Game 13: Higgy’s hat, Price’s shutout lift Habs

Christopher Higgins, he with the brightest grin, celebrates the second of his three goals, the first hat trick of his career, with Sergei Kostitsyn (left) and Ryan O’Byrne.
Shaun Best, Reuters

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Christopher Higgins figures there couldn’t have been a better time for his first National Hockey League hat trick.

“We probably played our worst game the other night and tonight we played our most complete game,” Higgins said Tuesday night after his three-goal performance led the Canadiens to a 4-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators.

Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau asked his players to go back to the basics after they lost 6-3 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night — a game which the coach described as the most embarrassing moment in his two-plus seasons behind the bench.

“It’s definitely the best 60 minutes we’ve played in the last two seasons,” Carbonneau said. “I’m sure after what we’ve been through the past few days, there was nervousness, but this is a team that has always responded well to adversity.”

The Canadiens took control of this game early. They tested Ottawa goaltender Alex Auld with five shots on a power play early in the first period and Higgins provided a taste of what was to come when he forced Auld to make a big save after the penalty expired.

Higgins, who dedicated the hat trick to his mother, said he had plenty of help from his teammates on the goals.

Saku Koivu sent Higgins into the clear with a backhanded lob pass over the Senators’ defence to create a short-handed breakaway at 7:22 of the first period. Sergei Kostitsyn alertly found Higgins at the side of the net seconds after the Canadiens finished killing a penalty at 14:11 of the second period. And Alex Tanguay sent Higgins into the clear for another breakaway at 16:35 of the third period.

Guillaume Latendresse scored the other Montreal goal.

“It was a good game for me because I’ve been trying to get myself going after missing a good part of training camp and the beginning of the season,” Higgins said. “This is my third game back with Saku and it’s starting to come around.”

When asked about his last hat trick, Higgins said he had to go back to his collegiate at Yale. He had one against Brown University, putting three shots behind former Canadiens teammate Yann Danis.

The win snapped a two-game losing streak and allowed the Canadiens (9-2-2) to leapfrog the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres into first place in the competitive Northeast Division. The Canadiens have a one-point edge, but also hold a game in hand on their rivals.

Carey Price rebounded from his performance Saturday night by stopping 28 shots for his first shutout of the season.

He had his best moments in the third period when he deflected a shot by Dany Heatley on a breakaway and later made a big save on a point-blank shot by Jason Spezza.

“I think I got my finger on that one,” Price said of the save on Heatley. “Outside of that, I didn’t have to do a lot.”

“I felt good for (Price), because I’ve been talking with him and know that he wasn’t happy with the way he as playing,” said defenceman Josh Gorges, who contributed two assists.

The Canadiens blocked 22 shots with Roman Hamrlik, who returned to the lineup after missing the Toronto game with a shoulder injury, getting in the way of a team-leading four.

Ryan O’Byrne, who has been in and out of the lineup because of inconsistent play, might have had his best game of the season. He had an assist, was plus-2 for the night and had six hits.

The Canadiens are off to Boston to play the Bruins Thursday night. They’ll return home to face the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday before embarking on a three-game road trip which will take them to St. Louis, Carolina and Ottawa.


  1. Number31 says:

    Hollweg should shut his trap. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black…

  2. ryantheduke says:

    he should definitely be suspended for that. i really hope they look at it.

  3. LatheDog says:

    Thanks buddy!

  4. Habhopeful says:


    “We get nose jobs all the time in the NHL, and we don’t even have to go to the hospital.”
    ~Brad Park.

  5. RiverviewCanadien says:

    I agree, now if that was not intent to injure, what is?

  6. RiverviewCanadien says:

    Fantastic Hockey by the Habs!!!

    Great job Higgins!!!

    Great job Carey!!!

    WOW…that is all

  7. HabsoluteFan says:

    what a digusting elbow on lapierre…If he stays down it’s a suspension, he gets up it’s a 2 minute minor, ridiculous. On another note, the habs played great tonight, kudos to higgins for the hattrick and Carey for the shutout !
    Bring on the Poos

  8. Habs2win says:

    good win for my habs, tho I thought we gave the sens too many scoring chances and spent too much time in our own zone, but nevertheless a good win. Higgins is our man! Ruutu is a cheap shot artist.

  9. 46_14_27 says:

    I can eat crow; it doesn’t taste good
    but I can eat it.

    46-14-27 Best Line In Hockey !!

    The Cup in 3 years or less !!

  10. travelsized says:

    I, too, love Higgins. 🙂 I have a t-shirt with his number!

  11. Mike from Ktown says:

    That is the 40 goal Higgy release I’ve been missing. Love the guy.

    Hope the habs keep this up for 60 min.

  12. travelsized says:

    HAHA! Way to slap ’em in the face boys, score shorthanded.

  13. boy from school says:

    i’m confused

  14. splurge says:

    i don’t even know what to say… lol

  15. Dintrox says:

    Go Habs Go … crush the senaturds

  16. Habhopeful says:

    Seriously? wow! thats a head scratcher, A knee slapper and a sad waste of space on this thread…

    “We get nose jobs all the time in the NHL, and we don’t even have to go to the hospital.”
    ~Brad Park.

  17. 46_14_27 says:

    Not as long as Price is in the net.

    46-14-27 Best Line In Hockey !!

    The Cup in 3 years or less !!

  18. travelsized says:

    And again, fantastic! Way to cut their morale, boys.

  19. travelsized says:

    hahaha, GO HABS GO!
    HIGGINS 21 FOREVER!!!!!!!!

  20. nightmare_49 says:

    The Empty Netters : This is the Best, Ryan Hollweg Says Kostopoulos Should Get 20 Games and more hockey bits .. by Seth Rorabaugh ….. ………………………… Where are You Now? Jeff Beukeboom, “Boooooook’ .. By Michael Obernauer ….. …………………. Last Night’s Puck Daddy’s NHL Three Stars : 1 – Jeff Drouin Deslauriers/Oilers 2 – Brent Johnson/Capitals 3 – Ales Hemsky/Oilers..

  21. jew4jah says:

    “NHL vice-president Colin Campbell said the injuries played a role in his decision”

    why do the injuries play a role? if van ryn was made of harder stuff, would the suspension be less? i’m not defending a hit from behind but campbell’s decision process is questionable.

    also, why a “repeat offender”? his last suspension was for a fight, not an illegal hit.

    this all blows.

  22. Sags says:

    You’re wasting Higgins alongside Lang. Lang is too sssllllooooowwwwwww. Shouldn’t be on this team. Demote S. and A. Kostitsyn to the fourth line with LaPierre and play Higgins with Koivu and Tanguay. Kovalev with Pleks and Latendresse. Begin, Laraque and Dandenault. We don’t lose with Dandenault in the lineup…

  23. Bill says:

    Your response just about covers it, well said. All of us supposedly biased Hab fans seem to agree that Kostopoulous, while not intending to cause injury, nevertheless deserved a suspension for his error; it would be nice to see similar objectivity from Leaf Nation, and especially from that hypocrite Wilson, who seems to have forgotten that Hollweg – a straight-up goon, unlike Tom K – plays for his team.

  24. Sneezer says:

    Hey folks… given that we seem to let a lot of goals in lately, and get outshot more than most of the better teams… does anyone want to weigh in on my sig?

    Why don’t we have a defensive coach? Insanity? Or arrogance?

  25. mrstewart61 says:

    Change of subject, here’s a recent article on Danny Kristo:
    If a man speaks in a forest where no woman can hear him, is he still wrong?

  26. LatheDog says:

    my crystal ball is telling me we will win 4-0…..

  27. fuhgawz says:

    WE WILL WIN TONIGHT! …. no eceptions no excuses ! I better see some heart and effort on the ice tonight for a full 60 min……not 20 not 40…. 60!!!! Carbo should have a taser gun and when someone comes off the ice for doing something stupid, lazy, or not in the teams best interest ZAP him …

  28. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    is it time to see LANG and KOVY together?

    how about AKOST-LANG-KOVY?

  29. Habhopeful says:

    Mike Brophy Blog Article…

    Leafs hit hard, warm-weathered Kevin Glenn, referee freeze-out, NHL bust and a Hall of Fame writer.

    They say what goes around will eventually come around, sooner or later. So maybe while Toronto defenceman Mike Van Ryn is rehabbing from that hit from behind that broke his nose, his finger, and left him with a concussion, he can hang with teammate Ryan Hollweg, who has perfected that hit.

    “It is time for the NHL to punish careless players as severely as the dangerous ones,” began an article in Monday’s Globe and Mail, in the wake of Tom Kostopoulos’ hit on Van Ryn. The author noted with great consternation that (gasp) Luke Schenn was nearly injured on a dangerous play later in the game.

    The inference gained, of course, is that it is one thing if the rest of the league is piling up injuries from dangerous hits. But now that the chickens have come home to roost in Toronto, well, should not the NHL head office act?

    Sure, the Leafs employed cheap-shot artist Darcy Tucker for eight seasons, and now have added a serial-offender in Hollweg. But when people start taking shots back at the Maple Leafs, you see headlines like the Globe’s: “Time to crack down on the careless.”

    Leafs Nation. It never ceases to amaze

    “We get nose jobs all the time in the NHL, and we don’t even have to go to the hospital.”
    ~Brad Park.

  30. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    removed….in light of recent events (toronto debacle)

  31. nightmare_49 says:

    The NHL Morning Papers (Tuesday Edition) : Granato Calls Out Arnason, Lupul on 4th line and Why is Kane growing a Beard .. by Richard Pollock ….. ……………………… Stats : Kings Stats Improving .. by E.J.Hracek ESPN ….. ………………….. Rangers Fashion Shoot .. NHL FanHouse ….. ….. Lest We Forget …

  32. Mike says:

    to change up the lines:

    the first 2 must play equal amounts:


  33. Bash says:

    Hey Carbo!

    Pleks – Kosti, Kosti

    Koivu – Tanguay, (Insert net crasher/banger here…anyone from Hamilton with something to prove… maybe even GL on offensive Zone faceoffs…maybe one LAST, and I do mean LAST, chance for Carbo’s Little Softie)

    Lang – Kovalev, Higgins

  34. twocents says:

    Hey, what happened to your signature?

  35. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    I can’t wait to find out the lineup tonight…that will tell the story.

  36. 24 Cups says:


    Going For The Brass Ring – 25 Cups In 100 Years

  37. krob1000 says:

    Sundin has sold his Toronto house…wonder where he is finally heading?

  38. JF says:

    I agree. Hits should be defined as legal or illegal and punished on that basis, without regard for consequences. Also, suspensions for fighting should not come into the same category as suspensions for hits, so Kostopoulos should not be classed as a repeat offender.

  39. HABZ24 says:

    carbo better stress more defence and disciplined play.clean body checks.after starting hot outa the blox i guess u get complacent and take things for granted.youve gotta work ur azz off every shift and stay outa the friggin penalty box. price needs help from his d to win. dandys in for t.k tonite.

  40. HABZ24 says:

    t.k got 3 games

  41. Dennis says:

    I’m in Las Vegas trying to win enough money to buy the Habs. Meanwhile, I haven’t heard if anything happened to Kostopoulos. And if they look bad tonight against Ottawa, I’m going to follow cricket instead.

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