Game 54: Habs hold on to close gap on Sens

Canadiens defenceman Mark Streit celebrates with teammate Alexei Kovalev after his second-period goal on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.
Pierre Obendrauf, Gazette

Updated by The Gazette’s Kevin Mio

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It was a lot closer than it had to be, but the Canadiens managed to hold on for a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre on Tuesday night.

Ottawa jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when Chris Kelly scored only 2:42 into the game after Cristobal Huet mishandled the puck behind his net.

But the Habs rallied after that with goals by Andrei Kostitsyn, on the power play, and Tomas Plekanec before the first period was over to grab a 2-1 lead.

Mark Streit padded the Montreal lead when he scored with a slap shot that whistled over Martin Gerber’s shoulder for a 3-1 Canadiens lead eight minutes into the second period. Plekanec added his second of the game, and 19th of the season, at the midway point of the frame by banking a shot off Gerber’s shoulder from the side of the net.

As was the case on Sunday, the Habs let a three-goal lead slip away.

The Senators scored two quick goals in the third period to narrow the gap to 4-3. Jason Spezza scored less than three minutes into the period and Joe Corvo banked a shot off a Canadiens defender during a power play for Ottawa’s third goal.

But unlike Sunday, the Canadiens held their ground and maintained their lead.

The Sens outshot the Habs 29-26. Montreal went 2-for-4 on the power play, while Ottawa managed only one goal on four opportunities with the man advantage.

With the victory, the Canadiens close to within one point of the Senators for first place in the Northeast Division and the Eastern Conference. The two teams will meet again on Saturday, this time in Ottawa.


  1. Bill H says:

    habsgod, if you scroll down about 10-15 posts, you will find discussion on the trade rumours. I can see how these rumours get started. Atlanta GM watches a Habs-NYR game. So right away there are rumours of a Habs-Atlanta trade. But what about NYR? We don’t know if the GM was watching Habs or NYR. And how many other games has the Atlanta GM watched in the last 2 weeks. Sure, maybe a Ryder for Hossa trade is one possibility among 5 other serious possibilities that Atlanta is looking at. Honestly, I think they can get more than Ryder for Hossa. Even with one or two extras thrown in to sweeten the deal, I think Atlanta could do better. But who knows, maybe Dandenault and Bouillon are more valuable to a team like Atlanta than they are to the Habs.

  2. coutNY says:

    Late blooming Swede over in the EURO league that I think if I am not mistaken The laffs had a chance to get cheap but Fergesen didn’t want to take a chance on giving him a roster position… now he’s the garnering a huge amount of attention in a teams trying to convince him to come to the NHL.

    I guess Krob beat me to it…. should of refreshed!

  3. krob1000 says:

    Type in Fabian Brunnstrom on google and you will see tons of articles speculating about the different teams that have expresses an interest in him.

  4. HABZ 24 says:

    with sens missing 2 of big 3 and habs losing sunday, we should be primed and ready to take this one.hossa would be great in mtl.maybe we can afford to trade kovey and a draft pick, but weve gotta keep our younger players, there the future. go habs go!! kick the sens ass!!

  5. krob1000 says:

    He is a late bloomer playing in the Swedish Elite League right now considered by many to be the best player not in the NHL (according to what I read anyway). The Red Wings, Leafs and Canucks are supposedly the front runners in landing him but I am sure given he wouldn’t cost anything but money we surely have inquired.

  6. mrstewart61 says:

    Who is Brunnstrom?

  7. HAB-PROFESSOR says:


    check out the video called “THE KOVALEV EFFECT”

    BRILLIANT WORK!!!!!..carb calls Kovalev a FATHER FIGURE!!!!
    1. Thank GOD we have Alex Kovalev… his PRIME
    2. The BELL CENTRE should be rebuilt to sit 80,000 fans
    3. Your not a Hab fan till you watch & UNDERSTAND “The Rocket”
    4. We will win the CUP in 2009

  8. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    agreed – only improvements are welcomed.

    Hossa and a pick for Ryder, Halak and a pick….not sure if we need to throw in a defenseman from the dogs?

    as I said above, it explains why RYDER has been sitting.
    1. Thank GOD we have Alex Kovalev… his PRIME
    2. The BELL CENTRE should be rebuilt to sit 80,000 fans
    3. Your not a Hab fan till you watch & UNDERSTAND “The Rocket”
    4. We will win the CUP in 2009

  9. Les-Habitants says:

    Man, I love eBAY…me and a buddy just got tickets to the game tonight!! While it can no longer be billed as battle for no.1 in the East, it’s a huge statement game against arguably the best team in the east…albeit, without their top 2 forwards, and maybe their best d-man (Phillips).

    That makes it all the more crucial that we win, sending the message that we are to be taken seriously.

    On a side note: I really, really, REALLY didn’t like how Halak was treated during his stay here. He didn’t get to play one game, and as soon as the possibility opens up he is sent back down. We can’t afford to treat our prospects, let alone one of our better ones, like that. Halak should have played in the Islanders game since a) Huet could have used the rest (4 games in 6 nights) b) Halak had earned it with his AHL performance.

    Price should have started, and stayed in the AHL for the entire season, learning to cope with being a starter in an 82 game schedule. The travel and ware of being a pro in his first season, these lessons would have been better learned in Hamilton while Halak had earned his right to be in the NHL with his great performance last season, his AHL performance this season, and that he has more pro-experience then Price…if not the same pedigree

  10. krob1000 says:

    Here is one possible conspiracy theory. Gainey would not trade for Hossa if he did not know he could sign him…..I hope. We do not need rentals but upgrades are welcome with open arms. Let’s just suppose this was true it would take time to talk to Hossa’s agent and get some sort of confirmation that way. It would also make sense to not allow Ryder to play and risk injury although a deal may not be official. They would want a defensive prospect (likely Fischer, Mcdonagh or O’Byrne). I would figure we would want to keep O’Byrne and Mcdonagh is probably untouchable. Dandenault or Bouillon may or may not be involved….I like both but they make big bucks for the roles they play here. In Atlanta they would play larger roles and the salary would be more suitable.

    Hossa will mean a big salary so I think Gainey would need to unload some. The other possibility is Halak. Atlanta’s biggest weakness right now is actually between the pipes…..just happens to be our deepest area. We have so much surplus talent right now and to think we are not seriously shopping is naive. I beleive there was substance to the Tanguay stuff and this one too. I also believe we have inquired about Forsberg, Brunnstrom and Jokinen. Talking by no means equates to a trade but those are the guys that I believe we have targeted. Sundin would be too weird and I can’t see that one but all of the others that are being speculated about make sense to some degree.

    Gainey won’t make a boneheaded move….it’s either a good move or no move so everyone need not get their backs up when this subject comes up.

  11. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    Well that would be the only LOGICAL explanation for sitting RYDER lately…

    so we lose a “Canadian Sniper” and gain another that may fit in well with our Euro elite top 2 lines


    its an improvement, we have to admit.

    1. Thank GOD we have Alex Kovalev… his PRIME
    2. The BELL CENTRE should be rebuilt to sit 80,000 fans
    3. Your not a Hab fan till you watch & UNDERSTAND “The Rocket”
    4. We will win the CUP in 2009

  12. Bill H says:

    Thanks for that link krob. I haven’t been putting much stock in rumours that Habs would be in the market for UFAs this year. Generally, they are for sale for draft picks and prospects. In other words, sell your future for some short term relief today. I don’t think Gainey is likely to get suckered into that kind of game.

    A Hossa for Ryder trade would not be a sell out, but I can’t see it happening either. From a Habs point of view, getting a UFA who is a proven and currently performing scorer in exchange for someone who is in a season long slump, even if we can’t sign him, we come out ahead. Adding Dandenault, who is not really contributing much, is just creating room under the salary cap. Bouillon’s hitting would be missed, but let’s face it, he’s certainly not top 4, and we have no shortage of D-men.

    The reason I can’t see it happening is because I think Atlanta could get more for Hossa elsewhere (although his value as a rental would be depressed due to his reputation for disappearing in the playoffs).

    Hossa has been pretty low on my list of desirable trades, but at that price, Gainey should go for it, if there is any truth to the rumour.

  13. habsgod says:

    hi everyone!i just logged on here today!!i didn’t read some of the posts yet but is there any talk about the trade between atlanta and us!if so who’s going to the thrashers and is it hossa that would be coming to us?

  14. coutNY says:

    I’d imagine well see Cube filling in for a lot of Hamrlik’s minutes. He’s pretty solid fundimentals, but what worries me is the lack of size against their strong forwards ie Fisher and Vermettte, who have been under scrutiny by Paddak over the weekend for a lack of heart… citting the Habs as an example to follow! Look for them to take out some frustrations tonight!

  15. Trashknob says:

    They’ve removed his pic from the main page – it now only has Kovalchuck?! The Team is talking about this as well … not sure about the frenchies but probably them too.

    I got 40 to 1 odds they’d make it to the cup final at the beginning of the season. WHO’S LAUGHING NOW??? KO HABS KO!!

  16. Ed says:

    Has anyone heard the projected lineup for tonight’s game. TSN is showing the same lineup as last game, plus Huet is starting. For those few who say Price performed poorly in Hamilton, he stopped 45 of 46 shots in the last 2 games he played. It sounds to me like he is okay. Here is the information from TSN’s Ice Chips:

    “Cristobal Huet makes his 13th straight start (8-3-1 during that stretch). Roman Hamrlik got sent home and sick with the flu. He is out tonight. Carey Price returns to Montreal to backup Huet. He was 6-4 with a 2.69 GAA and .896 SVP in his Hamilton stint, but allowed one goal on 46 shots in two games last weekend. With Toronto on tap on Thursday, Guy Carbonneau says there’s a possibility that Price will get the call (given his 3-0 record against the Leafs), adding they wouldn’t have recalled him if he wasn’t going to play. – TSN

    Projected Lines vs. Senators
    Higgins – Koivu – S. Kostitsyn
    A. Kostitsyn – Plekanec – Kovalev
    Latendresse – Lapierre – Dandenault
    Begin – Smolinski – Kostopoulos
    Markov – Komisarek
    Gorges – Streit
    Bouillon – Brisebois

  17. cautiousoptimist says:

    Boo! Sacrificing a certain long-term future for a risky short-term one isn’t Bob’s style, thank god!

  18. G-Man says:

    Sounds like yet another concpiracy theory! :)


  19. coutNY says:

    There are some posters on the Thrasher’s blog speculating because his photo which allegidly was removed from the Main page layout which now only features Kovalchuk??? Theydid not remove him from the roster or anything. Not sure how that automatically signals trade anyhow since I don’t think GM Don Waddel consults with the NHL team page during trades???

  20. Habhopeful says:

    Trashknob, What website are you seeing this on cause im the official thrashers website and his info is still there, so im not sure what your talking about…

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