Game 30: Habs lose sixth straight at home

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Tampa Bay’s Vincent Lecavalier celebrates his second-period goal.
Dave Sandford, Getty Images

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It seems the ailing Canadiens have developed an immunity even to the National Hockey League’s most effective guaranteed-win medicine.

The Tampa Bay Lightning came to Montreal last night for their second game in as many nights, having been pounded 6-1 in Toronto by the Maple Leafs, and as the NHL’s worst road team, having won just twice away from home. The Canadiens had won six of their past eight games against the Lightning, including two in a row in their usually friendly home rink.

Finally last night, a Canadiens win on Bell Centre ice, right?

Well, no.

A shootout goal by Brad Richards, far and away the game’s best player, and three saves – glove, pad and pad – by goalie Marc Denis on Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Kostitsyn and Saku Koivu lifted the Lightning to a 3-2 victory over the Canadiens.

The loss was Montreal’s sixth straight at home and leaves them within one loss of tying the club record for home-ice futility. A defeat Saturday to the Toronto Maple Leafs, well within the realm of possibility, will equal that sorry mark set seven years ago.

Yesterday, Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau scrapped the traditional game-day morning skate, perhaps to keep his team away from the circus surrounding the homecoming of native Quebecers Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis, among others. So much for that tactic.

The Canadiens, now 14-11-5, led this one 1-0 on a broken-stick power-play goal by Alex Kovalev at 47 seconds of the second period. But the Lightning struck back – Lecavalier, 63 seconds later, and André Roy, at 8:58, the latter on a botched clearing attempt by rookie defenceman Ryan O’Byrne, gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead heading into the third period.

Plekanec evened the score at 15:22 of the third, converting his own rebound past Denis.

Montreal goalie Carey Price stopped Lecavalier in the shootout and St. Louis shot wide, but in between, a beautiful snap shot high over his blocker-side shoulder by Richards proved the winner.

The Habs had dodged two dangerous shorthanded bullets in the third, Plekanec dinged for a hooking minor at the 20-minute mark of the second and Mathieu Dandenault drawing a slashing penalty midway through the third.

Montreal could do nothing with an overtime power play of their own, Vaclav Prospal called for tripping at 3:04.

Tampa Bay outshot Montreal 31-30, though the Canadiens had a 3-1 edge in the overtime.

The Canadiens play the Flyers in Philadelphia tomorrow before returning home for Saturday’s tilt against the Maple Leafs.


Below: Canadiens’ Saku Koivu is robbed by Tampa Bay goalie Marc Denis on the game-deciding shootout effort.
Shaun Best, Reuters


  1. Rocket Richard says:

    i was listening to the team990 in montreal all sports radio show today.

    They where having sports discusion and the habs situation came up. One sports commentator mention that if the habs continue losing through saturday, they have to serious think of firing carbo or someone just to shake something up.

    I am not sure if its just talk or if its serious and this commentator has any insight into the matter.

    My guess are that the habs front office are feeling some heat. Even more so after tonight.

    If they do lose the next two, and nothing happens, oh boy,…

    December 1,2007 – rise and fall of the 2007-08 Montreal Canadiens
    Rocket Richards Moltivation for winning games, “You Must Hate To Lose”

  2. saku11 says:

    Koivu scored the only shootout goal last game against Nashville.

  3. Scott in Montreal says:

    just closing those html tags – or trying to

  4. linp says:

    Carbo has demonstrated once again he is so dumb. Plekanec and Kovy are the best pairing. He didn’t use them in the 4 on 3. After that, he didn’t use Kovy in the shoot out.

    Another thing I found out is that whenever we lose the puck, Carbo sends only one man in and four men back. It allows the other team easily gaining the zone. Sometimes their two D-men are passing the puck left and right while we have only one guy chasing. It may be OK if we are leading. We were trailing 2 to 1 at that time.

    Something has to be done.

  5. AdamG says:

    they’re just not willing to work hard enough to win. it is what it is at this point.

  6. Rocket Richard says:

    if the habs continue to lose, carbo will be forced out.

    Possible this week according to a new source.

    December 1,2007 – rise and fall of the 2007-08 Montreal Canadiens
    Rocket Richards Moltivation for winning games, “You Must Hate To Lose”

  7. gumper says:

    Gotta check out too, till some changes are made. Can’t support this train wreck disguised as a hockey team as things stand.

  8. AdamG says:

    they should decline it. this is a bad hockey team. people, we need to remember that we played the league’s worst tonight. and we were lucky to get a point. we got lucky on both goals. but this effort seems to be acceptable within that dressing room right now…

  9. HNS says:

    We make crap look good….

  10. Rocket Richard says:

    we get a point, but no win.

    do the habs have it in them to win again?
    December 1,2007 – rise and fall of the 2007-08 Montreal Canadiens
    Rocket Richards Moltivation for winning games, “You Must Hate To Lose”

  11. RiverviewCanadien says:

    Stick a fork in me…I am now done…I cannot watch this club anymore.

  12. joe-hab-nuno says:

    Whoa, Price showed some emotion, that’s finally some good news

  13. HNS says:

    Yay, we get a point!

  14. AdamG says:

    ew to that 4-on-3.

  15. linp says:

    He has to play Kovy and Plekanec

  16. AdamG says:

    that John Tortorella is an emotional feller…

  17. Rocket Richard says:

    a glimmer of hope, lets hope they can win it

    December 1,2007 – rise and fall of the 2007-08 Montreal Canadiens
    Rocket Richards Moltivation for winning games, “You Must Hate To Lose”

  18. joe-hab-nuno says:

    thank god i’m not watching it, listening to it over the net

  19. joe-hab-nuno says:

    sha-na-na-na sha-na-na-na hey hey hey goodbye..

  20. AdamG says:

    starting to look like they’ve quit on Carbo

  21. Smart Dog says:

    Arf-ul. Just arf-ul.

    My favorite player is Grabarfski!

  22. AdamG says:

    yep. breezer could just have easily have cause 3 goals tonight. Carbo seems like he’s coaching for his job.

  23. gumper says:

    The reason they’re coasting is because they know they’re trying to execute a game plan that doesn’t work. Either that or they’re playing (consciously or unconsciously) to get the coach fired. Don’t send the players packing in some kind of desperate fire sale, start by changing coaches. I don’t know why this isn’t obvious to everyone, including Gainey. Now, it’s just a matter of sitting and waiting for Gainey to act. Based on past performance, we could be waiting a long time. Thirty games this year, and not a single one of them have we won, coming from behind. What do you suppose Carbonneau is saying in the dressing room? Probably humiliating a player or two. A good coach makes even mediocre players better by getting them to believe in themselves. This coach only makes players believe they are worthless. Much as I loved Carbonneau as a player……..HE CAN’T COACH!

  24. Rocket Richard says:

    I can bare to look and hear what the habs will do in the 3rd period.

    Losing again.

    I wonder what the habs record is when then trail after 2?

    Wake me up when game is over

    December 1,2007 – rise and fall of the 2007-08 Montreal Canadiens
    Rocket Richards Moltivation for winning games, “You Must Hate To Lose”

  25. AdamG says:

    we need to look at the bright side–this game could lead to the changes we’ve all been hoping for.

  26. AdamG says:

    o’byrne has looked clueless the last two games, but i agre–you can’t bench the kid. he’s got to learn and we’ve got to commit to our youngsters. what’s the difference?? like brisebois or bouillon don’t do the same thing? anyway, 17 shots in 2 periods…1 5 on 5 GA…the problem tonight is, big surprise, offense. PUT GUI ON THE FIRST LINE!!!!!

  27. linp says:

    Koivu is playing as if he is thinking about other things, a trade may be. I wonder whether his buddy, Rivet, phones him a lot recently.

  28. LTHF says:

    Pitiful Pitiful Pitiful!!! Turnover after turnover. Dont appear to have clue what to do when they get in the offensive zone.sssssss They like a rudderless ship. Koivu continue to take penalties that hurt the team and yet the rookie O’Byrne falls and Carbo sits him for rest of the periods— Nice way to shatter his confidence.

  29. AdamG says:

    oh ease off price! that was lecavalier’s 20th goal. he does it to every goalie. looking for blame on the 2nd goal? how about ryan o’byrne unable to execute a peewee play.

    looking to place blame? blame on the 18 skaters who can’t match the work ethic of a 2-win road team that played 24 hours ago and lost 6-1 to a mediocre Toronto team.

    tampa has 2 road wins this year, marc denis has 0 wins this year. they’re beating us 2-1, and we all know what;s coming on that PP to start the 3rd.

    its time to send some of these coasters packing. i can handle losing, i can’t handle a refusal to work. i really hope that the players have tuned Carbo out, because if THIS is his gameplan, yikes.

  30. AdamG says:

    that was bad hockey in the first…

    some glorious chances for the Habs but their lack of finish is glaring, as usual. this one is there for the taking. unless levac and st. louis are on the ice, the lightning looks useless. i’ve seen better defenses in Ligue Nord Americain…

  31. linp says:

    I want the players to show some respect to their fans. No matter what the score is, skate hard in both end of the ice. Make it simple. Play with your line mate. Hit every thing that moves. Block shots.

  32. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    Simple, if the Habs bring their best that we’ve seen this year, then we can confidently say tonights match is a WIN.
    BUT SOMEONE has to step up and lead the team to play their BEST.
    who will it be?…the coach or a Veteran as Mr Bel said…

    will the scoring be spreadout?
    will the goalie bounce back and stand on his head?
    will a defensive breakdown cost us the game?
    will a Ryder/Higgs/Plek/Koivu/Kovy RISE TO BE A SNIPER?

    I guess thats why were glued to this team…there is still hope,
    we don’t want to face the fact that we could be a bottom feeder.

    it would be folly to even attempt a prediction…bottom line,
    we need a result.

    until the problem in my picture is solved…we will not be Champions.

  33. gumper says:

    Options are:
    1. Make a trade
    2. Call up some Bulldogs
    3. Fire the coach
    4. Do nothing and pray

    I’m going to discount the last one as we’ve tried that, this year and last, and it didn’t work.
    Number one doesn’t make much sense right now as we are in a weak position and so will get our pockets picked, unless we want to give away the future.
    Number two is questionable at best, as Lever, who ought to know, keeps saying guys like S. Kostitsyn aren’t ready. Realistically, who else is there?
    Guess what that leaves.

  34. Smart Dog says:

    I posted this elsewhere, but everyone is over here…





    1. We need more toughness – physically and mentally. Thank you for drafting so many good finesse players. We love that you are up-holding the tradition of having a real skating team. But our small guys get pushed around, because we don’t have enough enough grit. Our team is ‘fragile’ because there is no leader with the kind of anchoring grit that you guys had, or Sakic or Smyth, or Neidermeier, or…. Give us a couple of Canadian western-style heart-and-soul players to balance this team’s ‘fragile psyche’, and a decent enforcer and watch your Plekanics and Higgins’s and Kostitsyns burst into scoring machines.

    2. The Canadians defensive style of play a la Carbo isn’t working. Carbo, we are behind you. But any team that gives up 30-40 shots or more per game does not have a good defensive system. It’s either not a match for these players or this era. You need to figure out which. (or if it’s both, which is what I think!)

    3. We need a marquee forward. Yes, we know this is the hardest one and may take some doing – these guys are extremely rare, but either bundle some of our best guys together or take care of the FIRST TWO OF THESE THINGS so we can have a better team and someone might want to come here.

    Bob and Guy – you are GREAT hockey men! I believe you have done a lot with a little in the time you have been here! But seems these days you’re getting lost in the details…. the thousands of little things you are doing will work a lot better when these bigger things are looked after.

    Best Wishes,

    A Smart Dog

    PS: Sorry for crapping on you (not literally) sometimes. We think you’re great. Just try to listen a little – we fans aren’t stupid.
    My favorite player is GrabARFski!

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