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. mrhabby says:

    Habs gutted out a tough win last night. Have to give Kudos to all players and coachs to get prepared.
    Always get the feeling that a team like he Bruins can exert there will and power at any time against a smaller foe.
    Heres hoping Habs mgmnt team does not rest and is looking for ways to improve the team.
    I like the Habs game, lots of hockey left and many games.

  2. Ian Cobb says:

    The boys are keeping us on the edge of our seats all game long, with give aways and mistakes all over the ice.
    They never seem to make it look easy.!
    But each game is never in doubt!

    Will there be an HIO Summit at the parade this spring.?

  3. Habfan10912 says:

    I’m in such a great mood I just told my wife I’d go Christmas shopping with her today. Ugh! But in the meantime I just got an email from a stranger saying they found a ton of money for me. All I have to do is send $150 to his lawyer. Lucky day, eh?
    Enjoy your day folks!

  4. Rudy says:

    That angle shot by Pleks was otherworldly

  5. habitual says:

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

    Good morning Mike Boone. Nice!

  6. stephen says:

    I think most would agree that we are seeing the best of Carey Price this season.

    One particular play he made last night, to me, epitomizes the confidence and control he is now playing with.

    In the third period, Marchand gets a shot on Price which rebounds off him to his left. Marchand is in pursuit of said rebound and looks like he’ll have good time and space for another quality shot or pass.

    Instead of waiting for this second scoring chance, Price lunges with what I can only describe as a ‘punch-check’ for lack of a better term; punching the puck away with his blocker/stick and eliminating the chance.

    Can’t recall if much was made of it on the broadcast, but it really struck me as the play of a goaltender who is at the peak of confidence and control. Such a pleasure to watch.

  7. habs-fan-84 says:

    I don’t have much to add.
    I just have to say I’m so happy with this team – there are just so many positives from the net out.

    One foot note: I really hope Eller is signed long term and that some of the trade rumours would not include Eller or Patch.

    The way MT is utilizing Patch on the PK and PP I have a tough time believing he’d be involved in a trade unless it was a blockbuster.

    • Kooch7800 says:

      I can’t see Patch moving. His is such a bargain for his cap hit. He could score over 40 goals a season and for what he is making he is a steal. Eller I don’t think will be going anywhere as well. He is big with hands and in the last season and a half has started to use his size a bit more.

      That hit was awesome on campbell last night.

      If the habs were to make a trade you would think they would dip into their defense pool as they are quite deep there.

      I think MB is exploring but it is really it is tough to ship out a core guy when you haven’t lost in 9 games.

      “Keep your stick on the Ice”

  8. Savardian Spin-o-rama says:

    So are we happy with our team? Really, what’s not to like? We’ve got maybe the best goalie tandem in the league, the top dman pairing in PK and Marky. Is there a better 2nd pairing (Yemmy & Josh) out there ?? Some more punch on the attack would be nice but is MB feeling any pressure to make a trade to get some help in that department? What do y’all think?

  9. Blade says:

    Kudos to the boys last night and the last couple of weeks. Let’s remember these last few games when the boys go through the inevitable rough times in January and February. These last few games show what they are capable of doing!

    Congrats boys….playing well and I love it!!

  10. aHabGrowsInBrooklyn says:

    Maritime, I would attribute the Penguins losses to spotty goaltending. MAF+? < CP+PB

  11. John Q Public says:

    That being said seems to over used.

    Some suggestions:
    However
    On the other hand
    Whereas
    Then again ……
    :) ;) Go Habs Go ;) ;)

  12. Ozmodiar says:

    Loved the shot by Pleks on the goal…

    – gonna blast it, gonna blast it…. sh!t!! too late!! … wait, there’s a corner open!!

  13. HabinBurlington says:

    Not being antagonistic, but question to the many who really disliked the Murray signing. Do you think he is playing better with Montreal than he did in Pittsburgh or the same?

    I can’t say myself, but I really liked this signing from the beginning for one simple reason, he brings something to our blueline we didn’t have. He is still slow, and i doubt he improved from last year, what he is bringing is exactly what MB expected him to bring, thus the contract.

    I wonder if the folks at Eyes on the Prize still feel MB was completely off base for signing him.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      I didn’t see as many scrums after the whistle in front of Price with him out there.

    • Ozmodiar says:

      You said it (and have been saying it): he has what the d-corps needs.

      If we had 3 Murrays, the defense would suck. The fact is, we have one of him, and the defense is better with him.

    • frontenac1 says:

      Hola Burly, as my buddy from San Jose said when the Habs signed him,”You are going to Love the guy. We were sorry to see him go”
      He was right.

    • Cal says:

      I am so happy that The Tank has The Crank on the squad. He balances the D. I am waiting for Pateryn to take The Cube’s place.
      He deserves a shot.

    • DipsyDoodler says:

      I disliked the signing because he looked to have become a liability. I did like his nickname and that the hot swedes he dates might attend the games was a plus. I also said we had to wait 10 games for him to find his form. I now like the signing. He’s playing very well.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        I would have to go back and look at Pittsburghs roster, but perhaps they already had a couple big slow Dman, thus he couldn’t really provide what they needed in a limited role. Hope that makes sense…

        • habs-fan-84 says:

          Similar to Hal Gill in Toronto.
          Gill was terrible on that team and the fans couldn’t stand him. Toronto simply didn’t have enough depth to use him in the right roles. In Montreal he was great because he knew his role and played within it. There was also enough depth (even at that time) to limit his TOI.

    • Mark C says:

      He is playing much better now than he did at the end of last year in Pittsburg. I think there are two factors. Intuitively, it seems Murray is the type of player who suffers in a shortened season, due to his age, size, and lack of foot speed. To be an effective player he needs to be much closer to a 100% than say a Subban. Secondly, MT’s utilization of Franky and Murray has been brilliant, if not somewhat obvious.

    • Ron says:

      Burl there are alott of Blogs that proclaimed Murray a waste of money and the worst Dman in the league, heck the guy who brings his blog here ( Ben, Commandant ) called him a total waste. These bloggers are just that, bloggers, half them realily are far from experts and just selling their product. They are no more knowledgeable than you or I. Parros is another one of their objects of distain. MB assembled what he thinks is the best for the team not some basement bloggers.

  14. Steeltown Hab says:

    Lars Eller best forward on the ice last night just impressive.

    Others who impressed in no particular order:

    Gallagher, Briere, Diaz, Murray, Emelin, Pleks (as always), Desharnais (showed some heart), Moen had some nice plays as well. That first pairing too.

    ———————————

    Lars, PK, Galchenyuk, Gallagher, Emelin, Bournival, De La Rose – @J_Perez22

  15. Ozmodiar says:

    No fewer than 14 Canadiens had hits, led by Alexei Emelin (no surprise there) and Lars Eller (WTF!!!) with five each.

    Dang-it, Boone!! What’s up with the WTF!!!?!? The kid leads the team in hits by a wide margin. More respek to Eller in the hits dept, SVP.

    / enjoyed the ALN. Good stuff, good stuff.

    • Steeltown Hab says:

      His hit on campbell was one of the best hits we’ve seen in a while Habs on Bruins.

      ———————————

      Lars, PK, Galchenyuk, Gallagher, Emelin, Bournival, De La Rose – @J_Perez22

  16. Not to pour water on the Cup parade that so many are looking to after a heady and successful couple of weeks, but beyond Price playing what is paid to play as and a few surfs beyond super Gally ramping up their game, the team hasn’t changed much.

    Anyone see how the Pens for apart San Jose last night? Can our Habs do that? Hmmm… 5-1

    Will we be able to stand a thrashing by teams like Chicago who score plenty of goals and hit real hard.

    We were lucky (which all winning teams need) that the first and third period weren’t blow-outs for Boston. That can’t happen in many more games as we will lose.

    That being said and with plenty of fanatic boosters ready to chid in (Matty and others feel free to call me a troll because I am being rational and realistic) this Habs team still has some work to do;
    1) Need some snipers with size
    2) Price has been very unreliable in the playoffs and inconsistent. I’m not labeling him a failure, but a Vezina winner despite his current numbers. I’d still have to be convinced.
    3) Still too small and we will be rocked by injuries as the season progresses
    4) I remember plenty of people on HIO trading Marky as a slower shell of himself. He’s playing well now, but is still older, a step slower, but a solid D-man with good eyes.
    5) I still don’t like MT long term. Two weeks ago people were replacing him with anything, now he’s a saint. I don’t see the emotion or the skill in his details every night. Why we’re playing well? Gally, Eller, Max woke up, Pleky, who people were trading two years ago (best all around player on our team and any team). So was it MT, or the players that woke up.
    6) We need to pay PK, ouch and who would we trade for without money
    7) Someone said our fourth line of Prust, Moen and White is a great line…. who’s smoking’ crack here? Prust is a workhorse. I’m a fan. Moen… puuulease! White if he can keep his head screwed on brings energy, but we need to score goals!

    OK, that all being said, it’s nice to go to sleep with a win, but I’ve been disappointed so many times in the last two decades that I find it hard to have “faith” and be a blind fanatic. Last night we got lucky. We hit, we were good in the face-off circle, but we won by the skin of our teeth. That won’t happen to many more times this year and playing the West won’t end like this. I’ll chalk-up the first third of this season as a pleasant surprise, but I still can’t shake the shattered team at the end of last year.

    I’m speechless! 20 years and counting…

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Yes, Pittsburgh did beat San Jose, yet how do you explain only some of these following losses by Pittsburgh this year?

      Pitt lost 6-3 against Florida
      Pitt lost 4-1 against Toronto
      Pitt lost 5-1 to the Rangers
      Pitt lost 4-1 to New Jersey, apart from losing other games to Philly and the Islanders…

      AND

      Pitt lost 3-2 against les Canadiens

      • I gotta think with that talented line who can turn it on whenever they want, it would be the egos in the room. How a coach can manage all of these stars like Malkin, Crosby, etc… I don’t know, yet their defense is still porous on occasion. When they are fore-checking and have puck possession, they are tough to even get close to. When they don’t have the puck and their defense is exposed (and MA Fleury loses his focus), they can be beaten.

        Hell, we couldn’t beat the Oilers this year… explain that one and they go on and romp last night? Hockey can be loopy for sure!

        I’m speechless! 20 years and counting…

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Can you point out the posts to me claiming this team is on its way to winning the Cup? People are excited here because our team is playing well, we are on a roll and we just beat a well rested top of the league team.

      We have a ton of developing to go, we still need more players for a Cup run, but we are starting to see a real new identity for this team develop. No one is planning a parade route, but perhaps it is just more fun to rain on a parade.

      • Ah HIB, you are one of the rational posters for sure. I responded to some posts I read on the About last night and earlier posts. The irrational exuberance of some posters and then the chiding of those “Trolls” a word that is often used for people who lob negative comments, but includes anyone who has anything negative to say, excluding Timo for some reason.

        I agree completely with what you just said. I just get irritated by some of the clubby dudes on this forum who pillory anyone who doesn’t consistently say positive things, lobbing adulation at the team. I’m very rational. I watched the Canadiens during the late 60’s on a black and white television with my dad and was lucky enough to see the 70’s teams. Wow. That was dominance.

        Yes, the league has changed. Yes, there are more teams, a need to sell advertising, a disinterest in Canada as a whole, less talent for our club to pick from, etc… but 20 plus years without a Cup and supposedly one of the finest team management in the league? I get frustrated and negative because I’ve seen so many bubbles burst in the last three decades.
        Although it may bring some pleasure to rain on a parade, I wouldn’t do that to what I consider my team. I do however, dislike those who just effuse positive comments with no basis for support. I don’t watch football. I don’t watch basketball. I am a pure winter loving Montrealer, transplanted to New York. I see the unbridled fanaticism of Yankees fans, the US marketing machine supporting these other leagues and teams and I lament that our Canadiens, who have a great heritage, haven’t lived up to their history for the last 20 if not 30 years.

        I’m speechless! 20 years and counting…

        • HabinBurlington says:

          Understand, having a top notch mgmt is key, and it is something that I think this team has lacked for a long time. It starts with ownership and runs its way down from President, GM , Coach etc….

          One of the reasons I am most excited, is I see an owner in Geoff Molson who understands and remembers the times you speak of, I didn’t watch the 60’s teams, but i did watch the 70’s teams. Geoff Molson watched them also and I think he wants to do everything he can to try and recreate that success. It will be impossible to have a dynasty like that again, but he is willing to spend in all areas, and really seems passionate about it.

          I think back to Ronald Corey as President, that smarmy arrogant President who I really felt created a bad culture and a sense of entitlement. To me that is all gone, MB is part of a true fresh new approach, it has me excited.

          Have a good day, appreciate the dialogue!

    • Bash says:

      Speechless?

      Not.

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

  17. Habsrule1 says:

    Love beating the booins.

    I think having Parros and Murray in the line-up made a difference. The usual suspects on the booins were very quiet. There’s a difference when they think they may actually have to fight guys that can fight. I think it’s possible that they wanted to avoid Chara or Lucic going off for 5 with Parros or Murray….would be a bad trade-off for them.

    In 3 weeks or so, we will be at the halfway point of the season. If the Habs are still in the top 3 of the conference, everyone will probably have to take the Habs seriously.

    I picked them for 6th in the conference and some even thought that was a Habs-coloured glasses prediction. It’s still early and they could fall, but I’m feeling pretty good about them.

    Go Habs Go!!

    “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

  18. thehammer says:

    I don’t post here often. Do a lot more reading than posting.

    I jus want to know where all the price haters have gone?

    • secretdragonfly says:

      They have all crawled back under their rocks but don’t worry – they’ll re-emerge just as soon as Carey has a bad game (hopefully not for the foreseeable future, though).

    • Ozmodiar says:

      They’re doing a lot more reading than posting, I guess.

    • I’m here Hammer, just haven’t been posting much. I still don’t trust someone who’s burned me so many times. Why he’s playing well (still shows signs of falling down on goals where shots sail over his glove or right shoulder).

      Is he an elite goaltender? I don’t know if he can keep it up. Is it the new goalie coach that has stabilized his head? Perhaps. If he strings a few years together where he is posting these numbers (win loss still not excellent, so we need to score goals too) during the season AND playoffs, I’d be convinced that he has come into his own.

      Why we are winning? I’d say defense, foe-checking and luck, like last night, where we were outplayed for 40 minutes and squeaked out a win.

      If HIO’ers are already hailing Price as the second coming of Dryden, I would definitely pour some water on their bonfire of love for the young man. I do wish he would be consistent and prove his worth, but I’m still not convinced. Look at Rask who quickly came into his own? Is that a coach, skill, a calm head? Why do we question Prices head so often and giving him five years already, would suggest a sudden transition isn’t likely for price.

      I’m speechless! 20 years and counting…

      • Habsrule1 says:

        osh – make no mistake. Price is the biggest reason we are winning, but not the only one. You are faulting him for going down too early and not letting goals in while still winning?

        Talk about grasping. So far he has been the picture of consistentcy this season. He finally has good defense in front of him, some of which can actually clear the front of the net. I believe we are finally seeing the real Carey Price, and my bet is we see him for a long time.

        Go Habs Go!!

        “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

    • Strummer says:

      The Price “haters” -as you call them- criticism=hatred?-

      Anyway they are in the same place you were when Price was sucking

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

  19. Habfan10912 says:

    Was it me or was McKenzie nearly in tears as he poo pooed the Habs recent run on TSN 690 thus morning?

  20. jon514 says:

    Anyone else wondering how the Yakupov chronicles will end in EDM? He is not producing, he seems to feel his coaching and management staff have no faith in him. There’s no room for him in the top 6. I know I’m not the only one who dreams of seeing him play right wing on the Eller Chucky pairing…

    Is there a trade the habs can make… something like Beaulieu and this year’s 1st round pick, that would bring him back, and would you be interested?

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Just a thought, yet the last thing the Oilers need are more draft picks and prospects.
      What they do need are some good veterans especially on Defense.
      There is little to no veteran leadership on that team and proof of that is having Andrew ‘finger the crowd’ Ference as their Captain.

    • Chris says:

      There is pretty much zero chance that Montreal has the assets to land Yakupov. He will go for a mint, probably to a struggling US market that needs a marquee star to market around. I wouldn’t be surprised, if he is dealt at all, to see him end up in Florida (who are loaded with prospects), Buffalo, New York (who could offer up Del Zotto plus picks and prospects and love flashy hype) or St. Louis (who I think would like some more goal scoring).

    • Cal says:

      Yak “appears” to be a “me first” type of player.
      Right now, I don’t see the Habs needing that kind of distraction.

  21. Had Markov and PK both been mentally and physically on their game last night the game wouldn’t have been as close as it was.

    The Bruins were really good last night (Barf), but the Canadiens were better…..the tradition continues :lol:

    Shane Oliver
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  22. Maritime Ronn says:

    Mr. Boone writes:
    “…I thought Raphael Diaz, who set up Pacioretty’s game-winning goal, was excellent…..P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov were each minus-1 – which, for me, renders the stat meaningless.”
    —————
    Sometimes stats are meaningless and unfair, especially on the Max goal.

    The 3rd assist:
    The whole play started with a gutsy puck battle win in the defensive zone by Douglas Murray who played one hell of a game.

    Plus-Minus:
    Once Murray moves the puck out to Gallagher, he skates to the bench, then 2 seconds later the goal is scored.
    Murray is NOT rewarded a Plus 1, and Josh Gorges benefits with a Plus 1 having been on the ice for 2 seconds.

    The Goal:
    http://www.rds.ca/vid%C3%A9os/but-de-pacioretty-mtl-2-bos-1-2e-3.899968

    And speaking about one of HIO’s favorite whipping boys Josh Gorges – and those that claim Gorges has zero offensive acumen , where’s the love for Josh Gorges concerning the great vision to find Plex, and that great across the ice pass setting up Plex for the tieing goal?

    Great (lucky???) shot by Plex as the puck was actually rolling and on its edge and not flat on the ice.

    The Gorges Pass/the Plex goal:
    http://www.rds.ca/vid%C3%A9os/but-de-plekanec-mtl-1-bos-1-2e-3.899942

    • Cal says:

      C’mon Ronn, Gorges’ pass freaked out the entire Gooins squad, as Gorges is wont to throw the puck around the boards. He also freaked out 21,273 on hand and maybe a million or so watching.

      • Maritime Ronn says:

        I had to watch the replay to make sure it was him and not Diaz
        :-)

        • Phil C says:

          Maybe Gorges *was* just dumping it in the corner and Pleks got in the way and ruined it.

          Seriously, though, why doesn’t he do it more often? He plays way too safe IMO. He used to put up points in Junior so why not in the NHL?

          • Maritime Ronn says:

            He does play very safe.
            He appears to rather dump it in the corner than take a chance to shoot – have the shot blocked – then that causing a 2 on 1 or 3 on 1 and a possible goal .

  23. 24 Cups says:

    Without trying to jinx the Habs I figure this latest win streak makes them a lock for a playoff spot. Great goaltending, a full line-up and the coaching of Therrien has opened up a ten point lead in the Eastern playoff race.

    It’s early but I wonder what type of player (if any) the Habs might look at acquiring once the trade deadline comes around. On defense, you would think that one of the three kids in Hamilton might fit the bill. Up front, there’s not much on the farm outside of the undersized Thomas and Louis Leblanc who seems to be constantly treading water. With that in mind, the Habs might want to pick up another forward, especially seeing that Parros won’t play in the post-season. The only question is whether Montreal goes after a scorer or a secondary player who has size and grit. There’s also the question of cost but that debate is for another day.

    • Cal says:

      We’ll have to be patient for a move like that, but trade deadline could be very interesting if the Habs are- ahem- contending.
      It’s been a great run, but let’s not get too far ahead of what looks like a tough, soul draining schedule ahead.
      Price, along with Subban and Markov, match up against any one in the league right now, and it’s awesome to behold.

      • 24 Cups says:

        Obviously there are another four months to go in the season but over the years a lot of GMs have mentioned that most trades are discussed weeks ahead of time before finally culminating into an official transaction. I doubt there will be any major trades in the near future due to cap restrictions but I’m sure that MB will start laying the ground work for a possible depth move at the deadline during the next few weeks.

        Right now there are five teams who are out of the playoff race with another three on life support. We should know who most of the buyers and sellers are by the new year.

        • habitual says:

          I don’t want to set off an a whole bunch of suggestions on who would go for who would come, but your above reference to the cost of an acquisition is apt.

          This team is competitive, but we do not have the depth to ship players out to justify an upgrade in either the O or D. Unless there is a fire sale by another team, I can’t see what we have to offer that brings a better return.

    • Chris says:

      I think a goal-scorer to play with Eller and Galchenyuk is the natural fit. Both those guys are natural playmakers, not snipers, so having somebody with them that can be a trigger-man would be very useful. And they don’t have to look for a guy with size, because both Eller and Galchenyuk are plenty big enough.

      I’m also a bit worried about the Briere-Gionta-Plekanec line as a playoffs line because those guys could get worn down pretty easily and Plekanec has historically struggled in the playoffs.

  24. Chris says:

    To be filed under the mostly meaningless heading, here is the Habs’ record after 30 games the past few seasons (the remainder of the season is in brackets):

    2013-14: 19-8-3 (???)
    2012-13: 20-5-5 (9-9-0)
    2011-12: 12-11-7 (19-24-9)
    2010-11: 18-10-2 (26-20-8)
    2009-10: 14-14-2 (25-19-8)
    2008-09: 16-9-5 (25-21-6)
    2007-08: 14-11-5 (33-14-5)

    The best Montreal Canadiens teams of the past few years were the 2007-08 edition, who really turned it on in the second half but ran into the rock to their scissors in Philadelphia, and the 2012-13 Montreal Canadiens, whose lack of depth and size was completely exposed by the Senators.

    I think Bergevin has done a beautiful job of addressing the depth issue, with Murray, Bouillon, and Tinordi all providing insurance should a defenceman not named Subban or Markov go down. Pateryn could be the wild card as he is evidently playing fantastic hockey in Hamilton this season.

    At the forward ranks, I really like the depth. Even if one or two forwards get injured, the Habs are reasonably deep. The continuing growth of Galchenyuk (who I’m still counting on to take a big step forward in the second half) and the emergence of Bournival are the wild-cards there. This allows the team to play Prust, Moen and White as a fourth line in the playoffs, and that is a very solid fourth line.

    I like this team. I’m still reserving judgement until January 1 as the Christmas road trip has been where more than one promising Habs season has gone to die in recent years. But if they are still looking strong after that road trip (which is one of the friendliest in recent years in terms of the competition), then I think Bergevin should think strongly about making some moves. Opportunities to contend do not come along often…if the Habs are a contender, than they should address their vulnerabilities (another goal-scoring forward primarily).

    Nobody in their right mind thought that the 2007-08 Montreal Canadiens would end up being that particular roster’s apex, given their youth. I would argue the same for the Stanley Cup winning 1992-93 Montreal Canadiens. But that was precisely what ended up happening.

    Who envisioned the Penguins of Malkin and Crosby failing to get past the second round for three seasons after back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals trips?

    I would never argue that major changes should be made. But the East is wide-open this season, and you’ve got to take your shots when you get them.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      That’s almost as bad as my Won-Lost record with Emelin in the lineup
      :-)

      • Chris says:

        Hey, I DID say that you should file it under mostly meaningless.

        From looking at the Stanley Cup winners in recent years, the most relevant correlation is the team record after the All-Star break. Teams that get going on a significant roll entering the playoffs often sustain that roll right through the playoffs.

        Teams that do well in the fall but sputter down the stretch are more often than not cannon fodder for the 1st or 2nd round, regardless of how high a seed they are. One notable exception was the 1985-86 Montreal Canadiens who were one of the top teams in the NHL on February 1 (30-17-5, a 100 point pace that would have seen them rank 4th in the NHL had they sustained it) only to sputter down the stretch (10-16-2) as they completely quit on coach Jean Perron. The veterans (Bob Gainey, Larry Robinson, Rick Green, Bobby Smith, Ryan Walter) basically took over the leadership of that team entering the playoffs and won despite the coach. Their goalie didn’t hurt, either. :)

    • Walmyr says:

      Chris…just to add…

      Mr. Therien is using his depth up front very well. We have the right players to use against any team in the league and in all situations. All this without have to change our game. And IMO his in game decisions have been one of the keys for our recently success. He is using the tolls he have properly right now. That was my issue with him in the very beggining of the season. Maybe the lack of depth (Emelin, Prust, etc…) was the reason for that.

      CHeers

  25. John Q Public says:

    Φ

    26 23 31 30 30 38 34 3b 20 47 6f 20 48 61 62 73 20 47 6f 20 26 23 31 30 30 38 34 3b




    ❀ ✾ ❆ ✬ ✰ ✴ ✪ ꕥ

  26. Haberoooo13 says:

    Still can’t believe the non-call on Hamilton…

    Lafleur coming out rather gingerly…

  27. Haberoooo13 says:

    Still wondering what Diaz has to do for some here? No he’s not going to strike fear into anyone on the other team.
    Smart with the puck, smart defensively and smart positionally.

    Lafleur coming out rather gingerly…

    • Ozmodiar says:

      He had a lot of little, unheralded plays last night. Very smart positionally, like you said. The thing is, a lot of people like to classify d-men into one of two categories: 1) offensively productive, 2) punishing. Diaz is neither, so he’s not going to get a lot of credit for his work.

      He’s becoming the Pleks of the defense corps.

  28. CrankFSU says:

    Full marks to the boys for last night’s effort. The legs were not there, but they busted their butt. Pretty good one two punch in goal.

    Chucky you’ll be fine…keep working.

    Also, I have to give credit to Julien and the Bruins. Was Max’s check a penalty? Yes, but it wasn’t dirty. They knew it and ddn’t let the situation get out of control. Last night’s game was what hockey should be!

    As a transplanted Habs fan in the U.S. I’m often watching the home team feed on Center Ice. As a general rule I avoid NESN because of Jack Edwards. Last night was the first NESN broadcast I’ve watched this season and I have to say he was very good. He was very complimentary to the Habs all night to include not going out of bounds on Max’s hit. Who ever straightened him out…thank you.

    Habs and Bruins thank you for the early Christmas present.

    Sean

  29. Marcusman says:

    How about 3 cheers for Lars “Larry the Hammer” Eller who definitely showed up for the big bad Bruins game. He was tough on the puck, had some great hits..(he has to learn never apologize to a Bruin for hitting him too hard) ….simply put he was great last night he could of the 3.5 star….Hip Hip !!!

  30. Habfan10912 says:

    re: Rivalry

    Forget Toronto. They haven’t been relevant for so long. The biggest Hab rivalry is now the Bruins and its been that way for a while. It’s sweet when we beat either but there’s an extra ounce or two of syrup on the pancakes when we beat the Bruins.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Hi Jim

      Hard to believe yet the Habs have not played the Leafs in a Playoff Series since 1979….and the Habs swept the Leafs 4-0 on their way to another Stanley Cup.

      Also since that time, the Habs have met the Bruins in the playoffs 14 times.

    • I can’t believe that fans support the Leaf rivalry over the Habs. 70’s and 80’s Habs vs Bruins hockey was the best. It had everything.

      All I remember from the 90’s and present is how the Leafs beat us a lot. That’s not a rivalry, it’s called embarrassment.

      Shane Oliver
      Twitter @Sholi2000
      http://www.Sholi2000.com
      Custom Sports Figures
      Summit Member 1.29.31.33

  31. songles says:

    I think the primary reason the Bruins org isn’t outraged at the Boychuck thing is because the hit had none of the initial, shocking horror of the Pacs hit. The hit didn’t look all that gruesome when it was happening and then Boychuck got right onto his hands and knees. So I think everyone sees this as merely a freak injury from a hard play in the corner.

    • Marcusman says:

      I don;t think it was even a penalty…he simply got caught off balance.

      • Luke says:

        Yah… odd one. I suppose the call was boarding based on the distance between Boychuk and the boards at the time of contact.

        But, Gallagher was nailed behing the net in similar fashion a few games ago. He didn’t spin into the boards like JB and there was no call.

        Wierd one. I didn’t think it was a penalty, but I also don’t think making the call was an example of terrible reffing either.

        • 24 Cups says:

          I agree, Luke. I’m OK with a minor penalty – that call gets made all the time on that type of play. As for the injury, I think it was simply a very weird play which was more a case of awkwardness rather than malicious intent.

  32. Psycho29 says:

    Had a great time at the game, corner reds where Johnny B got hurt. Didn’t look that bad at the time, we were surprised at the penalty. I guess the refs wanted to call stuff early.
    A lot of Bruin sweaters in the crowd, noticed a lot of couples, the guy in a B’s sweater, the girl in the Habs. I thought mixing the species was illegal? Oh wait, there’s Chara….
    Two Bruin fans in front of us, and when they announced the starting lineup, they both stood and applauded when Subban name was called…One guy looked around at the crowd nodding in agreement, like “he’s the real deal”…

  33. habstrinifan says:

    Nelson Mandela! Some quotes from him below. Courtesy of the folks at http://news.ca.msn.com/nelson-mandela-a-life-in-quotes-15#image=7

    ‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.’

    ‘Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.’

    ‘After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.’ ( See he knew about the HABS and their 2014 drive for number 25).

    I may have to update my avatar come June.

    And for those who saw his activities against the establishment as a blot… and there were many…

    In June 1964, after an eight-month trial, Mandela was jailed for life for sabotage. During the trial Mandela told the court: ‘I do not deny that I planned sabotage. I did not plan it in a spirit of recklessness nor because I have any love of violence. I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation that had arisen after many years of tyranny, exploitation and oppression of my people by the whites.’

    What was I doing in 1964… what was my main concern then? ….oh yeah betting on Sonny Liston Muhammad Ali fight.

    Just saying!

  34. HabinBurlington says:

    Some interesting results last night, San Jose getting thumped by Penguins and the Oilers thumping the Avalanche.

  35. Habfan10912 says:

    Good morning friends!
    Took awhile to fall asleep last night after that one, eh? A few happy thoughts.

    Has anyone ever seen Diaz play a better game? He looks pretty good as a #5, eh?

    There is no better defensive pairing in the league right now then PK and Markov. Even when their tanks are empty!

    I loved the ice time MT gave Bournival last night. (14.10)

    Lars Eller has become a complete hockey player. A Pleks with physicality.

    One last thought. Carey Price!

    CHeers all.

  36. Cal says:

    A case of karma for Boychuk, who broke Mason Raymond’s back in the SC finals 2 years ago and didn’t get a minor penalty nor any retribution from the league. As well, Boychuk was hit shoulder to shoulder and twisted into the boards.
    Hamilton ran Prust in a worse way while the refs stood there like effing idiots.
    So, when it comes to the Gooins having injuries, I am good with it.

  37. theox_8 says:

    Excellent win and awesome week . Good teams find ways to win and that is exactly what this team is doing . One point of concern , chucks ice time. Perhaps Therrien was sheltering him because he thought it was going get gooned up a little bit ? Anyways great win , happy Friday all.

  38. Bill says:

    Sorry Burly, those Bruins games really bring out a rage in me. I have so much hate for that team. I’ll have to just close the laptop and turn off the phone next time the Habs play them.

    Anyway, Boychuk is fine, great win by the Habs.

    Very weird game though.

  39. John Q Public says:

    Trade all the bums while their value is high. ;)

  40. CharlieHodgeFan says:

    When Emelin was Yemelin, the mysterious prospect in the KHL, it looked like the usual hype about the grass being greener under the snow on the other side of the ocean. He kind of dropped off the radar, mentioned but not expected.
    Gallagher was scoring like a maniac in the minors, but pundits kept saying he was too small, a potential junior superstar and no more.

    Well look at what we get to see now. Watch out for the quiet ones at the back…

  41. AliHaba says:

    Hey Boone! You must be trolling the Leafs’ schedule when you say they play the Kings next Wednesday. The Habs actually play the Kings on Tuesday night. Make note.

  42. Maritime Ronn says:

    Great to see the trust of Michael Bournival from Coach Therrien in a very tight game against a top team.

    In the 3rd period alone, Bournival had a big 8 shifts and 6:26 of playing time of his total 14:10 all night

    In the last 5:20 of the game, Bournival had 3 shifts totalling 2:13.

    Coach Therrien trusts him.

    http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20132014/TH020425.HTM

  43. HabinBurlington says:

    I have to write that I must give kudos to the Bruins, I have seen numerous interviews as it relates to Max Pac’s hit, and all have commented that it was indeed a hockey play with awful/unfortunate results.

    I was less than impressed with some of the comments on the liveblog immediately after the hit on Boychuck. Had to wonder for a minute if I was on a Bruins or a Habs blog site.

    Max attempted what I think was a routine hit along the boards, started on the shoulders. Perhaps it was a bit from behind, but I don’t think it was a dirty hit, or at least not a hit with dirty intentions.

    Again kudos to the Bruins for treating it as such.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      hi Burli

      Even if it was an innocent hockey play, there was great surprise from here concerning the Bruins reaction of non accusation.

      Perhaps deep down somewhere, they figure they owe Max one….

    • DipsyDoodler says:

      Could the Bruins actually be non-despicable? I thought they played a great game last night, never giving up the fight. They just lack a bit of skill.

      I even caught myself feeling sorry for Chara in his late career decline. He looks like a sad confused King Kong, or a dying Godzilla.

      • Chris says:

        He looked like that for much of the season last year too, but he was back to his usual form by the playoffs.

        Older defencemen like Chara, Stevens, Niedermayer, Lidstrom, etc. know how to pace themselves to that they have enough gas in the tank to dominate when it actually means something. The 82 game schedule is just the prelude to the actual dance.

      • Habfan10912 says:

        He has trouble with speed. He probably will perform better in the playoffs when the hooks and holds slow the game down to his level.

    • Ron says:

      More surprising was our live blogger made it sound like some bad hit. I read the live blog this morning and realize why I don’t come on at game night to read it…

  44. Walmyr says:

    Good Morning people…

    Canadiens-Bruins is the best rivarly in NHL. No doubt about it (IMO). And I still don’t understand why the first “Montreal vs Boston” came after 29 games.

    But watching the game last night I felt like “it’s playoff already”!!!

    Both teams playing some of their best hockey since November started (at least the Canadiens). Both teams fighting for the first place in the Division. A pleasure to watch!!!

    Mr. Boone and Mr Normand (UCe) summarized everything that is important. So I will just say a couple more things:

    – Plekanec scored a beauty!…hell, he is playing so good this year!…
    – Last night Bournival and Gallagher made Darth Chara Vader looks like a 5-6 defenceman (to say at least). Imagine these two in three or four years!!!
    – Murray-Diaz: almost perfect together…Diaz played as some of us expected. Murray is a beast. Bruins players falling down around him was priceless:
    – Eller’s hit: BOOM!!!
    – Of course we will trade Max-Pac!…yep, right!
    – I just hope Boychuk is ok…one of the few Boston’s players that I like…seems to be a nice guy…and a good hockey player!

    Great day today indeed!

    CHeers everyone!!!

  45. Shackles says:

    Let me say first how I love Subban the edge he plays with. Having said that, the boy has got to learn to keep his reckless play in check. By reckles, I’m not referring to how he handles the puck; I mean he has a tendency from time to time to play dirty and take cheap shots which should send him to the box….at times when the Habs cannot afford to lose him. It absolutely terrifies me when he’s holding, slew-footing or even attempting to throw a punch. I just sit there, waiting for the ref’s arm to go up. A little subtely can go a long way.

  46. Lafleurguy says:

    Nice picture of three future HHOF inductees upstairs. Price’s pose, being in an intense crouched posture symbolizes his play this year. A symbolic picture of his play last year would have his pads down.

    “May you live in interesting times.”

    • Chris says:

      I don’t think there’s any chance whatsoever of Markov being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and Price has a long way to go to get there. Iginla is obviously a lock.

      • Lafleurguy says:

        My logical brain agrees with you, but the right half does most of my talkin’.

        “May you live in interesting times.”

        • Chris says:

          :)

          Markov is my favourite Hab right now, so I would love it if he got in. But if a guy like Koivu isn’t a lock (and I’m assured he doesn’t belong in the HHOF by so many here), then there is no chance at all that Markov gets in.

          • Lafleurguy says:

            And I don’t think Mats Naslund got in either. But I’ve got him in my personal Hall of Fame.

            “May you live in interesting times.”

          • Chris says:

            No Naslund. His NHL numbers weren’t quite good enough, and his international numbers, while solid, were not HHOF worthy.

            Too bad, as my avatar markes my position clear on that front.

  47. RAM_TOUGH says:

    Montreal Canadiens new dressing room banner:

    “WHO’S NEXT”!

    Guts-Glory-Ram

  48. Maritime Ronn says:

    The Habs Win-Loss record in the past 2 years – playoffs included.

    Emelin in the lineup:……. 33-9-6.
    Emelin out of the lineup: 15-18-2.

    • Lafleurguy says:

      Hey Big Guy. When both Emelin and Murray were out, the Habs 2nd and 3rd D-pairings were patchwork. Diaz and Murray are dependable 3rd pairing D. Nice depth M. Bergie. Emelin is playing better this year than the last two. It may have been an illusion in the past, but he didn’t look dependable without wily Markov on the ice with him. That’s no longer the case.

      “May you live in interesting times.”

      • Maritime Ronn says:

        Hi guy

        The other day, I mentioned that the now healthy total Habs 6 man D unit is now one of the best in the NHL and can be considered as one of the Top 3 Units in the NHL.

        One poster came back and said that 3-4 Habs Dmen could never make the Bruins, and that they would be playing in the AHL.

        I call upon that same poster today to again present evidence of that.

        • Chris says:

          I think we’ve got to let the season, especially the playoffs, play out before trying to contextualize where the Habs’ defence corps ranks.

          Chicago, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Ottawa, Los Angeles, San Jose, Phoenix, Vancouver and the New York Rangers all have very, very good defence groups. Boston’s group has always benefit from the strong defensive play of their forwards, but both Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton look like they are developing into star defencemen.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      A week or so back I mentioned the same thing, Emelin is starting to have a win/loss record similar to that of Markov. When a few of us did the Bell Center tour during Summit weekend, our tour guide expressed his opinion that Emelin is the MVP of the team, he pointed to the record of the team after Emelin’s injury as proof.

      Hard to argue with the stats!

      • habstrinifan says:

        Best comeback from injury by a player even counting Markov. From day 1 of his return, there was no drop.

      • Habfan10912 says:

        Emelin makes a very ordinary defense very good. When Josh Gorges can play as a #4 and Diaz as a #5 instead of #3 and #4 it makes a huge difference.

        The funny part is, he’s not all the way back yet! Better things are yet to come.

        • Chris says:

          I agree whole-heartedly. It isn’t just how good a player is, but the fact that he allows the other guys to slide into the appropriate spots on the depth chart.

          Maxim Lapierre was a great example of this for me. If a team has the depth to use him as a 4th line forward, he is one of the best guys in that role in the entire league. If you have to use him as a 3rd line forward, he is simply mediocre.

      • Chris says:

        The problem with the Emelin win/loss record is that it wasn’t just Emelin. Diaz was also out for most of the collapse last year and was a shadow of his former self when he came back from concussion.

        I love Emelin…I was pumping his tires for years while he was still in the KHL based on what I saw of him in World Championships. While he has come back at 100%, the MVP of this team this year is Price, who is dialed in at an otherworldly level.

        The defence corps is still giving up some pretty sloppy chances, but Price (and Budaj, who has also been stellar) have been rocks behind the team.

  49. habs001 says:

    Season ended now Habs reward for being first in the division would be the Red Wings…Habs had a solid 2nd period but tired in the third…but there still should be a concern as in both games vs the Devils there were extended periods of being dominated in the d zone…

  50. Maritime Ronn says:

    Mr. Boone writes:
    ” 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.”
    —–
    You bad, Mr. Boone
    :-)

    In reality, that quote is attributed to Mark Twain, and let’s never confuse the differences of literary genius between Mark Twain and Michael Vick…

  51. zephyr says:

    what we saw last nite was a more balanced habs team. I was happy to see that either subban, emelin or murray was on the ice when the bruins tried to make their plays along the boards in our end. they had to keep their heads up for a change & could not dominate physically. no crap after the whistle. no nothing except hockey. eller is a skill/physical force the bruins have no answer for. moen & prust played tough as nails. even parros made life difficult by taking a piece of every bruin he was near. our skill guys weren’t subjected to constant thuggery & I believe that has a psychological effect. we have a very good group of skilled players too. plus they all worked hard despite the scheduling. i continue to be impressed with dd. he plays with energy & skill much like Gallagher & bournival. I was worried b4 the season that price’s playoff fail might have affected his confidence but he has clearly demonstrated over time that he has his mojo intact. that’s huge.
    I think murray has made a case for starting every game. his game is very aggressive & even intimidating. he pinches in when I expect our d to be backing off & he doesn’t fail either. he often punishes someone in the process. he moves to cut plays off b4 they have a chance to develop in the neutral zone. he may not be the fastest guy chasing down an iced puck but the strengths of his game are considerable. he & emelin have greatly reduced a major weakness on our d. we’re gonna need those 2 more than ever in the playoffs.

  52. Maritime Ronn says:

    Mr. Boone

    It appears the HIO full court press about playing PK Subban in the final minutes of a tight game, finally caught the eyes of the Habs coaching staff.
    :-)

    PK was on the ice for the last 1:44 of the game and played a staggering 3:38 of the final 5:20 of the game.
    Soschi? Forgetabouit. Who can trust PK?

    • Phil C says:

      In the last 15 seconds of the game, there was a loose puck behind the net that Chara was going for and PK knocked him on his butt and took the puck. It was a great defensive play because he not only gained possession, he took Chara out of the play for a few seconds as well. How many so-called “offensive defensemen” could do that?

  53. JUST ME says:

    I guess this is how it must feel when you smoke a good cigar. Do not know , never did , but they seem to enjoy it so much when they light it up !

    So this is the way i feel and look upon experts like Marinaro and others that you know and shall remain nameless and say a loud IN YOUR F***ING FACE ! Oh yes i know that i will have bad days and better days but at least i do not pretend on knowing everything and i just enjoy the well deserved fine things in life !

  54. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …great column by Dave Stubbs in The Gazette on Tim Thompson the creative genius of HNIC video montage openings

    …I don’t have link as I’m posting from IPod ,,,but worth Your time to find

    • shootdapuck says:

      Agreed Chris but how pathetic is it when the opening montage outshines exponentially the coverage?
      Like a cereal box which outshines the cereal!
      The two main protagonists begging for their jobs equally pathetic!
      HNIC its tabloid format and ludicrous cast of talking heads is tired and living on a rep generated by people in powder blue blazers!

      =================================================
      The cranial flatulence of PJ Stock:

      “On peut play cette game tres simplement”
      “Le game est tous de hard work”
      ” I have a pet peeve”

  55. --Habs-- says:

    Habs outplayed ……Yes and no! Habs played a lot in thier own zone yes. But the Habs were relentless in their own zone coverage which equals the no. Very few shots came from inside the hash marks or from the middle of the ice. Along the boards the Habs were ontop of every Bruin in the battle IE. there was nowhere for a Bruin to go even if they won a battle. It was kind of impressive if your looking for defensive zone coverage strategy. Price was good and not taking away from his game…..he didn’t need to be spectacular although his positioning was great not leaving much to shoot at. All in all I think it was a good solid 3rd game in 4 nights and lets remember the Devils not noted as a contender are always in thier games and are tough on the opposition. Its not like they were playing the Panthers before walking into the Bruins game.

    “Habs” Watch and learn….! Or Not!

  56. JUST ME says:

    A complete team effort yesterday and playing as such a tight unit, they belong in first place and should remain there.
    I was really really impressed with Gallagher`s game . His best as a hab. He was everywhere in every face.
    Now if you cannot call that a steal from Price what will it take ? Problem is that he steals games very often but is such a kool cat that he makes it look easy.
    Gionta,Plek,Max,D.D,Murray,Markov,Moen…Shall i go on and name all the guys that shined in their own way yesterday ?

    3 wins in 4 days. 3 hockey games in 4 days think about it ! I would not be able to move from bed this morning…6 points in 4 days . Nothing less than perfect.

  57. Danno says:

    Habs are first in the division and second in the conference.

    ________________________________________

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”
    Updates, highlights & great discussions on all things Habs

  58. roblack says:

    That Plekanic goal was a thing of beauty! How do you beat Tuka Rask from that angle? Put the puck precisely where it has to go! Whether good fortune or crazy skill,not many players could have scored that goal.
    This team is playing confident,they don’t blow the opposition out,but rely on goaltending and just enough scoring to win. We will have bad games in this long season,but if we get into the play offs intact,without losing key members,this team might just show these goofs that only think of Boston or Pittsburg being good in the East. With Carey playing like he is,we have a chance to beat ANY team.

    HABS FOREVER,FOREVER HABS

  59. Un Canadien errant says:

    The Canadiens continued their recent streak of good fortune, beating the Bruins 2-1 to take the lead in the Atlantic division. They were fortunate in that, if this had been a boxing match, and the periods were rounds, the judges would have scored it two to one in favour of the Bruins. They dominated the first and third periods.

    What tilted the result in the Canadiens direction was the continued excellence of goaltender Carey Price. He turned away 32 of 33 shots, for a sizzling .970 save percentage, and boosted his seasonal average to .938 . We’re seeing in Carey the level of performance that has always been predicted for him, based on his pedigree, his physical gifts, his mental makeup and attitude, and his performance at the World Junior Championship, for example, and in the AHL with the Bulldogs. Whether this is strictly a result of a player maturing into his peak years, or a convergence of factors like his wedding this summer or a change in technique due to a new goaltending coach, he started off the season strong and seems to be getting stronger as the season progresses.

    During the game, he seemed solid, unflappable at times, making routine saves appear as such. He also fought and scrambled and was lucky at times, but these were instances which reinforced the confidence he inspires recently, instead of being seen as evidence that the dam is about to breach. Miraculous saves and lucky bounces don’t demonstrate that our luck is running out, they show that he is in the zone.

    Many other players drew our attention. Michaël Bournival took a shoulder to the kisser and it seemed to stun him, he had to leave for a medical break during the first period, but even that didn’t slow him down. He was fast and furious on the forecheck, making Zdeno Chara look unsteady and foolish on a couple of occasions. He also made a crucial block on a shot late in the third period.

    Douglas Murray is winning over the Antichambre crew, or at least, convincing early skeptic Michel Bergeron that he has a role to play. We saw very few scrums and attempts to spear a puck through Carey tonight, and none when Douglas was on the ice. There was a notable instance when Sean Thornton was in front of the Canadiens’ crease, and he had half a second to make up his mind on what he would do, the whistle having just been blown. To help him decide, Douglas skated into the frame and took over from Raphaël Diaz, who had been fronting the Bruins’ fourth-liner, and that was enough to convince the latter to turn and skate away. Douglas did some solid work on the penalty kill, with a notable clearance, and sacrificing himself to go down to block a Zdeno Chara shot, which luckily missed him and hit Carey in the pads instead.

    Raphaël Diaz played the kind of game I was hoping for from him at the onset of the season. Especially with the Magnus Nygren experiment now stalled, this is a welcome blip on the radar, and we can hope that it’s the start of a trend. Maybe he’s finally settling in with Douglas Murray, or maybe the contract talks are having an effect (did Marc Bergevin lowball him, and light a fire?), but we saw flashes of the player we expected, in the better-case scenario at least, in that he was dependable defensively and creative and dangerous offensively.

    On one sequence, he covered Chris Kelly in his zone, and bodychecked him behind the net to neutralize him. This was not a punishing blow or anything, but an effective play that will make his coaches smile. He then rushed the puck up the ice and created a scoring chance, and this was the kind of rushes he’s shown the last couple of years that have been strangely absent this season. On another sequence, he took a couple of dangerous shots at the net, and again this aspect of his game has been lacking. Finally, in the third period he set up the winning goal by Max Pacioretty on a pretty play when he drove the net and deked around a sprawled Tuukka Rask, almost potting the goal himself.

    Alexei Emelin continued his solid play, and may have exorcised some demons by putting a solid hit on Milan Lucic along the boards. Alexei landed on his butt as a result, but his limbs were intact, and that must have helped his confidence.

    Lars Eller also laid a crunching hit, on Gregory Campbell to boot, and was solid and dependable all game long.

    George Parros was a presence that possibly cooled the Bruins’ baser instincts, and even took a pretty good shot on net, although he went high glove-side, the scorer’s equivalent of fool’s gold. Georgie, there’s a reason there’s all that room, all that net to shoot at, it’s the goalie setting a trap for you, hypnotizing you with what seems like a can’t miss option. Next time, at least freeze the goalie before trying that.

    David Desharnais won an honest-to-goodness puck battle along the boards with Jarome Iginla late in the third, while protecting the slim lead, and that flies in the face of the truism that he’s too small to be effective in the defensive zone, and that he gets knocked off the puck too easily. I don’t know if he’s playing more confidently due to his recent successes, but he did the same things he used to do, which is get way low and wide in his stance so that the big Bruins winger couldn’t get a good lick on him or lever him off the puck. He then used his quick stick and smarts to shuffle the puck along the boards for a few precious seconds before he squirted it loose to Josh Gorges, who was able to easily clear the zone.

    And finally, Canadiens fans could take some schadenfreude in how poorly Zdeno Chara played. I challenge anyone who states that he’s still one of the Top 5 or even Top 10 defencemen in the league to watch the game and see his many gaffes and mistakes. Poor shifts followed bad shifts which came after catastrophic shifts.

    Brendan Gallagher started off the festivities early in the first while forechecking and racing him to a puck in the corner. Brendan braced and ‘pre-hit’ him, then finished his check after the puck was gone. Not that it affected Mr. Chara physically, but it may have set the tone. Michaël Bournival forechecked him to great effect, stripping him of the puck on a couple of occasions.

    Mr. Chara also looked bad against Lars Eller on one sequence, during which he initially gave away the puck, then bobbled it when it came back to him, which led to a Lars scoring chance. He then was too immobile to corral the puck on the rebound, or catch up to Lars who skated away easily with it. It was like dessert for the soul. In advance of the main course, of the win. Cue the angel choir.

    Oh, and he was on the ice for the Tomas Plekanec goal, having started the whole thing with a giveaway. His ineptitude during and expression after were priceless.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pr3sBks5o_8

    If he’s a top defenceman with such a fierce shot, why are they putting him in front of the net on the powerplay? Doesn’t that raise a question as to how effective he is on the blue line? It’s not like the Bruins don’t have a bunch of big bodies to put in front of the net, they have options, yet they waste this Norris Trophy-candidate as a forward to screen the goalie? Really?

    It wasn’t all sunshine and roses for Les Glorieux though. We saw a curiously disjointed powerplay, with forwards going offside when our defencemen were trying to gain the zone. And again, Tomas Pekanec went on a two-on-one during a penalty kill with Travis Moen, and chose to shoot instead of passing. It’s almost like he doesn’t trust Travis to bury the puck, or send it back with a pretty pass.

    We also saw Max Pacioretty get sent off for a two-minute boarding penalty, which was disputable since Max hit Dennis Seidenberg on the side, rather than clearly from behind. Further, Dougie Hamilton seemed to hit Brandon Prust squarely from behind, an apparently much worse hit, but Chris Lee being one of the referees officiating the game, it went unpunished.

    All that remains now is for us to savour this win, and for our focus to not wane in advance of Saturday’s game against the punching-bag Sabres.

    ———————————————————————–
    … you know, because there’s no way hundreds of overcompetitive stars with massive egos would ever cheat to gain an edge with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.–Bill Simmons

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  60. Timo says:

    Anyone else noticed that Therrien put Bournival on the ice with about 2 mins left? That’s a vote of confidence for the kid. Good for him.

    Also, wtf was the Eller line doing on the ice against Kreiji line (which led to the Bruins’ goal?) Michael T was asleep at the switch?

  61. Feraco says:

    Parros! I agree with anyone’s assessment in regards to his effect. Hard to say because in the end they won the game. What I do know is that Thornton, Campbell, Chara whoever would rather beat up Ryan White or Bourque than Parros. So that’s a plus.

    Cudos to Therrien! Lines meshed very well albeit they were outplayed. Bournival excellent game, Gionta excellent, Pleks, Pacs. Boston is still a force and it was a tame game for their standards.

    Still a long season

  62. Sportfan says:

    All in all that was a heck of a game, funny enough the third period felt like a video game with Boston being in our zone for so long, luckily the goalie frustrated them and no goals were had!

    We will never know if Parros prevented the Bruins from trying to fight or have a dirty moment in the game where its required, but I do think his presence along with Prust and Moen went a long way for this team. Add in the constant hits the Bruins seemed confused as to what was going on against the “little” Habs. I do want to point out one thing the Bruins play a much more aggressive game in their own home, I’m not saying they don’t do that here, but it’ll be interesting to see what a game in Boston will be like with parros around.

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

    • Seps says:

      That’s a strange but accurate comment RE: Bell Vs TD… The Habs would play a nutty game in Boston and all the media would amp up the next game which is usually back at the Bell Centre, which would be a subdued (although great) game. Seems Boston likes throwing on the show for the home fans. Would make sense too, Boston is now 6-5 on the road this year, very mediocre.

  63. Timo says:

    What, no embellishment BS from Julien? Come on, I personally saw Gallagher and Subban embellish at least twice.

  64. keviathan says:

    Highlight of the night was Murray deking out two Bruins in our end by just basically standing there and letting the forecheckers bounce off him…pure magic which set up the Patches goal!!!

  65. Sportfan says:

    No way patches gets suspended right?

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!
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    • Da Hema says:

      I don’t understand why he would. I didn’t even think he warranted a penalty in the first place. The hit was fine, in my opinion, with an unanticipated outcome.

  66. Timo says:

    Just finished watching the game… looked like Habs were skating in sand after Pacs’ hit on good ol’ Johny Boychuk. But they recovered in the second so it’s all good.

    Unlike Boone, I believe that Parros’ presence calmed the spirits of the goons a bit. But not Parros alone. Habs had 4 tough guys in the lineup, of which 3 are actually solid hockey players.

    Campbell, Thornton (aside from a mutually agreen on fight), Paille, Chara… all were very well behaved.

    Btw, what’s with Boychuk? Is he badly injured? Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

    That all being said, Briere still needs to eat some hot dogs upstairs and I would still rather see someone there instead of Diaz.

    Other than that, woo hoo and man, do I ever hate the Bruins.

  67. J.Ambrose.OBrien says:

    Raphael Diaz’s best game this season. He was terrific. And so too was another who rarely gets any love here, Travis Moen (Tony Marinaro’s favourite whipping boy).

    And what can you say about Markov. He is playing like the Markov of 2008-09. Such a smart player!

    I remember Dec. 31, 1975

  68. wildwilly says:

    I loved the Eller hit!

    It is nice to see Montreal doing well.

  69. Sportfan says:

    GO HABS GO!

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!
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  70. D Mex says:

    First place – is ours !

    ALWAYS Habs –
    D Mex


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