Game 1 (audio): Canadiens fall in shootout

Robert Lang celebrates his first-period goal against the Sabres in Buffalo. More photos here.
Bill Wippert, NHLI via Getty Images

Sometimes scrambly, sometimes sensational. The Canadiens got their centennial season off to a thrilling start tonight in Buffalo before falling 2-1 in a shootout.

The Sabres’ Ales Kotalik and Drew Stafford scored on identical deke backhands on Canadiens goalie Carey Price, while Habs’ Robert Lang missed on a deke and Saku Koivu lost the puck attempting a move on Sabres goalie Ryan Miller

POSTGAME AUDIO:   Price  Koivu  Komisarek  Lang

Lang, a free-agent signing during the offseason, scored his first goal as a Canadien on a hard wrister to give Montreal a 1-0 first-period lead, but that was erased by Tomas Vanek, who corralled a neutral-zone puck that bounced over the stick of Habs defenceman Mike Komisarek and swept in to slide one past Price. The netminders were the story the rest of the way, Price earning the game’s first star for Montreal and Miller playing brilliantly for the Sabres, especially in the overtime with the Canadiens swarming all around him. Buffalo outshot Montreal 36-28; the Canadiens killed six penalties but went 0-for-5 with a man advantage.

The Habs dodged two – in fact, three – bullets in the third period, Steve Bégin taking tripping and slashing penalties on the same shift, and Guillaume Latendresse called for interference with 4:40 left in regulation.

The Canadiens were to leave immediately after the game for Toronto, where they’ll face the Maple Leafs in a Hockey Night in Canada Original Six game on Saturday. The Habs will finish off their three-game road swing on Monday in Philadelphia vs. the Flyers before returning home for their home opener Wednesday vs. Boston.

91 Comments

  1. projectpete19 says:

    he is being bashed because he is on the second line. you can not say with a straight face he belongs on the 2nd line. he should be on the 3rd line at the hightest, possibly the 4th.

    watch the game again and everytime lats touched the puck (when he could actually take a pass and keep control) and imagine what pacman could have done with it.

    bottom line lats should absolutely not be on the 2nd line, id rather have lats and little tits switch places until higgy is healthy

  2. New says:

    I hope you’re right. They were off for a few days and everyone seemed a half step off. I don’t think they will settle a bit until after the Phoenix game. If Price and Halek play the same style, maybe earlier.

  3. New says:

    I myself don’t care for PB. When the pressure is on I think he makes bad decisions. But I didn’t see anything wrong with his game last night. What did he do?

  4. New says:

    Lucky bounce for the Sabres on the turnover at the line, and then skill. That is a fore check.

  5. New says:

    Yeah Tanguay looks really nervous. I think you’re being rough on O’Byrne and generous to Lats. Although I did think he did go to the net once because he mistook the “It’s Miller time” phrase. Once he saw his mistake he got out back to the boards.

  6. twocents says:

    It’s tough to be airtight 4 on 4.

  7. jimbo says:

    If you drop the regulation point,then you would have teams in overtime doing absolutely nothing(risk wise) to make sure they secure their point.The current format is for the fans

  8. Kristopher7 says:

    I agree bidds, I saw Lats getting some nice hits off and winning foot races too.. it made me question myself “wow, is that Lats?” Not sure why the usual Lats assault is being unleashed…

  9. gumper says:

    I just got home from the game. Damn that border crossing is brutal. Anyway, just a couple of observations. The ice seemed really bad tonight. The puck was bouncing all over the place. At the start of the third, players were unable to complete passes because the surface was semi-frozen and the puck was getting mired down. For a team that plays a puck-control game like the Habs, this sort of surface is deadly. Secondly, the Habs seemed like the slower team, and they ended up chasing the Sabres all night because they weren’t winning faceoffs. At least that was my impression. Didn’t see the stats. I agree with those who found fault with O’Byrne and Latendresse’s game. O”Byrne in particular looked awkward and ineffective. I hope to see a better game from the team in Toronto tomorrow. Tired now…..time for bed.

  10. HABZ24 says:

    disappointing loss. was it me or did tanguay look drunk out there.losing pucks in his feet,passes to no where, ok one decent pass in o.t. and wow i was lil leary of the lang pick up but seeing him play tonight, geez what a fluid skater,so smooth ala paul cafe.and soft hands and a sniper to boot.dandy had a clear shot and passes to no one.still early. once the chemistry of who plays better with who is set, well be fn dangerous.and markov just gets better, what a gunn on the power play. go habs go.

  11. Kaptain K says:

    good game all around, a couple points
    a) Breezer who i tried to forgive, once again proved why he SHOULDN’T be on this team….
    b) Guillaume, whom ive also tried to forgive this year, ALSO looked bad
    c) Begin, i love your personality, but theres no point for you to do anything when theres no beef yet….
    d) Price was (other than the shootout) was pretty sharp, but i saw a bunch of saves that were more luck than anything else, but he was FAST
    e) overall = The habs played solidly, more control than the sabers and looked like a team good enough to hold its own in the playoffs

    We ride together
    We die together
    Habs Fans for Life!

  12. Tom S. says:

    At the risk of getting hate-mail, I think we should keep the following players out of the lineup: O’Byrne (can’t skate – should have gone to power skating school with Lats – or handle the puck, goes down when checking a player much smaller than he), Brisebois (explanation not needed), Begin (all heart, but takes way too many needless penalties). I can’t believe that there aren’t young guns on the farm who couldn’t do better than those guys. The errors those guys commit are too frequent and it’s clear that they won’t get any better.

  13. Xtrahabsfan says:

    Yo bidds55,totally agree with you on Lats,he’s going to have a great year this year and then all those hookers with p.h.d.’s will bash someone else,lol

  14. The Teacher says:

    Realistically, the game would end before 10 mins of 4 on 4 given the state of reffing these days. If not then, surely the 3 on 3 would solve matters. If not a tie is FINE. The NHL had ties for for the longest time. Ties reward two good efforts and that’s fine also. Ties weren’t the problem, the overtimne format was.

    http://www.barragecafe.com/sports/

  15. Tom S. says:

    Too bad we lost but we get a point, so that’s cool. As for those who hate the shootout, there are no other options, really, as the regular season’s already too long. Someone else mentioned it earlier, ties are lame, and the poorer teams (read: the Laffs) would play for the tie against a more skilled team (read: the Habs), leading to boring, close-checking hockey. I would agree to 2-10 mins periods – 4 on 4 for the 1st, 3 on 3 for the 2nd -if the regular season were say, 72 games long. As it is, these athletes play nearly 100 games per season before they even make the playoffs. Those who make it to the finals could conceivably play another 28 games – not counting overtime. IMO, that’s too many if we expect the kind of exciting hockey during the season and post-season. Besides, to those who hate the shootout, how do you feel when, late in a game – say the last few seconds, a player gets a breakaway and scores to end the game? The shooter against the goalie, one on one, is the most exciting play in hockey.

  16. tony d says:

    Hello all
    just got back half hour ago from Buffalo…. some observations…. our boys looked a lil nervous and their play felt like an exhibition game (still searching, hesitant, never quite in sync)
    Overall I’d give them a B for effort.
    2 guys who were predictable tonight and by that I mean, BAD!! Good ol Brisebois (I lost count on the turnovers and giveaways) and Latendresse who is still lost out there and does not deserve to be on that line. He’s a 4th line AVERAGE player at best… I hope Higgins heals quick cause even though he lacked finish a lot last year, he still has way more puck smarts than Lats.
    Once the boys settle down and develop some chemistry, I think things will gel nicely.
    Let’s hope they bring their A game to the ACC
    Go Habs Go

  17. bidds55 says:

    will the Lats bashing never end? Did anybody notice he was actually winning foot races? And hitting? And…..now people are bashing him for being in front of the net – now that is moronic.

    Overall, the Habs played ok. First game of the season, I’ll take 1 point. Asuming the beat the Laffs, and get at least one point out of the Flyers, they’ll be off to a good start heading home.
    ______________
    For anyone interested, there is an awesome hockey card show at Centre Pierre Charbonneau in Montreal Oct 24, 25, 26 (the weekend of the HIO summit). I have no affiliation with it, but I’ll be there, as will Carey Price, Andrei & Sergei Kostitsyn and more!

  18. The Cat says:

    Not getting the hate on Brisebois, it was Komisarek and Markov who looked like the 3 stooges on Buffalos goal.

  19. The Cat says:

    I never liked the acquisition of Tanguay either. Hes too flaky and not hardnosed enough (like we needed more of that). I hope Im proven wrong though. And I hope Pacioretty comes up soon. He has to be the best player Ive ever seen get sent down to the minors.

  20. Ian Cobb says:

    I thought defensively we played a good game, but the transition to offence was not very crisp.

    Possession broke down very quickly in the offensive end. Our 4th line kept the puck deep at times with their aggressive for check, but had no finish.

    Last year, we lived on the power play but it was not there in Buffalo.

    All in all, we played a decent defensive road game and we were only worth 1 point.

    I think the offence will have a little more jump to-night in Toronto.

    Once all the kids get a little more seasoning in the first half of this year, we will be on top in January.

  21. Ian Cobb says:

    You are not together as a team mate if you dump on Brisbois,just for something to say. There are great reasons why he is on our team, one of them is LOYALTY

  22. Bash says:

    Noteables….

    Lats………… D+ (But did throw a few hits and went to the net more)
    O’Byrne……… D- (Made one good play)
    Brisbois…….. D- (Took some good hits)
    Lang………… A (Better than we hoped)
    Sergei………. B+ (In the game!)

    TANGUAY……… F (Huge disappointment, Carbo cut his ice time)

  23. Robert L says:

    The Canucks tribute to Luc Bourdon, featuring Tom Cochrane and the real HNIC song.

    http://www.greatesthockeylegends.com/2008/10/luc-bourdon-tribute.html#links

  24. JB_15 says:

    I couldnt agree with you more.

  25. twocents says:

    Teacher, I am not sold on the shootout but I think adding potentially another 20 min is too much over the season. I don’t know what the solution is but, I don’t want to return to having ties after regulation. I hate 3rd periods where teams are clearly playing for them. If they just do away with the point for a regulation tie and then have ten minutes of OT 4 on 4(for all the marbles, no shootout), at the end of that I could live with a tie. I think you would not see teams playing the 3rd trying to hold a tie and it would be hard to play a 4 on 4 for ten minutes conservatively. Again though, are we asking too much from the players who are sometimes playing the next night? At the very least drop the shootout and do not reward a point for regulation ties and play the current 5 min. OT.

  26. twocents says:

    Patience is in order for O’Byrne. He made mistakes but he also made several good plays. Hopefully, as the season progresses, we’ll see more of the latter and less of the former. He basically has only had half a season in the bigs. There is a reason he is playing with Hamrlik and its not because he is playing better than Gorges.

  27. Gary320 says:

    In the age where marketing is more important.. its probbaly the best thing for the game.. I love it.. I understand why others hate it but I love it.. its just really exiciting to watch. I would not make it 0 points for losing in shootout thats a terrible idea.. if your going to make OT only 5 minutes than if u lose in OT.. it should be 0 points but if you go in SHOOTOUT than that should be 1 pt.. Either way.. I dont care what it is, I just DO NOT want ot see a TIE. I hate ties.
    _____________________________________________

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUzdUzj3Ls4#

    My Montreal Canadiens (2008/09) Video

  28. Scott says:

    Tough loss tonight for our season-opener.

    It was a good game by both teams, but the outcome was not the one I expected nor hoped for. We beat them in five of eight games last season, and they have already upped us by one this year. Each goalie looked excellent for their respective teams, as they each made the stops when they had to down the stretch.

    In the shootout, Koivu easily had Ryan Miller beat with his dangles, but the puck just slipped away from him.

    All I can say is that at least we got the single point for losing in a shootout, and we have to move on and look to tomorrow night vs the Toronto Maple Leafs
    – – – – – – – – – –
    The drive for 25…

  29. StillattheMapes says:

    Dave. One of the truly great party and music places of Montreal in its day, and the bane of all local lower Pte Claire (Lakeshore Road) residents in its prime. I just had so much fun there for so many years, as we all did. And we saw it all, and the very best bands….

  30. lefreak says:

    it is hard to make a save like that with both defenders compromised. Price played a great game, if you blame this loss on him you sound like the french press. Trade them all!!!!!.

    I thought this team looked good, when they sync they will be relentless.

  31. boy from school says:

    O’Byrne made that diving poke-check on that three on one. just saying.

  32. The Teacher says:

    Shootouts suck. It makes a mockery of the game.

    Do the damn ice after regulation and then play 2 10 minute periods if neccessary one at 4 on 4 and the 2nd 3 on 3.

    I hate shootouts. Giving a team 0 points for losing in shootout is NOT a good idea. Why play a game then? Just play a 50 man shootout that last 3 hours.

    http://www.barragecafe.com/sports/

  33. twocents says:

    One more observation: Rivet looked bigger on the ice than he did with us but, his sketchy passing was just like old times. So often he misses the tape.

  34. CHsam says:

    Lentendresse. Lento. Molto Lento. E poi ha niente nel skills department. Excuse my poor italian.

  35. Gary320 says:

    I love.. just LOVE the shootout. It changes everything from a game.. and makes wins sweeter and loses bitter. They should NOT.. NOT NOT CHANGE IT. Its the best thing the league has done since coming back.. I would only change the point system. Tie is boring.. You need a WINNER. Ties is for pee-wee hockey.
    ____________________________________________

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUzdUzj3Ls4#

    My Montreal Canadiens (2008/09) Video

  36. mitin_patel says:

    Lats cant handle anyyyyyy of the passes he received from saku or alex!!! and begin…damn it this man needs to be benched….i rather see kyle out there

  37. BIG-D says:

    It takes an American to ruin “Canada’s Game”. NO OVER-TIME. NO SHOOTOUT.
    Win, loss or tie. That’s it.

    Well Gary just as well finish what U started. Take away the Goalie pads, give him a pair of Heavy Duty Shin Guurds, a Broom Ball Stick & make the nets 12 inches higer & wider….. Then U will get your 20 goals a game…

  38. nightmare_49 says:

    Hamilton 3 – Manitoba 1. Marc Denis stopped 29 shots for the victory as Glumac and Lehoux scored and Stewart added an empty netter. Yannick Weber had 4 shots.

  39. Bugs says:

    Hey, tons’o’positives from tonight besides the single point:
    If Lang keeps this up, he’ll have 82 goals at the end of the year! (C’mon, work with me)
    The Priceberg was solid as a…well…as an iceberg, I guess. Except for the part at the end though. (Is it the home team who decides who shoots first in the barrage? Think so. GUY! When you’re at home, always shoot first!)
    Gorgeous Gorges looks to be in splendid form. The Byrne was moving EXCEPTIONALLY well out there; his puck control should be next on the item-list…
    Sergei’s gettin’ into the groove. Koivu looked full of pep, picked a lot of pockets tonight, especially in the offensive zone.
    Marky was there. The Hamr was there.
    Just a few more dashes of chemistry and coordination?
    And we’ll tear this bloody league asunder.
    Peace Out.
    ______________________________________________________
    Lord Bugs Potter, esq. Earl of Fluppitburg, Baron of Flopshlupshire and Knight of the Flannel Republic.

  40. habs R my team says:

    Begin should not be on this team. He continuously takes bad penalties. Guess he didn’t learn his lesson from the bad penalty he took in the playoffs last year that cost us a game. And O’Byrne and Brisecrap looked horrible. And where is our PP? 0-5! We better get the PP going, because you know we can’t score 5 on 5, and as usual we gave up over 30 shots, 36 to be exact. That’s way too many. Our D has to tighten up, but that will be hard considering Brisecrap is in the lineup.

  41. 100HABS says:

    The game was entertaining and Price did well. We got one point on the road. Nothing to write home about, but nice to at least Lang do well. Looking forward to kicking Make Believes butt tomorrow!

    ’tis the season to be jolly

  42. Dave Stubbs says:

    The Mapes! Now there’s a blast from the past!

    Dave Stubbs

    Habs Inside/Out
    Sports Feature Writer, Montreal Gazette

     

  43. StillattheMapes says:

    Breezer made at least two major mistakes — that I could see in 10 minutes — and they were covered up (he is so very weak on the stick, nothing on the body at all) and then he made one great pass which was imaginative. So, I just flush him…….. and no incentives.

    Yup, I am harsh. But that is what I do. End. Right now.

  44. BIG-D says:

    I’m not a Toronto Fan.

    I’m just giving my 2 cents on what I saw tonight.

    No need to get like that.

  45. BIG-D says:

    It was a bad bouce.

    BUT

    Goalies, always keep your stick on the ice……..

  46. twocents says:

    Bummer!

    I thought Markov was our best skater by a bit, he played a very strong game. He looks like he is winding up for the type of year I am hoping for from him. He seems to be adjusting to the trigger role very nicely on the PP. Our best forward was Sergei, good to see him come out of the blocks so well, a very complete player. Lang looked good too and Hamrlik was solid all night. Koivu and Tanguay looked rusty and out of sync but there is something there that might really blossom. Koivu got better as the night went on.
    It’s so frustrating that Brisebois looks so underwhelming in the defensive zone and looks savvy in the offensive end, sometimes on the same shift?

  47. Bugs says:

    If Tanguay DOES score 15 goals, do you promise to go back to Toronto, to your brethren of talent evaluaters over there?
    Cuz…Ouch.
    I’m NOT gonna mark those words, ok BigD? Is that cool? You forgive me if I don’t?
    Peace Out.
    ______________________________________________________
    Lord Bugs Potter, esq. Earl of Fluppitburg, Baron of Flopshlupshire and Knight of the Flannel Republic.

  48. StillattheMapes says:

    Ok, a point (good), and not a really great game. Now I will be in TO for a meal with my family, thankfully, mostly former West-Islanders. This also has more serious scope and scale. Look, there are several bets, and, well, just do not lose…………

  49. BIG-D says:

    It goes to show how a bad goal decides a game. Price, I love U but that goal between the legs was weak, very weak.

    Koivu needs a piece of plywood to control the puck……

    I hope this is not a sign of things to come….

    Mark my words, Tanguay will not score 15 goals this year….

  50. habsfor25 says:

    begin and lats were both useless and breezer can join that lsit to … Overall great game both goalies played solid.. Carey looked great out there too bad we couldn’t finish it in the shootout


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