Game 35: Canadiens capitalize vs. Hurricanes

Canadiens’ Andrei Kostitsyn reacts as he gets the puck past  Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward for Montreal’s second goal Thursday night. Ellen Ozier, Reuters

Preview | Matchups | Thursday’s NHL schedule | Boone’s Game
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last night …

| Stubbs on Twitter | Hickey’s game story

• At a Glance: The Canadiens now have a winning streak for road games on Dec. 23. For the second straight year, the Habs defeated the Carolina Hurricanes on Dec. 23, this time by a score of 3-2 on Thursday night. After a goalless first period, the teams traded five goals in the second period, which was all the scoring in the game.
Chad LaRose scored 1:02 into the period while the Hurricanes were shorthanded after Roman Hamrlik and Yannick Weber coughed up the puck in front of Carey Price.
But Hamrlik made up for that error a few minutes later with a nice pass to Scott Gomez, who split the Carolina defence and fired a shot between Cam Ward’s legs for his fifth goal of the season.
Erik Cole made it 2-1 Carolina when he scored off a scrambled faceoff 15:17 into the period.
But only nine second after scoring, Cole was sent off for five minutes after hitting Canadiens defenceman Jaroslav Spacek from behind.
Andrei Kostitsyn, who was a healthy scratch on Tuesday night in Dallas, scored on the ensuing power play to tie the game 2-2.
During the same power play, Alexandre Picard scored with a blast from the point to give the Canadiens their first lead of the game at 3-2.
Price recorded his 20th win of the season.

• Key Moments: The five-minute penalty to Cole changed the momentum in the game in favour of the Canadiens after the Hurricanes had taken a 2-1 lead.

• What It Means: Montreal won for only the second time in seven games, improving its record to 20-13-2 for 42 points to maintain first place in the Northeast Division.

• What’s Next: The road trip continues after a few days off for Christmas with stops against the New York Islanders on Boxing Day, the Washington Capitals, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers on New Year’s Eve.


  1. phillyhab says:

    Happy not to be the only Athiest on board!

    I personally have no
    problem reconciling my belief (in evidence and the scientific method)
    with the colloquial language I use — I say “Oh God” in the sack like (hopefully) the rest of us — or wishing you all a very happy Christmas!


    ALSO OF NOTE:  Everyone’s scared we would’ve dropped to 8th.  We’d be in 7th, which is WAY better;)

    Boston and Carolina’s games in hand are scary — especially to standings glancer-overs who didn’t see Tampa being 2nd in the division coming — but it’s still a long season.  Florida, Buffalo or even Ottawa still has room to make a lot of noise, and nobody save the Flyers can afford an endured slump.

  2. Guy-Guy-Guy says:

    Pouliot is a big foward from Canada who can score and stand up for himself. He’s young, and has a lot of hockey left to play. He’s also cheap.

    It shouldn’t be his job to carry the puck from end to end, his job is to fight for it along the boards, forecheck defensemen and take shots when there is an opening. He’s been doing well at theses things. Carrying the puck is not in his skillset, but very few players can do that reliably. With a center that is on his game, Pouliot would be dangerous. When he was playing with Gomez last year, and Gomez was on top of his game, he almost had a goal per game

  3. Chris F says:

    Why are some people wondering why Pouliot sat? He played soft in the previous game, S O F T. He had the puck on his stick several times with his head down and simply let it go in the neutral zone, he was floating like our friend Kovalev witht he puck several times, but unfortunately doesn’t have Kovi’s strength so is bumped off the puck way too easy.

    I do agree that some other players are not chipping in offensively (Moen, Pyatt) but it’s not their fault because they just don’t have that type of skill, and they work their tail off every game.

    We do need a major or at least a B plus pick up in the way of defensive help and a big forward who can score, preferably from Canada. Someone to play with Pleks, because he’s playing lights out on most nights, someone who can finish would be potting more than a few with him. Someone who can hit, and stand up for himself and others on the team.

    Our D is just looking so very plain. And how PK can be sitting is beyond me. He’s strong, and has flair. Yes he makes mistakes but c’mon, he’s got to be in there.

  4. derfab says:

    Though I think you have Martin’s approach right, I don’t think Pyatt can carry Ak’s jock. Ak is always more effective because his mere presence forces the other team to respond. No one cares what Pyatt does, because it is next to nothing. Martin just wants Andrei to be intense and to score every night and it ain’t going to happen.

  5. derfab says:

    Xmas cheer:

    Habs were very lucky. Price and a generous call.  

    Gionta looks like he is cursed. Give the C to someone useless who likes microphones.  

    Pouliot has been solid for two months and deserves more time than anyone on the bottom 2.

    Too bad Lemaire hates our guts so much.

    This team is going nowhere without a major acquisition. Next year?

    Jerome come home! Vinny come on in! Somebody who can give pleks and the smurfs some room to play.

  6. Guy-Guy-Guy says:

    I don’t always agree either, but I can see where he is coming from for a lot of theses choices.

    Obviously each team has a system that plays to their strenghts, and minimizes their weaknesses. The system that made the habs successful last year revolves around a tight defensive games, fowards that backcheck hard, and can use speed to generate offense on breakout.

    Since our team is small, it doesn’t forecheck very effectively. It also lacks elite level goal scorers like a Semin, Stamkos, Kane ect. The defensive game is the crucial piece of our success, and cannot suceed with a weak link in the chain.

    Yes I think we are better off with Pyatt playing the system, than AK when he isn’t. What’s hard to understand is that we’ve seen Pouliot backchecking hard all season so far, and producing points despite getting very little icetime. Seems unlikely that he’s being punished…

  7. joeybarrie says:

    Well in order to understand my post, you would have to assume that there are different types of games in an NHL season. While it is TRUE that they all count, there are some that are more important than others. For instance, games against teams in your own division, and conference. Then there are games that are during a winning streak and games that are during a losing streak. Now I hope that you understand that, to me, games won during a losing streak are more important than games won during a winning streak. The games that end up the season when you are trying to make the playoffs, are also important.

    Basically, I am glad that Scott Gomez understand what games you have to turn it up a notch for. Now all this is assuming we have the same opinion about the fact that Scott Gomez has NOT been simply a floater for 20 games. Its not like Gomez has not been giving passes to Gio to have the team leading shots on goal. Its not like Gomez himself isnt shooting. (however there are times I do wish he would shoot instead of looking for the pass) but, he is a two way player, and other than his production, I BELIEVE, he has not been playing poorly.

    So in the end, GOMEZ performs in situations where we NEED to win. ie, the last 3 games vs the Caps, the last 2 games vs the Pens, and the last 5 games when we started to go on a losing streak.

    I will also mention again my biggest frustration with the Gomez argument. Gomez was giving the puck to GIO, and Gio was having problem hitting the net and scoring. They were missing a player on that line that compiments them. And of course everyone puts it all, unfairly, onto Gomez alone…

    Also the stat reports that show what Gomez’ production will be like at the end of the season. When Gomez has ALWAYS started slowly.

    LASTLY, ABSOLUTELY, Games in October and November do not matter as much as games in APRIL AND MAY… Just ask the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins about that…

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  8. Danno says:

    I love the way Brother Andrei celebrates a goal in his signature Chewbacca style.


    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  9. SmartDog says:

    Notice I haven’t ragged on Gomez lately because he’s been pulling his
    weight.  But don’t go telling me he’s worth 8 million because he’s had a
    hot streak. 

    How many 8 million dollar players mail it in for 20 days?   If it’s okay to play the periphery for 20 games and then wake up for 5, Kovalev is worth 20 million.

    If Gomez keeps it up I’ll be happy to say he’s doing his job.  But you say yourself it’s “extremely doubtful”.  And what the hell is this:  “he has been productive and playing well when it counts”   So the games in October and November didn’t count?  Having a 2nd line that’s a joke for 2 months didn’t count.


  10. Fab K says:

    I agree with you completely… staying in our stagnant state of hoping to
    crack the playoffs on the other hand is not what makes a team. I understand
    that the NHL will have winners and losers, actually much more losers than
    winners. 1 cup a year that’s it. The word dynasty no longer applies to the
    current post lockout era, and with the number of teams there, plus more coming
    (god I hope in Canada, they are viable). By the way, who can fire Bettman? How
    is a commissioner appointed? He needs to go, and a major changed needs to
    happen. The “US hot weather” city’s expansion experiment of his over
    that last 2 decades hasn’t work, get over it. But that’s a story for another

    Back to my point. You will notice in the past 5-10 years, that no matter
    what the attendance, teams who starts losing for 2-3-4 years, start drafting
    better players, develop them well, coach them well, bring them up when they are
    ready, and are helped along the way, become good/great teams. For example, you
    can use Pittsburgh, Washington, Tampa Bay (they did win a cup, and now on their
    way back thanks to captain Y, etc…). That’s how a plan can be implemented
    over a ~ 3-5 years. This is true with every team in the NHL, except for
    Montreal (and Toronto for that matter, I doubt they’ll win a cup in the next
    3-4 years, which is a foresable future based on who they have hired
    (coach/gm/rest of the team)). The reason you might ask? No where in the NHL
    will you find such an amount of die hard fans and media, who seem to have the
    capability to demand something (see my last post: French Media. Fans can’t
    demand anything cause they are not heard unless they are a member of the press
    that writes such articles). We all cry scream hate love, etc when something
    goes bad. I am not doing this here. I am making a bonafide comment on our team,
    in general and not talking about this season or any other (other than JM!!!).

    Now there are certain exceptions to the picture of the NHL I just painted.
    See Detroit, who has been a good/great team over the past 20 years. Can anyone
    look this up? How many times since they started their “dynasty” have
    they missed the playoffs? I bet you can count then in less than 5 fingers (hey
    shit does happen sometimes). But they have continued to win (not cups) but
    their division/conference. It takes a lot to constantly win the cup in this
    era, they have what it takes, but there is no way due to the 30 teams we have
    in our great league.

    As for our team, I doubt we’ll see any cup finals in the near future (5-10
    years) unless of a “miracle”. Hey it can happen to any team that
    makes the playoffs. I just don’t see it. Do you? Does anyone? Please help me
    here, am I wrong? I would love to get replies from the editors of our great
    site (thanks guys it’s awesome).

    My only thought of this possibility of breaking through this “non
    contender” team, is the move of Molson to become President of this
    team/owner. God we need new blood up there. They are the ones that can make it
    happen. This team will be profitable (unless of a major CDN crash) no matter
    what is on the ice.

    Do you think something of this great magnitude of change can/will happen?
    Anyone? otherwise, I see no great (near) future. We may end up winning #25 in
    the next 10 years.


    On a side note, I feel better now that I let this outburst off my mind. Now
    I can enjoy the holiday’s good team or bad team. It’s only a sport after all, a
    business yes, but it’s not the most important thing in the world…


    Enjoy the holidays folks, I’m off, but will look forward to replies (I hope). All the best to yours.



  11. WestHab says:

    Yes Lapps’ energry is not consistant he would probably benifit more from a sit down more than Pouliot.

    – Who will be at the Heritage Classic?

  12. emann_222 says:

    You pretty much summed it up for me there Joey!

    I’ve always said that Gomez is a producer, and it isn’t always in his point stats that you’ll see it. But having said that, he ammassed the majority of his 57 points last season in the final 40 games. That’s typical Gomer. And believe me, I think we’ll need him more than ever in the second half of the season, so I”m happy that he’s playing a typical Gomez season.

    For more thoughts on the Habs, please visit me at The Hockey Writers …

  13. emann_222 says:

    Agreed … there was no reson to sit Pouliot last night. Just as there was no reason to sit Subban. I am far from Pouliot’s number one fan, but I don’t think that Martin is making the best coaching decisions right now. Especially during such a pivotal road trip.

    Read all my thoughts on Martin and his coaching decisions here at The Hockey Writers!

  14. Mattyleg says:

    Well, he’s not an auto-worker, so he won’t be spending the holidays fretting about where he’s going to get his next meal from.

    He’s probably relieved that he doesn’t have to spend the holiday stressing about how to get that team of crapout-artists to produce, and can sit back, have a taaaaall glass of eggnog and put his slippered feet up!

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  15. dh says:

    You could just as easily say that AK finally scored tonight after being returned to the first line.  Not sure if it was the scratch that had anything to do with it.

  16. LA Loyalist says:

    Yes, after losing Boucher the thought of losing Kirk Muller to NJ was weighing on many of us I’m sure — and the net result of having Count Chocula unassailable.

    Maclean was in way over his head, but the classy thing would be to quietly bring in Lemaire after the Holiday. Things are slipping in NJ…

  17. LA Loyalist says:

    Slightly an aside, but there is an American Socialist radio host who is a loud and proud atheist – but he uses religion-based swearing like a sailor, seeing (apparently) no irony in it, which I find hilarious.

    The old-school European communists would chide each other for any “religious” swear words. In Quebec, virtually all of the swear words derive from the Catholic Church. Sorry for wandering…

  18. joeybarrie says:

    I guess it wouldnt matter if Scott Gomez cured Cancer…

    Gomez has 8 points in 5 games. Looking like a 8 million dollar man to me. OK in the last 5 games…. It would be nice to see it continue at this pace. But its doubtful. EXTREMELY doubtful. But in the end the ENTIRE time Gomez has been here, he has been productive and playing well when it counts and when we needed it. This year will be no different. If I am correct he is about 1-2 points off his production last season at this time. Seems to be the same for him every year.

    We need another top D-man. No other way around it. Cannot go far with Weber, Picard, PK, and the two wise men. Shows now more than ever with Gorges hurt.

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  19. LA Loyalist says:

    with “4 point” games and loser points and our proven ability to load the diaper against any team we deem not worthy of our effort, I would not get so cocky about our cushion, which is thinner than the padding on an Air Canada economy seat.

    And if you watched the Pittsburgh>Washington game last night you would worry even more. 


    too small, too soft, too intangible.



  20. Guy-Guy-Guy says:

    Can someone explain to me why Pouliot would be sitting the gameout, and not Lapierre? Pouliot is easily as good in a checking role, and he scores way more goals.

    I hate to say it, but Lapierre is quickly becoming the least usefull foward in the lineup. Moen and Pyatt aren’t producing either, but they can play shutdown hockey even against the best players in the league.

  21. LA Loyalist says:

    Well credit to Scott Gomez for looking like a $4 million dollar hockey player last night splitting the defence and scoring that goal. If he keeps playing in the offensive zone like he has since his “injury” it will help both the team and open up his line mates more if he is seen as any kind of a net threat.

    We have rotten history with Carolina and after 2 road losses that was a huge game. Something to build on. 

    That said, the communication in our defensive zone is regularly frightening and as many have posted the transition game without Markov organizing it his poor and certainly hurting our ability to develop an attack, aside from compromising defence.

    Count Chocula is a mystery wrapped in an enchilada. Anyway, we have a few days to repose, regroup and contemplate.




  22. gauver says:

    just catching up to your post now.

    i don’t like Martin’s lack of emotion.  remember Pat Burns? i prefer that kind of demeanour.

    inadequate player development is a concern with our team.  i can’t recall the source, but i read an article earlier this season that listed the number of players playing in the NHL organized by the team that drafted them.  Montreal was in the top five or four.  This tells me that drafting players is a strength.  The fact that too many of them go on to play for another team suggests that development is a problem.

    we have a good team and are a stud-defenceman and maybe a top centre away from having a fair chance of beating Philadelphia and/or Pittsburgh in a 7-game series.  I would like to make a play for Shea Weber at the deadline.

  23. J Haul says:

    Canadiens are 4-5-1 vs the west. Not as terrifying as some would have us believe.


    I’d say the more concerning issue is how they play against teams they “should” beat.

  24. HabFanSince72 says:

    He still gets paid though.


  25. MTLForever says:

    picard definitely had a worse game last game than pk and pk got benched but picard had a nice shot that was the winner

  26. The Cat says:

    Florida making a run!

    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  27. The Cat says:

    Mcleans probably relieved more than anything else. The firing of Julien at the time was much worse.

    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  28. Chuck says:

    Enjoy your holidays, and hopefully Santa will be good to you!

    Centre Hice: Top-10 worst Hab nicknames

  29. light_n_tasty says:

    We are 8 points ahead of Carolina.  That’s not “barely” in the top 8.

  30. Da Hema says:

    I will be gone soon for a few days of holidays, and I wanted to wish Dave Stubbs, Mike Boone, Stu Hackel, Kevin Mio, and each and every poster a most Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    Safe holiday travels all!


    An important announcement from the Government of Canada:

    Health Canada is reminding Canadians that consumption of the Toronto Maple Leafs has led to vomiting, fever, bloody diarrhea, dementia, and penile dysfunction.

  31. Somethingwithhabsinit says:

    Thank our lucky stars? You call that atheism?

  32. MontrealAtheist says:

    The Habs are not just lucky for playing in the east but also for playing in the sh*ttiest division of the league. At least this way we have a shot at 3rd place in the league even with such a low number of points.

  33. MontrealAtheist says:

    Yes, but barely … We are only 2 points ahead of the Bruins and they have 2 games in hand. If they pass us, we can quickly find ourselves at 8th place.

    We can thank our lucky stars that we are playing in the worst division of the NHL which is why we are still 3rd in the conference.

  34. HNS says:

    Agreed……….. This team would have to adapt if it were a western team. This team could be a lot, and I mean a lot, better. Shame though, first in the east and they have the potential to pull ahead like a freight train to stay there.

  35. deggy24 says:

    Okay, I’ll bite. I read your posts and mostly agree. I don’t like Martin on a number of levels. I do like him as a coach for a crap team, maximizing points, I don’t think if he continues this way we have a snowballs chance in hell for breaking the plane to really being something. I think as soon as you have better than a crap team, Martin is not the right choice.

    I do think this is a better team than we have had in awhile. It seems to me our SOG (plus, minus) is better than it has been for awhile. We have generated over 15 shots in several 20 minute periods this year.

    Both AK and Pouliot are light years better in one on one battles than they were last year. Weber is much better than he was last year. PK will be a very good player, a winner. Price is better. Much better line changes, we are not giving up the ice with dump and change we were last year.  Picard is a good 5th/6th man.

    The team has some potential, and is capable of playing a decent, attacking style.

  36. athanor says:

    Well, except for the square smile that doesn’t involve the eyes. I find Laura Calder much more interesting.

  37. SeriousFan09 says:

    I feel a lot less worried about Kirk Muller joining the NJD bench with him knowing he might get sacked two days before Christmas to cover up the bungling management.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  38. dre1744 says:

    Yup and they talk about what a classy organization the Devils have, Yeah right.


    Oh and what do Bret Favre and Marty Brodeur have in commen?

    They both should of retired last year!!!!!

  39. habs365 says:

    Habs still hanging around in the top eight.

  40. Nahlsy says:

    An aside, karma big time tonight for the jerks in NJ. There’s an NHL roster freeze at this time of year so players can’t be traded or demoted during the holidays but they chose December 23rd to fire their coach? SERIOUSLY? You couldn’t have done it either last week or next week, but had to wait and fire him at Christmas instead? Looks good on them getting thumped by the Islanders after a classless move like that.

  41. jordo says:

    Gomez has 8 points in his five game Pacioretty streak since coming back from that injury.  Even if we lost three of those five games, it is great to see him back on the scoreboard!

  42. Timo says:

    Ok… finally watched the game. Man… I mean, yay we won, but man. That was nicht gut. Cammilleri was absolutely brutal on puck… and D was giving me fits. Habs are so lucky to be playing in the east. Anyway… for a change they won on Dec 23 and thank yuo Santa for that little present.


    I am going to bed now. Kid wore me out.

  43. Ayan_SB says:

    HBO’s Pens-Caps 24/7 episode two is already up on Youtube.

  44. jordo says:

    And AK finally scored tonight after his one game scratch

  45. Nahlsy says:

    Luchicken should be suspended for that sucker punch/sneak attack but he does play for the same team as Colon’s baby boy Greg Campbell now so we’ll have to see. The NHL isn’t very widely known for getting these things right.

  46. joeybarrie says:

    So we are climbing the ladder on our PP. In fact we have been doing not too badly lately. If we didn’t have such a crappy first 10 games we would be even closer to the top. Our PK is top notch. Now all we have to do is beat the Islanders. The thing that has been a killer to this team over the long run is losign to team we should be beating. IE Toronto, Isles, Carolina (usually), Florida, etc, etc.

    I hope our slump is over and we are back to winning ways. Isles, Caps, Lighting and Panthers. I would LOVE to go 3-1 to end this year. In partcular a win against the Caps. 

    Santa bring it to me baby.

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  47. Nahlsy says:

    Leblanc looked good playing with Schenn on the top line for Canada’s jr team tonight (and in the previous game against Sweden). This kid looks like he’s got a lot of heart, likes to dig and makes a lot of smart decisions with the puck. Looks like there’s a lot of potential here for a solid two way forward for sure.

  48. SeriousFan09 says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I love his addition and how he’s played since the call-up, I was initially skeptical about his leaving HAM but I think he needs to be a bit more selfish in the O-Zone, we shouldn’t see Gionta trying for the screen in front of the net if Pacioretty is around to do it.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  49. Kramby says:

    And Lucic gets suspended. 🙂

  50. habs03 says:

    I think thats 4-0 with Subban out and Weber in the line-up, I love PK, but I think JM might know a little more than you about a hockey system, just a little.

  51. habs03 says:

    I love how he strong on the puck this year, last year he couldn’t play along the boards, so far I noticed he is much improved in that area.

  52. says:

    I read almost every post here on hIO.  Problem is if you reply to every single topic you’d be here all day.

    See my site on special Carey Price cards.

    Holiday sale  🙂

    They Call Me Shane

  53. SeriousFan09 says:

    One thing about tonight, anyone think Pacioretty seems to be looking too much to give Gomez and Gionta the shot rather than take it himself or set up for the shot? His 17 goals in the AHL came from volume shooting and constant net prescence.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  54. bolder says:

    JM’s system with benching skilled players in favor of pluggers that do nothing, is totally stupid. He stinks and they are lucky that they pulled this game out of their asses.

  55. HabFanSince72 says:

    He made a few good saves but he also looked a bit shaky.

    I’m a little worried.

    Hope AA gets to see a flop.


  56. Fab K says:

    glad the habs won… it was a good game (at the end). Can i ask a favor? can you please all read my posts (1 post and 1 reply so far) here?

    I would like to receive feedback.


  57. savethepuck says:

    Was it just me or did anyone else notice that after we took the 3-2 lead, Carey was the best I’ve seen him since he stood on his head in the 1st period of the Detroit game and they scored that 5 on 3 goal with only 1.6 seconds left in the first?  He hasn’t played bad over the past 5 starts, but he was not standing on his head like we’ve been spoiled to expect from him.  I wasn’t getting worried about him, but was getting worried about his confidence. Yes he let in 5 on 17 shots in Dallas, but 3 of those were deflections. 

  58. Bar says:

    Easily Giada….

  59. HabFanSince72 says:

    Both nice but I’d never say no to a Quebecoise MILF.


  60. Exit716 says:

    Who is hotter though? Giada or Chantal?


  61. HabFanSince72 says:

    L’Antichambre guys are all excited about a Francois Gagnon article. Apparently he knew Subban would be benched before JM announced it, which means he has a mole in the dressing room. Doesn’t read that way, and it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but they can’t stop shouting about it.

    They have to fill the time I guess. I’m switching to the Food Network.



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