Game 19: Habs offence explodes against Bruins

Bruins’ Andrew Alberts (41) and Dennis Wideman slam Habs captain Saku Koivu during first period last night at Bell Centre.
John Kenney, The Gazette

Updated by Kevin Mio

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The Canadiens and Bruins traded goals early in the game last night until the Habs scored three straight late in the second and early in the third period to take a 6-3 lead midway through the third before finally winning 7-4. Montreal pelted Tim Thomas with more than 50 shots and got goals from seven different players including Saku Koivu, Alex Kovalev – his 100th career power-play goal – and Andrei Kostitsyn.

The game turned chippy in the third period with several fights and a heated exchange between the coaches at the benches. Zdeno Chara was ejected for the game after elbowing Kovalev in the third period and instigating a fight with Guillaume Latendresse, who tried to come to Kovalev’s defence.

Rookie Carey Price was in the Montreal nets, but didn’t have his best performance, allowing four goals on 36 shots. Thomas allowed seven goals on 52 shots.

Montreal also got goals from Latendresse, Tom Kostopoulos, Roman Hamrlik and Mike Komisarek.


A selection of pre-game facts and figures, culled from the Canadiens media notes:



  1. Naila Jinnah says:

    I definitely like the “new” comments thing. It makes it much easier to keep track on the live blog.

    Now if only everyone would learn to use the “reply” button.

  2. habitual says:

    Yeats, the problem with riding Price when he is hot is that it cools of Huet. That effectively takes Huet off the radar screen. We need to trade Huet because (1) Price is the real deal and can handle being the starter (2) Huet will not resign to be Price’s backup (3)therefore it therefore makes no sense to hold onto Huet for any longer than we have to. We have Halak and Danis, both capable of being at least our back up goalie.

  3. The Teacher says:

    Tonight’s game should show us a lot about the makeup of the Habs this year. If they come out like they did last night and a lot of nights last year, then I think a roster shakeup MIGHT be coming. The Canadiens DO have a spot open on the 23 man roster since Garth Murray was lost to waivers. I don’t think anyone was called up at that time was there?

    I think O’Byrne is destined to stay in Hamilton for the majority of the year, possibly being called up at/around the trading deadline. We have an excess of defencemen as it is.

    I am a bit confused about Lappy, At first I thought he might have gotten a big head and they sent him down to teach him a lesson. Granted, he is a 3rd or 4th liner, and we seem to have enough at those spots right now so it could be just a matter of waiting for an injury.

    I am confident the Canadiens will come out hard tonight. Maybe it’s foolish hope, but I have faith that they are building from last year.

    Go Habs Go

  4. Yeats says:

    They’re certainly not pretty to watch, but those Espo/Tim Kerr type goals often are the margin between winning and losing. We could use a fraction of the leafs’ size up front.

  5. HabsInsideOut says:

    JF: With threaded commenting, in which you can reply to comments at any spot in the thread, the numbering system would become quite complicated — this comment might be number 43.1, for example, and a reply to my reply would become 43.1.1, etc. More importantly, numbering comments works only until spam or inappropriate comments are deleted, at which point the numbering changes, making all references to previous comments (by number) inaccurate.

    We’ve implemented a feature that identifies NEW comments and we’re looking at other ways to make commenting easier and more intuitive.

    Can you provide some more info about the other issue you mentioned, with the comment being blocked by the form? Please tell us which browser and version you’re using, as well as Mac/PC… the more details, the better.

  6. JF says:

    Dave Stubbs

    I would really like to see the comments numbered. It makes it easier to refer to them and also to scroll down to where you left off reading two hours ago. Also, why is the space for writing a comment right in the middle instead of at the end? As it is, it blots out the comment it is on top of. At the moment, only the end of the comment by “habsfan reduxit” is readable. I don’t mind having pictures and such, but what was wrong with the format of comments on the old site?

  7. showey47 says:

    I wonder what would of happened if kovy had scored on the good chance he had right after ryders goal, but miller did make an awesome pad save. It very well could of at least salvaged a point for us. I also agree with price getting the start against the sens if he wins tonight, we can’t afford to give away points anymore so if price is gonna be the hot hand and if the team plays well in front of him well then we should stick with price, except for the case of back to back games.

    Yes we do have too many perimeter players, players who won’t crash to score ugly goals.

  8. Sulemaan says:

    I’m going to the game tonight and I just can’t wait. Look forward to it.

  9. Da Hema says:

    Hi Earl…long time no dialogue!

    I agree that if the Habs can get another scorer, then go get him. The question is from where? The Habs’s organizational strength is in net, but how many teams will part with a top forward for Huet or Halak? Huet is an unrestricted free agent, so Gainey’s bargaining strength is greatly diminished, and Halak is still unproven. Moreover, most teams in the NHL have at least one good goalie.

    What I see here is that the Habs might be able to get an upcoming UFA, but I do not know who is in this position right now. So the Habs might need to sacrifice a draft pick or picks to secure an UFA–assuming there is a consistent scoring forward in this position–but then risk losing him next summer.

    You are quite right that Gainey will need to pull a rabbit out of his hat on this one.
    “All hockey players are bilingual. They know English and profanity.”
    –Gordie Howe

    “You wouldn’t have won if we’d beaten you.”
    –Yogi Berra

  10. Mr.Hazard says:


    Ex nihilo nihil fit

  11. Chorske says:

    Agreed, it just reinforces my notion that Carbo was trying to punish Ryder, rather than help him.

  12. earl says:

    Perhaps you’re right, but I agree with Mcguire on this one. Montreal needs a scorer to get on the map as a team that’s consistently tough to play against.

    Montreal works too hard for their goals and that’s a problem. Right now the key to beating them is staying out of the penalty box because quite frankly there isn’t a team in the league that fears going head to head with the Habs in a largely 5-on-5 game.

    Scoring doesn’t grow on trees, this is Gainey’s largest test as a GM. But if they don’t generate more they’re destined for the same fate as 06/07.

  13. jamesb33 says:

    Hope Price will lead again tonight with his character and patience; not that Huet doesn’t…it’s just different.

    When is Koivu going to get some G’s???


  14. Yeats says:

    Well, even after last night’s failure to show up we are still fourth in the Eastern Conference and tied for fifth in the League. Heck, as bad as we were last night, had Huet not given up that last one, we might have turned it around. After Ryder scored, it seemed that the team regained some zip in it’s stride only to see it eavporate when the Sabres regained the three-goal lead.

    I am in JT’s camp that if Price wins tonight, he gets the start against the Sens. With the exception possibly of back-to-back games, I am not a fan of rotating goaltenders. Goalies tend to get in a groove and the constant swapping fails to take advantage of that. If Marty Brodeur wanted to play all 82 games, I think the Devils would let him. Also, with the swapping, you are never quite sure which kicker will show up, i.e. All-Star Huet, or Mr. Softy. The “play until you suck” rule is a good one. Everyone knows the consequences in advance, the goalies, the fans and the press. No controversy here, you suck, you sit. And, as coach, your job at the end of the day is to win hockey games, not nursemaid the egos of professional athletes. Carbo gets religion on Abby one game sooner last year and we’re in the playoffs.

    As far as the offense is concerned, I just keep scratching my head. All of us who have every played the game at any level know that scoring is fun. Our guys had to have hands at some time in their careers, or they would never have made it to the show. The one thing that I did notice last night was that we spent too much time on the perimeter in the offensive zone. If it’s not going in for you on a regular basis, keep it simple. Shoot and crash the net. I do think we could use some size up front. The leafs can’t keep the puck out of their own net, but crap can they score. Could you image if they had our D and goalies? That’s right #12 would be on the way.

    Well, I’m a healthy scratch this evening. It’s “Culture Night,” dinner and jazz at Lincoln Center. If the boys don’t show up tonight, at least I have a Sens/leafs game that could partially salvage my hockey evening.

  15. Da Hema says:

    Last night Pierre Macguire noted the Habs need another scorer. So do 29 other teams Pierre. The Habs once again slept for the first 15 minutes against Buffalo, but this time the goalies could not hold the fort. They were outworked and out-hustled, not “out-talented.” Putting Koivu and Kovalev together makes the most sense form a personnel perspective, but it would certainly seem there are some other reasons why these two do not play on the same line.

    The Habs take too many shots from the face-off circles and boards. In this day and age, goalies are not going to let in goals from where the Habs typically shoot. Other teams that score more goals go to the net hard. I really cannot understand why the Habs do not go to the net, especially in the “new NHL.” Defencemen cannot even breathe on forwards now, so any pussy can park in front of the net without any fear. I am mystified when I see Koivu, Higgins, and Ryder cycling the puck around the boards. Ryder must be the least adept player at this style of play. Go to the net!

    “All hockey players are bilingual. They know English and profanity.”
    –Gordie Howe

    “You wouldn’t have won if we’d beaten you.”
    –Yogi Berra

  16. Chuck says:

    I’d almost put the faceoff problem ahead of the first line scoring woes as what needs to be immedately addressed. Quality shots and posession aren’t forthcoming in the offensive zone when you consistently lose faceoffs; cure the faceoff problem, and all of a sudden you end up with quality posession time and you get to set the tone and pace of the game, which in turn allows you to set up higher-quality shots and scoring chances.

    Exemplified by last night’s game, it’s awfully tough to come from behind when you’re constantly giving the puck away with lousy faceoffs. Only when they started to win a few in the latter half of the third period did they really start to show any offensive threat and consistent puck posession in the Buffalo zone.

    “Vote Saku for All-Star… or little Timmy gets it!!!”

  17. Proudones says:

    That’s the most rational comment I have read in here since last night’s game.
    Ryder finally got a goal because the pressure was off him. The last thing the coach should have done is move him back to the first line right away.

  18. Hoegarden says:

    Brisebois out , Gorges in for tonight’s game. Carbo also mentions that he’ll be doing more line juggling. We may see Kovalev and Koivu together. Pleks had a terrible game winning on 17% of his faceoffs.
    Strum and Savard are on a tear lately…keep them in check or else.

  19. earl says:

    How do you wish people to respond to this?

    Do you want Gainey to turn water into wine? An experienced goaltender was just placed on waivers because he was deemed untradeable.

    Yet, Gainey’s lack of an outgoing trade of a less valuable commodity would be thumb twiddling.

    Reality is not meeting fan expectation here.

  20. Habsfan39 says:

    Halak’s value has dropped quite a bit as he has had a rough start to the AHL season, making him tougher to move. Halak also denied that he was threatening to bolt to the Russian leagues. His status I guess is a bit up in the air.


  21. Habsfan39 says:

    Also, you cant pin Price’s success on luck, and not Huet’s, if that is your stance.


  22. Habsfan39 says:

    What Im saying is we need a scorer, I said it is too early to make a move, but it would be ideal to trade huet for a scorer because we have price as the franchise goalie of the future.

    No, I am not blind. Carey Price is HANDS DOWN the better puckhandler.

    I agree that Huet has stole a couple games but that’s beside the point. I do see him as being over-valued right now. Thats my opinion. He is not the only reason they have the points they have.


  23. Hoegarden says:

    Just checked Kostopoulos stats in the NHL;

    His best year….. 9 goals in 60 games or 24 goals in 3 years.

    2003-04 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 60 9 13 22 67 — — — — —
    2004-05 Manchester Monarchs AHL 64 25 46 71 99 6 0 7 7 10
    2005-06 Los Angeles Kings NHL 76 8 14 22 100 — — — — —
    2006-07 Los Angeles Kings NHL 76 7 15 22 73 — — — — —
    NHL Totals 231 25 45 70 249

    We need battleships with powerful guns on the first line, not Coast Guards vessels….

  24. Hoegarden says:

    Re last night; Sabres finally got some breaks, scored the first goal in some 15 games or so, and our Habs did not show up, probably expecting an easy win.
    One useless stat (Molson Cup) comes to mind. When one of our terrific duo in the nets is not selected in the 3 stars, we lose. This says a lot if you think about it; how strong are we really without these two ? The PKK line was definitely not firing on all cylinders and the Koivu line is also sputtering of late; not much to show in the last 4 games, Higgins has yet to pot one on the road. Another issue is the faceoffs. We lost in that department badly last night and had to chase the puck all night except for a few brief moments in the second.
    Hopefully this morning when the boys watch the review of the game, it will show that we simply cannot afford to pull a Sens’s “take it easy tonight” and expect to win. They stunk on Friday and still managed to beat those same Sabres.
    We’ll see tonight if they can bounce bounce back. With 6 games in 9 days with opponents in their division, may we say that this will be the real first big test of the year.

  25. showey47 says:

    Having t.k. on the first line just makes the line easier to defend against because now they have one less skilled player to worry about watching. It’ almost like playing short handed which may explain the -5 in the first period. I wonder what saku and higgy are thinking about when they are expected to produce points with t.k. as a winger.

  26. showey47 says:

    exactly, carbo’s line mixing is terrible. Carbo’s mixing of the top line messes up the other lines and hence the choas we saw in the first period last night. I was hoping we saw the end of that kind of bush league coaching last season when we saw the likes of streit and johnson playing with koivu. Leave the lines the way they are, ryder is the only one who will get himself out of his slump. The guy has scored 85 goals over the past 3 seasons on the top line, chemistry like that just doesn’t vanish forever. It will come back

  27. gmd says:

    I think Carbo should have kept Ryder on the third line after he scored and not put him back on the first. Ryder finally had success on the third line so keep him there for awhile.

  28. Chorske says:

    Ooh, Bryzgalov picked up by Phoenix.

    Interesting quote from the CBC:
    “Anaheim general manager Brian Burke tried to trade Bryzgalov but said he couldn’t find a suitable deal.”

    They had trouble trading a guy who had one of the most memorable shutout streaks in recent playoff history. We’ve been talking in other threads about a glut of goalies that are soon to be available as UFAs, and how that hurts our trade options. I guess we were right…

  29. Chorske says:

    well, the rap on the habs heading into the season was that they hadn’t really addressed many of the shortcomings that led to last year’s collapse. I still think it’s best to build from within, but one can’t help but wonder what Gainey makes of the current slow-down.

  30. earl says:

    The Habs have shown inferiority in the last 3 games. they have only scored more than 2 goals in 1 of their past 6 games.

    They need to show something new to prove that this isn’t the 2006/07 season all over.

    A shortage of scoring is obviously the main concern now, and methinks we’ll see some intense juggling and jiggling until something clicks. Until then, cross fingers.

    There is a premium paid on scoring these days and many of the struggling teams are in need of it. However Bob has to consider the fact that he may be seeing the problems of last year resurfacing, and start working the phone lines accordingly.

  31. linp says:

    Before last night’s game, our team has an identity. Two skill lines to score goal, one checking line to defend and one energy line to turn the flow of the game + good goalie. Each player knows his role. We were successful. Yesterday was a mess in the first period. As I say before, don’t dream for miracle by mixing players. A steady lineup will give us a better chance.

  32. ClaytonM says:

    So it’s your position that Huet can handle the puck better than Price?

  33. Chorske says:

    Kovalev: 1994 Rangers. Stanley Cup.

    EDIT: haha, this comment was in response to a troll. That comment was deleted, which made my reply a major non-sequitur.

    I’ll leave it in, to remind us that we have the seeds of greatness among us. Or something.

  34. Habsfan39 says:

    I agree to an extent. I think kovalev and ryder should stay put where they are now, and not have kovalev on the top line. When the 1st and 2nd line are actually working, the habs are a very tough team to beat because the 3rd and 4th are pretty good defensively minded. I agree that the lines need to be set though. They have a good record, why change things just for ryder? who knows… things arent going bad, the other lines have been getting things done. You dont see koivu and higgins scoring either, so why bump ryder around.

    Also, i too feel more comfortable with price in net, he just has the ability to slow the game down, control his rebounds, and play the puck… better than huet can.

    I wouldnt be heartbroken if they shipped out huet for somebody who has been known to put the puck in the net once in a while. Mainly tampa and pitts need a goalie so maybe there is something there… still to early to make a move but its frustrating to watch all these guys shoot wide all the time.


  35. nychabsfan says:

    Habsfan39-are you blind?I am very excited by Price as well but he is nooooo puckhandler,so many poss. disasters have been avoided by good luck,yjay is an area of his game that needs serious work,he will get it down but he is not as good as Huet in that area,Also,Huet has been outstanding so typical of a Montreal fan to be blind about that,he is the only reason that have the points they have.If you doubt that read Higgins comments after last nights game.Stop looking for a quick fix.The best solution would be they hold consistent and p/u a UFA goal scorer near the playoffs like they did w/ Kovalev years ago instead of giving away their top player…

  36. earl says:

    There is nothing but disappointment facing fans if/when Gainey deals with the Huet issue. Wailing will ensue after the trade deadline as it did for Souray, when Gainey made the conscious decision to head into a playoff race with his best roster and eschew the temptation of uncertain draft picks.

    I can’t think of a best case scenario here, but I think Huet’s value to this team is extremely undervalued and his value to other teams extremely overvalued. Makes for a mismatch between reality and fan expectation.

    One scenario never spoken about is trading Carey Price, growing in legend as possibly the best 2005 entry player not named Crosby, and what he would get you in a deal that bolsters the offense. People would rather wade into less controversial issues like religion or abortion before touching that one.

    I say that to consider all options you must consider that option as well.

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