and Peter Budaj give the Canadiens a chance to win every night – and the chance is being seized by a gutty team that has not lost a game in regulation since Nov. 16.

All the portents pointed to a Boston win Thursday night.

The Bruins were well rested – idle since Saturday.

The Canadiens were playing their second game in as many nights, their sixth in nine days. The span has included three back-to-back sets.

Yes, the Canadiens are healthy, with only Rene Bourque unavailable for duty. But the schedule has been a bitch – and it’s not about to get better.

A visit by the rarely-seen-in-these-parts L.A. Kings next Wednesday kicks off a sequence of seven games in 11 days, including visits to resurgent Philadelphia, St. Louis and Nashville, just before the Christmas break.

It’s the old cliché: No rest for the weary – and no respite for the allegedly undersized.

With a lineup that included Brian Gionta, David Desharnais, Brendan Gallagher and Daniel Brière, the Canadiens outhit the big, bad Bruins 30-18. No fewer than 14 Canadiens had hits, led by Alexei Emelin (no surprise there) and Lars Eller (WTF!!!) with five each.

Gallagher had four hits. Zdeno Chara had two, Milan Lucic one.

Your Montreal Canadiens are a small hockey team.

But as someone – I think it was Michael Vick – once said: “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

Almost every time he was on the ice, Gallagher did something to harass Chara. The kid never stops skating, he never gives up on a puck battle.

That energy is contagious. It has certainly jolted Gallagher’s linemates, Desharnais and Max Pacioretty.

I though Michaël Bournival had a similarly energizing effect on Gionta and Tomas Plekanec – although the latter is playing great hockey no matter who’s on his wing. It’s worth noting Pleks was 14-12 on faceoffs against the Bruins, while Patrice Bergeron, who usually owns the circle, was 12-16.

It was far from an artistic triumph that you’ll be watching on DVD 10 years from now. The power play was awful, and the Bruins dominated the first and third periods.

Daniel Brière added a bit of offensive zip to his new line and meshed well with Eller. But Alex Galchenyuk struggled and played 8:13 – second lowest ToI to George Parros’s 5:24.

Some mebers of the Commentariat thought the presence of Parros inhibited Bruin goonery. I’m not so sure. But Boston did not target Pacioretty after that hit on Johnny Boychuk – and props to Claude Julien for saying it was a two-minute penalty and nothing more.

The teams will meet in Boston on Jan. 30 and twice more in March. We may see more of the mayhem that has marred past encounters, but I’m hoping for three more games in which the rivals stick to hockey.

• Oops, forgot to mention defencemen.

I thought Raphael Diaz, who set up Pacioretty’s game-winning goal, was excellent. Josh Gorges kept his cool against a frequently ferocious Boston forecheck and ended the game at plus-2. P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov were each minus-1 – which, for me, renders the stat meaningless. And Douglas Murray had two hits, a couple of blocked shots and joined Emelin in bringing the physical D that is useful against the Bostons of the league.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

392 Comments

  1. Bill says:

    Hey Steve O, it would be more fair to compare each defenceman’s GA/min over the last nine games, which are the only games Emelin has played.

    I’m betting they all have really good numbers during this recent winning streak.

  2. SteverenO says:

    I want to start by pointing out just how well Emelin is playing:

    in 169 minutes of even strength ice time he has been on the ice for ONLY two goals against, an incredible rate of one goal against for every 85 minutes of ice time.

    How does this compare to the rest of the d-corps?

    emeline- one GA every 85 minutes- one GF every 28 minutes

    Markov – one GA every 32 minutes: – one GF every 19 minutes
    Subban- one GA every 28 minutes; – one GF every 20 minutes

    Gorges- one GA every 38 minutes:- one GF every 24 minutes
    Diaz;- one GA every 36 minutes: – one GF every 33 minutes

    Bouillon- one GA every 23 minutes – one GF every 75 minutes
    Murray -one GA every 21 minutes- NO GF in 145 minutes

    Tinordi – one GA evrey 30 minutes ** limited action only 60 min TOI
    Beaulieu- no goals against in limited action- only 47 minutes TOI

    So when it comes to shuffling Bouillon and Murray what are we gaining, Neither make any contribution to the offense, and neither are very strong defensively.

    This 6th defenseman spot is one where the team has room to improve. Coach can keep alternating these guys and protecting them but at what cost? Neither can be on the ice when we are trialing and need a goal, and neither are a good option when protecting a lead.

    Why not have give either Beaulieu, Tinordi, or Patteryn a shot to earn a roster spot?

    regards,

    Steve O.

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      I don’t think Therrien, Bergevin or most fans would care if Gorges, Bouillon or Murray ever scored a goal. They are there to play defence, period. Maybe when Bouillon is on the 2nd PP you want him to pick up some offensive numbers but that’s about it.

      I’m guessing Bouillon and Murray won’t be back next year and Tinordi and Beaulieu will make the team. One for sure and hopefully both.

      • SteverenO says:

        I agree Hobie, but we are talking about the TEAM scoring a goal when a specific player is on the ice.

        If the team never scores when a specific player is on the ice it doesn.t matter how strong they are defensively; the best they can do is come out even

        regards,

        Steve O.

        • Tyhudg says:

          I agree actually…. I think Pateryn would fit perfectly in the 6th Dman spot. No guarantees of course, but from watching him play in hamilton I think he is ready, and deserves a shot at that 6th spot. I am warming up to Murray, but I still think Pateryn would be an ideal choice. With that in mind I am not holding my breath, until someone goes down with an injury.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Perhaps you should also consult Mr. Corsi and Mr. Fenwick.

      Since Emelin is back and Murray is playing more games, the Habs are 8-1-1 and have given up an average of 1.80 goals per game in that span..

      Those are really the only stats that matter.

      Beaulieu, Tinordi, and Pateryn will get their opportunities in due time be that an injury or next year.

      As for offensive stats, here’s one to chew on.
      Francois Beauchemin of Anaheim.
      Anaheim is tied for 3rd in the Western Conference.
      He is +15, yet has ZERO goals and 6 assists playing 22 minutes a game.
      Does that make him a liability because of a lack of offense?

      Lastly, do you have a stat as to what experience means?
      Or a ‘ youth panic’ stat?

  3. slyCH says:

    Sure Psycho29 attending the game helped in the team mojo, but I like to think my helping the lady broken down on her motorized wheelchair on the bike path yesterday when no one else did helped the team’s karma.

    You’re welcome.

  4. SteverenO says:

    Congratulations to those Price believers, you were right, This guy is one heck of a goalie.

    When a goalie is playing consistently well the team can win games even when they are outplayed. The so called Halak/Price controversy started because Halak was doing then what Price has been doing this year, winning and stealing hockey games. At that time Price was showing sign of excellence but always seemed to manage to play just good enough to keep us in the game but not good enough to win.

    In last nigh’,s game we saw the Markov from last season, both he and Subban looked tired and leg weary.

    I think it would have been a great coaching ,lif Therrien would have given Markov Wednesday night off. He could have stayed in Montreal after Monday’s game and got a well deserved rest. We may have lost to the Devils without him, but, if we can’t beat the devils who rarely score two goals a game without Markov, the team is not going anywhere, anyway.

    Its not a coincidence that that Diaz and Bournival, guys who played fewer minutes on Wednesday were our best skaters last night.
    even Gallagher appeared to be slower than usual and often ran out of gas mid shift.

    I hope that smarter heads will prevail and the team start using some of our depth on defense to keep our regular defensemen fresh for the long haul.

    Next post I will loook at some interesting defensive statistics

    regards,

    Steve O.

    • Eddie says:

      I have tried to point out that Markov could be burnt out come playoff time, and that last yer he played real well until around March, but no one wants to listen to a simple man like myself.

      • SPATS says:

        And then there’s Sochi….

        OOH AAH – ULTRAMAN’S ON THE WARPATH
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sc_kqPcRVIo!

      • Maritime Ronn says:

        hi eddie

        Watch Markov closely when he’s on the ice.
        He doesn’t skate needlessly and because there is little physicality to his game, there is also less energy spent.

        If later on in the year the Habs are secure with a playoff spot, Coach T. may begin to lessen his minutes.

        Markov is also a competitor and a warrior and he wants to play.
        He is also enough of a vet to let the coaches know if he is burning out.

        Also remember that in the last 4 seasons before this one, he only played in 115 games thus avoiding a lot of wear and tear on his body…and since 2006, he has only played in 31 playoff games.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      With respect, the content of this post is mindboggling.
      You do not sit your best Dman at Game 30 of a season unless he is hurt.

      You always play to win 2 points regardless of competition.

      • SteverenO says:

        With similar respect, why not?
        Why does the goalie get “rested” on back to back games, but an aging defenseman coming off injuries playing almost 30 minutes a night not need preserving?

        Replacing Markov with a young player for one game does not mean you are “giving” away two points- it does allow you to evaluate your younger guys and be in a position to react should you get hit by injury.

        The option is to rest him for two or three games at strategic points in the season or to reduce his workload, I am afraid that Markov continuing at this pace may be unsustainable.

        regards,

        Steve O.

        • Maritime Ronn says:

          How many minutes does a goalie play per game?
          How many times during those minutes does he have to be 100% mentally aware and physically ready?

          You can see my other reasons in a response to eddie above.

          Hockey is not just about stats.
          Stats are a small component of the overall scheme of things when put in proper perspective

          1 tiny example:

          Last night, Douglas Murray made a terrific play in the D zone – fought off a check and won a puck battle – moved the puck up to Gallagher that directly lead to the Max winning goal.

          Once the puck was up the ice, he skated to the bench.
          2 seconds later a goal was scored.
          He was not awarded Plus 1 because he was not on the ice.
          He was not awarded an assist because 2 others touched the puck after him.

          Take a poll of the Habs, and they will point to Murray as being directly responsible for allowing that goal to happen…..yet it shows nowhere on the stats sheet.

  5. thorandresson says:

    MT’s record in the last 2 years with the Habs

    78 GP 102 points (would be 107 over 82 game season) and a +32 goal differential

  6. DipsyDoodler says:

    Someone mentioned Boston and race.

    After med school I applied for residency positions and one of the places I interviewed at was in Boston. Another one of the applicants was an African American from Atlanta. So we got to chatting in the waiting area, and he said he had doubts about moving to Boston because of the racism. Sure shocked me: as a Canadian I had assumed that liberal Boston was less racist than the deep South.

    • JUST ME says:

      It is a fact that the Boston area is known for it`s open racism and that although there are worst places and that closed minded people are everywhere Boston still lives in another era for wich the late Mandela would not be proud of.. Based on that reality i never did understand why they picked P.K.`s brother if not to piss other teams and i expect him to be traded for his own good. For now they are banking on all the noise made by his big bro.

      • ClutchNGrab says:

        Well… the Celtics are from Boston, no? Not saying that there isn’t any racism in Boston, but I don’t think sports is the best way to look to find it.

        Or were you just kidding?

  7. ajk025 says:

    Can anyone explain to me why people are complaining about Galchenyuk? He is 3rd on our team in scoring (2nd of forwards) at 19 years old with less 15 mins of TOI!!!! That is absurd. He is also only -1.

    Not sure where the negativity is coming from.

    Now where I do think that some criticism is warranted is his decision to not shoot more. I know that he has always been considered a playmaker as opposed to a goal scorer, but last night he had a couple of great chances where I think he should have shot. Isnt he considered to have the 2nd or 3rd best wrist shot on the team behind Patches and Bourque? I think Therrien should encourage him to shoot more.

    • habs-fan-84 says:

      …where is the criticism? I haven’t seen any.
      If anything there may be some criticism regarding his minutes lately, but I don’t see anyone criticizing his play. Perhaps I’m wrong though.

      • B says:

        I was going to post something similar. I don’t think anyone is complaining about the kid. Some may notice and comment when he occasionally shows some expected growing pains, but I don’t recall any complaining about his overall game or ongoing development.

        –Go Habs Go!–

    • JUST ME says:

      Because he does not score 50 goals. That simple. They never look at his defensive game, the little things he does but if he does not score dozens of goals then he needs to be traded.

      Same thing for Briere,D.D.,Moen and so many others that have the same importance than others that score…

  8. christophor says:

    Lars Eller is leading the Habs with 58 hits. That’s a new aspect to his game.

    Second place has 38 hits.

    Emelin’s averaging almost 4 hits per game, though, and so will pass Eller soon enough.

    Still, with his defensive play, Eller’s incredibly useful even without contributing offensively (which he does anyway). He and Pacioretty are an awesome PK tandem.

    Let’s hope for more offensive consistency from Eller. Given a bit more time, he could be a more rugged Plekanec.

  9. Hobie Hansen says:

    I am shocked on how well David Desharnais is playing. Talk about pulling yourself off the scrapheap. I thought for sure that he had bit of offensive flair, some early success in his career, and had settled into the fringe player that he really is. I deemed him as small, flashy but relatively ineffective when push come to shove.

    I must give credit where credit is due, small or not small, I’m glad he’s on the team. I went from despising the guy to him now being one of my favorite players on the team. What a comeback story. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

    • krob1000 says:

      He had a couple really good games with no reward in that slump…there waas game in particular where he was literally everywhere but the scoresheet.

    • Sportfan says:

      The way DD is playing makes his contract look like steal!

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    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Hobie

      At the beginning of the year, it was reported that Davey worked out hard during the off-season and dropped some weight.
      He went from 178 to 170.

      I remember saying he was so easily pushed off the puck last year, that how could that help him this year?
      Actually, he is flying out there and is almost always the fastest guy on the ice.

      From here, I’m going to wait and see how that translates in playoff hockey when they going gets a little tougher/meaner – refs put whistles in pocket – space becomes a premium, and opponent familiarity comes to the forefront.

      Any Habs fan should be thrilled by his play recently, yet as Marc Bergevin said:

      ” I believe you have players that get you in the playoffs, and you have players that get you through the playoffs.”

  10. Propwash says:

    This is some disgustingly insane hockey skills…

    http://i.imgur.com/0GZoQcj.gif
    ____________________
    DOOOOOOOOOOOOMED!

  11. shiram says:

    This win streak is awesome.
    Not only are the Habs amassing points at a great clip, but it keeps all those annoying repetitive trolls out of the place.
    Sabres tomorrow should prove to be a more open style of game.
    At least I hope.
    Gotta give props to Pleky for being the awesome player he is, he’s keeping his PIM way low this season, and keeping his steady 2-way play.
    He also seems to have improved his draw skills, in fact the team seems to improved in that category.
    Hard not to love the compete level this team is displaying.

    Random fact, Habs are the second team with the most fights at 21, 2 less than the Loafs. Bruins have 17.

    • krob1000 says:

      That is because if he had it his way Brandon Prust would fight every night….. if he weren’t hurt for a while the Habs wouldbe leading…then you add in Parros injury, Muray injury, no Emelin for a while antagonizing..it is quite possible and actually most likely that if Habs had been healthy that they would easily be the leading team in the league in the fight dept.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Here’s expecting that Habs fight number to decrease in the 2nd half.

      The Habs HAD to send a messaage to the rest of the League this year.

      That message being:
      ” We’ll play any way you want, and we won’t ever be pushed around and beaten up again. Run our skill guys, and be ready to drop’em.”

      It’s been a long, long, long time when playing the Bruins, the Habs could actually stand up to them on a physical level… if need be.

  12. Alex_425 says:

    In other news….

    World Cup draw, sucks to be England right now, gonna have to get past Costa Rica (possible), Italy (who knows?), and Uruguay (nuh-uh).

    Tough draw for Portugal, too, NOBODY wants to face Germany.

    And my dear Spain, up against the Chileans in the group stage AGAIN, with the sure-to-be-still-pissed-off Netherlands in the group, to boot!

    But I’m no expert….

  13. krob1000 says:

    The more I read and look into theings the more two players keep jumping out at me as potential HAbs targets…Setoguchi and Folngo. I would absolutely love to see them in Habs jerseys next year as replacements for Gio/Bourque. If Gio wants to sign a sweetheart deal that is another story but I can see him returning to Jersey. PLeks with Setoguchi on the right and Foligno on the right would be a very difficult line to play against…all very fast and aggressive forecheckers with two way skills. Just the thought of either Pleks or Eller having those two as wingers is very intriguing…both are at perfect stages of their careers and both would fit in seamlessly in Montreal.

  14. Subban in Sochi says:

    M. Boone:

    Great work on this “ALN.” I’d write something…but you covered it all.

    As for the future, with the insanely intense schedule caused by the Olympic break, is it possible that the Habs will BENEFIT from their smaller roster…?

    The Canadiens better clone Andrei Markov-or at least his knees. If Mom Russia advances in the Olympics…and the Habs do well in the Playoffs…those knees are looking at +- 110 games of 25 minutes of ToI. “Ouch.” Ice “the Champagne’s” knees. Please.

    Speaking of Russians, the Canadiens current tear of exceptional play started 9 games ago. I note that Alexei Emelin’s return was 10 games ago. Price has been a fortress and the youngsters have been incredible but it can be said that our Habs’ 2014 future “hinges” on 4 Russian knees…

    “Cannonading drive!!”

  15. B says:

    So, how many here figured Tarnasty would be leading Hamilton in goals at this point of the season? I also noticed there are 14 teams in the AHL right now with less goals than Hamilton (who was the lowest scoring team in the AHL last season).

    –Go Habs Go!–

  16. 24 Cups says:

    So who starts in net for the rest of the month?

    Sat, 7 Dec 2013 Sabres Canadiens – Price/Budaj?
    Tue, 10 Dec 2013 Kings Canadiens – Price?
    Thu, 12 Dec 2013 Canadiens Flyers – Price?
    Sat, 14 Dec 2013 Canadiens Islanders – Budaj?
    Sun, 15 Dec 2013 Panthers Canadiens – Price?
    Tue, 17 Dec 2013 Coyotes Canadiens – Price?
    Thu, 19 Dec 2013 Canadiens Blues – Price?
    Sat, 21 Dec 2013 Canadiens Predators – Price?
    Sat, 28 Dec 2013 Canadiens Lightning – Price?
    Sun, 29 Dec 2013 Canadiens Panthers – Budaj?
    Tue, 31 Dec 2013 Canadiens Hurricanes – Price?

  17. in habs we trust says:

    Last year we played just in the east.
    “R” Habs

  18. Sportfan says:

    Anyone ever been to Porte-Oriental in Dorval?

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!
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  19. Flanelette says:

    Just dreaming: Subban has this thought (but does not mention it to his agent): well I’m going to play my best hockey years in MTL. I’m sure to make 50 million dollars (i.e in one year I will make what Dr Mulder made in his career approx). Winning the Stanley Cup is definitely what I wish THEREFORE I will sign for 7yrs at 7 mill so that MY team can sign other decent players…

  20. habs-hampton says:

    Can someone help me out here, as I have misplaced my handbook on “The Code”. Hamilton runs Prust into the boards from behind, no penalty is called, so Prust has to fight Thornton to exact revenge on Hamilton?

    Is that why we “need” fighting in hockey, to prevent guys like Hamilton from cheap-shoting guys?

    Well, as long as Hamilton learned a lesson.

    Personally, I wish Prust had beat the crap out of Hamilton.

    • krob1000 says:

      1 goal game all the way through…..in battle for 1st place. If that game gest to 3 goal lead at any point it would have been a gongshow…too close and too important of a game and tired Montreal team.

    • Timo says:

      THere is another reason I enjoy RDS… they just call him Hamilton, not Dougie Hamilton. CBC insists on calling his first and last name. I Everyone else is Chara, Lucic, Thornton and then there is Dougie Hamilton. Drive me nuts. Good little boy Dougie. Hope he joins Boychuk in the hospital.

    • Bash says:

      Exactly! Prust should have gone after Hamilton…Thornton comes over and Parros arrives on schedule.

      “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” (anon)

      • frontenac1 says:

        He took a run at Hamilton but Thornton stepped in. Looked like Thornton heart wasn’t in it though.

        • Ron says:

          Looking back on that shift it was quite evident IMO that in Thortons mind he knew he may have to go with someone. I think he took the lesser of two evils in that he went after and engaged Prust instead of Parros.

  21. jeffhabfan says:

    Wow what a huge win for the boys Last night. It was gut check time of playing 3 in 4 nights and putting in a great effort to beat the hated Bruins to get 1st place. It is now 2 years of playing really well does that make us a legit top team or what. I think so.GO HABS GO.

  22. B says:

    Are we supposed to discriminate against Bruins fans because some of them discriminate?

    –Go Habs Go!–

  23. Haligonian-Hab says:

    I watched the Habs get smoked 7-0 at the Garden a couple years back. Was sporting my Red jersey. Wasn’t all that bad –> they turned the ole chant into “you’re gay”, and taking a piss was a little hard.

    Aside from that, I’d watch a Habs game at the Garden any day – great rink and cheaper beer than at the Bell. Bathrooms are too small, though, and it’s easier to get through an airport than to get to your seat.

  24. Bill says:

    Stevie Ray: Inflation. Subban’s price is going up every day. That extra 0.33 is another 2.5 million bucks after eight years! Not chump change!

  25. Stevie.Ray says:

    Rumour says Subban at 6 years for 8.33m a year… why not 8?

  26. PrashadHabs says:

    Rumour going around saying Habs might get Foligno from CLB for Boruque and a pick. Take it for what it’s worth.

    • naweed235 says:

      that seems like a useless trade to me … I don’t think Foligno can bring anything to this team that Bourque can’t

      • krob1000 says:

        Foligno would bring some extra snadpaper to Pleks-Gio line. When I sxaw CLB rumours that was who I suspected team was looking at. Umberger is too much money and cap would be an issue moving morward. FOligno is same cash as Bourque provides slightly more toughness and about same offense or better. More importantly he would slide in seamlessly with Pleks and Gio. That is likely “the top 6 forward spot” that MB and rumours keep referring to as it has been a revolving door there in that role. Instead of platooning Briere, Moen, Bournival I am sure they would like a nice two way player with some grit to help Pleks and Gio against the tough assignements.

        • naweed235 says:

          Foligno
          2010-2011 82 14 20 34 -19
          2011-2012 82 15 32 47 2
          2012-2013 45 6 13 19 6
          2013-2014 22 7 7 14 3

          ————————————–
          Bourque
          2010-2011 80 27 23 50 -17
          2011-2012 38 18 6 24 -3
          2012-2013 27 7 6 13 -1
          2013-2014 23 6 1 7 -1

          I guess the only arguement that can be made for Foligno is that he is better defensively. He is definitely not better offensively…

          • krob1000 says:

            5 years younger. I like Bourque…I think he is one of those guys hwo has another gear when it matters. I have alays liked the game of any Foligno though as well…they are energy guys and spark plugs. Bourque is best off as a RW but doesn’t appear to get that chance in MOntreal. He is 31 and Foligno is 26 entering his prime years. Given the HAbs current lineupI think Foligno is a btter pick for the next couple of seasons.
            Personally I think Setoguchi is a guy the HAbs should be targeting as a replacement for Gionta…I can see MB thinking ahead to next year and envisioning having Foliogno and Setoguchi to replace Boruque and Gionta. BOth are at better stages of their careers are as fast and can both play a very aggressie forechcecking game.

      • Timo says:

        He can bring more games played instead of sitting on the IR

    • Sportfan says:

      Would you rather Foligno or Umberger in that situation?

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  27. Timo says:

    Really? Habs are playing Bruins only 4 times this season? That’s the way to kill a rivalry. Nicely done, NHL.

  28. Timo says:

    Alright… what are we arguing about today?

    Did you guys see my man DD delivering mise en echec on Chara? No? Well, he did and it was a thing of beauty. I don’t know if chara noticed but it was a good one anyway.

  29. Max_a_million says:

    It’s interesting how when Emelin steps into the lineup all of the sudden everyone is in their proper place on defence, and it makes everyone better. Plus it gives us thumper on every pairing. I like this insight.

    Doesn’t it seem the same way with Parros last night? So Prust fights Thronton, because he is an animal willing to go with someone 25 lbs heavier. The B’s fighter is in the box, and we still have Parros in the fold, Murray even. I am not a pro-fighting person at all, but it seemed like a deterrent at that point when you still have bullets in your gun. Last year it would have been easy pickings after Prust is out. Not so much right now. Kind of a similar principal that adding one tough guy makes everyone tougher by their place in the pecking order. Moen’s of the world don’t have to fight out of their weight class.

    • FANHABULOUS says:

      I love the “bullets in the gun analogy”. You are spot on, in the past the Bruins would fight the one “tough guy” we have on the roster, then goon it up afterwards because they knew nobody else could step up.

      Not anymore!

      ____________________________________
      “You will not regret picking me” – PK Subban.

  30. Maritime Ronn says:

    Some talk going on about fan craziness and racism.

    Let’s hope we never have to experience this!
    It happened after that wild NCAA football game last Saturday between Alabama and Auburn.

    Headline:
    “Adrian Laroze Briskey Shoots And Kills Michelle Shepherd Because She Wasn’t “Upset Enough” About Alabama’s Loss To Auburn.”

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2013/12/02/deadly-shooting-over-alabama-loss-to-auburn/3819905/

    And in other news, New Jersey just legalized Online gambling.
    50,000 people in New Jersey signed up for the new Online gambling, while only 721 signed up for Obamacare….

  31. JF says:

    There is no question in my mind that this year’s Habs are a better team than last year’s. Goaltending was pretty solid last year until the last few weeks and the playoffs, but it is at another level altogether this year. This year’s Price is far more confident and more aggressive; and in situations like the third period last night, where there are a lot of deflections and scrambly play, relies as much on instinct as on positioning. The demeanour that used to be knocked as “nonchalant” has vanished. That was a playoff performance by Price last night.

    But goaltending is only the most obvious improvement. The defence is also deeper, more solid, and better balanced. This is Alexei Emelin’s third year with the Habs. He struggled a bit in his first year to adapt his game to the North American ice-surface, but he’s now established himself as one of the pillars on our blue line. Douglas Murray has been a valuable addition for games against imposing, physical teams. Without those two guys for the first six weeks or so of the season, the others were over-taxed. Bouillon was used too much and in situations where he couldn’t be effective; and Raphael Diaz was forced to play second-pairing minutes in a way that exposed his lack of physicality. Now, however, Bouillon can be rested in games like last night’s and play the ones in which mobility rather than physicality is key; and since Diaz has been paired with Murray, he’s starting to look more like the smart puck-mover with some offensive skill that we saw before his injury last season. If a fourth star had been awarded last night, he could have had it.

    Up front there is also greater depth and better balance. Lars Eller is developing into a Plekanec-like two-way centre with more size and physicality. He’s effective even when he’s not scoring. Desharnais looks like the player whose work ethic and vision earned him a spot a couple of years ago. Bournival is becoming another spark plug a bit like Gallagher; and for the first time in years, the Habs have a very solid fourth line with more than one option.

    I really thought the team would take a step back this season, but they seem instead to be going forward. Goaltending, special teams, depth, balance, and intangibles like confidence, responsibility, and attitude – these are all areas in which we see progress. As long as they stay healthy, we have a very good team, and one that is only going to get better.

    But I’m still impressed and astoinshed by last night’s game. Everything favoured the Bruins, yet their key players – Chara, Lucic, Bergeron – were largely invisible. Our guys, especially Markov, looked tired in the first period, and I thought there was no way we could win, particularly with the Bruins taking the lead. But we practically left them standing in the second and Markov was heroic in the third.

    • ceedee says:

      The scariest thing about last night’s game for Bruins’ fans — other than the Boychuk injury — was the fact that Boston was coming off 4 days of rest while the Habs had played 3 games in 4 nights, including back to back last night. When the Pleks line is going, that spells trouble for opponents.

    • 24 Cups says:

      No mention of Michel Therrien, Jane? Some of the over zealous HI/O reactionaries were ready to have him walk the plank last month. That type of knee jerk analysis is one of the reasons I try to evaluate the team in ten game segments.

      BTW, for those about ready to jump all over Therrien the next time the teams loses a few games, please remember that his present record with the club is 66-38-17.

      • JF says:

        Steve – I’ve been defending Therrien since he was hired. I had a few doubts about him earlier in the season (although with hindsight I can see that he did a good job just to keep the team afloat during the rash of injuries), but now I’m back to being impressed, both by his coaching decisions and by what he says about his players.

    • HardHabits says:

      Nice way to sum up my exact thoughts. Depth and health are the key indicators. And we are way ahead of the curve but I’ll take it.

      Price has been lights out. The team has matured that much more. The balance between veteran experience and youthful exuberance is making for a potent mix.

      Is this a roller coaster ride or a rocket trip? We will soon find out!!!

  32. Sportfan says:

    Whoops just saw that Ben posted the article down below, but I will say this they have Malcolm they have french Canadiens and they are still unbelievably racist and offensive to both sides, it blows my mind.

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!
    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

    • ceedee says:

      Not downplaying the racist stuff, but there are nitwits everywhere, in every walk of life — it’s not just Bruins fans. Hey, it was the Bruins who broke the “color line” in the NHL in the first place with Willie O’Ree, for what it’s worth.

      • bwoar says:

        Absolutely. Not to say that people should ignore it outright but every building has idiots in it; some on the Montreal side like to single out the Boston fanbase because of our rivalry but the NHL by its nature draws a fair bit of that element to its rinks across the continent.

        “thoroughbred”

      • Luke says:

        Yup. Gonna concur that it’snot specific to Bruins fans. Let us not forget that even this year some Habs fans showed up at the Bell Centre in blackface. Stubbs tweeted about it…

      • Mike Boone says:

        And the Red Sox were the last major league team to integrate. Google “Louise Day Hicks” or check out Common Ground, by J. Anthony Lucas. In terms of race relations, Boston ain’t no Chicago.

        Mike Boone
        Hockey Inside/Out blogger

        • ceedee says:

          No argument here, Mike. Just sayin’ Boston fans aren’t all racists, and generalizations don’t hold water. I will add, though, that anyone who spends ten minutes with Bill Russell knows how bad Boston was.

        • Alex_425 says:

          Oooo, a Mike Boone post! Every time I see one of these, I just can’t help myself:

          Hey Mike, how about that Luis Suarez, eh? The people of Norwich must have pained him greatly in a past life, or SOMETHING. =)

          But I’m no expert….

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Sport, read through the liveblog on our very own website from last nights game when Boychuck got hurt, then come back and tell me how perfect us Habs fans are!

  33. Sportfan says:

    Here’s a LWOS article about Bruins fans and how they never stop being idiots when it comes to PK http://lastwordonsports.com/2013/12/06/bruins-fans-need-to-stop-bruins-from-subban-racism/
    check out some of the comments they really don’t quit.

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!
    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

    • Alex_425 says:

      Disgusting, but not totally surprising.

      At the same time, though, and I fully understand that this is only a small, unfortunately vocal minority, this kind of stuff is seen or heard both from Boston AND from Montreal.

      There were apparently some comments made from Montreal fans the other night about hoping that even more Boston players would get taken out on stretchers and sent to the hospital, which is a horrible thing to wish on ANYBODY, much less athletes playing a GAME.

      But I’m no expert….

  34. aHabGrowsInBrooklyn says:

    Agree wholeheartedlee wi’ ceedee. Habs and Bruins are a great rivalry, and should meet at least six times before the inevitable 7-game playoff serie.

    I didn’t get to watch it yet, but Cœur de pirate doing the anthems would totally inspire me! Love that girl and her music! (Listening to an artist named Gossling, who sounds a lot like Cdp. She’s an Aussie, singing in English, but I get a strong Nordic feeling. Really soothing stuff for us old bastards.)

    Why didn’t the refs stop the Prust/Thornton “fight” last night before it began? Because lids stayed on. I’m glad the “fight” fizzled, because it served no purpose in the game. We know they dislike each other; done. Staged fights of any kind suck and should be halted before they begin. Me and MiBo agree on this one.

  35. olegpetrov says:

    Starting a new “thread” about this.

    /begin rant

    In reading comments today, I see a lot of people talking about racist tweets about Subban or other Bruins fans saying terrible crap about Habs fans. Instead of deflecting ALL criticism towards the Bruins fans, how about we look at the big picture and realize that this isn’t just a Bruins fans thing. Habs fans do the same thing. Instead of calling out Boston fans, how about we call out our own fans for saying things such as “I hope the Bruins bus catches on fire and the entire team burns to death”. This is terrible and gives Habs fans a bad name. Check twitter. Comments like this are all over the place. It’s pandemic.

    As fans of an awesome sport, we need to call each other out on this, not simply say it’s another teams fans. I run a Habs fansite on Facebook and ban anybody who uses any comments I deem racist, misogynistic, or plainly mean. It keeps the conversations level headed and Hockey is discussed rather than insults like you see on Twitter or TSN.

    Anyway, I hate to see Habs fans doing this. I feel that as fans of the BEST franchise is Sports History, we need to be classy and remain classy.

    /end rant

    Habs fan…Nuff said

    • ceedee says:

      It’s one thing to hold a respectful animosity toward the opposition, especially when it’s Montreal and Boston. But some of the comments do go over the line and into the realm of psychosis. And the racist BS deserves a good smacking down. Also, I can tell you as a B’s fan that any knowledgeable Bruins’ supporter would take Subban on our blue line in a heart beat.

  36. secretdragonfly says:

    Let us know how you make out – there are two arenas I would never willingly attend for fear of my personal safety, the TD Gahden and whatever they’re calling the Philly barn this month. I’ve never been anything but respectful to visiting fans at the Bell Centre but I’ve heard about too many incidents in those two cities to take a chance.

  37. ceedee says:

    Bruins fan here — I thought Montreal played a strong second period, and the Bruins were too little, too late in the third. However, the real point I wish to make is about the schedule. These teams meet only 4 times this season?! The best rivalry in all of pro sport, and the league gives the minimum interdivisional number of games? That’s a travesty.

  38. BleedsTri-colour says:

    New member here… had to respond to this. Could not believe TSN website this morning. Habs defeat Broons to take first place in a great game; and TSN big story is an injury to a Leafs player! The Mtl victory got a small corner story with the Bozak injury as the major event. Unbelievable! Toronto sports network. Give your head a shake TSN. Go Habs!

  39. JM says:

    Galchenyuk – He’s 3rd in pts on the Habs – Whats wrong with that.

    • Alex_425 says:

      Maybe some people are unrealistically expecting points from him each and every game?

      But I’m no expert….

    • Forum Dog says:

      Might be that people are more concerned with the 7 minutes he played last night. Just a bump in the road. Assuming good health, he’s gonna be an offensive star in this league for a long time. No worries about that….

  40. commandant says:

    Some Bruins fans up to their old tricks. It seems the only way to stop it would be for them to be pressured by peers who aren’t a*holes
    http://lastwordonsports.com/2013/12/06/bruins-fans-need-to-stop-bruins-from-subban-racism/

    Go Habs Go!
    Your 2013 NHL Draft Headquarters, Now Open.
    http://lastwordonsports.com/

  41. HabinBurlington says:

    Trouble brewing in Columbus with the present arena deal? Appears the City is buying back the arena from the team…. reminds me of Phoenix.

    http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/12/05/Petition_seeks_end_to_citys_arena_payments.html?

  42. Hstands4Hockey says:

    Anyone else think Boychuk hurt himself last night diving to draw a penalty? Watched the replay many times and Patches hits him backwards from the side and Boychuk appears to shift his momentum forward so he goes face first into the board to draw the call.

    Don;t like seeing guys hurt, but i think he did that one to himself.

    ——————————————————————–
    Rule #76: No Excuses, Play Like a Champion!
    @Hstands4Hockey

    • Tharsis says:

      I can’t imagine he threw himself into the boards. I think it was just a freak accident, you can see his right skate get out from under him causing him to lurch into the boards.

      ———————————-

      Fate leads the willing, and drags along the reluctant.

    • ceedee says:

      Looked more like he got his stick caught up and couldn’t brace himself. On a side note, as a lifelong Bruins fan I can’t believe I’m saying this, but… I thought the call on Pacioretty was borderline, and can’t believe the hit on Prust was not deemed a boarding.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Don’t really see how he was diving, or trying to draw a penalty there. Freak play, and don’t underestimate how strong Max is, I think it surprised Boychuck the force Max was able to generate.

      Hope he is okay, looked very very scary there for awhile.

      • ceedee says:

        Iginla told the press it’s a back injury. Julien expects him to be out quite a while, but he will be back.

      • Just a Habs Fan says:

        I beleive the description by the play by play guy is probably correct. Boychuck got hit in stride and tried to get his foot down too quickly to get balance again and picked the ice with the toe of his skate. It seemed that way to me on the replay. I PRV’d the game and watched that play a few times.

    • JUST ME says:

      Max deserved a penalty on the play. Boychuck actually tried to protect himself from the board and with the board at the same time. He had a very awkward body position and took all the hit with his rib cage and stomach so he probably was winded and bruised at the same time. Scary situation when you cannot breathe as you usually do.

  43. Tharsis says:

    Both goals were great last night, but Pleks’ goal was an absolute thing of beauty. I think I have watched the replay 30 times. It looks like he faked the centering pass to keep Rask off of the post, but I may be reading to much into it. Either way, it was an incredible shot that took a great deal of confidence. His confidence is as high as I have ever seen it and he is having a blast out there.

    The fight between Prust and Thornton was cringe worthy in my opinion. 30 seconds of preparations and adjustments before they actually engage, and then a real lack lustre effort from both players. They were so gassed and you could see them just going through the motions and praying that the linesmen would break them up. Ellers hit was much more of a game changer than this ridiculous fight.

    And finally, I am glad that TSN showed Campbell’s comments about the Boychuck hit in their recap . Patches isn’t a dirty player and it is crazy to hear so many opposing fans call him cheap and dirty. The comments section on the TSN site is an absolute madhouse.

    ———————————-

    Fate leads the willing, and drags along the reluctant.

    • Strummer says:

      That Prust fight was a joke.

      Why didn’t the ref’s just stop it during the half-minute they were warming up?

      ______________________________________________________
      “It’s just an opinion – I could be wrong”

      • piper says:

        After the shift Prust just had, I think he did fine. He was just run face first into the boards about 20 seconds prior to the fight and was going hard all shift. Then he takes on the Bruins top enforcer who was also at the end of a shift.
        I’m pretty sure it was no joke for Prust. If you don’t like fighting find another sport to watch.

    • Alex_425 says:

      I hate, absolutely HATE the comments section, for ANY story, on TSN. If you take everything that those Trawna clowns say at face value, then:

      - Montreal gets awarded 10,000+ powerplays per game
      - We’re always lucky, NEVER deserving of a win
      - The refs always favor Montreal, to the point where, according to their logic, we should have 96 Stanley Cups by now
      - All 24 of OUR cups are because we somehow cheated the system, and we’re the literal mafia of the NHL

      But I’m no expert….

    • 24 Cups says:

      Both of Prust’s fights this week were lame and embarrassing.

      • Habs_Norway says:

        Did you miss the uppercut?
        7 of 10 would have hit the ice after that one.

        ______________________________________
        Say no to visors and sign Emelin for 10 years

  44. Psycho29 says:

    Just a thought after being at the game last night…
    How does a family of 4 get to go to a game these days?
    Even if you get the tickets free, 8 hot dogs and 4 cokes is $56. Just the parking in an outdoor lot was $30.
    And beer? $10-12 bucks each….
    Probably the biggest struggle is keeping the kids away from the souvenir shop!

    • Thomas Le Fan says:

      Thank God and LG for wide screen TVs, HD and my Center Ice package! The live game has become very corporate.

      There is no crying in baseball, “i” in team or “chuck” in Galchenyuk but … there is fighting in hockey.

    • Ian Cobb says:

      Just don’t buy Hot Dogs, cokes and beer. If the kids do odd jobs or have a news paper route, they will have to make their own decisions about the souvenir shop.

      It worked for me!

    • Fansincebirth says:

      Same thing here in Ottawa. I’d love to take my two kids to a Mtl – Ott game but to get decent seats, I’m looking at a $500+ night.

      No thanks, I can sit on the couch in my comfies and watch it and save a ton-o-cash

  45. HabinBurlington says:

    Maple Leafs will be missing Bozak for at least 10 games, lots of teams are getting banged up, we for the moment are fortunate only Bourque is missing.

    Boston has a tough stretch of games upcoming also, if indeed McQuaid is out much longer and possibly Boychuck that will be tough for them.

  46. Arrow77 says:

    I’m starting to ask myself if I really want Price to be the starting goalie at Sochi or not.

    Pros: He probably deserves it and he’d be playing for a true contender, unlike the Canadiens. If he wins the gold, it would be another evidence for the argument that he is a winner and that the main reason he hasn’t won in the NHL is the team in front of him. It would also give him an extra confidence for the rest of his career.

    Cons: Most Price-haters are too far gone (the last few weeks, they’ve been gone literally) and will not change their mind until he wins a cup anyway. He has a tendency of getting tired when he’s overplayed, the team has a tendency to overplay him and an Olympic tournament will just add to that. Also, there is a natural emotional cooling down period for the players who go to the Olympics and I don’t think it would affect a backup as much. He would just come back from the tournament well rested.

    Maybe the ideal would be that he splits the work with Luongo.

  47. Rossy says:

    In the photo above, notice how low Price is in his crouch. That’s new this year, perhaps from Stephane Waite. It sure reminds me of Jacques Plante in his glory years with the Habs.

    • Savardian Spin-o-rama says:

      Good observation. I concur. Waite was talking about it on TSN 690 a while back. He says it’s about being more aggressive and attacking the puck. I guess the stance helps him do that. One thing Price did on the goal last night that was a big problem for him in the past is falling forward when he moves laterally. He needs to stay up which is hard to do apparently.

  48. Forum Dog says:

    Recognizing that Boston was a bit short-staffed and maybe psychologically damaged after the Boychuk injury, watching the Habs last night, especially in the 2nd and 3rd periods, and I couldn’t help but think about how good this team is becoming. The mix of youth and vets is good, the mix if size and skill is good, the defensive awareness of the forwards is high, and the offensive awareness by most of the d-men is also pretty solid. They are turning into a very good, very deep team.

    A lot hinges on Price’s excellent play, but he would not be the first goalie to anchor his team. The defense has become rock-solid since Emelin returned. Emelin has really taken a lot of pressure of Gorges, and Murray is the perfect compliment of the smart but undersized Diaz. With Murray and Emelin on the ice last night, the big Boston forwards had a much harder time setting up in front of Price. And if Price see’s it, he’s probably stopping it.

    Up front I thought the forward units all did a good job. The Prust scrap with Thornton was a boost. Even those who don’t like fighting will have to agree that the fans and Prust’s teammates all enjoyed it. And every forward came back hard and took the body. I even saw DD put an effective nudge on Lucic behind the Montreal net. David Desharnais! Hitting someone! Incredible.

    As is often said, sports are 90% mental, and Les Canadiens are feeling pretty good about themselves right now. Here’s hoping they can keep the ball rolling and not get complacent.

  49. Alex_425 says:

    1) Patches expressing genuine concern for Boychuk, and wishing him nothing but the best.

    2) Habs fans in the stands cheering for Boychuk once the med team got him up on the gurney and started to wheel him off the ice.

    And all these stupid, whiny Laffs and Booins fans always say that WE have no class….

    But I’m no expert….

  50. Ian Cobb says:

    Now, what is going on with Galchenyuk’s game.?
    Maybe he is to emotional and lost his focus and confidence.?

    Who was at the game last night that can shed some light on what his problem is. Mr. Boone or Mr. Stubbs! ????

    • Alex_425 says:

      Maybe it’s got something to do with our resident catalyst that is Brendan Gallagher?

      But I’m no expert….

    • HabinBurlington says:

      If the extent of his sophomore slump is a few weeks in December, I can live with it. I am sure other teams are focusing more on him, and he is probably going through a tough stretch. As quickly as DD has turned it around, I expect the same from Galchenyuk.

      • lakechamplain says:

        Patience has never been the strongest suit of Habs fans. Yes, he’s making more money than most of us are(or sadly ever will), yes he’s the talented high draft choice in which we pour all our hopes of a Star that we haven’t had in quite a while. But….
        He’s got more goals than several of our other top-9 players, he’s still only 19 years old; like all of us were he’ll get better with age. Guy LaFleur didn’t really stand out until his 3rd year, and he could be ‘hidden’ among his star-studded team(ah, the good old days). So just be patient; most importantly I’ve never sensed that he’s not trying or blaming others.
        If you want to get into sophomore slumps, how’s Yakupov doing?

    • Hstands4Hockey says:

      He’s 3rd on the team in points playing significantly lower ice time. Not sure I’d say he’s struggling. He’ll find his next notch at some point this season.

      ——————————————————————–
      Rule #76: No Excuses, Play Like a Champion!
      @Hstands4Hockey

    • Forum Dog says:

      I think its a testament to how important an up tempo, net-driving compliment is to a skilled playmaker, especially on the wing. Defensive responsibilities are going to prevent Eller from being first to the net on most occasions, which is why Gallagher was so important to that line (and why the Pacioretty/Desharnais duo is going so well now). Habs just need another Gallagher……

    • Shackles says:

      I think it is absolutely an emotional/confidence issue. There’s a bit on 24CH where he makes a mistake and is totally raking himself over the coals for it. Prust is trying to boost him up but Chucky keeps going on about how much he sucks. A little personal affirmation will go a long way for this soon to be all star.


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