Game 37: Joyeux, no L: Habs whip Lightning

Canadiens’ Maxim Lapierre (centre) celebrates his first-period goal with Christopher Higgins and Mathieu Dandenault.
Scott Audette, NHLI via Getty Images

Updated with links to The Gazette game story at 8:35 a.m. by Kevin Mio 

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Carbonneau Post-Game Audio (French only)

At noon-hour today, Guy Carbonneau’s curious, latest shuffle of his lines had Canadiens fans in a flap worthy of our gone-south Canada geese.

By 9 p.m., surely some of those fans were reconsidering the foresight – dare we say genius? – of the gone-south Canadiens head coach.

Montreal scored early and often tonight in Tampa, five different players finding the net behind two goaltenders, in rolling to a 5-2 victory over the Lightning. We’ll never know whether the result was because the Canadiens were rested, not having played since Sunday, or because the Lightning were weary, having played Wednesday night.

No matter what, the Canadiens improved to 18-13-6 overall in this fourth of a six-game road trip, while avoiding their third straight loss. The Habs are an outstanding 12-6-2 away from the Bell Centre.

Maxim Lapierre, inserted by Carbonneau on the Canadiens’ third line between Christopher Higgins and Michael Ryder, opened the scoring at 10:20 of the first period, picking up a beautiful Montreal zone-clearing pass from defenceman Mike Komisarek threaded through two Lightning players at the Habs blue line. Lapierre drew Tampa defenceman Filip Kuba in deep on the 2-on-1 break, then used Higgins as a decoy before whipping a shot past Lightning goalie Johan Holmqvist for his first goal of the season.

Guillaume Latendresse made it 2-0 just 2:29 later, converting the excellent work of Sergei Kostitsyn and backhand toil in the slot of captain Saku Koivu for his 10th of the year.

The Canadiens outshot their hosts 10-6 through the first 20 minutes.

Alex Kovalev eluded defender Brad Lukowich along the boards off the opening faceoff of the second period and caromed one in off the sliding Kuba’s skate, through the pads of Holmqvist for his 16th. It came at just 10 seconds with the teams playing 4-on-4, Latendresse and Tampa’s Shane O’Brien serving coincidental minors drawn at 20:00 of the first.

Montreal’s third goal brought out Lightning coach John Tortorella’s hook for goalie Holmqvist in place of Karri Ramo, who immediately proved to be more airtight than the netminder he replaced. Ramo was terrific foiling Higgins with a glove save on a shorthanded semi-breakaway about eight minutes into the period, Michael Ryder in the box for tripping.

Montreal held a 12-11 edge in shots in the second period.

Defenceman Andrei Markov made it 4-0 with his 10th of the year, that coming on a one-time slap shot off a cross-ice pass from Mark Streit, fed by Koivu, at 44 seconds of the third. The arena was still deflating from that when Tomas Plekanec took a pass from Kovalev, then fed the streaking Andrei Kostitsyn for the Canadiens’ fifth and the player’s seventh, just 24 seconds later.

Tampa’s Vaclav Prospal ruined Huet’s shutout bid at 6:15 when some botched coverage by the Habs along their boards left the Lightning forward alone at the edge of the Montreal goal crease.

Tortorella, as puzzling to Lightning fans as Carbonneau sometimes is to Montreal supporters, then put Holmqvist back in the Tampa net. His players might even have noticed.

Sloppy clearing by the Canadiens with 16 seconds left allowed Tampa’s Jan Hlavac to score the Lightning’s second goal.

The Canadiens will be in Sunrise, Fla., Friday night to take on the Florida Panthers, then will conclude their road trip on Sunday in New York vs. the Rangers.


  1. Sulemaan says:

    I really enjoyed this conversation Drive_4_25. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. The Teacher says:

    I didn’t say they weren’t passing to SKost, did I?

  3. The Teacher says:

    Not playing is hurting it worse than if he was. UFA does hurt yes I agree.

    but he is no samsonov.

  4. T-roy West says:

    Hey Newfoundland Dog:

    The Florida Panthers play in Sunrise,Florida – #1 Panther Parkway, cheers!

  5. 24 Cups says:

    Sorry Krob but Kevin Lowe isn’t on the leading edge of anything. He let Smyth go when he could have signed him for a few hundred grand more a year (than Colorado gave him). Then out of desperation, he played the Vanek-Penner card. If Edmonton doesn’t make the playoffs that move could backfire on him. As for Snow, he may have made a good move by resigning the only real talent he had on his team but we will only know that ten years hence. The real ramification of Lowe’s RFA action is the unwarranted and necessary signing of young players to mega contracts (money and term) before they have shown their true worth and paid their dues. (Getzlaf, Richards, Weiss, Semin, Michalek etc) This will have a major impact on the cap structure and in essence makes high end talent 3rd year players unrestricted free agents after just three years – the only difference being that they are signed by their original team. Look for Paul Stastny to be next in that department. It will be interesting to see if other GM’s follow Lowe’s example this summer or if they follow the status quo and freeze him out.

    As for Burke, Wilson, and Holland, they are truly on the leading edge of adapting to the new cap world. While guys like Lamoriello, Clarke, and Ferguson were caught asleep at the wheel. It will be interesting to see where Gainey fits in over the next few years. He will only be able to sign about three guys to mega deals so let’s pray he picks the right players.

    The Original 24 Cups

  6. coutNY says:

    History is in our favor. we’ve only lost 1 Wednesday or Thursday game all year!

  7. Blitzen says:

    No trade is “easy” in the new NHL. They’ll need to give up an awful lot to get these players so they’ll only do it if they feel that, somehow, the future just turned totally black and the young players won’t get it done. Unless they trade Koivu or Kovalev and I don’t think trading these guys to get comparable guys will make any difference. They won’t trade Koivu and Ryder for Lecavalier or any of those stupid trade rumours I have seen. The other teams aren’t dumb enough. There are likely no more 70s California Golden Seals type owners out there anymore.

  8. hockeydevil says:

    We’re doing ok, but it would be nice to get one or both of these guys….It’s the easiest way to get a top talent to play here…
    Talk hockey at hockeydevils

  9. Blitzen says:

    I think they’ll beat Vinny in a shootout tonight, then lose to Florida and win a close one against the Rangers.

  10. hockeydevil says:

    So far…I know they are trying to get him into this one….
    Talk hockey at hockeydevils

  11. The Teacher says:

    Has he done anything to detract from that? No? i’m sure Ovechkin would know all the details of his tax bracket before he even considered moving here. Helloooo We live in the 21st century here!

    I don’t think anything is wrong with me, do you?

    Do you complain about your taxes? do you complain about the crappy snow removal? Do you complain about the crappy services we get? why can’t he?

    don’t forget, he CHOSE to come here! I’m sure that speaks volumes enough.

    He didn’t tell Ovechkin not to come because of that. That’s not how it went down. stop overreacting and trying to stir up a controversy over something you probably do every day, I know I do ;)

  12. Drive_4_25 says:

    I LIVE here and 1st of all he wasn’t asked about a “stupid rumour” He was simply asked the question as to weithjer or not he would suggest to a friend to play here! And under the circumstances! (If you have half a brain) regardless of how you REALLY feel! YOU SAY SURE I WOULD WHY NOT!
    How narrow minded you are!

    “God is a HABS fan whose still pissed at the ROY trade!!!”

  13. POPS says:

    Solid effort so far. We are not giving T.B. many good scoring opportunities. We have been able to capatilize on a few breaks and we must put it away with a goal on this 4 minute P.P. or risk playing a tight ending.

  14. Drive_4_25 says:

    His RESPONSABILITY is to HIS TEAM and TEAMATES!!! what the hell is wrong with you? I am also in a tax bracket where I get raped at 52%! Are his comments going to change that??? NO! Just think about the impact on HIS TEAMATES ! are you so niave that you think the rest of the players aren’t effected by him saying he would’t encourage anyone let alone his best friend to play in montreal!
    It’s not ALWAYS about the money!

    “God is a HABS fan whose still pissed at the ROY trade!!!”

  15. coutNY says:

    Yeah lets blame everyone else for Ryders lack of production. S. Kostitsyn has 2 goals and 2 assist in 6 games. Almost as many as Ryder after 31, not buying the puck hog theory.

  16. sadave says:

    Pathers play out of Sunrise, FL — a bit north of Ft. Lauderdale and about 25 miles north of Miami . . . The old arena, when they first entered the league, was on the edge of downtown Miami. I think the NBA Heat still play there.

  17. The Teacher says:

    Uhhh..would you want to go to a place where you would be taxed at 52%

    More power to Markov. He chose to live here, he pays his taxes, he has EVERY right to complain…


    Drive on the roads, go to our schools, look at our infrastructure. That’s what’s disgusting in my opinion.

    Thank you.

  18. Xtrahabsfan says:

    Ryder is done like yesterdays turkey and for the sake of his career needs a trade .It’s just like Keven m posted ,we need a caracter with some swagger,ego,a motavater and a producer of goals,someone who can lift this team of whitebread zombies and we need that person NOW!!!

  19. Blitzen says:

    Playing him while he’s not scoring isn’t helping his trade value any…neither is the fact that he will be a UFA.

  20. The Teacher says:

    See below, he was getting frozen out by his linemates.

  21. The Teacher says:

    Maybe the first 15. What would you rather do? give him time or completely waste the value of a 30-goal scorer in a potential trade?

    If the effort wasn’t there, ok. but it is.

  22. krob1000 says:

    No it isn’t just you but I don’t think it is the fault of the gentlemen GM’s. It is a direct function of the new CBA and the inability to trade players. People laughed at Garth Snow for his mega year deal to Dipietro and they (me too) scoffed at Kevin Lowe for his “traditionally unethical” pursuit of Penner. Now in hindsight they were ahead of the curve and the old boys club better get used to the new GM’s becasue this is how it is going to be eventually. If you can’t trade, don’t finish low in the standings and free agents don’t want to play in your town how do you respond ….like Kevin Lowe and garth Snow did. A bigger farce is Burke’s sneaky salary cap avoidance with his NHL superstar retirement prepartion program. Play 40- games and the playoffs this year maybe 25 the next and ease yourselves into retiremtn guys…then I don’t need to worry.

    I wrote on here a while back that my biggest fear with Gainey is his morality and the fact that he is too nice of a guy to make the aggressive moves that seem to be the direction that the GM role is heading in. It is not his fault but it looks to be the only way to do anything and I won’t be at all surprised to see him or someone take aim at all the big names like Ovechkin. Even if you don’t get him you force your competitors budget to be affected as a worst case scenario and you might even get a superstar.

    Now that the unwritten rules have been rewritten it is up to Gm’s to eat or be eaten…..sad but true.

  23. 24 Cups says:

    Ask Kevin Lowe, he’s the head slimeball of the NHL.

    The Original 24 Cups

  24. coutNY says:

    See above… and didn’t he score last year?

  25. Blitzen says:

    He had plenty of time in the first twenty games. I agree he hasn’t had much recently but, again, how long do we need to give him ice time for him to shake things off? 40 games? 60? 80?

  26. coutNY says:

    Sorry that was a mistake he actually averaged over 3 minutes. And that was with the top line because Carbo was not changing the lines on the PP.

  27. Blitzen says:

    They’re not going to let the team flounder bad enough to have a shot at any of these two guys. If things begin to go REAL bad, they’ll trade for a couple of veterans to be able to make the first round or just miss out on the playoffs. I don’t think tanking completely is in the books.

    And anyways, they’re not doing so badly for such a young team.

  28. The Teacher says:

    Higgins still can’t hit the broad side of a barn compared to the amount of chances he gets, but at least he keeps working.

    My issue with Kovalev last year was his crappy effort. He even pretty much admitted it when he said he went back and looked at tapes of himself from his early New York days.

    I loved Kirk ‘is work’ Muller. Granted, most of his goals were of the ‘plumber’ variety. You’re right when you say who cares what kind of quality the goal is, as long as it goes in.

    Ryder has shown MORE effort this year than last, which is why I’m on his side now. He has taken the effort to improve his defensive game. People don’t understand that this doesn’t happen overnight.

  29. Chorske says:

    Is it just me, of have pretty much all of the “gentlemen’s rules” been pretty much discarded by GMs? Rules like, Don’t aggressively pursue other teams’ RFAs. Don’t encourage young guys to dodge the draft. That kind of thing.

    Those Leafs. What slimeballs. ;)

  30. The Teacher says:

    1.5 minutes? With who? as opposed to what last year? any 5-on-3 opportunities?

    Check that out and get back to me.

    go read Krob1000’s article further down, he described what Ryder has done and how he has reacted to it perfectly.

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