Game 14: Oilers too slick for Canadiens

Khabibulin

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• At a Glance: The Canadiens hit a wall on Tuesday night, one that goes by the name of Nikolai Khabibulin as the Edmonton Oilers pulled out a 3-1 win at the Bell Centre.

Ryan Jones scored the game’s first goal 4:38 into the second period to give Edmonton the lead when he deked Carey Price and slid the puck between the goaltender’s pads.

Tom Gilbert made it 2-0 Edmonton with less than four minutes to play in the third period when his shot changed directions on the way in from the point and eluded Price.

But only 22 seconds later, Max Pacioretty narrowed the gap to one goal with his sixth goal of the season, with assists from Tomas Plekanec and P.K. Subban.

Veteran Ryan Smyth scored into an empty net to seal the win.

Khabibulin made 28 stops and got a little help from the posts on more than one occasion on this night. The Oilers had only 13 shots on Price, but were able to beat him twice.

• Keys moments: The Canadiens went 0-for-6 with the man advantage.

• What It Means: Montreal has lost its last two games, and falls to 5-7-2 on the season.

• What’s Next: The Canadiens head west to take on the Coyotes in Phoenix on Thursday and play in Nashville against the Predators on Saturday night

114 Comments

  1. Un Canadien errant says:

    On the subject of tanking, let’s take for granted that it is not reasonable for the Canadiens to endure a prolonged streak of being in the cellar. It is not acceptable in this market and with the history of this franchise. The best/worst-case-scenario is the Canadiens hovering in 9th or 10th place at the deadline and suffering a significant injury (read: Price, Carey), when the management team might go scorched earth and fire-sale all the marketable veterans for future assets.

    HardHabits did hit on some good points in his recipe to build a winning franchise though. I’ve been thinking along these same lines for a while. In a salary cap league, what areas can the Canadiens outperform the Avalanche or Predators in. If we can’t use our resources on salaries, and have to let a Sheldon Souray or Mark Streit walk away periodically, where else can we spend that money?

    Important pieces are already in place, with facilities (New Forum and practice facility) that the players rave about, and play in our favour when free agents need to make a decision. The fanbase is another asset that mostly plays in our favour again, Daniel Brière excepted.

    Other areas I would like the Canadiens to invest in.

    1) Analytics: If this isn’t already being done, it should be. Like shown in Moneyball, there are market inefficiencies that should be exploited. Mr. Gauthier admitted at the last Draft that once you get to the third round, you’re picking through players that other teams didn’t want. Let’s figure out which players historically have the highest chance of being an important contributor (US College, Europe, early or late birthdays, freakishly big (Byfuglien) or small (St-Louis), injured during draft year, etc.)

    2) Scouting. It boggles my mind that very recently, or maybe even currently, the Canadiens don’t have a dedicated Quebec scout. They should have ten. They should know each prospect, draft eligible or not, underager or overager in the University league, by heart. They should have ten in Europe. Think how cheap a scout is, maybe $200 000 all in with travel expenses, when it can mean the difference in finding a Zetterberg or Datsyuk or Andrei Markov or Dustin Byfuglien. We should outspend all other teams in the league when it comes to scouting. Mr. Molson, I promise we will drink nothing but Molson if you do so.

    3) Coaching: The Canadiens should have the best and brightest coaches all the time. That’s what US Colleges do for football, since they can’t (openly) spend on players. Each team (here and Hamilton) should be replete with coaches with specific areas of responsibility (forwards, defence, special teams, video, advance scouting, strength and conditioning, …) so that players have all the support they will ever need, on-ice or in the gym or the video room or to help with their mental preparation.

    4) Pro Personnel staff: I was surprised to hear from Ryan McDonough recently when he was asked about the trade to New York that he hadn’t really heard from the Canadiens in a long while, and was about to head to the development camp and was looking forward to it in part so he’d be in contact with his future bosses. I don’t know how NHL organizations work, but in general that is a horrible thing to hear from one of your prospects. We should have people dedicated to staying in touch with our draftees, giving them any kind of support they need. The strength and conditioning coaches should have one or two people assigned to these guys and make regular contact with them, by phone or occasionally, regularly, in person. There are players out there who are ‘can’t miss’ or who have the drive and support with their home team (Brendan Gallagher) that won’t need this, but I believe most kids would benefit from this close attention. Mr. McDonough would have.

    5) Wives: If we want our players to be happy in Montreal and to want to remain here, an important part of that equation would be to make sure the player wives are not isolated and homesick and frustrated. Again, I’m not sure how NHL organizations work in this regard, and it is probably the most delicate item on my list, but every effort should be made to welcome and acclimate families when they get here, and lots of support should be provided, whether with language or educational issues or simply opportunities to integrate in the Montreal community.

    Roberto Luongo hasn’t had an easy time in Vancouver, and part of it has been his wife being homesick and missing her family in Florida. She spent a season or two back there while Roberto was playing for the Canucks, and that may have affected him and may also have affected management in overspending to ensure he stays despite these issues. If the Luongo family was happier to be in Vancouver, the situation right now might be quite different.

    ———————————
    How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  2. The Dude says:

    Wow ,just finished a 4 game winning streak and now we’re 27th….OUCH! Gauthier,Gainey,Timmons and Chocula are the Bomb,lol

  3. ed lopaz says:

    we could have tanked for 20 years straight, and still not ended up

    DRAFTING!!

    Price, Subban, and Max Pac.

    I take those 3 over any combination of 3 oilers, hands down, every time.

    Its not even close.

  4. twocents says:

    I am surprised that no one is speculating on player moves with AK leaving practice.

    I wouldn’t want to see him go, I think he’s an excellent component to this team.

    But, the return could change my mind.

  5. Mattyleg says:

    How long do you think people will be surprised?
    Can surprise last for months?
    Is this just a way for journalists to justify their lack of foresight and team interpretation?
    “I predicted they would finish last! They are truly a surprising team!”
    I bet there are people who aren’t surprised.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  6. jimmy shaker says:

    Hey crosseyed: obviously you can only reply to a thread so many times, hence my reply on a different rant that was in the same body of the whole topic…….and wait for it “They aren’t playing all that much” first off, please, use proper grammer. Second, I’m pretty sure Budaj is part of the team, that, “aren’t playing all that much” I see logic is something that isn’t your strong suit! Bottom line is there will always be a reason that carey should play over peter for everyone on here, and the end result will be another early round exit or not even a spot in the dance as a result of Carey’s workload and Peter’s lack of!

    Shaker

  7. Ghosts of the Forum says:

    Should be a good game! Not sure of putting Weber on the fourth line, he’s never been effective there. Couldn’t we have called someone up yesterday? Seemed like everyone knew AK was pretty doubtful then.

    Anyway, think it’s time for PK to turn things around. Play with smart swagger. And shut up between the whistles for Gawd’s sake!!!

  8. HabFanSince72 says:

    Not all contenders were built via tanking.

    Boston’s only top draft pick of significance leading up to the cup was Kessel (5th) who they traded essentially for Seguin, who was a non-factor last year. (They also drafted Joe Thornton 1st way back but the players the got for him were also lost in the mist.)

    Philly had one top draft pick recently (Van Riemsdyk), but most of their team has been built through clever scouting (think of Carter, Richards and Giroux), trades, and free agent signings.

    Similarly, San Jose and Detroit are contenders that have not really tanked (Sharks did have a number 2 pick in 1997).

    • Jordio-oh says:

      True, its just very convenient for some of the commentariat to use the successful examples to push their agenda while also (and very conveniently) ignoring the unsuccessful examples.

      The point is: yes, the higher the draft pick, the better chance of getting the best player possible.

      BUT, is it worth sucking hard for 5 years for the CHANCE of trying to get the best player, especially due to how many people complain that we are terrible at drafting and also keeping in consideration other teams have won cups without having to take this road.

      The have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too mentality of the 45+ fan base who got to witness a team dominate the cup 4 years in a row when the league was completely different than it is now is interesting to watch from the standpoint of a younger fan whose most distinct memories are from the dark ages of the late 90’s and early 00’s.

      • Thomas Le Fan says:

        Huh? As far as I can see, it is the younger folks who don’t know what they are talking about. About pretty much any subject you can bring up, as a matter of fact. Where is the tongue out emoticon when you need it? ;)

        • Jordio-oh says:

          Haha, I’m not that young and I’m certainly not an ageist. I’m merely pointing out that in this instance, its just a matter of the era the poster grew up in can have a determining fact on their expectations in the context of other posters.

          I want a cup as much as the next person, but my generation was defined by the Savage, Petrov, Rucinsky, Turgeon, Recchi, Damphousse years and not the Lafleur, Shutt, Cournoyer, Mahavolich, Lemaire years.

          As such, my expectations may have a tendency to be curbed a little more.

          • HabFanSince72 says:

            I’m the only one here who has a clue.

          • Mattyleg says:

            What about us Naslund, Roy, Corson, Courtnall guys?
            What about us?!
            CLASSIFY ME!!!!
            (grips arms of chair, white-knuckled, and rocks back and forth)

            —Hope Springs Eternal—

          • Un Canadien errant says:

            When you put it that way, I feel sorry for your generation. Oleg Petrov, ugghh.

            As much of a hockey and Canadiens fan that I am, I have to admit that, coincidentally, those were the years where career and recreational endeavours, along with not having a TV for a while, I didn’t pay much attention to the NHL. The 1995 to 2005 years are a bit of a lost decade for me, I was too busy snowboarding. Another coincidence, those were kind of the Houle-Tremblay years.

            ———————————
            How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

            http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

      • Bripro says:

        Eh? Whadja say, sonny?

    • twocents says:

      Neither were the Ducks, Devils or Stars.

      And on the subject of bad asset management, how about the ‘Canes trading Jack Johnson and Oleg Tverdovsky for Eric Belanger and Tim Gleason. Huh?

    • Gerry H says:

      ‘xactly. When was the last time Detroit got a top 10 pick? Yet they’ve been consistently competitive for almost two decades.

      • mrhabby says:

        great coaching, superior GM.

        • Gerry H says:

          Absolutely. The idea that high draft picks are the way to build a contender just makes no sense. You aren’t going to win a championship with one top pick. If you are going to build a team based on a handful of star players, you need at least 3 or 4, along with a strong supporting cast. How many bottom-five finishes are you willing to subject the fan base to? How many BB’s are there, willing to trade away their potential top-three picks?

          Yes, Pittsburgh both sucked spectacularly AND got lucky when guys like Crosby and Malkin showed up when they had the top picks. Yes, Chicago sucked for a VERY long time before they got decent management just at the right time. But teams like Detroit, Boston and New Jersey have found other ways of winning and being competitive.

          I’m glad this franchise is too proud to even consider the “necessity” of top-three picks in building a winner.

      • G-Man says:

        Detroit has been a great team for almost 20 years, but their fortune is fading. Datsyuk and Zetterberg have an aging cast for support and Jimmy Howard seems unready for prime time. We will see how well they fare over the next couple seasons, but they may have fallen to the top of the “middle of the pack” teams, where recovery is always only a player or two away.

        _____________________________________________________

        When in doubt, blame PP.

  9. kempie says:

    Poll question should be “which Canadian NHL team pisses you off the least?”

    • HabFanSince72 says:

      Habs.

    • shiram says:

      I really do not care about any other team, I mean I’m interested in the players, and want to know about the Habs, but it takes so much time to get to know a team well, and after the Habs, I don,t have time to spend on another NHL team.

      Moen for powerforward 2011/12!!

      • Ghosts of the Forum says:

        After the Habs, I don’t have time to spend on a lot of things external to hockey…

        • slychard says:

          None of the above.

          +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

          The HABelicious HABe (pr. babe) leaned forward and told the bruins fan; “Kiss my HABS!” He took one look at her displayed HABS and realized her HABS were indeed quite kissable, as opposed to his Big Bud ugly Bruinettes with their hair teased sky-high and excessive make-up. A tear ran down his cheek knowing her suggestion was a tease so he did what any red blooded man could do, he converted to HABSnation. All is well.

  10. twocents says:

    Hmmm… lead by Sam Gagne?
    Interesting.

    As in leading in career minus?

  11. Sportfan says:

    I hope its a great game tonight but of course our habs winning :)
    I get to go tonight im so excited its hard to concentrate in class haha its th 3rd time in 4 years ive seen th Oilers lol the year i didnt go was last year when they lost.

  12. Sportfan says:

    Im tired of people acting so suprised by the play of Khabibulin it’s his contract year he did the same thing in Chicago in his last year im not suprised at all.

  13. Chuck says:

    Tonight has the potential to be the most entertaining game of the season.

    • Tony McLean says:

      So far. That wouldn’t be difficult.
      ———————————————————–
      If it wasn’t for St. Patrick the Canadiens would be Leafs East.

    • kempie says:

      If I remember right it was around this time last year that these two teams met. I seem to remember a pretty exciting game with a 2 or more goal lead resulting in an epic collapse and Subban sliding out of position on his belly with the extra skater on. If I’m remembering correctly, PK was a healthy scratch for the next three games which were all wins. I think these three games were the last for a long while. Could have been just before the annual Disney On Ice never ending road trip. Could have all been a dream though.

    • JD_ says:

      Yup.

      Kinda game that makes one venture onto craigslist last Thursday night to shake the bushes.

      And…whaddayaknow…

  14. Hammer says:

    Tonite the Oilers will show what finishing last means in the NHL. They have three of the best young forwards in the game via the draft, and remind me very much of the Penguins a few years ago. Now if they can only get a younger future star goalie, they will be dominant or top tier for another dozen years. The Habs are proving year after year what happens to a middle pack team who drafts late ( with the exception of Price). The Habs are destined to battle for 8th place again. Now I am not saying they should tank, but can you really see the Habs winning a cup with this bunch?

    • Sakukoivumc11 says:

      I think the Habs with a healthy Markov a trade for another D-man and one top 6 forward can easily make a run for the Cup this year and for many more ! If, and a big if at that, we can unload Gomez, we would have the cash to get what is needed to make a serious run for the Cup !

      paolo merenda

    • mrhabby says:

      habs are not that far..they need a healthy markov and a few more pieces so its very possible they could make a drive. sure the oilers have some up and coming stars. i would rather play for NOW instead of going through the growing pain thing.

  15. Ian Cobb says:

    We will know after tonight, if it is the refereeing, discipline, coaching or our players ability to finish.!

    No more excuses please!

  16. HabFanSince72 says:

    The Oilers draft positions since the lockout: 1, 1, 22, 10, 6

    It’s not surprising they are getting better.

    • Ian Cobb says:

      Thanks for the help the other day with translation Paul!

    • Jordio-oh says:

      Since the 2000 draft, Columbus has drafted: 4, 8, 1, 4, 8, 6, 6, 7, 6, 21, 4, 37

      I’m not using them as the perfect example of how drafting high every year doesn’t always work. If anything its surprising they haven’t been able to pull themselves out of the gutter.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        And that is why Doug Maclean is now in radio, the current Columbus GM will be following him soon.

        • Jordio-oh says:

          Speaking of Doug MacLean, here’s a beauty for you:

          Before the 2000 NHL expansion draft, Dean Lombardi (then GM of the Sharks) traded Columbus Jan Caloun, a 9th round pick in the NHL draft and a conditional pick in 2001 just so the Blue Jackets wouldn’t select Evgeni Nabokov (who was unprotected in the expansion draft).

          MacLean takes a player who had no indications of doing anything in the NHL (drafted in 1992 and only played 2 nhl games to that point), a 9th round draft pick and future considerations for a goaltender who immediately went on to win the Calder trophy the next season.

      • Tony McLean says:

        Worked for Quebec/Colorado and most others. All you need is an average or better GM. What have the BJs got/had?

        ——————————–
        Rebuilding since 1979.

      • kempie says:

        Wow. When you see it all itemized like that, that team should have had at least a few good years by now. Doug Maclean must be worse than he appears. And he looks pretty bad.

  17. petefleet says:

    You know the stat that bothers me the most of all stats? The one that tells how a team has done against another team if it’s from more than 1 year ago. And even then it’s useless. If there is anything that changes in hockey more than a teams personel and personality, I don’t know what it is. The Habs vs Oilers is new this year. Stats from before are useless and ridiculous.
    Glad I got that off my chest.
    Go Habs Go.
    ******************************************
    Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

    ***Habs Forever***

    • Blouin says:

      Couldn’t agree more. My favorite is the 343–259–103 record the Habs hold over Boston. Of course, that means we should beat them every time since we have the edge in the series. The title of the previous post should tell people everything they need to know about year-over-year comparisons.

    • Jordio-oh says:

      It’s definitely worthless in terms of using it as a gauge for how well they match up currently. However, I still always enjoy seeing the all time records of teams. It’s not very meaningful, outside of just satisfying my curiosity without having to look up the number myself.

    • Tony McLean says:

      Yeah Brunes are last but would the avg team beat them today?

      ——————————–
      Rebuilding since 1979.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Sometimes it paints a picture as to historic rivalries, and it is sometimes useful to gauge how certain teams do against each other in a short span, kind of like when we compare the Canadiens to the Bruins since the July 2009 Reboot. While the teams may have changed, it may tell you about how they are doing psychologically when they face each other.

      I’ve been on teams where we knew we were better than a regular opponent, but it took us a few wins to really believe it, until then we were more timid or nervous than we should have been, because we were facing an old nemesis.

      ———————————
      How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

      http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  18. shiram says:

    AK doubtful for tonight, Gomez not playing, and Price is in nets.

    Moen for powerforward 2011/12!!

  19. shiram says:

    Kostitsyn – undisclosed – left practice with a nagging injury, may miss Nov. 8’s game vs. Oilers
    Apparently he has been hurt for a while, and it got worst recently.

    Moen for powerforward 2011/12!!

  20. DearyLeary says:

    He’s been playing well with Eller. It makes other teams’ jobs easier.

    With Khabibulin having a renaissance year and goals already pretty tough to come by, I’d say it’s a tough loss.

  21. shiram says:

    Not a sure thing though, check out Jordio-OH’s post about Columbus.

    Moen for powerforward 2011/12!!

  22. Polar Bear says:

    no that’s what finishing last does for a team!
    if we could tolerate habs finishing last for a few years we could be in the same boat. i suggest none of us can tolerate that so we need free agency to fill out our roster.

  23. Jordio-oh says:

    Since 2001, Florida has had 31 selections in the top 2 rounds.

    31 cracks at top 60 players in ten years. Now, to be fair, about a half dozen of those are from 2010, 2011, but much of the Oilers current fire power is also from those drafts.

    Florida hasn’t made the playoffs since 1995-96. Sometimes the draft picks aren’t everything. Said picks include 8 top 10 picks.

    8!!!

  24. Lafrich says:

    “That’s what building through the draft does for a team.”

    You do realize that in addition to the Oilers being dead last in the entire NHL 2 years in a row, the three prior years they were 22nd, 21st, 26th.

    You get pretty-good draft picks when you stink for a long time. Pretty pretty pretty pretty-good.

  25. shiram says:

    So, it’s still not a sure thing.
    Also, Habs have Price, selected 5th overall.

    Edit : I was not suggesting anything, just stating that drafting in the top picks does not directly equate to a Cup contender.

    Moen for powerforward 2011/12!!

  26. HabFanSince72 says:

    It’s a bit like Formula One. If you have a slow car (poor draft) you will never win. If you have a fast car and a bad driver (incompetent GM) you also won’t win.

  27. shiram says:

    HH changed his text after or during my reply… He said 9 out of the 10 last Cup winning teams had at least one player they had drafted within the top 5 of the first round of the draft.
    My only point is that top picks does not directly equal a Cup contender, Columbus is proof of that.

    Moen for powerforward 2011/12!!

  28. HabFanSince72 says:

    Clearly not.

    However, you need the picks, the money to build a team around them, a bit of luck, and good management. Point is that the main factor in Chicago and Pittsburgh’s cups was their high draft picks.

  29. mrhabby says:

    and you could tolerate quite a few years of non playoff action….ya right.

  30. HabFanSince72 says:

    Boston, 2011.

  31. Jordio-oh says:

    2007 Ducks.

    Only one of their top 7 leading scorers in the regular season was drafted by the team (Ryan Getazlaf).

    Only two of their top 10 scorers in the playoffs were drafted by the team (Perry and Getzlaf).

    Granted, Getzlaf was the leading scorer, but the MVP of the playoffs (giguere) was not drafted by the Ducks.

    I’d definitely argue that the trades and free agent signings of the Ducks far far outweighed the contributions of two draft picks.

  32. Un Canadien errant says:

    Perpetual ineptitude. Nice choice of words.

    ———————————
    How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  33. avatar_58 says:

    No one can, just look at the losing streak. Not many were excited to finish last, which you must do repeatedly to gain anything btw. One single first round pick will not make the habs a cup contender, you need quite a few like Edmonton.

  34. HabFanSince72 says:

    Every team has draft picks. You are suggesting that a team needs to tank in order to get lots of top picks.

  35. Jordio-oh says:

    @HH, I can be convinced they wouldn’t have done it with those two players, but they weren’t the engine that was driving the ship. It was the sub 2.00 gaa of their goaltender.

  36. DearyLeary says:

    Yeah, but how are we going to acquire not one, but two perennial Norris Trophy candidates (Pronger and Niedermayer was a stupid wealth of defencemen).


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