About last night …

LinesmanOverboard

Yogi Berra is credited with coining one of the great clichès of sports:
“It ain’t over till it’s over.”
The observation is true in the game at which Berra excelled.
Baseball has no clock. The game isn’t over until the last man is out.
It’s different in hockey … especially games involving your Montreal Canadiens.
A team that can’t score is three goals down with 3:22 to play?
If that ain’t over …

The grim finality certainly had occurred to fans in the Bell Centre. Almost half of the 21,273 had abandoned the premises when Lars Eller – LARD ELLER, for crying out loud! – scored the goal that began the Comeback of the Season.

Oh ye of little faith! Your expensive season tickets should be confiscated and distributed among fans who don’t give up hope until the siren sounds.

If you can find any.

When the puck dropped to begin Saturday night’s game, the Canadiens were 29th in the NHL in 5-on-5 scoring. And their power play had gone into the tank through the team’s three-game losing streak.

Is this a club you expect to score three goals in less than four minutes?

Of course not. This is a club you expect to be tied 1-1 after outshooting Ottawa 17-4 in the first period.

It was dèja vu all over again. In their most recent loss, the Canadiens had outshot Boston 14-6 in the first period.

Not one of those shots got by Tuukka Rask, and the Bruins scored four unanswered goals to win easily.

But the Senators are not the Bruins. Ottawa scored three unanswered goals to take control of the game heading into the last four minutes.

Then they fell apart. And the loss likely doomed Ottawa’s chances of making the playoffs.

What the win did for the Canadiens remains to be seen. But we won’t have to wait long.

They play in Buffalo Sunday night. Carey Price didn’t even make the trip, so it will be up to Peter Budaj to hold the fort against one of the few NHL teams that has more trouble scoring than the Canadiens.

He’ll need better protection than Price got. In his first game since winning a gold medal in Sochi – playing behind Team Canada defencemen who were a tad better than Alexei Emelin, Douglas Murray, Mike Weaver and, yes, Overtime hero Francis Bouillon – Price was rusty and looked bad on Zack Smith’s goal, which dribbled between his legs and lay there for the Senators forward to tap in.

But Smith’s goal came on one of Ottawa’s dismayingly frequent breakaways. And the Senators’ other three goals were the result of woeful play by the Canadiens in their own end.

Lars Eller and Brendan Gallagher were on for all four Ottawa goals. Alex Galchenyuk was on for three of them.

It was good to see the EGG line reunited. And coming off an emotional win, we’ll probably see them together again in Buffalo.

Galchenyuk and Gallagher will bounce back. But when Eller scored – for the first time since Jan. 2, a span of 24 games – he had been on the stat sheet for two penalties. And when he wasn’t in the box, Eller was watching four Ottawa score four times.

Maybe the win will boost Eller’s fragile confidence. He followed up his goal with an assist on Brian Gionta’s.

And maybe the win will persuade Michel Therrien to loosen the shackles on P.K. Subban.

The reigning Norris Trophy winner played his best game since the Olympic break. With Ottawa in control and fans streaming toward the exits, Subban went full P.K. on the reeling Senators.

The stats: ToI of 28:55 to lead both teams, assists on all three comeback goals, seven shots on goal, to lead both teams, plus three that were blocked and two that missed the net; four hits, two takeaways and two blocked shots.

Comparable stats for Erik Karlsson: 26:00, two assists (including the unreal pass that sprang Smith), three SoG, plus five that were blocked; zero hits, one takeaway.

The game had its nasty moments. Some may suggest Brandon Prust’s mugging of Milan Michalek woke the Canadiens up and keyed their comeback. Chris Neil, Dale Weise and Travis Moen got third-period misconducts after a scrum in Lehner’s crease; and Bobby Ryan got a game for going berserk on the zebras after Frankie Boo’s OT winner.

The team will meet for the fifth and last time April 4 in Ottawa. The Senators will be well out of it by then, which could make for a lively evening.

Where will the Canadiens be in 20 days?

It’s still hard to say.

The win was emotional, uplifting and offered the fans who stuck around excitement that’s been all too rarely on display at the Bell Centre this season.

But the futile first-period fusillade, the poor zone play in front of Price, the power play that sputtered through seven opportunities until DD’s miracle goal …

In short, there are issues.

And 14 games to get them sorted out.

 

 

 

374 Comments

  1. Maritime Ronn says:

    Heck of a win and tip of the hat to….Captain Gionta.

    After the game against Boston – where Gionta’s lack of effort on a backcheck was largely responsible for the 2nd, spirit breaking Bruins goal, this poster started to question his Leadership and commitment to the team.

    I also put forth that he is in a position of ‘lame duck’ Captain with no contract next year- unique for any other NHL team, and may be pre-occupied concerning that.

    Last night’s performance proved that wrong.
    Gionta’s on the ice performance showed that he still has the fire.
    Gionta was simply outstanding last night.
    1 goal-1 assist-Plus 3…6 shots on goal-2 blocked shots.
    That was critical, never give up leadership.

    • Ian Cobb says:

      You are quite right Ronn, he was battling hard last night, even in front of their net, taking on much larger boys.

    • crane says:

      Vanek Eller Bierre
      Patches D.D. Gally
      Bournival Plek. Gionta
      Bork. Gally Prust

      Need Bork for play offs,D.D. and Patches need Gally,Vanek needs left side,Gally for size down middle with fewer minutes for now.
      Emelin P.k.
      Markov Beaulieu
      Tinordi Gorges and Pateryn split third pairing

      .

  2. Sportfan says:

    Reporters about to talk about potential Habs Leafs playoff match up I wonder what they will say.

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  3. Ian Cobb says:

    I have said this before and I will say it again, PK is a forward trapped as a defense men. I saw him take over a game as a junior player. He played on right wing and scored all 4 goals to win for the Belleville Bulls in a game!
    If he had two NHL defense men taking care of business behind him, he would own the puck in the offensive zone!

    I for one wrote them off after Ottawa got their 3rd goal ! I am embarrassed to say!

    I am hoping our goal tender tonight will play much better than of late. I would really like to see Tokarski start tonight!

    • Ozmodiar says:

      So is Markov – he used to play center. Switched to D in his world junior days.

      They could put ‘em both up front:
      Bouillon – Markov – PK

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Hi Ian

      That idea is far from wild.

      Winnipeg Coach Maurice moved Dustin Byfuglien up to forward, yet still puts him on the Power Play point position.

      If in the future, the Habs ever gave thought to that, it would be challenging yet it may not be as complex as it first appears.

      Subban would still play the PP point.
      Subban does not play on the penalty kill so no loss there.

      The challenge would be to find a Top 4 right hand Dman with some offensive skill that could take over Subban’s 19:42 of Even Strength time on ice.

      Suban would also be a very rare force.
      Big strong guy, with great skating skills and good hands….

    • New says:

      So you’re saying PK should be a forward with the least defensive responsibility? :-) Just kidding. I agree with you.

      Vanek, Briere, PK.

    • boing007 says:

      Beaulieu passing the puck up to Subban and he’s off to the races.

      Richard R

  4. ddMbb says:

    Sick of hearing all the whining from sens fans/players. The puck was clearly loose check: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaWQHX0NF9M or at 3:12- 3:15 of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jKGYQIwoPA

    • Ian Cobb says:

      It is because we just put them out of the play offs this year, like they did to us last year!

    • New says:

      It is natural. The thing about refs is that it is all about what they see. Not what a consensus of television fans see, or what a walrus can see. A ref can’t blow the whistle in that situation if he can see the puck is not frozen. This is also a hint to the players that the puck is uncovered, including goalies who hope it is.

    • Habs4LifeInTO says:

      Thanks for posting this. I enjoyed watching it again! Clearly see the puck is loose just prior to the OT goal. Go Habs Go!

      Do the math……..7 x 6 = 42…Love our PK!
      24 cups and counting….

    • Coach K says:

      As coaches, we constantly preach to players to keep playing until you hear a whistle. No exceptions. If they didn’t keep digging you’d be threatening to bench them. No big conspiracy theories, no bad reffing. We can only presume the ref could see it. That’s why that goal counted. Period.

      —When Hell freezes over, I’ll play hockey there too—

  5. SC-24 says:

    make it to the playoffs, gone in the 1st round, if that’s what you want to see. Keep cheering them on.

    • Ozmodiar says:

      Ha ha!! More tears!! Keep ‘em comin’!!

    • PrimeTime says:

      and 29 teams won’t win the cup. Your point?

      ********************************************************
      “Fans are entitled to express their opinion, but most of the comments on talk radio and on The Gazette’s Hockey Inside/Out website ranged from the mildly uninformed to the outrageously stupid” – Pat Hickey.

      º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º

  6. frontenac1 says:

    Hola Amigos! Got a bit of a sore head this morning. It’s not the Booze. I jumped up in OT and got slammed by the f#cking ceiling fan. Low ceiling in the man cave.
    Saludos!

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Hopefully your not heading to a cocktail party tonight!

      http://screen.yahoo.com/massive-head-wound-harry-000000823.html

    • PrimeTime says:

      Perhaps the booze caused you to jump into a ceiling fan that you knew was there?

      ********************************************************
      “Fans are entitled to express their opinion, but most of the comments on talk radio and on The Gazette’s Hockey Inside/Out website ranged from the mildly uninformed to the outrageously stupid” – Pat Hickey.

      º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º

  7. habstrinifan says:

    Didnt see the game but from what I am reading, Pacioretty-DD-Vanek = meh; and Eller wasnt doing as great on EGG line most of game… again from what I am reading.

    Who knows… Finally in Buffalo I might see the line I realy really like to be ou

    #2 line… Vanek-Eller-Briere….

    My other lines (Pax-DD-Gallagher);(Bournival-Plekanec-Gionta).

    Galchenyuk could make cameos on line 1 or 2 or even 3.

    Prust White-Weise-Moen- etc line 4 with Weise a stalwart till his ‘karma’ is gone.

    But mainly… Vanek-Elller-Briere as a line.

  8. DipsyDoodler says:

    Liverpool humiliating Man Utd at Old Trafford. Mr Boone will be happy.

    —–
    Moving. Forward.

  9. Sportfan says:

    LARD ELLER !

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!
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  10. daveho29 says:

    Sorry Booner but 3 questionable penalties and one being a clear dive by Sturridge, only consolation is Gerrard hit the post. Dam scousers don’t deserve this one, neither do united mind you.

  11. ClutchNGrab says:

    The biggest comeback of recent memory to me is is still the Habs victory agaisnt the Rangers in 2008. It wasn’t just the how the Habs played to get back from a 5-0 deficit, it was how all the penalties seem to go against the Habs.

    http://espn.go.com/nhl/recap?gameId=280219010

  12. The Gumper says:

    Great two points for the boys last night and it all started when PK decided to take the team on his back and charge full steam ahead! As most of you know from watching him, he has the ability to take the puck coast to coast virtually every time he touches the puck. That obviously gets under MT’s skin because it does not conform with his strategy which is to play a simplistic style of hockey so as to ensure his continued employment. The best coaches in any sport all have the ability and courage to innovate when the type of talent on their team dictates. Rather than taking advantage of PK’s unique talent, MT is more satisfied to play the only strategy he knows and is squandering Subban’s talent. A talented rushing defenceman seemed to work out fine for Edmonton’s Paul Coffey and Boston’s Bobby Orr because their coaches were able to innovate and develop a game plan to maximize a unique opportunity. It can’t be that hard, other coaches have been able to do it but MT is not that kind of coach. He is one dimensional and unfortunately, has been trying to pound a square peg in a round hole for too long. When you’re a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Could you imagine if MT was Bobby Orr’s coach back in the day? Orr would be nothing more than a foot note in NHL history…

    • Paz says:

      Gumper, consider these facts which further complicate the situation.

      1) Bergevin hired Therrien, and undoubtedly, they discussed how a key player like Subban should be “managed”. And I would expect they agreed on this

      2) Bergevin was a stay at home dman who played exactly how Therrien wants Subban to play.

      The dilemma surrounding Subban goes right past Therrien and lands squarely on Bergevin’s desk as well.

      • DipsyDoodler says:

        Are you suggesting that Bergevin is instructing Therrien to make PK play the way he did?

        I’m 100% sure that he isn’t.

        I’m 100% sure that Bergevin is not telling PK to watch his old highlights to know how he should play the game.

        100%.

        —–
        Moving. Forward.

      • Thomas Le Fan says:

        The only thing I can agree with is that Bergevin is allowing his coach to make coaching decisions. P.K. in a bottle is a stupid decision, however. It will eventually cost one or more of them their job(s). As last night shows, good things happen when you let your best players play their game. Let him fly! Go Habs!

        Hockey isn’t everything … it’s the only thing … except for beer and guitars!

        • thorandresson says:

          I take it you guys didn’t notice how PK only dressed one game in the olympics, there’s a reason Babcock didn’t play him…

          • Thomas Le Fan says:

            Yeah he’s a bum (with a Norris). The only thing that really proves is that Canada could ice two Olympic teams with a decent chance of winning.

            Hockey isn’t everything … it’s the only thing … except for beer and guitars!

    • Old Bald Bird says:

      I read some comment, attributed to Daigneault, to the effect that they wanted him to be more of a quarterback than a running back. Yes, IOW they are trying to change him if that statement is true.

    • wjc says:

      Do you have any idea how good Boston and Edmonton were when they had those two guys, Orr and Coffey. Do you have any idea how many goals they allowed, but it didn’t matter because they could score so much.

      Subbans talent is not being squandered, he is a 3rd year player and seems to be doing fine.

      wjc

  13. mr_jmac says:

    From sportsclub stats we have a 90% chance of making the playoff. Here are the first round opponents ordered most likely to least likely:

    Pittsburgh 21.4
    Tampa Bay 19.8
    Boston 14.3
    Columbus 9.0
    NY Rangers 8.6
    Philadelphia 7.5
    Toronto 5.2
    New Jersey 2.4
    Detroit 0.7
    Washington 0.6
    Carolina 0.2
    Ottawa 0.1

    • habs001 says:

      This must be incorrect..the only way the Habs can play the Rangers,Columbus or the Flyers in the first round is if they finish as a wild card team and one of those teams catch Pittsburgh and win their division…Pitts leads by 16 points…The odds have to be greater to play Toronto

    • CJ says:

      That makes no sense. Does this statistician not know the playoff format has changed? There is a better chance we face Ottawa or Detroit than Columbus, Philly or NY.

  14. Bim says:

    Did anyone notice last nite all the breakaway’s Ottawa had. What’s that all about? It almost looks like the team is trying to get MT fired. The pair of Russians back there on defence are playing like a couple of girls.

  15. Lafleurguy says:

    Batten down the hatches Habbies.
    Non-whistle on the GWG.
    OT penalty on Bernier.
    Absolutely no sympathy for bad calls against the Habs the rest of the season (from other kingdoms).

  16. HabinBurlington says:

    Further to Mavids post regarding Habs comeback being one of the greatest.

    * According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Canadiens’ victory marked the first time in NHL history that a team won a game in which it trailed by three goals in the final five minutes of the third period.

    http://kuklaskorner.com/hockey/comments/nhl-short-notes112

  17. habs001 says:

    The Habs worst plus/minus players…On the D Murray -15 and Bouillon -10…Forwards Eller -15 and Galchenyuk -12

  18. adamkennelly says:

    Watched the game – but not that attentively – doing other stuff…missed the comeback but watched all the highlights.

    our D was f-ng terrible on those goals – terrible…backs turned to wide open guys in the slot – small bump in corner and Ottawa gets the puck…just garbage…

    I guess if you have Murray, Frankie, Emelin and Weaver as 4 of your 6 – not much of an upside…

  19. stevieray says:

    Gally-Eller-Gionta ..the GEG line ….MT what a genius !!!

  20. CJ says:

    Canadiens have recalled Tokarski. Never left the team, he was at the game last night, but looks like this is the only call up. My Beaulieu dreams are dashed, for at least another day.

    On an aside, there is an overheard screenshot showing the puck was loose during the entire sequence. Cecci and Lehner are both inches away, but the puck is clearly live and, by extension, fair game. It’s floating around twitter if anyone is able to link it.

  21. ClutchNGrab says:

    I didn’t like Prust fighting Michalek, but Moen getting Chris Neil out of the game was perfect.

  22. Paz says:

    Of course yesterday was the Ides of March, the day Caesar was assassinated.

    It is considered a “transition” day by some.

    Very interesting…..

  23. Ozmodiar says:

    Did anyone in the rink think PK was going to pass with 2 seconds left?!? … maybe DD? PK made a similar pass to DD earlier in the 6 on 4 – could have been a set play. Crazy

    Loved the Greening / Gally dive with a dozen seconds left.
    Loved the Bo Jackson bat-breaking FAIL by Lehner.
    Loved all the temper tantrums!!


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