About last night … (terse and pithy edition)

Price down and out

This is going to be the all-time short version of ALN.

What is there to say, really?

Playing the biggest game of his career, the franchise goaltender was, at best, mediocre … while the guy at the other end of the ice put on a playoff performance of Halakian brilliance.

David Desharnais, signed to a contract extension during the season, is turning into a slower, smaller Scott Gomez. In 19 minutes of ice time, including 5:11 on the power play, DD had ZERO shots on goal. And we won’t even mention he was kicked out of the faceoff circle more often than Charlie Sheen’s been thrown out of bars.

Josh Gorges and Raphael Diaz were a combined minus-5.

The Canadiens had 27 shots in the second period – in addition to 10 that were blocked by Senators and five that missed the net.

In their long and glorious history, which has featured some very good playoff teams, your Montreal Canadiens had never fired 27 SoG in 20 minutes of postseason hockey.


Not with Howie Morenz.

Not with Maurice Richard.

Not with Guy Lafleur.

But they did it with Brendan Gallagher and P.K. Subban, who played their hearts out against the Senators.

And still the Canadiens lost – because Carey Price is not Bill Durnan, Jacques Plante, Ken Dryden or Patrick Roy.

After that 27-shot second-period bombardment of Craig Anderson, Ottawa scored on two of their first four shots in the third period. And that was the ballgame.

And maybe the series because in addition to their goaltending woes, the Canadiens have lost their best centre.

Eric Gryba is not Raffi Torres. The Ottawa defenceman probably will draw a suspension, but that was a classic open-ice hit of the type Scott Stevens used to deliver, sending Eric Lindros et al to La-Laland.

With Lars Eller in the hospital and Desharnais struggling, the Canadiens have a  hole at centre that 19-year-old Alex Galchenyuk will be hard-pressed to fill.

Granted, one game does not a series make.

But the Canadiens have a steep mountain to climb …. and less than 24 hours to get their poop in a group.

•  •  •

Comment of the Night, from Blondemon:

Price basically started the 3rd the way he started the 1st in most of the games during the slump. Three goals on six shots. Deflated the team faster than an air mattress shared by Oprah and Rosie O’Donnell.



  1. BJ says:

    Just in. Gionta and Max Pac out. Ouch!

    • HabsFansince49 says:

      It goes from bad to worse; time for others to step up (except Gallaghar and PK who have already stepped up)

      • HabsFansince49 says:

        Actually Gionta won’t make much difference -his line has been invisible. Perhaps Ryder and Pleks can get a mate who will help them make a difference.

  2. Un Canadien errant says:

    Who really wants to dwell on this game? I guess even Ottawa fans will want to move on.

    Briefly, Carey Price needs to be better. He made some good saves last night, but again failed in his mission. We can argue about which goal was weak and which he couldn’t have stopped, but the save percentage he finished the game (.871) with is not acceptable. If this was a one-game blip we’d understand, but his cumulative season save percentage had been falling precipitously in April, and the trend may not be over.

    Some people argue that save percentage isn’t an accurate stat, in that some goalies face mostly floaters from the periphery and their defence does a good job of clearing out rebounds, so they would have a higher percentage than goalies who are constantly under siege. I’d agree with that statement as a thought experiment, but practically, it’s a number that’s very useful in determining who’s doing a better job of stopping pucks. Eventually, it’s like a salesman’s monthly totals or a waitress’ total sales. You can argue that you have a poor territory or that you had a bad section with the old ladies from the church group, but in the end, your sales tell the story.

    The powerplay had a chance to seal this win in the second, with a five-minute advantage which included a 5-on-3, and didn’t get the job done. We see it too often, when a team has a four or five-minute powerplay, there’s a lack of urgency in gaining the offensive zone, you think you have a lot of time to work with and it leads to lazy skates down to your zone to pick up the puck, and then a lazy skate back up ice with tricky little dekes and drop passes, and before you know it you’ve wasted half the penalty and lost your rhythm. The Canadiens aren’t the only team to fall victim to this, but last night it cost them.

    As far as the Lars Eller injury, a lot of analysis and commentary has been generated by experts in the field, so I don’t know how much I have to add, except that scary incidents like this aren’t necessarily ‘accidents’, a cumulative chain of events with an unhappy outcome that couldn’t have been foreseen. If we look at Eric Gryba’s hockeydb.com page, we find that he’s 6’4″, 220 lbs, but has never, at any level, had more than five goals in a season or more than 20 points. His penalty minutes totals are very healthy however.


    And this is where the game is headed. Clueless, mendacious shill Gary Bettman bleats constantly that the “product” has never been better, and that player safety is primordial, but the players get bigger and stronger and faster, the ice surface gets smaller and more crowded, the collisions grow more violent, and there is no concerted effort to shift the game in a new direction.

    Players like Eric Gryba should be fringe players who barely get a sniff of the NHL, but the trend is for big regardless of talent. The Canadiens were shopping for such players at the deadline, predicting that their smaller, more mobile defenceman weren’t going to cut it in the playoffs. Every team was looking for a big, tough defenceman with a mean streak for a potential Cup run, nobody seemed to be in the market for a puck mover or powerplay quarterback.

    Now this is a reasonable reaction to the state of NHL rule-making and officiating. If the big player who is constantly a step behind the action and can’t do much with the puck was penalized for every transgression, he would find himself as rare as a dodo bird, and the focus of teams would be on skill instead of size at all costs. The game would be radically different, much more fan-friendly, and safer for the players.

    An incident which caught my eye last night was in the third when Chris Phillips drove Brendan Gallagher maxilla-first into the crossbar for the sin of being near the net and trying to score a goal. The net was dislodged, the puck was immobilized by Craig Anderson, the refs blew the whistle, the play was over. Then, completely unrelated to this play, in defiance of twenty-five or so sections of the NHL rulebook, Chris Neil approached Brendan from the side and put his smelly glove in his face and his other hand on the back of his neck and, … I’m not sure. He was holding his head like it was the Holy Grail or something, like it was something valuable that he wanted to take home, if he could find a way to detach it from this other bigger part he wasn’t so keen on. The linesmen swooped in and squawked like the ineffectual seagulls they are, and intervened bodily, and separated Chris Neil from his prize after a few seconds. And that was that. There was no infraction on the play according to the officials, “Play on!” they enjoined the players. And that is how Chris Neil is allowed to infest the NHL, and to attempt to nullify a talented player because he outweighs him by fifty pounds and scowls a lot. From Neil to Gryba to Lars Eller to Marc Savard in a couple of easy steps.

    Watching the Kings play the Blues, I was struck by how both teams have huge players who crash and bang each other, and how they have gone all in with this trend, like Bob Gainey went all in with speed and skill in 2009. They sensed the way the wind was shifting and were proven right, whereas Mr. Gainey lost his job as a GM.

    We’re often driven to exclaim, as Canadiens fans, involved as we so often are in a navel-gazing exercise in our insular little world, that Trevor Timmins is a genius, and we hold up his “steals” in the fifth round as proof of this. It’s much more clear to me now that other teams weren’t blind to how good Brendan Gallagher or Charles Hudon were, or didn’t wrongly evaluate whether they could be successful as pros. Rather, they are making the very deliberate decision to make do with a much less talented player with greater size. They’re comfortable in the knowledge that the Brian Burkes and Mike Milburys and Colin Campbells who control the league will not change their world view, will not be convinced by medical research or regrettable incidents like last night, and will pay lip service to the concept of player safety but mash the accelerator down a little harder to get to the rock wall a little faster.



  3. frontenac1 says:

    Playoff Hockey amigos. Its fast, its rough and brutal. Sens D? They allowed 50 shots! Its going to be a corker tonight.Habs in six.

  4. joeybarrie says:

    Price has been very good this year. But lately he has been mediocre at best, as Boone puts.
    That being said, if the expectation is that Price has to play like Halak did (and I am not starting a feud, cause what’s Halak doing right now?) or if he has to play like Roy did, then the expectation is the problem.
    No goals on a 5 on 3, 50 shots, 15 misses, 19 blocked shots and we can muster 2 goals???
    Obviously Anderson had a good game, and lets be realistic. The Sens first goal was flukey and the rebound bounce was a result of poor defensive play as was the 3rd goal. Price being Price at his best couldve and shouldve been able to stop a few, and bounces are not going his way.
    But to blame Price is plain stupid.
    We have won a total of 3 games this season scoring less than 3 goals.
    Clearly the 5-3 penalty kill turned the tables.
    We shouldve put the game away there, just like Price shouldve saved us.
    Its on the team.
    But I think the big problem is Markov has not been effective. He seems tired and worn down, as he should be after sitting for almost two years, and then sprinting in a crazy season.
    Gio, Ryder and Pleks are not scoring.
    Our Captain hasnt had a point in the last 5 games.
    Pleks has had 1 goal in his last 13 games.
    Ryder hasnt scored in 9 games and has 1 point in his last 7.
    PK has had 1 goal in his last 16 games.
    Gorges is a -5 in his last 15 games.
    Markov is -7 in his last 15 games.
    AND PRICE has let in 31 in his last 9 games (on 219 shots) getting only 2 wins out of them. (0.859 sv%) Letting in .14% goals…
    KEEPING IN MIND OUR TEAM HAS GONE 22 goals on 250 shots in the last 8 games of the Regular season, and 29 goals on 200 shots in the 8 games before that…
    Going 3-5 in the last 8 (reg season) and 6-2 in the 8 previous….

    If your team has to rely on a goalie to go .950 sv% in order to win…. YOU ARE GONNA LOSE.
    8 winning teams in the last 10 playoff games went like this:
    4 goals on 31 shots
    3 goals on 30 shots
    5 goals on 32 shots
    4 goals on 32 shots
    3 goals on 28 shots
    5 goals on 26 shots
    Score 2 goals or less in the playoffs, and you will be going home at the end of the round, no matter who your goalie is for the most part.
    Try to remember that when 5 of your top 7 goal scorers are all about 0% in shooting percentage in the last 5 games, you arent going to win very many of them.
    Expecting Price to save this team because he is supposed to be the greatest goalie of all time is ridiculous. He is a great goalie. There is no denying that. And he needs to step up and be grat when we need him most….
    But our players need to score too…
    LASTLY keep in mind, Prusts goal should have stood in my opinion, and if it did. I believe we win that game.
    Ottawa was lucky yesterday.
    Now our core players. PRICE INCLUDED, need to all step up if we are going to make it to the next round.
    4 goals on 40 shots
    3 goals on 27 shots

    • CF says:

      Nobody said we are expecting Price to save the team.

      What “I” was saying is that Price is simply not that good. The type of goals he lets in are, many times, the type that should not be going in consistently. The puck seems to find holes in Price, and it happens often. The puck seems to find holes, very often, between his legs. Take a look at his stick, most times it’s 6 inches off the ice. Yeah, we only scored two goals, but Price, once again, let in 4. And he basically didn’t face any shots in the second period. When the team needs him to steal one, he’s basically unable to do it.

  5. Bill says:

    Okay, so finished watching the game and I dont know what all of you guys were talking about. You made it sound like Price was a sieve and Anderson was a wall and that was the difference.

    The second goal was super weak. Should’ve had it. Otherwise it was an even game. Habs dominated shots but they were easy shots except for the ones that went in.

    The Habs need to crash Anderson and make his life hell. Then the pucks will go in.

    Habs in six.

  6. issie74 says:

    Has Paul Maclean been accessed a fine to-day,for his idiot post game comments?


  7. slim wallet says:

    Noticed the HNIC boys were already justifying the hit by saying Eller had touched the puck and they started blaming Diaz for the pass. Again, it’s a culture of blaming the victims. Yeah, it was an ill-considered pass and I’ll bet the instant the puck left his stick he went, Oh no, but it was still a blindside hit to the head. Don’t any of these so-called “union brothers” think twice about going for the big hit when a player is most vulnerable? I like hitting. Subban’s on Neil was a classic. But there’s a difference between separating a man from the puck and separating a man from his head.

    Also, the hit on Eller also affected Diaz’s game. He handled the puck like it was a brick after that. A soft little pass to Bourque inside the line that was intercepted and led directly to a goal.

    And what I’m seeing from Cary lately… he’s making himself small, back in the net, down in the crouch. You watch Anderson, he’s making himself big, out and square. Cary’s fighting himself right now. Doesn’t mean you dump him because he’s going through a rough patch. This was never supposed to be “the year” but a step in the right direction.

  8. frontenac1 says:

    Anderson 2 goals on 50 shots. Price 4 goals on 30 shots. Game Two tonight. Get some big body traffic in front of Anderson and Keep shooting..Hit Karlson hard every time he has the puck. The Sens did not look that good last night amigos. ,Habs in 6.Saludos!!

    • Bim says:

      I couldn’t agree more and they should have done that last nite but its tough to win when you can’t stop the puck. I hope its Budaj tonite or its good nite!

      • D Mex says:

        The season series between these 2 teams cannot be ignored – their respective styles are similar, and they are closely matched.

        Provided the Habs remain more positive than this place – which should be a breeze – I think they’ll be fine.

        ALWAYS Habs –
        D Mex

    • Bim says:

      I think Habs played their best game last nite. I just don’t think they’ll have enough left for tonite. They’ll get thumped tonite.

  9. Bim says:

    At a time when you would expect Habs to bounce back I feel a letdown coming on, particularly with Price in goal (hope I don’t see him in there tonite). 5-2 Sens tonite. Golf tee times TBD for Wednesday.

  10. Storman says:

    Tony Marinaro totally ripping Price and DD, and being funny to boot, usually dont have time of day for Marinaro but lol half of DD TOI ice was spent picking his ass off the ice lol

  11. jeffhabfan says:

    We were outplayed badly in net. Something wrong with Carey Price and I am starting to wonder if he is much good at all he is just not right. The hit was brutal we will not see Lars Eller again this year. The kid should get a couple of games the hit was very bad.If we do not get better play from more players and lose Tonight we will not win the series.

  12. LePriceisRight says:

    TSN Ward’s brain thinking on the Eller hit is embarrassing, the first point of contact is the jaw which you see Eller’s head go from looking straight to Gryba’s shoulder twisting his neck which clearing knocks him out cold before he hits the ice, if contact was on the chest as he says, then you think Eller’s body would of fell backwards where the brut force from impact should of been. As Bob says it was a “thin hit” and he went right through his jaw and it was lights out. I believe it wasn’t that dirty of a hit and that’s what can happen when you get a Sui, back in the day that was a beauty of a hit. With the new rule 48…..one game suspension and lets move on and hope Eller recovers quickly. Less negative whining and more positive support pour les gars!!!

    Game 2. Price needs to wake up, his cool, calm and collective mentality is starting to turn into big contract, don’t care and oh well mentality. Where is the win in this guy because I am not seeing it right now. This is his chance to show that he can pull it off as a elite MVP goaltender. Huge Price fan and supported since day one. But then again Diaz and Gorges are scary and chokin’ on moving the puck out of the zone, soft and lazy or just not NHL material.

    Stick to the game plan, ghost Ryder?

  13. Bim says:

    Anyone hear whose starting in net for Habs tonite? Also whose filling in for Lars? Hope they give Price the night off he’s been terribly overworked lately (lol lol!)

  14. bwoar says:

    new thread

  15. smiley says:

    Some observations:
    1.When Diaz was out, everyone was lamenting his loss like he was Bobby Orr. Now with Emelin out, you’d think we were missing a Chris Pronger or Scott Stevens type player. I know Emelin is a big physical presence on a smallish team but I don’t get it.
    2. Desharnais-I didn’t see a ton of Habs games this year(don’t have RDS but will next year) but my god he was on his butt for most of the game. He’s plays smaller than he is.
    3. Price-I am a supporter but he has got to be better. A lot better.
    I will keep the faith.
    Leaving for a golf trip to Palm Springs tomorrow with 11 buddies. Hope to catch the games there-fingers crossed.

    • Les Canayens says:

      Exactly my thoughts. The only reason Diaz had a chance to showcase his much hyped offensive upside was due to Subban’s absence during the contract negotiation, and playing with Markov who makes MAB, Streit, Komisarek or any ordinary defenseman into PP specialist.

  16. HabFanSince72 says:

    Paul Maclean demonstrated the problem with NHL hoceky with his comments.

    Couldn’t he have just said “I hope the kid’s OK, it’s hard to see something like that.”?

    Instead of the weaselly excuses? Instead of publicly blaming Diaz?

    Why not say “we have to find a way for this to stop happening” instead of “it’s part of the game”?

    What a cowardly inhumane dumb thing to say.

    There are so many creeps in this game.

    • D Mex says:

      I have been thinking the same thing.
      Maclean comes across as a mix between goofy and quasi-sarcastic. This was his approach in situating the Habs as ‘ favourites ‘ in comments to media before the game last night.

      ALWAYS Habs –
      D Mex

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