Game 26: Canadiens Bonked, fall in shootout

Former Canadien Radek Bonk (helmeted, facing camera) celebrates his game-tying goal.
Phillip MacCallum, Getty Images

UPDATED at 9:15 am by Kevin Mio 

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Nothing is easy for the Canadiens. Like, a 3-0 lead.

Up by three on the Nashville Predators tonight with 7:34 left in regulation time, the Canadiens imploded, watching their visitors roar back and tie the game at 4-4 with 46.8 seconds to play on a goal by former Hab centreman Radek Bonk. According to Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau, his key players aren’t getting the job done far too often, The Gazette’s Pat Hickey writes.

A spirited overtime, featuring a brilliant glove save by Nashville goalie Dan Ellis on Alex Kovalev, and J.P. Dumont ringing one off Cristobal Huet’s post on the rush back up ice, failed to decide matters.

So it went to a shootout. Bonk, again, and Martin Erat scored for the Predators, only captain Saku Koivu for the Canadiens, giving Nashville an improbable, crowd-deflating 5-4 victory. And they were deserving winners, having outshot the Habs 44-26.

The Canadiens employed an unusual set of lines formulated by head coach Guy Carbonneau, who tersely disputed their "ranking" in his post-game press conference. Listen to that here.

Montreal got on the scoreboard at 9:02 of the first period, Christopher Higgins banging home the rebound of first-linemate Alex Kovalev for his 10th goal of the season.

Tomas Plekanec made it 2-0 at 13:39 on just their sixth shot, backhanding home a harmless-looking shot from close range for his eighth of the year. That was all Predators coach Barry Trotz needed to see, giving starting goalie Chris Mason the hook and sending in Ellis, who arrived with a 5-0-0 record and a .932 save percentage.

Ellis, who signed with Nashville as a free agent last summer, played 31 games with the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs in 2004-05, as property of the Dallas Stars.

Guillaume Latendresse put the Canadiens up by three at 9:30 of the second period, converting a nice pass from Kyle Chipchura on the backhand for his sixth of the season.

The Predators ended Cristobal Huet’s bid for a shutout at 8:40 of the third period, shorthanded, taking advantage of a bizarre bounce of the puck off the end boards. With Huet have strayed behind the goal to play
a shoot-in, the puck caromed crazily out front to Nashville’s Jed Ortmeyer, who slapped it home before Huet could get back into position.

Any momentum that might have given the Predators was quickly doused two minutes later by Latendresse, who rifled in his second of the night on a rebound off a shot by defenceman Roman Hamrlik. Chipchura had done industrious work to get the play started.

But the Predators got that one right back tat 12:26 o make it 4-2 and the comeback was in full flight, David Legwand being left to rap his own rebound past Huet at 12:56. And then Alexander Radulov closed the game to within one with a long wrist shot that eluded Huet at 16:55.

Bonk finally tied it in the final minute on the power play, Bryan Smolinski sent off for tripping at 18:10, sending the game into overtime.

The Canadiens’ life gets no easier. They return to action on home ice Tuesday night against the Detroit Red Wings.


Pre-game statistics:


  1. The Teacher says:

    Shame on you Windsor..
    huet saved our butts…

    I’m becoming Fed up with a lot of Habs fans..

    Criticizing is fine..criticize the right things..

    lack of a forecheck in 3rd period..

    no physicality offense..defence..anywehre…

    Get rid of Breezer…PLEASE!

  2. Ed says:

    Yes, you are definitely right. I should know better.

  3. lcpservices says:

    could huet be losing his touch?

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  4. lcpservices says:

    absolutely no excuse

    habs should of got 2 points on this one
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  5. A. Berke says:

    I guess you should have waited till the end before posting 😉

    Ali B.

  6. Higgins21 says:

    well, they were lucky to be ahead by 3 so I guess we have to be thankful for the point. As usual, Huet lets in the soft ones.

  7. lcpservices says:

    One word to describe this OT loss to Nashville…


    And I am not a individual who critizes. How do you lose a game to Nashville with a commanding 3-0 lead after 2 periods and a 4-1 lead with less than 10 minutes of play?

    Someone explain it to me.

    The Habs lost a golden opportunity to close in on Ottawa in the division standings

    I am lost for words at the moment.

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  8. A. Berke says:

    Well, ain’t that pretty?

    Managed to snatch the defeat from the jaws of victory (AGAIN).

    makes one very proud.

    whoever said in the preseason that the Habs will end up 13th, I’m beginning to think they may have been onto something.

    nuff said.

    PS: one consolation: our zamboni driver is better than the laffs’ one

    Ali B.

  9. WindsorHab-10 says:

    To all you Huet fans, he sucks. A 3 goal lead in the 3rd blown. This team is a joke and so is the coach behind the bench. This is absolutely disgusting. Shame on you Habs.

  10. linp says:

    Now it is official. Latendresse has a better shot than Ryder.

  11. gumper says:

    God we stink in our own zone. Could this team be any more passive when trying to retrieve the puck? 44 shots. We deserve no better fate than that which occurred tonight. Huet looked as bad as I’ve ever seen him, and the most complimentary term you could use for Smolinski is passenger. Five shots in the third period!!!! When will this coaching staff find a way to motivate this team to play past the first period?

  12. TradeRyder says:

    Now THAT’s a hockey game. Not perfect, but played with passion and a will to win.

    Just curious though – does anyone have the stat handy on how many 3rd period goals the habs let in this year vs. how many they score? BRUTAL when you know your team is going to let one (or more) in and they do….

    Both Huet and Price are almost always strong in the first, okay in the second, and sometimes porous in the third. Maybe they should sub the 2nd one in like they do pitchers in baseball….

    Go Habs Go!

  13. Ed says:

    Fearless prediction – Latendresse will get the winning goal.

  14. lcpservices says:

    Thanks for the insight on Rejean Houle.

    Those were indeed rough times.

    I glad to see that Houle is handling his hockey committments/responsibilities with class and respect.

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  15. linp says:

    The 1st period belongs to Huet and the goal post. Our defense is in total disarray but we are leading 2 – 0.

    I am speechless. We gave up two 3 goals lead.

    This game really shows what a bad move replacing Bonk by Smolinski. Smolinski is very slow with his leg. He should be benched instead of Begin.

  16. lcpservices says:

    Maybe we should bring them back and ask them to play for the 2007-08 habs team?

    Good thought though
    : – ))))

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  17. ccs says:

    I think the results of this weekend will be the same as last….I do not get what they expect from Grabovsky. This kid needs to play more than one out of every 4-5 games. I really feel bad for him because his development is being slowed big time. Smolinski and Breezeby should never have been signed…brutal. Give the jobs to the kids and I think we would be in better shape. If there is no emotion shown during this game something has to happen.

  18. Bouleau noir says:

    This needed to be said and thank you for doing it.

    I was living abroad during Houle’s tenure in Montreal as a GM and didn’t have to endure the repercussion it had on our CH during that time so it has been easy for me to keep liking the man for being the good man that he always was and always is.

    The question that still puzzled me is about the president who made ” Peanut” be his choice for the job.
    Wasn’t Ronal Corey a hochey man with a proper hochey mind ?

  19. CrashTheNetCrashTheNet says:

    Together, these five men won 41 Stanley Cups.

    That my friend is some serious hockey!!

  20. showey47 says:

    i was in no way attacking reggie as a human being i was only saying exactly was you said in your last paragragh “reggie was not cut out to be GM”. Especially in a no cap area and with ownership who would not spend money in order to keep what qualtiy players he had. At least jfj had mlse to help him out. Bue he did in all fairness have the final say in who was drafted and could of picked someone better to coach the team.

  21. habitual says:

    I don’t disagree that the lineup needs to be shuffled, but I hate it when Begin is not in the line up, and I can’t see why he has been singled out – again. Note too how he never whines, he says he’ll come back harder.

    We all know Ryder has been invisible, but we aren’t getting scoring from … almost everyone. Ok, bring Grabowski on for his speed, but why not bring up Sergie Kostitsyn as well?

  22. A. Berke says:

    Let’s not count the chicks (points) before they hatch eh!


    Ali B.

  23. 24 Cups says:

    I know I’m repeating myself here but Bonk was a disappointment in Montreal and only really played well during the last half of 2006-07. He never scored that much and never put his size to use on a consistent basis. To sign him for two years (like Nashville did) would have delayed the development of young centers like Chipchura and/or Lapierre. Johnson is a decent guy who is an honest journeyman hockey player. This year he is basically hanging on in St Louis. He may soon be out of the NHL.

  24. Dave Stubbs says:

    I’ve heard all the knocks on Réjean Houle, and I’ll say this:

    Reggie was put in an impossible position by Canadiens president Ronald Corey when Serge Savard was sacked as GM of the team, put in charge without a day’s experience as a front-office executive. Mario Tremblay as head coach did nothing to help him.

    Réjean Houle is one of the most decent human beings I’ve ever met in hockey. I wish everyone could see the way he attends to the legends of the team, the alumni for whom he cares, books appointments, ushers from here to there.

    Reggie was not cut out to be GM. He was a company man through and through who took the job because he was asked to do so. Today he’s an invaluable part of the Canadiens organization, a man who respects the traditions and history of his employer and who goes well above and beyond what’s asked of him.

    Dave Stubbs

    Habs Inside/Out
    Sports Feature Writer, Montreal Gazette


  25. otter649 says:

    Just a note for team leaders stats – It shows Saku with 1 OT goal as we all
    know and won’t forget it is Mike Komisarek with that great Brian McCabe
    pass in OT back in Toronto a few weeks ago…….

  26. showey47 says:

    houle would know all about 4 liners, thats all he ever drafted when he was g.m., come to think of it most of the players he drafted or traded for were not even good enough to play in the nhl.

  27. TradeRyder says:

    I wonder what kind of impact those comments have on the players?

    I always wonder about the psychology of these guys. It seems like an exception (rather than the rule) when someone actually gives their all, all of the time.

    You’d think if you were making millions of dollars to play the sport you love, you would work your tail off and do EVERYTHING you can do succeed. It seems like only a small percentage of players bring that passion to every game, every shift, every practice. And while there are some on the Habs like that… it sure is something we don’t seem to have enough of. The will and drive, and need to win – and to prove the nay-sayers wrong.

    Is Guy Right About You Guys?

  28. Bouleau noir says:

    The Formula we had last year failed, Bonk and Jonhson were at the end of their contracts and Gainey had higher ambition on the first of July like the hiring of Briere and Rafalski,… had it worked out our depth lines would have been run on the cheap with more of our youngs in the line-up and less veterans.

    Anyway, our 5-on-5 core of last year, of which B and J were an important part, had less speed and forwardness attitude that we have this year,… as a consequence of our team altered profile this season we are drawing more penaltys and creating much more PP opportunities for ourselves ( 27 worst last year),…. and we have average a hight goal per game percentage as a consequence (6th best in the league).

    Athought nothing can be less certain than our futur this season I was glad that they turned the page on those players (specially Jonhson) anyway.

  29. TradeRyder says:

    The ARE playing like it’s their last game. Or like it should be.

  30. Chuck says:

    Considering their tremendous success (on the ice, in the case of Mr. Houle), it might be worth taking their comments with more than a grain of salt. I’m pretty sure that they know their hockey.

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

  31. Chuck says:

    C’mon…. could you honestly tell me that after last season you knew that Bonk would have nine goals already? Of course not. To bring up that stat in defense of him leaving the team is pointless.

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

  32. Dave Stubbs says:

    Guy Lafleur is paid to be a Canadiens ambassador. He makes appearances on behalf of the club, the number of them determined between the club and Lafleur. Other ambassadors are Jean Béliveau, Henri Richard, Yvan Cournoyer and Réjean Houle, who also is head of the team’s alumni association. Together, these five men won 41 Stanley Cups.

    Dave Stubbs

    Habs Inside/Out
    Sports Feature Writer, Montreal Gazette


  33. habsfan1991 says:

    in todays red line . Mr. Fisher said “the canadiens knew what they were getting when they hired him”. this quote is about the comments that Guy Lafleur said about the canadins haveng 4 fourth lines. Can someone please tell me when or if the canadiens hired Lafleur.

  34. homerbowen says:

    OK they’re back to playing like pussies again. Guy is fairly accurate in that they all play like 4th line players. Pathetic effort and Carbo better get them motivated or start sending players down. As Guy once said “play like it’s your last game”. They are paid a big buck and should be giving 100% for every second they are on the ice.

    Remember the laffs are not too far behind and they want to string everyone up so get the point boys you are capable of much better.

    In any event it’s time for a trade to shake things up because from what I’ve seen so far there are too many teams better than us.

  35. Ibleedbleublancetrouge. says:

    Yann Danis can play D. with hmmm… Grabovski, yess… that could work.

  36. Ibleedbleublancetrouge. says:

    Hindsight is 20-20. Buffalo lost both of they’re co-captains and you’d think that would have put a damper on their attitudes. But they’re all flying out there game in and game out. It took some adjustment, but right now they’re in the thick of it like everyone else. It’s an attitude thing and that comes first and foremost from the Coach and secondly from the captain. I’m not sure if Carbo has the ability to push his players to take their game to the next level without putting skates on and playing himself. As captain, he showed his Leadership by the passion and grit he brought on the ice. As a coach, you have to deliver all the same emotions through communication. Maybe that’s just not his quality. He’s a do it kind of guy.

  37. linp says:

    I agree that we need more size and more goal scorer. Where can we get those? For us to have a chance in the next few games, the most imminent adjustment is to put back Higgins/Koivu combination to where it was and put someone in the RIGHT WING. We can’t afford to screw that up.

    If Markov is injured, we may have to bite the bullet and let him recover fully. Right now, he can’t move people in front of the net, he has no physical play, and his passes are off. We should play the “TRAP” and go for counter attack. Defend the area in front of the net. That’s what NJ did in the 1st period. We looked good controlling the puck but can’t score any goal.

  38. moser17 says:

    I’ve got a great idea for tonight’s First Line, Carbo-mix-’em-up-style, guaranteed to generate some offence:

    Huet centering Halak and Price.

  39. TradeRyder says:

    Check out this stat from last nights game:

    Number of Hits: 3

    What the hey? How can they win like that? Isn’t that why they traded away that Bonk guy? Oh – hey, he’s bringing his NINE GOALS to town tonight isn’t he? Why they let this guy and Johnson go – both solid shut-down players and plus-minus leaders playing against the other teams best – I’ll never know.

    Hits? What are those?

  40. 24 Cups says:

    I knew that somebody would take the bait on the Ribeiro comment! You know what I don’t understand? With the proper effort and attitude he could have been a Hab for years. Still be an offensive dynamo but at least learn some defense and try and play a bit of a two way game. The fans would love him and he would quickly become the darling of the French media. He also would have made the big coin when the time was right. You know they say that the only thing in life that you truly have control over is your attitude – all other things are outside of your personal dominion. Ribeiro never undertood that point and who knows, maybe he never will. Such a waste.

  41. 24 Cups says:

    A win tonight could mean so much in terms of keeping our heads above water. Let’s be honest, our chances against Detroit on Tuesday aren’t good. Fair enough. But a win over Nashville would mean that after the Detroit game(#27)we would be one third of the way through the schedule.
    Our record would be 14-10-3=31 points.

    Not bad considering what all the pundits were saying back in early October. We would also be a few points ahead of the 8th place team regardless of what they do this weekend.
    If that happens, then personally I will see that in a positive light rather than a negative one. I’ve come to grips with the fact that we will have to scratch and claw our way into the playoffs. It’s the reality of who we are at this point in time.

  42. showey47 says:

    We lost hainsey on re-entry waivers which happened when we tried to recall him from hamilton, this was a consequence of having too many players on one-way contracts. Beauchemin was also lost on waivers too columbus but then traded to anaheim. Don’t even get me going on ribiero, he was nothing short of an embarrassment in that playoff series against the bruins 3 years ago, it would of been nice to get more for him but don’t forget he is a ufa next year and is playing for a contract. Once he gets his payday, he will disappear as per usual. I would take pleky over him anytime.

    Did anyone else notice during last seasons playoffs that he got less than 10 mins of playing time per game and only saw regular action on the powerplay?

  43. TradeRyder says:

    I couldn’t believe it when we lost Hainsey. Beauchmin too, could be helping us… right again. Ribiero was a gamble… but you have to start to question the judgment that lost these players. Is it the GM or the coaching that doesn’t know how to make attitude adjustments? Cause we could use some attitude adjusting now – obviously the talent is there… but something’s wrong.

    And you’re right about Recchi. Put a stick in him, he’s done.

    Go Habs Go!

  44. 24 Cups says:

    Eventually, there may be some player movement with the team in terms of players going up or down to Hamilton, through a trade, or waivers. Moving players via waivers really seems to be a problem for Gainey (with the exception of Murray). He has lost three players in three years who all could be helping us right now. And we received nothing in return.
    1. Beauchemin – main cog in Cup win for Anaheim
    2. Hainsey – 15 points this year in Columbus
    3. Ribeiro – 23 points this year in Dallas (I realize that he was traded for Noneumma but it was basically a waiver type move (and switch of cap space) to make room for Pleks as the #2 centre. I also realize Ribeiro is a self centred head case but still….)
    It’s not a stretch to say that all these guys could be on the Habs right now and at no cost.
    By the way, Recchi has scored 4 goals since LAST Feb 22 and he plays with Crosby and Malkin. Please, no more talk of Recchi coming to Montreal, let the kids play instead.

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