About last night …

Tokarski

Has the Bell Centre seen its last hockey game of the season?
It’s possible.
It might even be probable.
Your Montreal Canadiens have lost their star goaltender and dropped the first two games of the Eastern Conference Final on home ice.
Now we know how Tampa fans felt a month ago (though it seems longer).
At least the Lightning were spared the embarrassment of being beaten by Martin St. Louis.

In his postgame press conference, Michel Therrien praised his team’s effort in Game 2. The coach had kind words for Dustin Tokarski, and Therrien sounded a hopeful note by pointing out that momentum can change quickly in a playoff series.

Indeed, if the canadiens can win at Madison Square garden Thursday night, this series could get interesting.

But can they beat the Rangers in four of the next five games?

On the TSN 690 postgame show, Mitch Melnick was not optimistic about the Canadiens’ chances of climbing out of an 0-2 hole.

“Unless Henrik Lundqvist and Ryan McDonagh collide behind the net and knock each other out of action,” my man Melnick said, “this series is over.”

But hey, it ain’t over until the fat lady si … oh, never mind that cliché.

Therrien described Henrik Lundqvist as “phenomenal” in Game 2. The Rangers goaltender made 40 saves. But until the dying minutes of the game, when the Canadiens went on a power-play and pulled Dustin Tokarski for a 6-on-4 advantage, Lundqvist didn’t face the kind of sustained pressure that was heroically withstood by Jaro Halak in 2010 and by Carey Price against the Bruins.

The Rangers goaltender did not have a parade of red jerseys invading his crease. Lundqvist faced few odd-man rushes or Canadiens firing lasers from sweet spots in the slot. The ebounds Lundqvist gave up were swept smartly out of harm’s way by the Rangers defence corps.

The possession stats indicate a dominant effort by the Canadiens: 41 SoG, plus another 17 blocked by the Rangers (Dan Girardi had five) and 22 that missed the net. Comparable numbers for the visitors were 30-8-6.

Tally it up and the Canadiens had 80 shot attempts to the Rangers’ 44. But again, until that game-ending flurry, the Canadiens – for all their possession stats – did not force the Rangers into what we usually see when a team is under pressure: Turnovers, lost battles in the corners and on the wall, futile zone-clearing attempts, sloppy play in the neutral zone.

No, the Rangers didn’t dominate on Monday night the way they had in Game 1. But from my pressbox seat, they looked like a team in control of the game – and, now, of the series.

We’ve had 120 minutes of hockey in the Conference Final.

The Canadiens have held the lead for 17 seconds – the time between the Max pacioretty goal that drove the Bell Centre into a frenzy in Game 2 and the Ryan McDonagh shot that beat Tokarski short-side to make it 1-1.

Here’s a stat that’s highly indicative of what we saw in Game 2:

In his 29:40 of ice time, P.K. Subban had nine shots on Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers blocked six of P.K.’s shots, and three missed the net.

That’s 18 shot attempts. The only player on either team who came close was Brendan Gallagher, with six SoG, plus four that were blocked and three misses.

P.K. and Gallagher played their hearts out, as did Gallagher’s linemates, Pacioretty and David Desharnais.

Rene Bourque did some good things. So did Lars Eller. Alex Galchenyuk made some nice passes.

But Thomas Vanek had no SoG after only one in Game 1. And the Canadiens are getting zero offensive spark from Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta.

They’re losing the special teams war. Through two games, the Rangers power play is 4-for-10. The Canadiens are 0-for-7.

McDonagh, who was the game’s First Star, played 25:24. All six of his shot attempts were on Tokarski.

Through the first two games, McDonagh has two goals and four assists. He’s been on the ice for SEVEN of the Rangers 10 goals in the two games … and only one goal-against.

He’s the star of the series so far. And watching the anchor of a very good Rangers defence is painful for Canadiens fans who remember McDonagh was basically a throw-in in the disastrous trade that brought Scott Gomez to Montreal.

But let’s not dwell on the painful past.

What about the near future – specifically Game 3 on Thursday night?

Alain Vigneault has his team playing smart, disciplined and hard-working hockey. The Rangers have a great goaltender, a stud defenceman, excellent team speed and some forwards who can score.

But the 2014 New York Rangers are not the 1976 Montreal Canadiens.

They are not an invincible juggernaut, laying waste to lesser mortals who stand between them and the inevitability of winning the Cup.

Can the Canadiens beat Lundqvist four times in the next five games?

I share Melnick’s skepticism.

But having come this far and proven so many doubters wrong, your Canadiens will fight ferociously to avoid the ignominy of being swept out of the playoffs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

346 Comments

  1. boing007 says:

    Just watched the seventh game of the Rangers Canucks ’94. At the beginning of the broadcast Harry Neale said that the extra day off should be beneficial for the Rangers after losing their last two games. Hope that extra day will work out for the Habs as well.

    Richard R

  2. JohnBellyful says:

    It’s getting so I detest Hockey Night in Canada, its commentary is so awful.
    And there IS a predisposition among its personnel to be critical of the Canadiens (or so it seems to this fan’s sensitive ears.)
    A saving grace, however, is that the broadcast and its resident idiots, along with the entire league, would provide ample fodder for programming TSN will need next winter, when Sportsnet will begin ruling the roost.
    Specifically, The Sports Network should take its cue from The Daily Show, a brilliantly scathing look at politics by host Jon Stewart using copious amounts of news clips from all the networks.
    The TSN could call its spoof of all things hockey, Not the Bill Daly Show, holding up to ridicule everything the NHL, its teams, officials, and television partners do with appallingly regularity. There would be no dearth of material to mine and mock.
    TSN could even produce original programming, such as hockey sitcoms (I Loathe Lucy), game shows (Are You Smarter Than a Sixth Rounder?) and reality shows (The Free Agent, where the top player on the market is wooed by several suitors).
    Not the Bill Daly Show would have correspondents in each of the seven NHL cities in Canada – standup comics who would deliver daily reports on the teams they cover. The competition to land the Toronto gig would be fierce among the nation’s top funny folk.
    You put this half-hour show up against hockey games and I guarantee you it would outdraw them during the first period.
    (You could have Ed the Hockey Sock play the part of Don Cherry in the faux intermission that would follow the showing of Not the Bill Daly Show. Call it the Hot Air League.)
    Stay tuned …

    • Liam2014 says:

      cbc sucks at doing play by play, hughson and simpson like to think they are the stars,yap all the time, rarely do play by play, healy will jump on the bandwagon of whichever team he thinks will win . Bob Cole, even if he gets names screwed up etc, does play by play..he is not as biased as some.
      Doc Emerick does play by play not bad for an old guy

      Liam2014

  3. Sakus Evil Twin says:

    I don’t know if these Rangers are any better or worse than the 1976 Habs, but I do know that they are a team on the ascent. They have stupid belief and swagger and a goalie who is just lights out good.

    What I saw last night was a Habs team that created few really quality chances. They don’t have the horses to play collapsing defense AND run ‘em, gun ‘em hockey. The Rags collapse well, and block plenty.

    Ditch Vanek next game with a bag of Epsom salts to clear his head and bring back in Bournival and stretch the Rags as wide as you can while crashing the net down the middle.

    Systems are easy! See?

    And really? 4 of 5?

    I’d settle for the next one.

    No answers, just opinions. Bite me. Och.

  4. tougalor says:

    If the Habs want motivation from some more disrespect they should be shown that idiot Sather smoking a cigar with his feet up with an arrogant smile on his face..what a prick

    • Sakus Evil Twin says:

      Amen to that.
      That pic needs to go up in the dressing room.

      No answers, just opinions. Bite me. Och.

    • Liam2014 says:

      we should not be relying on getting angry because we think something is disrespectful, sather was is always will be a big bag of wind . I was told you earn respect, plaay the way we can, respect will follow….respect highly over rated commodity in this day and age…no one respects anything. just win 4 games

      Liam2014

  5. SteverenO says:

    Some interesting stats on the penalty kill:

    After a great season killing penalties, the team is unable to keep the the opponents from depositing the puck in our own net of late.

    We have played shorthanded fro a total of 55 minutes and 33 seconds in the post season and have allowed the opponents a total of 9 PP goals. An average of approximately one PP GA every 6 minutes.

    One particular defense pairing that DID NOT play together hardy at all on the penalty kill all season long have been our number one defense pairing to kill penalties. They have played together for 30:51 of the 55:33 total short handed time. and have been on the ice, together, for 8 of those 9 PP goals allowed.

    The pairing is Gorges and Weaver; They have been abysmal together on the PK with an average of one PP GA every 3.875 minutes.

    When these two are NOT on the ice together killing penalties the team has allowed only one goal in 25 minutes of short handed play.

    As for the forwards: during the regular season, Plekanec and Gionta played together killing penalties for 59 minutes and during that time only 3 PP goals were scored against us.

    In the playoffs, the forward pairing of Gionta and Plekanec have played together for ( orrected typo) less than 13 minutes and allowed 5 PP goals against.

    There are many ways that this information can be interpreted;
    Plek and Gionta played together all season along with a dozen different players inserted on their left wing, but have been separated (at even strength) since the playoffs began. Perhaps this has something to do with their inability to kill penalties?

    Or perhaps, it is due to the fact that during the season they never played with Weaver and Gorges?

    regardless of your interpretation of the data, the only thing that is absolutely clear is that this pairings MUST not continue. Gorges, Weaver, Gionta, Plekanec should NEVER be on the ice together to kill penalties together any more.

    Those who have seen my posts for th epoast two seasons knwo that I am NOT a fan of Therrien, especially when it comes to personnel decisions, and ice time management.

    I am starting to feel that it is NOT all Therrien’s fault. there are enough assistant coaches, and assistant managers, at hat someone should be pointing out these things to the coach.

    for example,

    question 1: (answers below)

    Does Therrien, (or you) know
    which has been our most productive and efficient forward line(s) in the regular season (at even strength)?

    question 2: (answers below)
    Does Therrien, (or you) know
    which has been our most productive and efficient forward lines in the playoffs (at even strength)?

    Answers-Question 1:

    Briere/Plekanec/ Gionta were the Habs best forward line during the regular season:

    Briere/Plekanec/Gionta TOI 181:25 +10
    Pacioretty/ Desharnais/Vanek TOI 190:07 +7

    No othe line combo was better than a plus (+) 2 over the courseof the regular season.

    Answer- Question 2:
    There have been only 5 line combinations that have a plus rating , meaning that they have been on ice for more goals scored , than allowed.
    Moen/ Briere/ Weise TOI 10:17 +1
    Prust/Briere/Weise TOI 19:34 +1
    Bournival/ Briere/Weise TOI 30:10 +2
    Pacioretty/ Desharnais/ Gallagher TOI 79:56 +2
    Bourque/ Eller/ Gionta TOI 153:09 +1

    It would seem to me that either Briere and Weise should be getting more ice time with anyone on the left wing, or alternatively they should be moved to a spot on of the top three lines.

    The fact that the team won two series despite NOT using their most effective players is a testament to how good a team they are, It is also a testament to a team that lacks the organizational know how to follow and act upon basic performance metrics.

    These are not “advanced” stats. They are the most basic , and the most important of all stats, goals scored, and goals allowed.

    Personally, I don”t believe that the so called advanced, or possession, stats are all that important, or even useful.

    For example a forward line breaks out of their zone three quick passes one shot and a goal. The next line dumps the puck in the opponents zone, fore checks and keeps the puck in mostly along the boards for 45 seconds managing to get 4 weak shots on net from bad angles. According to the advanced stats guys; the line that got 4 weak shots and no goals were much better than the line that got one shot and made it count.

    I am not saying that looking deeper into the stats is a bad thing, but, far and away, the MOST important stats is goals scored and allowed.

    For a coach, and a team, to pay so little attention to who is on the ice when goals are scored, and allowed, is unacceptable.

    Mike Weaver has been on the ice for 11 goals in 164 minutes of even strength play. average a goal every 15 minutes.

    Markov has been on for 5 goals in 267 minutes, an average of one goal every 53 minutes.

    BOUILLON: 7 GF in 84 minutes — average 12 MpGF
    Weaver: 11 GF in 165 minutes– average 15 MpGF
    Beaulieu: 2 GF in 36 minutes-=- average 18 MpGF
    Gorges: 14 GF in 266 minutes –average 19 MpGF
    Subban: 12 GF in 282 minutes– average 24 MpGF
    Murray: 1 GF in 31 minutes — average 31 MpGF
    Emelin: 7 GF in 260 minutes average 37 MpGF
    Markov: 5 GF in 267 minutes- average 53 MpGF

    When the team is trailing and needs to score, the coach has been playing Emelin and Markov more than Weaver, Bouillon, Beaulieu, etc.

    Markov has been rendered almost useless, offensively due to having been drastically overused, both in the. He is regular season and the playoffs. He is good enough, and smart enough to NOT be a defensive liability, but he is unable to contribute to a 5 on 5 offense at this time.

    What I don:t understand is why, at the very least, they don”t play Markov on the right side and allow Emelin to lay his natural left side. When is the last time you saw Markov skate with the puck? Why is Emelin forced to be the puck carrier of that duo and yet play on his wrong side?
    This is BAD coaching decisions guys. Blame it on Therrien or blame it on the organization, there is no such thing in sports , or any other business, where an organization that does not monitor AND ACT UPON, performance metrics can achieves its maximum potential.

    regards,

    Steve O.

  6. CynicalHabsfan says:

    Not blaming Toker for the loss. He wasn’t bad, he just wasn’t as good as henrik.
    Still I find myself wondering: if the habs start Budaj in game three and then bring in Dubnyk for game four, that’s gotta be a record, right?

  7. montreal ace says:

    First to post there is a new thread

  8. Maritime Ronn says:

    @ Burli

    Re Ryan Miller

    Without any doubt, he is THE most overrated goaltender in the NHL.

    Apart from his 2010 Vezina year (regular season) and a nice Olympics, what has he ever done or won?

    For the most part, he has crapped out in the NHL playoffs – some may even say he gives up and/or doesn’t have the mental toughness when it counts.

    An .897 SP in the playoffs with St. Louis this year may have just confirmed that.
    http://www.hockey-reference.com/players/m/millery01.html

    He is also notorious for making the easy save look hard, and some say he is not the best guy in the dressing room – or that there is no “I” in the word Team.

    There will be no Tag Days for Miller.
    He has already earned over $40M USD before taxes and will surely find another taker for his soon to be 34 years old.

    Lastly, perhaps he will look to be California bound and closer to actress hotty wife Noureen DeWulf.

    There is no place for him in LA, yet SJ or even Anaheim may be a landing spot at significant reduced dollars than he may be seeking.

  9. montreal ace says:

    F–k New York and all the Buttman hockey lickers, for lucks sake we can beat these guys

  10. Donkey Hoat says:

    The main difference between the two teams seems to be that Montreal was happy just finishing off the Bruins; NY seems unsatisfied with just beating the Pens.
    Always hopeful that the killer instinct will return.

  11. montreal ace says:

    Habs are capable of reeling of 6 or 7 wins in a row, and its going to start the next game. The Habs played well last night, and I know they can play better

    • habsfan0 says:

      Why are they so afraid of hitting Martin St. Louis?
      I think I know.

      • hockeyrealist says:

        Has to be his low center of gravity and speed/agility that makes him a tough target. Kind of like a few of our smaller forwards but with added skills/vision.
        Or, the whole passing-of-mom thing has entered he subconscious.

        “One defends when his strength is inadequate, he attacks when it is abundant”
        Sun Tzu

  12. Psycho29 says:

    Last night on RDS during a break Marc Denis was answering a question and they showed Budaj next to him and he had a big bandage on his neck. Did anyone else notice?
    Maybe that played into the decision to go with The Tokemeister™ and they wanted to keep it low key?

  13. Darren Dragger says:

    Darren Dragger ‏@DarrenDragger 2h

    Leafs’ Dave Nonis still looking for big #1 center, shutdown dman. Watching Worlds, Kadri, Rielly, Reimer. Oh, Canucks to name Jim Benning GM nex

    Darren Dragger, Insider

    If you’re not inside, you’re outside!

  14. FormalWare says:

    The Vancouver Canucks will need a Kesler replacement. (Ryan Kesler has made no bones about it; he wants out of town.)

    Tomas Plekanec for Alexander Edler?

    Edler is set to be overpaid, but his cap hit matches that of Plex, so it’s doable, economically. And as a hockey trade, if Van sees it as a win, so should Montreal. Edler would push some/all of Emelin, Gorges, Markov a rung further down the depth chart, shoring up the Habs’ D, and the conundrum of Habs’ centres, their ice time and their roles is suddenly more clear-cut.

    Like it?


    WWSD (What Would SubbieDoo?)

    • Phil C says:

      Would rather Bieksa.

    • Cal says:

      So, they trade us Edler and still need to trade Kesler? Don’t put the cart before the horse.
      I am waiting on the absolute end before speculating about next year.

    • Habsbill24 says:

      Trade is a good idea. Opens up third line center spot for Eller and Chucky gets to move to the middle. Markov should not be back at any price. Wears down over the course of a season and has been woeful in the playoffs. His shot is gone and he has not scored on a back door play in months. Given his price and term (over 5M and three years) it would be insane to sign him. With Edler, Emelin, PK, Gorges, Tinordi, Beaulieu and Pateryn you have a good blend of youth and size.

  15. boing007 says:

    If the Kings can do it, so can the Habs. GHG!

    Richard R

  16. SPATS says:

    An critical thinking armchair Dbag weighs in…

    While there was tremendous pressure on Toker last night, I believe there is more pressure on his teammates come Thursday.

    Price might have gotten the Nash goal but the other 2? We won’t win if we don’t solve Henrik which puts pressure where it should be. Are you listening Tomas Vanish?

    I hope he isn’t dressed next game as he was texting it in out there last night. Bourny would have been much better and we likely wouldn’t have given up the lead so quickly.

    On another note, we could be looking at next years starter in Toker and his backup in Budes depending on the severity of Price’s injury. If Price requires surgery this late in the season he may not be back for a while, and when he does come back, will he be the same? A goalies knees are not a forward or defencemans knees.

    Hope for the best, Prepare for much less.

    If I’m MB, I tell MT to go on offense and roll with Toker cuz he may be my future or may be an asset worth dangling in the off season should we solve Henrik.

    I doubt we will get this close again anytime soon without a healthy Price which sadly is making me think of Tiger Woods and his back problems.

    Elite golfer needs his back
    Elite goalie needs his knees :(

    • Ozmodiar says:

      “A critical thinker weighs in…”

      :lol:

    • hockeyrealist says:

      Thomas “Vanish”. I like that. Why won’t he shoot the puck? The Rangers back check so hard that there is rarely room for the extra passing in the offensive zone/on the rush, which he seems t be hunting for. My suggestion: First 2 periods, chip/chase, put pucks on net with people driving hard. Push their d back early on and once they start cheating to cover these attacks late in the 2nd, there may be room to create higher percentage plays.

      Agreed that all but 2nd goal was save-able, plus Toker did well swallowing up shots/kicking pucks away so there were not a lot of juicy rebounds IMO. Regardless, I think we have to ride him again for game three and hope the team can play a full 60 minutes in front of him.

      “One defends when his strength is inadequate, he attacks when it is abundant”
      Sun Tzu

  17. Walmyr says:

    Hello everybody…

    I’m too crazy to believe in a complete change in the lineup (forward lines) for thursday’s game?

    • Ozmodiar says:

      I’d bench Vanek and go with a 2nd line of:
      Bourni – Pleks – Chucky

      Crazy, huh?? Well, so was starting Tokarski.

      • Walmyr says:

        I can understand your point regarding Vanek. Although I think he is not the main issue. And he has all the tools to come back in this series. At least I hope so. But I agree with you in bring back Bournival.

  18. NLhabsfan says:

    It’s all over but the shouting.We are done.It hurts but I still live in hope.

  19. joeybarrie says:

    The Rangers are not a good match up for us. They are a fast and skilled team with an excellent goalie.
    So are we, but it took a lot to get by the bruins, and we are not hitting a higher gear, where the Rangers seem to be.
    PK, Pleks, Vanek, Gio aren’t producing.
    Vanek has 2 goals in his last 5
    Pleks has an assist in his last 5
    Gio has an assist in his last 5
    PK has one goal in his last 5
    Gorges and Emelin have 0 points in the last 5
    DD has 2 assists in his last 5
    Rounding out the top two lines and the players who play almost half the game are:
    Eller and Gallagher who have 3 points each in the last 5
    MaxPac who has 5 points in the last 5.
    Making our top two lines scoring 9 goals in five games…. Not nearly enough.

    We seem to be slumping and unless we can turn it around, its going to be over in 4.
    I do believe the last two games did in fact show we are now the underdogs.
    We seem to play better when we are the underdogs.
    Our PP has been dreadful.
    Our 5 on 5 isn’t much better.
    I think we came in to this series thinking they were an easier team than the bruins, and so we should win. I do believe this. But we aren’t playing well.
    We need goals from Vanek, Gio, Pleks, DD, PK, and Bourque.
    Only thing saving us is we seem to be much better at special teams on the road.
    Steal these 2 in NY is the only way to move to the Finals. They take one and put us against the ropes…. they will finish us.

  20. shrack says:

    Good thing about last night: Tokarski is not why we lost.

  21. gmur says:

    Other than Price being out, last night I saw a lot of missed passes and sloppy neutral-zone play. Obviously, Lundqvist was good, but certain players had chances and they have to put it in… Going back to the Boston series, I find that Gallagher has been missing goals. He’s young, and plays with a ton of heart, but he has to start scoring. Gionta has also missed the scoring opportunities he’s had stretching back to Boston.

    The balanced attack that kept the Bruins on their heels has lessened.

    Who’s it going to be? Against Tampa it was Bourque and Weise… against the Bruins, it was Weise, Pacioretty and, in game 7, Brière. Now, I’ll go with Gallagher and Prust. They have to get going… and where’s Vanek? What’s with the passes when he’s in the red zone? Is he injured?

    Price was the constant. Without him, the Canadiens seem to be playing a tighter as a group… including tighter hands on their sticks.

    • hockeyrealist says:

      Sloppy indeed. I can’t remember the last time Gorges made a tape-to-tape pass, let alone a good break out. PK needs a better partner (which we really don’t have yet Tinordi maybe soon though), Gorges should be in the 5/6/7 d spot.

      “One defends when his strength is inadequate, he attacks when it is abundant”
      Sun Tzu

  22. HabinBurlington says:

    So the St. Louis Blues end up giving away power forward Chris Stewart and appear to have no interest in signing Ryan Miller. They probably found out his asking price and said no thanks, but the Blues gambled on a UFA to be and paid a fairly heavy price.

    Interesting that the Blues have ended up settling on what they had all along on their roster in Elliot and Allen. Makes that trade look quite a bit worse in my opinion.

    http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/GARTHS-CORNER/Run-Of-The-Miller/6/60146

  23. CH Marshall says:

    I guess it’s too bad for Dreger and Mackenzie that Sportsnet is taking over next year.

  24. HabinBurlington says:

    A win in Game 3 and things get interesting. With Price out for the series, along with having a 2games to 0 lead, the Rangers have quickly become the favourites to win.

    Habs win and suddenly a bit of pressure starts to manifest itself. Toker was okay last night, he will be better the next game as he will have less nerves I would think.

    • Kooch7800 says:

      Series is far from over. We are not in a good spot but that doesn’t mean the habs are done. They get a couple of bounces and everything changes.

      It is what it is and time to see what these guys are made of.

      Price is missed but we would have lost last night with him in the net as well. Can’t win with 1 goal

    • Cal says:

      I believe he will be better for the remainder of the games. How many games and how much better is anyone’s guess. :)

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      I’m with you, burli.
      This is not over.
      The cliche ” One game at a time” is actually not a cliche for the Habs right now.

      For the most part, these Habs guys don’t quit….and if coaches/management think there is/are 1 or 2 guys that do, then put them in the popcorn section…and I don’t care what their names are, or pedigree is.

      The heat is now on the Rangers at home.
      If the Habs can beat Boston twice in Boston….

  25. third generation haber says:

    Remember when Kyle Mclaren injured Zednik and we wen’t on to knock out the Bruins?

    I’m not saying it will happen again, but the bad guys don’t deserve to win. This should be the type of galvanizing force that should push us to play out of our minds!

    F*$k Kreider, F*$k Lundqvist (and his gay hair), F*$k Sather and his stoggie, F*$k the Rangers and the crowd at MSG!

    I hope we make every minute of this series (win or lose) a living hell for the Rangers. If anyone on our team (including Vanek) isn’t ready to go to war, sit them out. Regardless of Corsi, I hope we unleash Murray, Tinordi, and White on these co%k smokers.

    j.p. murray

    • CalgaryHab says:

      Kreider’s slide into 2nd to break-up the double play was bs. Time to no longer give St. Louis a pass because of the untimely death of his mother.

      • Habs4LifeInTO says:

        That thought is so this past Saturday afternoon…where have ya been? Agreed mind you just a bit behind on it that’s all!

        24 cups and counting….

  26. Wintercount says:

    testing

  27. habsfan0 says:

    So,who to start in Game 3?
    I would stick with Torski.
    The kid will only get better,IMHO.

    • shiram says:

      Yup I would also keep going with Toker.
      Last night’s loss is not on him.

    • third generation haber says:

      plus 1

      j.p. murray

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Tokarski will be in Thursday and Sunday unless a complete meltdown occurs….but somehow I believe the young guy has some magic up his sleeve.

      Word out is that this guy hates to lose.

    • jimmy shaker says:

      I’m with budaj for thursday. Stopped the cubs streak this year….played some big road games for the boys this year and shutout the rangers in the garden this year as well. I think MT goes with budaj and he comes up with a big W for the team! Although Tokarski wasn’t the problem at all last night (probably should’ve saved hash’s goal in my opinion) I think budaj has to have this start!

      Shaker out!

  28. Coach K says:

    Any chance the call to play Tokarski was made by management and not MT? Considering that Budaj is a known quantity, maybe they want to see what the kid can do in a pressure cooker like the cup semi-finals, at home, in front of the most rabid fans in the league in what might seem like a must-win situation. This move also has the added advantage of providing direction regarding how quickly to bring Fucale along.

    Thoughts?

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

  29. WindsorHab-10 says:

    Not over til it’s over.

  30. Jocko says:

    Habs will lose this series…blah…blah. Hate to have seen this site in ’93, down 0-2 to the Nords (yes, I realize those two losses were in Quebec, but home ice advantage is not quite the advantage it may have been once upon a time). Habs will climb back into this. I believe they can win this thing. The Rangers are a middling team at best with very little top end talent. I realize Lundqvist is not a middling goalie, but a good one. Anyhow, Habs in six!

    I don’t want to see Maurice tonight, I want to see The Rocket!

  31. tophab says:

    headlines habs dominate and lose anybody else see that?

  32. HairyHabist says:

    Didn’t a Habs team go into Carolina in 2006, win the first 2 games and then lose the series to the eventual Stanley Cup winner?

    Didn’t a Habs team go into Boston in 2011, win the first 2 games and then lose the series to the eventual Stanley Cup winner?

    Is it not about time the hockey gods evened the score?

    • New says:

      Yeah but Carolina had to send Koivu to the hospital with a spear to his eye to do that. It was a hockey play. Accidental. Then the team folded. In 2011 Chara was sick and Boston woke up when he got healthy.

      This series could easily come back to Montreal 2-2 next week. That is without the hockey gods evening the score :-) The management group is learning so much about the players from this series.

      • FlyAngler says:

        C’mon New, we know that minor incidents that you reference like POTENTIALLY BLINDING SOMEONE have to be placed in the context of the bigger picture of the NHL’s marketing plan. What is one player’s eye when compared with the necessity of marketing hockey in places like Carolina and Phoenix for instance? A league has to have its priorities in order!

        “Gardez la Foi! Keep the Faith!”

      • HairyHabist says:

        The point is there are precedents. And nobody knows that better than us.

        • New says:

          I understand. There are teams that came back, without injuries or luck, from three down. The Canadiens get their act together and they win. But right now they are ripe for the plucking. It isn’t about who is better or not, it is about who believes they are better. Right now the Habs believe the Rangers are better. Vanek line isn’t on the ice right after that goal the shot doesn’t happen, maybe the team begins to believe they can win. Right now they don’t believe they can win. Everybody is yapping about going into the crease. Why? The goal won’t count and they often beat NY without doing that. This team is psyched out by goofy press questions and impressions.

    • Cal says:

      Yes, but it will require the ritual sacrifice of the Kreider. Once that happens, balance will be restored and the Habs will kick the Rags’ butts.

  33. BriPro says:

    Good morning all.

    I was listening to TSN690 this morning, and they had Darren Dreger.

    Normally, I find he’s a fairly rational reporter. His perspectives, although never truly pro-Habs, aren’t usually biased or distorted, but, for the benefit of those who didn’t hear what he had to say this morning….

    (I’m paraphrasing) “I think, on the hit by Pouliot on Emelin…. I think he tried to sell it.”

    Are you kidding me? He gets bent in half, the full numbers showing, his face gets smashed into the glass, and he tried to sell it?

    I’m not sure I’m disappointed that Sportsnet has picked up the contract. It would be nice if someone at TSN was as passionate about our Habs as that panel is about the Leafs…. the Bruins ….. the Canucks…. and so on…. and so on….

    ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
    That is some of the most Free-range, Organically-grown, Disingenuous,
    Idealogically-marinated, Un-Self-awareness I’ve ever seen in the wild.

    - John Stewart on Marchand, the RAT

    • L Elle says:

      I find some members of the panel almost gleeful at our Habs’ woes.

      There are some evil and small minded/hearted people in this world.

      Have I mentioned I hate Kreider?

      • BriPro says:

        You and me both, L.

        ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
        That is some of the most Free-range, Organically-grown, Disingenuous,
        Idealogically-marinated, Un-Self-awareness I’ve ever seen in the wild.

        - John Stewart on Marchand, the RAT

      • Habs4LifeInTO says:

        Anyone with even an ounce of justice in them and a spirit of fair play would not be happy about what happened to Carey Price. I think many of these people on CBC / TSN / Sportsnet are either broken in some way or lack sufficient character to feel the way they do….

        24 cups and counting….

    • Cal says:

      Dreger and “hockey play” McKenzie have turned into blithering idiots, spout the NHL line. This makes them completely useless as commentators because commenting on things requires a brain, not a taped recording from the NHL they keep referring to.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      hi \bri

      Tried to sell it?
      That was as close to a major penalty as anything.

      The hit from different angles:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NR0fTMs4Qs&feature=youtube_gdata

  34. shiram says:

    Well at least Habs management will know not to offer a big fat contract to Vanek.

    But beyond that, I was expecting a lot more push from all the roster after the first loss.
    They had it for 10-15 minutes, but they could not keep it, and playing a 100% of every second is what the team through the Bruins.

    • BriPro says:

      I think they played a great game last night.
      Let’s be honest… even Price wouldn’t have stopped McDonagh’s goal. George’s shoulder was the perfect deflection surface. Unfortunate….

      Aside from that, you have to expect the Blue shirts to counter punch. And as hard as they tried, our Habs dominated far more than in game one.

      They have a second-string goalie like our Habs? That game is ours. So there’s still hope.

      ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
      That is some of the most Free-range, Organically-grown, Disingenuous,
      Idealogically-marinated, Un-Self-awareness I’ve ever seen in the wild.

      - John Stewart on Marchand, the RAT

      • shiram says:

        Well if they want to win they’ll have to do more than they did in game 2, is what I’m saying.
        Get in Lundqvist’s crease, clog the neutral zone and fast transition.

    • 24 Cups says:

      I thought the same thing last night. The Habs may not make the final but the team is learning some important lessons about their players.

      Vanek is 30, a bit slow on the blades and a total floater in his own end. A great player to have but not an elite talent. Certainly not worth a lifetime contract at 8M a season. Montreal will be better suited going after 2nd tier UFA RWs who are in the 5M range on three or four year deals.

      24.6 Cups

  35. FlyAngler says:

    Obviously, the Habs biggest problem right now is scoring goals and when you can’t score 5 on 5 OR on the power play, you are not going to score. The only way at this point that the Habs have any chance in this series is if MT takes a long hard look at the numbers and comes to grips with the fact that his 2 centremen who are logging the most ice time- DD and Plekanec- while doing some good things defensively and putting in a good effort have both been poor at best on offense both at even strength and on the PP.

    Lars Eller has more points than any Habs forward in the playoffs- double what DD has- and yet he is averaging all of 19 seconds on the power play to DD’s 3 minutes which is simply insane.
    Plekanec has only one more point than Briere, and DD has one less point than Briere despite the fact that the 2 of them have been getting double the amount of ice time that Briere has been getting game after game. This simply makes no sense.
    DD made a great play in game 7 to set up the winning goal by Max, but the fact is that neither DD nor Plekanec can be relied upon to consistently make the plays that you need to get from the centremen who are logging the majority of ice time, especially in the playoffs.

    IMO, the only way that the Habs have a shot is if Eller and Briere play centre on the first and second waves of the power play and MT does some creative line juggling in order to give them a better chance of solving Lundqvist with Eller and Briere getting some more looks.

    Overall, I think that M T has done a very good job in the playoffs, but he needs to make some adjustments, fast.

    “Gardez la Foi! Keep the Faith!”

  36. Fargo Habs Fan says:

    Good morning fellow Habs fans. I have tickets for game 5 (series will be 2-2 at that time!) I planned to take a few days off, drive up, enjoy the game, and head back. Unfortunately, I lost my grandmother this week. Since I am taking time off this week, I won’t be able to take as much time off next week as I had hoped.

    I looked into flights, but this late in the game it would cost me a small fortune. I do not see how I can make this game. If anyone is interested, I have two Club seats (end Habs shoot twice). I’d just like to get my money back. I would be willing to make a small profit from Rangers fans though. :)

    If anyone is interested, shoot me an email through my profile.

    -Dustin-
    @mr_bulldogge

  37. VerdunHab says:

    things look grimm for sure, but win game 3 and put some doubts in the Rangers you never know. In saying that, moving forward to next season doesn’t Galchenyuk have to play centre. I think he does and that leaves the same issue most of us discussed a year or so ago; Galchenyuk, Pleks, DD & Eller. One of them has to go and after watching the playoffs this year I know who my choice is. Not an easy choice by any means, but I think Pleks is the one that MB seriously has to look at trading in the offseason. The return would be decent and possibly be able to fill a hole or two. Thoughts??

    • Captain aHab says:

      I made the same suggestion before this season and got drilled.

      Here’s the thing: DD isn’t going anywhere and neither is Galchenyuk. Eller doesn’t get you much on the open market right now while Pleks might. But who will replace Pleks? Eller – give him a defensive mandate and I think he’d be OK and might chip in from time to time.

      At some point we need to see what Galchenyuk can do……

      —————-
      Me skull and crossbones arn’t the only thing I plan on raisin’ tonight.

  38. Mr_MacDougall says:

    Anybody else get the feeling that Elliot and Kelly want to drag PJ Stock into the back hallway and boot f*** him?

    ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

  39. RetroMonkey II says:

    Never doubt My Almighty Media Guide.

    Rangers will win with Lundqvist in nets.

    • RetroMikey says:

      GO eat a banana and get the hell out of this site you damn dirty monkey!

      “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  40. Mr_MacDougall says:

    Habs have provided the most entertaining season since 93 (I like this Habs run better than the JM run over the Pens and Caps) great times for Hab fans!

    On a side note, I think that Sloan are The Beatles of the east coast. They have very thoughtful lyrics, great tunes, everyone in the band sings, and amazing harmonies. One of the most underrated bands in Canadian History.

    ~~ Plekanec at the Disco ~~

  41. RetroMikey says:

    Kudos to Vigneault for making his Rangers team never give up.
    I felt they were peaking the second half of the season and just started getter better and better as the season progressed leading into the playoffs.
    Check out nhl.com and see the videos after each game how special this team the Rangers are.
    But this season Price was the MVP, he gave the team many wins from opposing teams we played in the regular season and he carried the team past the Bruins.
    Can they still beat the Rangers? Absolutely but you need to be a team in the dressing room even without Price.
    If the team upset the Bruins, they can still play a hard fighting 7 game series.
    But if we are eliminated there are many questions for Bergevingto answer.
    Do you sign some more big DMen?
    Do you sign Markov?
    Do you sign Gionta?
    The team cannot count on Carey Price leading them to the Cup.
    The team needs to click with the roster they have.
    GAme 1 was an embarrasement, and no excuses for playing flat as the Rangers stole the game from us.
    The players need to have faith and to have faith, you look at only one who can change the series, our God Almighty!
    Have faith guys, have faith! Gorges, Budaj, and some others on the team will agree with me!
    Do we need to sign bigger players with grit and character?

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

    • kalevine says:

      there’s no place for Gionta on this team. Markov can still move the puck, and until they get a few more solid D who can do that, they need him

  42. JF says:

    So Kreider slides feet-first at full speed into Price, taking him out for the series and in all probability ending our playoff run. Then he says the only thing he regrets about the play is not having scored. Then after last night’s game, he tops it all off by saying he found the pre-game ceremony, which he dismisses as a “hubbub,” hilarious,” and that it lit a fire under his ass that he can’t see going out any time soon. Talk about making friends….

    I’m sure not too many of us would be sorry to see one of our players absolutely slam this jerk into the boards and end his season. It likely won’t happen, but, if taking out the other team’s goaltender is part of his MO, someone, somewhere, at some time, will make him pay. It could even be the Habs a couple of years from now.

    • Cal says:

      I wouldn’t be looking to slam him in the boards. I’d take out his knees. See how “hilarious” he’ll find things then.

      • JF says:

        OK, his knees would be better. But someone will get him some time. Right now it looks like there’s no justice. But things eventually come round. How about Pacioretty scoring the series-winning goal against the Bruins, or Brière’s pass going in off Chara’s skate?

    • The Chicoutimi Cucumber says:

      The way to make Kreider pay is to deliberately take out Lundqvist. That would level a playing field that has been artificially and irresponsibly tilted against the Habs courtesy of the NHL’s catastrophic policy of not protecting star players against deliberate attempts to injure. In the absence of leadership from the league, only the equivalent of Mutually Assured Destruction would put an end to the kind of nonsense we witnessed from Kreider in Game One.

      • Loop_Garoo says:

        No league policy would have prevented that injury, he did not make any effort to avoid contact, but there is no way that the NHL suspends a player for that type of play, not because of a lack of interest in discipline ( though that is true) but because there is no way to know if he could have done anything differently, even if he wanted to.

    • kalevine says:

      he needs to show some respect, oh wait he’s white, so he can be disrespectful

  43. calvee123 says:

    Hey everyone. I remember in 93. Habs were down 2 games. I know they came home to play but it could still happen….. We gotta have faith!!

  44. Phil C says:

    I admit it looks grim, but anything can happen in a series like this. The Habs are playing better in general so there is hope. A key injury to New York, Tokarski finds his groove, the Habs improve their special teams and this thing could turn on a dime.

  45. Commandant says:

    #45 is USHL defenceman Joshua Jacobs who will try to win the Clark Cup tonight
    http://lastwordonsports.com/2014/05/20/2014-nhl-draft-profile-45-joshua-jacobs/

    Go Habs Go!

    http://lastwordonsports.com/

  46. Captain aHab says:

    All right…the power play.

    First thing they need to fix: gaining entry into the zone.

    I don’t know why they always have 4 guys stopped at the blue line and the d-man dumping it in. We often don’t get to the puck first and lots of our guys don’t have the compete level to fight for the dumped puck. The Rags had 4 guys on the blue line. Why not have the d-man wait back until all the forwards can attack the blue line with him and then dump the puck in when everyone is at full speed? If the Rags want to have 4 guys at the line against that, they’ll have to clearly interfere to prevent the Habs from getting 2 guys deep on the puck.

    The single stupidest thing to do is to bash it hard against the boards. It comes right back to the Rag d on the other side who then clears it.

    Once in the zone, we need to have a guy in front of Lundqvist. But that doesn’t seem to be the Habs philosophy on the PP. Anyways, likely too late this year to change the PP much. Remember when Markov would jump in often to take shots from the circle? We’ve seen that maybe once against Boston and once in this series.

    —————-
    Me skull and crossbones arn’t the only thing I plan on raisin’ tonight.

  47. 24AW says:

    I think the best the Habs can do right now is make a decent series out of this by not getting swept, but they’re not gonna win it. 4-wins out of 5-against the Rangers, not happening. if it was LA or Chicago playing the Rangers I would say yes it’s possible.

  48. Captain aHab says:

    Did I dream this or did Galchenyuk play a couple of his last shifts last night as a C? Might have been line changes but he was in the O-Zone with what looked like 2 wingers to me.

    —————-
    Me skull and crossbones arn’t the only thing I plan on raisin’ tonight.


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