Game 40: Canadiens shock Lightning 6-3

Michael Ryder celebrates Alex Kovalev’s first-period goal. Ryder would score two of his own tonight.
Christinne Muschi, Reuters

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Updated by Kevin Mio, links updated at 7:45 am on Friday.

The Canadiens made a simple New Year’s resolution: Win at
home. And for their first game at the Bell Centre in 2008, the Habs delivered with a 6-3 win over the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning thanks to a three-goal explosion during the third period. With the victory, Montreal improved its record on home ice to 7-7-4.

It was Tamp Bay’s sixth straight loss and another third-period meltdown. 

Andrei Kostisyn scored his 10th goal of the season eight minutes into the third period to give the Canadiens a 4-3 lead after the Habs squandered 2-0, 2-1 and 3-1 leads in the second period. Kyle Chipchura and Michael Ryder, with his second of the game, scored the other third-period goals for the Canadiens.

Alex Kovalev, who was presented the Molson Cup for December before the game, opened the scoring on the power play 14 minutes into the opening frame. Christopher Higgins made it 2-0 three minutes later, also with the man advantage.

Vincent Lecavalier got one back for Tampa Bay 49 seconds into the second period on a long outlet pass that was nearly offside, beating Cristobal Huet, who barely moved, with a shot hrough the legs.

Ryder, who appears to be back on track after struggling to find the back of the net for most of the season, scored his first goal of the game to make it 3-1 midway through the second period on a quick snap shot from the wing that beat Tampa Bay goaltender Karri Ramo. He now has six goals on the season.

But that lead didn’t last long as the Lightning got quick goals from Martin St. Louis and Vaclav Prospal to tie the game 3-3 after two periods.

The Canadiens went 2-for-6 with the man advantage, while Tampa Bay was 1-for-5. Huet stopped 30 of the 33 shots he faced. Ramo made 24 saves on 30 shots.

The Washington Capitals and Alexander Ovechkin are in town on Saturday for a matinee that starts at 12:30 p.m.

 

Michael Ryder puts his weight into a shaft-bending slap shot tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Dave Sandford, Getty Images

367 Comments

  1. Chuck says:

    Time to change the ba…

    I think that I’ll use good judgement and stop right there. :)

    .
    .
    .

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

  2. joe-hab-nuno says:

    i’ve seen the bulldog
    Hamilton logo, i forget who uses it.

  3. krob1000 says:

    All these mutts and no Bulldogs…..what kind of Habs site is this anyways.

  4. J.T. says:

    Nah…Jay’s been here forever. He’s only been able to let his inner dog shine shince the site began allowing pictures two months ago!

  5. NEWFOUNDLAND DOG says:

    I love your idea better……….

  6. krob1000 says:

    True that and Ovechkin is young enough to sign for ten or tqwelve years if need be. He is younger than people realize because he is so strong and good. He was born in September of 1985. He would be our fifth youngest player behind (k2, Price, Lats and Chips). Sewrgei is our youngest and Lats is second (and people were giving up on him).

  7. joe-hab-nuno says:

    Nticed that too.
    But I think you where the first dog, i might be wrong.

    :)

  8. krob1000 says:

    It would come from Bouillon (1.875), Brisebois(0.7), Begin(1.3), Dandenault(1.75), Kosto(0.9). Three of those guys would have to go and our depth would be put to the test. We also don’t know what the Huet situation is going to be. I like him but in the back of my mind I wonder if this recent stretch isn’t a showcasing. I think he is our no. 1 and should be next year too but if Gainey does what many of you on here suggest and frees room for a big acquistion (price is signed for three years at (850K) and Sergei K is sgined through 2009-10 at under 600k (what a steal that could be).

  9. J.T. says:

    You’re exactly right that there will only be one chance to bring in a huge gamebreaker that will change the course of the team’s destiny for the better. So, the groundwork had better be laid to provide enough cap space, the right teammates and all the other enticements a player might need. And when the time comes, it must be the right player. As you say, it’s a short list. If Lecavalier were to go UFA in a year and a half, I’d go for him. If not, I’d wait and see if Ovechkin will come over in four years. Outside those guys, there’s no one I can think of for whom it’d be worth breaking the bank. All this overpaying for mid-tier stars is ridiculous. Right now, Tomas Plekanec has more points than Chris Drury, at a fraction of the cost. AND Chris Higgins has more goals that Scott Gomez.

  10. Smart Dog says:

    Okay Missy! forget that negative stuff, and say out loud: “The Habs are gonna kick ass!” Say it until you believe it. You’re messing with our karma.

    ________________________________________________________________
    Be happy! At least the FUTURE looks bright!
    Plekanec, Higgins, Komi, Chips, Lapierre, O’Byrne, K1 &K2, Price

  11. Smart Dog says:

    This site is really going to the dogs.

    ________________________________________________________________
    Be happy! At least the FUTURE looks bright!
    Plekanec, Higgins, Komi, Chips, Lapierre, O’Byrne, K1 &K2, Price

  12. 24 Cups says:

    Or how about – I wish they all could be Habs-Kat girls….

    The Original 24 Cups

  13. 24 Cups says:

    Fair enough – but no trade without a signed long term deal that is agreed upon before the trade goes down. I’m talking at least 7 to 10 years.

    The Original 24 Cups

  14. 24 Cups says:

    I’d give up the picks for Ovechkin especially seeing that having him on the team would mean that we would be in the playoffs for the next four years. The problem is cap space. He’s going to want 9 or 10 mil. We’re not talking Brodeur or Crosby here – money comes before the team with this guy – just ask his Mummy (shades of Lindros?) Without Ryder and Smolinski (next year) we will save $5 mil. Add this to the 3.5 we have now and it’s possible. My concern is where will we get the money to resign guys like Pleks, Komisarek, Higgins, and Price. In the near future they will see themselves as $4 million dollar players – maybe even more.

    The Original 24 Cups

  15. krob1000 says:

    How about a prediction that starts with “Wouldn’t it be nice”??

  16. krob1000 says:

    Those guys aren’t worth the trouble (Gomez, Drury, etc). I think Hossa is a maybe but I wonder about him sometimes. He is pretty darn good but he isn’t skating like he used to. He always amazed me because he never let his legs stop moving even in traffic (like a good running back) and it made up for what he lacked in strength. This year he isn’t moving the same (I have only seem three games but he didn’t look right in any of them).

    I don’t think Washington would be in that bad of shape if they got a package for him. Semin seems to be oveshadowed and is coming back from injury and Backstrom looks like a young Zetterberg. If they got a good package it might make sense…I know I am dreaming but we have to take a stab at him.

  17. 24 Cups says:

    All good points that most of us agree on and have alluded to in the past. BUT the real dilemma is deciding who the big fish should be and what we must give up in terms of players or cap space. All of these new deals seem to be for 6 or 7 years so it’s imperative we don’t make a mistake. We will only get one chance.

    Last year we would have signed Briere and what a huge mistake that would have been. Rangers overpaid for Gomez/Drury and so did other teams for guys like Timonen, Souray, and Kariya. I would imagine that Hossa (UFA) would be the biggest catch available this summer. Will he come to Montreal? What about Ovechkin (RFA)? If he leaves Washington then they might as well move the franchise to KC or Vegas. So I’m just wondering who will be available as an UFA or maybe even a RFA (if Gainey would go that route) this summer? The player must be under 30, 6’2″ or taller, and be a gamer who can score goals when the game is on the line. Should be a short list!

    The Original 24 Cups

  18. Habs_008 says:

    How bout we keep Youppi but add the “Youppiets”! Have some hot girls dancin with Youppi,that way everyone wins.

  19. joe-hab-nuno says:

    you mean bad vibrations

  20. krob1000 says:

    Once they get too good they become unaffordable (see Buffalo). I don’t think those guys are going to be far off and I think that at least three of the five will be semi-stars. Komisarek is not a prospect anymore….he is 25 years old and his time is now. He will be a solid three or four guy and that is a perfect fit as we have our top two but a star…no.

    I ama believer in K2, Higgins, Pleks and K1. We need to gear up now for our next four years as they are our best bet. We cannot wait for year three or four but need to act this offseason. We can be a threat next year…parity is here and we are a years experience and a superstar form being an elite team. We may not win next year but it will tel us a hell of a lot about where we stand.

  21. Habs-Kat says:

    Noooo, first suggesting Koivu get traded and now Youppi? Whats wrong with this city? I love him :(

  22. Smart Dog says:

    Now that’s a smart trade. Maybe we could convince one of those US teams that Youppi is worth something in Canada.

    ________________________________________________________________
    Be happy! At least the FUTURE looks bright!
    Plekanec, Higgins, Komi, Chips, Lapierre, O’Byrne, K1 &K2, Price

  23. Bill H says:

    Hey Dude, what shampoo do you use? Your ‘do looks fantastic. LOL

  24. Smart Dog says:

    Makes sense to protect Higgins and Komi. But those guys are just older so more mature players. I wouldn’t give up Ki or K2 OR Plekanic. I would put money that 4 of the above 5 guys are future star players at least of Koivu-Kovalev stature. Imagine having 5 guys like that on the team at once – especially if one of them breaks out to a higher level. Could be my imagination (or that tuna I had for lunch) but I believe it’s likely.

    ________________________________________________________________
    Be happy! At least the FUTURE looks bright!
    Plekanec, Higgins, Komi, Chips, Lapierre, O’Byrne, K1 &K2, Price

  25. krob1000 says:

    Fair enough but what about David Fischer…last I heard he wasn’t even playing regularly in US college hockey. The odds may be slightly better than they were but outside of the first few can’t miss guys it really is a crap shoot.

    I resepct the Canadiens drafting ability but that just further enhances my belief that we go get a superstar as our depth (and drafting) should maintain the status quo in the foundation building and bring us a real chance with a genuine gamebreaker.

  26. Smart Dog says:

    Whether you are right or not depends largely on whether we have one or more of those game-breakers in our line-up already. I believe we do. My money would be on K1 or K2 though Higgins or Plekanic could also be that guy. Higgins has the size and is on the same sort of growth chart a lot of top players took. Plekanic has both passing and shooting skills, and the smarts to match.

    So I don’t DISAGREE that we need a game-breaking forward. I just think patience will be (finally) rewarded. Sure I could be wrong, but I never have been before. lol!

    ________________________________________________________________
    Be happy! At least the FUTURE looks bright!
    Plekanec, Higgins, Komi, Chips, Lapierre, O’Byrne, K1 &K2, Price

  27. krob1000 says:

    They have only had four first round draft picks since 1996 (Brendan Smith,Jakub Kindl, Nicklas Kronwall and Jiri Fischer).

    I think yes they have some adept scouts but Montreal does too. Our first rounders haven’t be so hot but Plekanec (71st), Markov (162), Halak (270), Ryder 216, Beauschemin (75), O’Byrne (79).

    I guess my point is more related to the concern everyone has with osing forst rounders….sometimes they work out soetimes they don’t. After the first handful of blue chippers (and even tghey miss sometimes)the difference in skill level amongst the next large group of players is minimal and luck and character and a variety of intangibles come into play. These are some of the reasons that I would not hesitate to pull the trigger to get a superstar. For Dustin Penner….not a chance…..for Alexander Ovechkin..in a heartbeat.

  28. J.T. says:

    If it were an earlier era, I’d agree. But with Timmins, you can’t look at picks like rolls of the dice anymore. He’s too good and the players he picks work out very often. Already, Pacioretty and McDonagh are doing very well in college and Subban and Weber in the OHL, just from last year’s draft. If half the promising guys he picks pan out, the Habs’ future is looking great. I wouldn’t mortgage that for a single player…even Ovechkin…when he can be got for just money in four years.

  29. J.T. says:

    Good scouting, but also luck. You don’t get those kinds of picks to work out without luck. Habs got lucky with Markov too. Time will tell if S.Kosty is another steal.

  30. NEWFOUNDLAND DOG says:

    What could we get for Yupee? Maybe some hot Cheerleaders…

  31. joe-hab-nuno says:

    I think Crosby has the same thinking as Brodeur. He could have sighen for alot more but chose to take what he thought was an acceptable (8.7)pay in order to get the missing pieces for the futureorder

  32. krob1000 says:

    No neither is a dynasty team and that is what I was agreeing about…they are about as close as a team can get anymore and neither of them ever wins (apologies to the Yzerman led Wings of several years now back).

  33. joe-hab-nuno says:

    15 yrs would be too long, i was thinking around 7 or 8 yrs.

  34. Jay_in_PA says:

    While I wouldn’t characterize Detroit, Colorado, and NJ as dynasties, I would call them close. Those three teams account for eight of the ten Cups won between ’93-94 and ’02-03, and, if memory serves, all tended to reach far into the playoffs in the years they didn’t win.

    I think you raise an interesting question, though. In Brodeur’s book, he talks about taking less pay than he could have made through free agency so that the team could sign other players and remain competitive. The fact that jumping to another team with less of a focus on defense would potentially draw comparisons to Jim Carey’s disastrous move from Washington to Boston somehow didn’t make it into his narrative, as I recall. I could see a situation in which a good GM could build a culture on his team to sacrifice some salary relative to free agency so as to be on a dominant team that could seriously compete for the Cup on a regular basis. If the talent was obviously there and the players recognized the trade-off, it’s not impossible–playing for a winning team has value, too. On the other hand, with players eager to make all they can while they can, it’s a long shot.

  35. Habs-Kat says:

    Lucky or just having the best scouting in the league?

  36. krob1000 says:

    Those are some of our draft picks that worked out….what about all of the first rounders that haven’t. How about Brent Bilodeau,David Wilkie,Brad Brown, Terry Ryan, MAtt Higgins,Jason Ward and Eric Chouinard. Since 1991 the only good first round choices we have made are Higgins, Komisarek, Koivu, Hainsey (we let him go) and Perezhogin (we lost him too). If we could get Ovechkin for draft picks….I like our chances.

  37. mrstewart61 says:

    I’d have to think long and hard about that one.
    How about Plek, A. Kostitsyn, O’Byrne, 1st?

  38. Cable Guy says:

    If he signed for like a 15 year contract I would absolutely pull the trigger on that. The guys a friggin superstar in Washington! He has no one to play with there thats any good other then Semin. Imagine a line of Ovechkin, Kovalev and AK47, they would be unstoppable.

  39. J.T. says:

    I added a corollary for Detroit: they got freakishly lucky with Datsyuk and Zetterberg. Ottawa has their top three, goaltending issues and not a lot of secondary scoring. They’re strong, but they’re no dynasty team.

    I think Ovechkin *is* worth at least three young, productive NHLers. But I think Higgins, Plekanec and Komisarek are better than the average young, productive NHLer. They’re already emerging as young stars, and stand to get better. I wouldn’t make that trade either.

  40. krob1000 says:

    The talent is there and the cap is a factor but expansion is the real culprit. You are right and the Sens and Red ings are about as close to modern day dynasties as you’ll get. The Red Wings like you mentioned won the lottery in the draft…twice…. and they have arguably the best defenseman to ever play.

    What you can do is build the foundation (as I believe Bob has done….and properly from the back end out I might add) and then you need to acquire a guy or two who is just a winner. Whether that be via draft (least unlikely given we never really suck that bad), free agent or RFA (overpriced but an option), or trade (so difficult that it will likely only happen during the offseason so teams have time to make adjustments and prepare) it doesn’t matter. Somehow it needs to happen. The decision Bob faces is which way gives us the best three year window to take real runs at the cup and does the least damage to the foundation he has built.

    We have cap space…..we have young guys capable of stepping in and taking jobs from more expensive guys right now (organizational depth). We have a strong nucleus of semi-star talent that is set to peak in the next two to four year window (my guess as our best chance that I can remember). I honestly think that we can be legitiamatea next year if we get a superstar but definitely in two years. This offseason is crucial for us and I don’t know how people aren’t thinking we need more than what we have as I thought I was the most optimistic one on here not named Ian. That is not meant to disrespect any of our players but our best players are not going to peak with our youth.

    It is imperative that we catch a big fish in the offseason and I am optimistic that management sees things the same way. I know Koivu does, Gainey seems to have given his attempts last year, Carbo….well just give him 23 defenseman and watch him go (just joking!). The only real unknown is the committment of ownership and the willingness of someone to willing to live or die in the pressure cooker that is Montreal. If Ovechkin has expressed some hint of interest then it only stands to reason that we will try. Gainey will not do something stupid but he will try and do something. Who else wants to play here that is of that calibre??? He would be foolish not to inquire seriously.

    You are right we can be a “good” team or we can be a “great” team by acquiring a great player. I am not saying to pull a Tampa and overpay three guys (by the way they won when they were affordable which makes it that much more difficult for us).

  41. madhabsfan says:

    I disagree dog. While I agree that we need to stay the exciting course of our youth movement, I think we will still need that game-breaking goal-scorer to compete with the NHL’s elite top teams like Ottawa and Detroit, especially down the stretch. Though I realize that the days of wheeling and dealing are over in the NHL, a big acquisition at the trade deadline could only help this team. Though some might disagree with me now, they will change their minds next time we play one of these teams and get crushed.

  42. 24 Cups says:

    1:30 on TSN.

    The Original 24 Cups

  43. joe-hab-nuno says:

    I think i would, only if he signed a long term contract.

  44. Hoegarden says:

    Indeed, the players you mention are surplus. I believe BG will hang on to them for the rest of the year, for reasons similar to the Brisebois deal (insurance). However, I foresee a cleanup this summer, especially in Hamilton, where at least 4 or 5 of them are now pegged as AHL lifers.
    The Habs have a new crop of Juniors and College grads ready to step in and room has to be made for them. We’re in good hands I say.

  45. Smart Dog says:

    That plus American expansion (too much) has made the Dynasty a thing of the past.

    And you CAN have a strong team with a big-name star or two. Look at Ottawa, Detroit. Or you can have a strong balanced team and have some home-grown stars like Buffalo did.. and like Montreal (knock wood) may be on the road too. When it comes down to it, you end up saying is Ovechkin worth 3 or 4 players. I don’t think so.

    QUESTION:
    If you could pull the trigger RIGHT NOW, would you trade Higgins, Plekanic, and Komiserik for Ovechkin?

    I wouldn’t.

    ________________________________________________________________
    Be happy! At least the FUTURE looks bright!
    Plekanec, Higgins, Komi, Chips, Lapierre, O’Byrne, K1 &K2, Price

  46. fuhgawz says:

    dude lol i am from saskatchewan …. it is noon here

    ____________________________________________________
    if your not a Canadiens fan how can you say you like hockey?

  47. The Teacher says:

    You just don’t like Huet, we all know that now. No need to say bad move every time he is in net. If you have a different opinion, don’t resort to calling me a female anatomy part this time. Thank you.

  48. J.T. says:

    All the talk of Ovechkin and the Habs has me thinking. These days it seems you can either have a good *team*, like Buffalo was last year…or you can have a big star or two with a weaker team behind him, like Tampa. (The third option of getting absurdly lucky in the draft and gaining yourself two big stars without sacrificing the rest of the team, as Detroit has done, doesn’t count for mortal teams.) That’s why dynasties can’t happen anymore under the cap. Just look at the last few dynasties in the leauge…Isles, Oilers and Habs. They were *teams* of stars. The best of them all, ’70s Habs, had Dryden, the Big Three, Cournoyer, Shutt, Lafleur, Lemaire, Mahovlich and Gainey. In today’s terms, that would be like having Brodeur, Pronger, Lidstrom, Neidermayer, Lecavalier, Thornton, Iginla, Heatley and Lehtonen all on the same team. Imagine!

  49. NEWFOUNDLAND DOG says:

    Get back to work and stop wasting company time and money……LOL………

  50. mar-lin says:

    I agree with you Smart Dog, I would also add that if along the way we are able to aquire a top notch FA to add to our riches then so be it. We’ve done a decent job in draft (i know people here are 50/50 on that) and now would be a good time to trade for more picks. Then taking those picks and possibly using them to get better ones is down right crafty!

    Maybe we’re strong in one area but week in another (in regards to our dogs team) trading for picks would even us out and better secure our future.

    Anyway as far as Dogs go you are indeed a Smart one.

    cheers

    gohabsgo

  51. Smart Dog says:

    I didn’t say we have a surplus of stars – but we do have a surplus of NHL players because we’ve (successfully) brought up so many young players. Halak or Huet – one of the two stays, the other is surplus. Ryder may be deemed ‘surplus’, Begin, Smolinski…

    ________________________________________________________________
    Be happy! At least the FUTURE looks bright!
    Plekanec, Higgins, Komi, Chips, Lapierre, O’Byrne, K1 &K2, Price


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