About last night …

PriceCarolina

A win is a win.
And a Canadiens loss to Carolina at the Bell Centre Tuesday night would have been calamitous.
But Carey Price was on his game, the Canadiens ended the longest losing streak of their season and Michel Therrien is safe in his job.
At least until Friday morning.
The Canadiens play in Boston Thursday night.
That game will provide the true test of whether the good ship CH has righted itself.

Shall we get the negatives out of the way first?

Carolina was playing its fifth game in seven days – the brutal result of a postponement due to bad weather in the U.S.

How did this tired team against the Montreal Canadiens, who had been idle since Saturday?

The Hurricanes lost on the scoreboard. But the stat sheet suggests Carolina spent an inordinate amount of time in possession of the puck and directing it toward the Canadiens net.

The visitors had 36 shots on Price. The Canadiens blocked 27 shots – led by Josh Gorges with seven and Andrei Markov with five. Carolina missed the net 12 times.

That tallies up to 75 times Carolina directed pucks toward Price.

The Canadiens had 30 shots on Anton Khudobin. Carolina blocked 10, and 8 missed the net. Total: 48.

The ostensibly tired team won the puck possession battle 75-48. If that happens in Boston Thursday night … well, maybe Price will pull a Ken Dryden, circa 1971, on the Bruins.

Let’s hope he doesn’t have to.

The Canadiens will travel to Boston having resolved (for the moment) a couple of issues that troubled them during their losing streak.

• Lars Eller – who looked, during the left-wing experiment, about as comfortable as Stephen Harper in a mosque – was back at centre, with Brandon Prust and a surprisingly energetic Rene Bourque.

• Michaël Bournival, who was nine years old when Brian Gionta played his first NHL game, brought speed, physicality and youthful energy to his LW duties with the captain and Tomas Plekanec.

More positives:

• Another solid game for Nathan Beaulieu, who played 15:01, blocked a couple shots and looked good in his 1:44 of power-play time.

• Douglas Murray played a solid 17 minutes, including 3:10 on the penalty kill.

• David Desharnais, whose line was jumping all night, went 13-5 on faceoffs. Plekanec was 14-9.

• Alexei Emelin led both teams with four hits.

Negatives:

• As per the possession stats cited above, the Canadiens spent too much time in their own end, a tired team forechecking them effectively and forcing too many bad passes and turnovers.

• Daniel Brière played 8:36, mostly on the fourth line – less ToI than anyone except George Parros, whose one-year contract  is for $7 million less than Brière is going to make through next season.

But hey, the Canadiens got two points to solidify their hold on an Eastern Conference wild-card playoff perth. They’re a point behind Toronto for third place in the Atlantic Division, and  the Canadiens have two games in hand.

On to Boston.

 

 

 

 

444 Comments

  1. Mondou6 says:

    Carolina broadcast last night said that in 2014, Montreal is 30th in the NHL in faceoffs. (Carolina was #1)

  2. Ron in Ottawa says:

    it was a nice win but I am still convinced that MT knows how to mange this team. it does not make any sense at all to put Briere on the 4th line or to make him play the wing on another line. the guy was brought in to score goals so put him, and leave him, in a position to do that. maybe MB made a mistake in signing this guy but he’s here so let’s use him. Also, putting Eller on the wing dos not make any sense. I hope someone upstairs is noticing this.

  3. habsguru says:

    i hear a lot of Posters here have taken in games in Tampa. headed there in a few weeks, any advice on picking up tickets? box office, stub hub, other?

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Hi Habsguru. I was down there a couple of weeks ago. I went to the box office the afternoon of the game and got a lower level seat right at center ice for $86. The gentleman told me that single game seats are very easy to come by. Not sure how a request for multiple seats would have gone.

      Also, I prepaid for parking at the Garage right next to the Forum. The box office was able to provide that as well. There was entertainment outside the main entrance before the game so you can arrive early and hang out if you so desire.

      Its a nice building and you’ll have a good time. CHeers.

    • Phil C says:

      I got mine on ticketmaster. $99 bucks centre ice ten rows back a day before the game.

    • CJ says:

      On the street. Bought a pair from a young man for less then half face value against the jets two years ago. Great arena. Beers and hotdogs were each $2 the night I went.

    • JayK-47 says:

      Don’t eat before you go and go extra early. There’s beer, food and music before the doors open. Plenty of decently priced food joints inside and go upstairs to the party deck that overlooks Tampa after the game for $2 beers. I’m going every year from now on.

      Full disclosure: Stayed at a buddy’s house and he has season tickets. THAT HE PAYS $750 A SEASON FOR

    • Ferg says:

      I’ve been there 3 years. Used Stubhub. Sat right on the glass in a corner (great place to watch from once in your life but make sure you are in a corner or an endzone – not on the sides), 10 rows up in a corner (great view), and right behind players bench (horrible, too low, can’t see anything). So make sure you are high enough to see the entire ice unless you grab a glass seat in corner or endzones. If your seats are too low, go to the Service desk and ask to be moved. They will do it, no problem. Great arena, food, weather, parking next door, highway access. What’s not to like? Enjoy.

  4. scavanau says:

    Whats going on with Tinordi?

    • Mattyleg says:

      I heard the Hamilton correspondent on 690 a couple of days ago saying that Tinordi is struggling in the AHL. Said that he’s out of his depth.

      He sounded genuine about it, and genuinely pained to say it.

      I hope Tiny turns it around…

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

      • Ali says:

        a guy his size will always take longer to catch up to the increased speed of the pro game. It took Chara (not saying he’ll be Chara, just using the size thing as an example) until he was around 25 before he put it together on the defensive side of things.

        Tiny’s only 21…he’ll get another cup of coffee this year, probably be up for half the year next year and then be full time year after.

        • Mattyleg says:

          I hope you’re right Ali.

          He did look pretty shell-shocked in the couple of games he played at the beginning of the season.

          —Hope Springs Eternal—

          • kempie says:

            When I hear stuff like this all I can think about is Ryan McDonagh. He’s big and lanky. Give this kid all the development time he needs and do not bail on this guy. I’m not suggesting that you guys are doing that, but it’s a matter of time before we start hearing people getting impatient.

      • Savardian Spin-o-rama says:

        Foot speed. He needs more of it, lots more.

  5. shiram says:

    Jacques Plante was fearless :
    http://imgur.com/a/OZMRw#1

  6. CHicoHab says:

    I have a feeling against the Bruins it will be an overly aggressive game compared to our first meeting. Especially if we go up a few goals. These are games where guys like Patches, Eller and Bourque need be more aggressive. Normally these 3 are not.

  7. Hobie Hansen says:

    Bulldogs sign 25 year old, 6’5”, 225-pound defenceman to a PTO. Myles Harvey split his season w/ the Orlando Solar Bears & Wheeling Nailers.

  8. mark-ID says:

    I have a question for those with a better understanding of the new TV rights for next year.
    I live in Ottawa, have had every Habs game televised on RDS for years now, like many of you across the country.
    My question is, with TVA getting the national rights for 22 some games, and RDS getting the remaining 60 regular season games…..will everyone across the country still get those RDS games?….or will it only be regional(those around the Montreal area).

    Thanks for any input.

    “I think I may have found a way for us to get Griffey and Bonds, and we really won’t have to give up much” -Costanza

    • B says:

      As I understand it, RDS will only have regional French broadcast rights to the Habs after this season. Fortunately for you, Ottawa is withing that region. You may have to have TVA sports to see the remaining games, but I am hoping they will be available nationally on Rogers Sportsnet.

      Edit: I believe the RDS rights only cover the games not on Saturday, Sunday or Wednesday as those games (22 next season) belong to TVA Sports. RDS also has the regional French rights to all the Habs pre-season games. TVA has the French rights to all Habs playoff games.

      –Go Habs Go!–

    • habstrinifan says:

      From what I understand, RDS retains for now anyways the regional rights to all HABS games. And Ottawa is within that regional boundary. So for us no changes… least for now.

      Of course if the cable companies ‘re-package’ RDS then that could change. I cut back my cable bill, reduced the channels I get(no comedy channel anymore for instance) but still get RDS in my reduced package.

      Ironically I think RDS in Mtl itself can only be had on the more premium packages …. this is based on comments I see from posters.

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      RDS and TVA will be regional only and blacked out across the country. Ottawa is in the region though.

      The thing I’m not sure about is if there’s going to be a bunch of Habs games on during the week in English on Sportsnet or other stations?

      • B says:

        TVA purchased some National (not regional) French language Montreal game rights from Rogers.

        http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/hockeys-french-connection/article15642270/

        TVA has acquired the French-language broadcasting rights to all of the so-called national games played by Canadian NHL teams. The national games comprise the sought-after Saturday games, as well as the Wednesday and Sunday games.

        The deal also gives TVA the French TV rights to all playoff matches, as well as the NHL’s All-Star Game. The broadcaster intends to launch a second all-sports channel just to air them.

        –Go Habs Go!–

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Yup I am screwed for watching Habs next season, of course I guess I can buy NHL Center Ice and then watch the US Feeds, which often are not in HD broadcast at a cost much greater than my current RDS fee.

      But Gary was acting in the best interests of hockey once again when he allowed a monopoly to take over NHL broadcasts.

    • Shackles says:

      I’ve got Bell Fibe in Ottawa and am able to get Habs games on either TSN Montreal or CBC Montreal. If I wanted RDS, I would be forced to purchase a “French” package for $15. Bilingualism at its best.

  9. Mr. Biter says:

    Interesting that since both A Galley and White were injured and have not played since Jan 2nd and our woes began shortly after that (5W-6L) perhaps both in their different skill set and playing styles are missed by the Habs?

    Mr. Biter
    No Guts No Glory

  10. CHicoHab says:

    When Murray is on the ice we hold our breath no question. But his Zamboni cleaning style of players infront of Carey is welcome. He’s only D that pushes and nudges with results. Even Soobie can’t match that. He should be playing every game in my opinion.

  11. habstrinifan says:

    Shoot me for saying this.. but if I were a hockey player today I dont know if I would want to play in Mtl.

    • B says:

      I thought that all Bergevin has to do is just call you on the phone and you would be there in a flash? Isn’t that how it works to get anyone to sign with Montréal?

      –Go Habs Go!–

  12. SteverenO says:

    lots of talk about moving Bournival back to th eline with Plekanec and Eller.

    Yes it’s much, much , better than having Eller play there , but the truth is that this line played together for 135 (even strength) minutes earlier in the year and during that span they were on for 5 goals scored and 5 goals allowed.

    Averaging one goal every 27 minutes is exactly that the average of the team.

    Bournival “best” spot has been with White and Moen, That line accounted for 4 goals in 64 minutes, an average of one goal every 16 minutes, while allowing only two goals

    When Briere played with Plek and Gionta they accounted for 8 goals in 100 minutes. an incredible scoring rate of one goal every 12.5 minutes, BETTER than twice the team average and significantly better than the next most “prolific” unit of Pacioretty/DD/Gallagher, who average one goal every 19 minutes.

    Interestingly, Bournival with Plek and Gionta did have some success (luck?) on the PP, having accounted for 3 goals in less than 10 minutes of PP time, while Briere/Plek/Gionta played 16 minutes together on the PP and accounted for only one goal.

    Considering that the team, on the whole, is now averaging one PP goal every 9.4 minutes, and steadily getting worse, it would be nice to see if the Bournival/Plek/Gionta line reunited can be the catalyst to get the PP back on track.

    Using basic analysis of prior performance, here is the “optimal” even strength line combo’s for this roster:

    Briere /Plek/Gionta
    Bournival/Eller/Gallagher
    Pacioretty/DD/ Prust
    Moen/XXXXXX/Bourque

    XXXX can be Dumont or Leblanc—– until White gets back, or maybe Joonas Natinnen ( now that he has some game experience).
    Anyone know where Nokilainen is these days?

    When Galchenyuk returns it should look like this:

    Briere /Plek/Gionta
    Galchenyuk/Eller/Gallagher
    Pacioretty/DD/ Prust
    Moen/White/Bournival

    Bourque/ Parros become the healthy scratches and the team challenges for first place in their division.

    Realistically, its hard to imagine that MT will ever break up the line of 67/51/11- They will continue to get the bulk of PP minutes and the team will be more likely to battle for a wild card spot.

    regards,

    Steve O.

    • shiram says:

      Nokelainen is in Brynäs IF of the SHL.
      I like your posts, but sometimes it does feel like you work with too small a sample size to really draw conclusions.

    • GGtheHab says:

      if only everything was easily explained by stats…does your formula factor in who was on the ice vs those players, or what the score was at the time of the goals..Briere scored a bunch in one game skewering your stats.. I am not saying I dont like your line suggestions, but statistics dont always tell the whole story…especially when you use a 64 minute sample size.

  13. shiram says:

    Tim Thomas does not get a hearing for slashing Soderberg in last nights game.

  14. Ferg says:

    Didn’t watch the game last night but I noticed Boone said Bourque was “surprisingly energetic”. Amazing how guys can extend a career well past their due date by being occasionally energetic. They live on some past reputation and past statistics when, in fact, they are mailing it in beause the money is already in the bank. If Bourque could turn it on last night, where is he the other nights? I guess that trade talk worried him enough to finally care about his game for a brief moment. He’ll be back floating like the 3rd Kostitsyn brother by Thursday night. How is it that Gallagher busts his hump every night and Bourque, Briere, etc. rarely break a sweat? It’s called professionalism and some guys have it and a lot do not.

  15. Lafrich says:

    Soooo, with the new playoff format, the Habs are a “Wildcard” team even though only 4 teams in the conference have better records? How does that make any sense compared to what existed in the recent past?

    • Phil C says:

      Welcome to a divisional playoff system.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Gary Bettmans re-jigging of teams need not make sense, nor do the playoffs. How does it make sense the East has 2 more teams than the West, yet equal amounts of teams make the playoffs.

      This is the same rocket scientist lawyer who thinks some regular season games should be worth 3 points while other games should only be worth 2 points.

      And the same guy who if running the NBA would settle O/T by having a DUnk contest!

      Agree with you Lafrich!

      • Chris says:

        Blaming this on Bettman is a bit silly. Or do you forget the state of affairs before Gary Bettman became commisioner?

        The new system was brought back to try to re-develop rivalries, which had become stale over the past two decades under the now departed conference seedings. Teams play unbalanced schedules once again, with 29 games against divisional rivals and only 21 against the teams from the other division in the conference. The remaining 32 games are played against teams in the opposite conference.

        Bettman was the primary champion of the now departed conference format, and hockey fans have been whining for years about the lack of rivalries and his attempts to make a more “American” or “NBA” playoff system. So the NHL has moved back towards its routes and fans blame Bettman for the unfairness of the new system.

        • HabinBurlington says:

          Last I checked, Bettman is the commissioner of the NHL, I have zero issue placing the blame on him.

          Just the same I place much of the Steroid scandal on Bud Selig.

          Big Boys need to wear Big Boy shoes.

          How the Heck does creating rivalries have anything to do with a completely bastardized point system where games have completely different point values.

          How does rivalries have anything to do with a team being in a conference with more teams than the other conference.

          What does rivalries have to do with an All Star skills competition to decide who wins a team game?

          • APPLAUSE, Let’s Get Have a Drink! :lol:

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

          • Ozmodiar says:

            Little-known new CBA fact …

            Did you know the 4th tie-breaker to determine playoff seeding is a cheese-rolling race between team captains? I’m not sure of the location, but heard it would take place on the escarpment outside Burlington.

            Crazy, yes, but I won’t complain ’cause I love a good rivalry.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            Oz you crack me up man. Fine, i will indeed buy tix for the cheese rolling contest if need be!

          • boing007 says:

            Keep Speedy Gonzalez far away or he’ll steal all the cheese.

            Richard R

          • Habs_Norway says:

            By “all star skill competition” you mean the penalty shootout?
            Do you call a breakaway the same thing?
            I dont understand. If the TEAM cant get a win, then mano-a-mano.
            Like in soccer, the best finals are the finals that ends with a shootout. One scapegoat and one hero. Doesnt get any better than that. Or does 2 points in a 82game schedule mean more than a world cup.
            And the shootout is in all hockey, not just NHL.

            ______________________________________
            Say no to visors and sign Emelin for 10 years

        • Mattyleg says:

          Nobody was whining about ‘lack of rivalries’, the NHL decided that they wanted to artificially create ‘rivalries’ to make the league more marketable, so they talked about it in a way that created a need for it.

          Having a ‘wildcard’ is nowhere near the NHL’s roots.
          The NHL’s roots meant playing two best-of-five series to get out of your division, then best of seven for the conference, then best of seven for the Cup.

          I liked that.
          I still like that.

          Bettman should have NO control whatsoever over what the NHL does, he should simply be the owner’s gimp, while an actual hockey person (one who cares about the game further than its economic value to its investors) should be making these sorts of decisions.

          —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • Vladdy Mondavi says:

      The chances of making the playoffs have changed.

      Prior to the current format, a team in the Eastern Conference was fighting 14 other teams for a chance at one of 6 spots (as two spots – top team in other two divisions could not be attained). So they had a 6 of 15 (40%) chance of making the playoffs (I guess one could argue 6 of 13).

      Comparable numbers in the current format, a team in the Eastern Conference is fighting 15 others for a chance at one of 5 spots (as three spots in other division are not attainable). So they have 5 of 16 (31%) chance of making the playoffs (or 5 of 13 for argument sake)

      This is my simpleton take on the new playoff format.
      _______________________________
      Opinions are like kittens, I’m giving them away.

    • B says:

      Montreal is still the 3rd ranked team in their division.

      http://www.nhl.com/ice/teamstats.htm?fetchKey=20142ALLSAAAll&sort=pointPctg&viewName=summary

      It is of course way too early, but as they rank now, the playoff match-ups in the East conference would be:
      Pens vs Phlyers (1 Met. vs WC2)
      Bruins vs Leaves (1 Atl. vs WC1)
      Lightning vs Habs (2Atl. vs 3Atl.)
      Ranges vs Canes (2Met. vs 3Met.)

      –Go Habs Go!–

  16. habsguru says:

    Tony M just lost his mind on TSN radio, was awesome, in a trainwreck kind of way.

  17. rljmartin says:

    Most positive aspect of last nights game is that they scored 2 goals off the rush. Habs best chances should be off the rush or on the PP because they are NOT a grinding team.

    P.S.: Murray is playing smart hockey. Bruins will be his measuring stick game.

    • Luke says:

      I think we really need to define “Grinding” here.

      Is it: Puck down low, against the boards, archetypical 4th liner type hockey or say, relentless work, constant pressure type hockey.

      ‘cuz, I’d say Crosby is a grinder. Just not in the Kirk Maltby 4th line style…

  18. Hobie Hansen says:

    Jessica Rusnak ‏@JessRusnak 3m

    #habson690 looks like Davis Drewiske will take part in today’s practice with a no contact jersey

    • shiram says:

      A D is going to moved out of Montreal soon.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Hopefully Timo is still on cruise so I can get away with saying this, but this to me is good news. Murray to me is a decent option against big phsyical teams, but I think I would rather Drewiskie against the other teams. I have already in my mind assumed Frankie B. is and will continue to be an option after both of these guys. As for Diaz, something seems to have happened…. he isn’t even getting a sniff of the lineup anymore.

    • Stevie.Ray says:

      Awesome. Maybe now Boullion and Murray will be scratched more often.

  19. Hobie Hansen says:

    Love him or hate him, Douglas Murray has been one of the better defencemen on the Habs the last several weeks. He’s definitely got his limitations, no question, but they’ve been much less exposed lately.

    He’s been getting back to the puck, picking it up in the corner and flipping it out off the glass or straight up in the air! Beautiful!!

    Emelin has been off/on with his physical play and he’s basically the only other guy on the team besides Murray who hits people on the Habs side of the red line. Opposing teams are ready for Subban now.

    So on a team like the Habs Murray 100% deserves to be in the lineup before a pipsqueak like Diaz or an aging veteran like Bouillon.

    Good for Murray. Can’t wait to see him in there against Lucic and Iginla in front of Price tomorrow night!

    • Say Ash says:

      I hate that he’s been one of the better ones.

    • Eddie says:

      Out of town for a few days. I agree with you Hobie that Murray made some good decisions with the puck and I also agree that he will serve a purpose against teams like Boston.

      I have been real tough on him. But yesterday he helped the team win, no doubt.

        • Mr. Biter says:

          Got to watch the game last night at Buffalo wild wings in the thriving metropolis of Hudson Wi and Murray may well have played his best game as a Hab. 17mins (including over 3 min on PK which was the highest for Habs D-men).

          Mr. Biter
          No Guts No Glory

          • Ron says:

            It was no doubt his best. Lets hope he can continue to give the coaching staff enough confidence to play like last night. He handled all aspects the best I have seen him this season.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        I mentioned above Ed, I think a rotation of Drewiskie and Murray as the 6th Dman could be better for us.

        I like Murray a great deal, I accept his limitations, but it cannot be overstated the presence he brings to the team, particularly after the whistle scrums in Carey’s paint.

        • Eddie says:

          Ok man. As long as he moves the puck quickly and efficiently I will not rag on him, I promise. Haha!

          • HabinBurlington says:

            Ed, I do get the criticism of where his game lacks. But he is what he is, and what he brings is something totally lacking on this team.

            Ideally he is not on our roster next year, but until we have some Large Grit on our team that plays a somewhat regular shift, we need that.

            When I watch the games, it seems to me that Price is often giving Murray a pat on the backside after he runs his Zamboni body through the crease of opposing players.

        • Mr. Biter says:

          HIB, how’s things going. Going to be in Toronto for The Toronto Sportsmen show next week (Feb5-9th). To bad Habs not playing the Leafs there that Sat night. When Murray is on the ice there are no scrums in front of Price because He’s moved everyone away.

          Mr. Biter
          No Guts No Glory

          • HabinBurlington says:

            It’s going well Biter, we are getting a bit of a reprieve in the weather next week, should be a bit warmer than what you are experiencing back in the Peg. My family all got together to watch the Jets last night and told me to stop my whining about the weather here in the GTA.

            Are you going to have a booth set up at the Show? Maybe i will try and get down to it and pop in to say hello.

  20. Vladdy Mondavi says:

    I didn’t get a chance to watch the game last night, nor listen to it on the radio. But judging by some of the stats listed by Boone in the ALN write-up, it appears that the Habs did well in the faceoff circle, yet Carolina had more puck possession.

    Did the CH turn it over that many times? Watching the Habs-Caps game, I felt like the Habs passing was atrocious. Did this continue on Tuesday night?

    _______________________________
    Opinions are like kittens, I’m giving them away.


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