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

Lineups | Preview | Game Story | Game Summary | Event Summary | Boxscore | Boone Post-Mortem | Fisher column

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. 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.

  2. 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!!

  3. 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.

  4. mrstewart61 says:

    Who is Brunnstrom?

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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?

  12. 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!

  13. 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!!

  14. 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

  15. cautiousoptimist says:

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

  16. G-Man says:

    Sounds like yet another concpiracy theory! 🙂


  17. 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???

  18. 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…

  19. N.B.habs fan says:

    Hey guys..check out The Blues on our goaldies ,,interesting.

  20. krob1000 says:

    Atlanta G.M. Waddell was at the game on Sunday… were several other scouts but given Hossa’s status I have read a viariety of rumours hinting at Hossa for Ryder, Dandenault or Bouillon and who knows what. Halak being sent down, Ryder in teh press box and Dandy being unhappy make this a possibility but there are just so many rumours now. These rumours are fun but as every day passes and we remain near the top of the standings I can’t help but think something big IS going to happen. I don’t know who but we are being linked to virtually every big name out there and there has to be some reason for that.

  21. Trashknob says:

    Thrashers just removed Hossa’s info from their website. The two GMs had a talk yesterday. I smell TRADE!!

    Hossa for Ryder and who?

    please update if you hear anything … is anyone looking into this?

    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!!

  22. Roy-Rules says:

    Does anyone have a link to be able to watch tonights game online? I live in Alberta and don’t get RDS.

  23. nick says:

    Hey – sorry to change the subject of tonights game, but i’ve been hearing alot of talk surrounding trades between Atlanta and Montreal. Originally i had hear talks of Ryder, but more and more i’m hearing Dandenaults name. Anyone hearing anything?

  24. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    Can’t believe we have Sergie Kosty locked up for 3 years at that price!
    give the kid a raise!
    ….cap room looks good moving forward
    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

  25. showey47 says:

    lol, good idea to do most of the drinking pre-game. My bro lives about 10 mins from the scotiabank place, if i can score some tickets i may go and have a place to crash to boot.

  26. coutNY says:

    Gets his cast off Friday probably a week or 2 over rehab there after before he will be available.

  27. Woah_Dana says:

    Exactly. I mean, if the Laffs can take out the Sens, I’d really have no fear. But Sunday instilled some fear in me & I hope it worked for the best in regards to the team.

    GO HABS!
    ~Sergei Kostitsyn, marry me!!

  28. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    I can’t believe some of the tree huggers on here saying that KOVY should have gotten a suspension!….PLAY SOME HOCKEY AND LEARN WHAT HAPPENS ON THE ICE!

    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

  29. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    Go with 5 Defense.


    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

  30. Habhopeful says:

    The Boxer on Emery’s Mask is George Chuvalo, an old retired Canadian Boxer, he originally had Tyson on it, but the league made him change it cause it was contraversial at the time because of his rape charges…

  31. Xtrahabsfan says:

    You can thank the Islanders for that one,spitting flu goo all over the rink.

  32. Corio says:

    I am only experiencing plain fear due to the insane loss against the Rangers.. talk about rocking the confidence foundations!

  33. Xtrahabsfan says:

    Agree 200%,that goon got his and no penilty call,lol……….

  34. Corio says:

    Where the hell is O’Byrne! 🙁 SAY NO TO BRISEBOIS!

  35. JF says:

    RDS is reporting that Hamrlik could miss tonight’s game because of the flu. In that case I guess Brisebois would be back in the line-up.

  36. Woah_Dana says:

    Lol, pre-drinking my friend, come along!

    I’m definitely going to fill up before the game in Ottawa this Saturday, but I think I’m going to have ONE beer at the centre, just to enjoy a beer at a live hockey game. That’s if a Sens fan doesn’t throw one at me first.. 🙂

    GO HABS!
    ~Sergei Kostitsyn, marry me!!

  37. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    About Kovalev’s message (hullwig)….and the passion that we have to bring to the ice.

    What Kovalev did was PERFECT. IT WAS HOCKEY 101…that is what you do to those ANIMALS.

    Kovalev should get a medal for that.

    Its called defending yourself, watching on TV you don’t see or hear a fraction of what happens on the ice…and what led up to that.

    Its not the first time that KOVY has sent a message, don’t Fu** with me.

    Gainey and Lafleur did that same hit ONE MILLION TIMES in their careers.
    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

  38. G-Man says:

    Amen, brother.


  39. showey47 says:

    lmfao, thats an expensive drunk at $9.50 a beer.

  40. Woah_Dana says:

    Probably ’cause they’re all half in the bag & can’t tell time.

    GO HABS!
    ~Sergei Kostitsyn, marry me!!

  41. Woah_Dana says:

    Habsolutely. You can’t gel as a line without figuring out eachothesr strengths & weaknesses & getting a feel for the players your skating with. If something goes wrong, you remember it for next time. How can you do that when NEXT time, you’re skating with a different crew & have to learn all over again? It’s got to be stressful on the players.

    GO HABS!
    ~Sergei Kostitsyn, marry me!!

  42. 24 Cups says:

    Dana – I would also like to see Carbo leave the lines intact for the entire game. Don’t keep shuffling the deck of cards at the first sign of duress.

    The Original 24 Cups

  43. showey47 says:

    i hate it when the bell center fans start singing that song, why can’t they just wait till the game is over?

  44. Woah_Dana says:

    That song is a jinx. We should all watch the game with hockey tape over our mouths until there are only seconds left. I’m sure it would be better for the youth surrounding us, too. I know the ‘F’ words were flying in my house on Sunday afternoon. I can just imagine the BC.

    GO HABS!
    ~Sergei Kostitsyn, marry me!!

  45. JF says:

    I think if they didn’t learn that lesson Sunday, they won’t any time soon.

  46. Woah_Dana says:

    Likewise. It would be nice if Carbo had a closed door meeting in parallel.
    Last time we *almost* beat Ottawa we got too comfortable with a two goal lead & guess what happened as a result?
    We need to skate at full speed for the full 60 minutes & Huet needs to get ready to breakdance & stand on his head.

    If Sunday afternoon didn’t serve as a lesson, I don’t know what will.

    GO HABS!
    ~Sergei Kostitsyn, marry me!!

  47. showey47 says:

    I’m excited but also concerned that the players may take this one too lightly because alfredsson and heatly won’t be there. I just hope there was a serious lesson learned sunday afternoon

  48. Woah_Dana says:

    I’m really looking forward to tonight’s game – I totally have butterflies in my stomach. Anyone else experiencing this? lol..

    We CAN & we WILL do this!!!!

    GO HABS!
    ~Sergei Kostitsyn, marry me!!

  49. Woah_Dana says:

    Oh man, I have to admit watching that video is bittersweet. It’s horrible to see little Kosti rammed into the glass by Hollweg, from behind not to mention.. but it’s so beautiful when you see all those red-clad men jump his ass! What a band of brothers! It makes me feel all warm & fuzzy inside!

    GO HABS!
    ~Sergei Kostitsyn, marry me!!

  50. RS says:

    I could be wrong, but I thought that he now has Muhammad Ali on his mask. But he did have Tyson before. I think at one point he had Jack Johnson on his mask. I’m not a boxing fan, but I certainly respect Ali and Johnson for more than their boxing skills. Putting Tyson in the same category is rather dubious.

  51. 24 Cups says:

    Don’t worry about it – this is just a silly story from the Sun chain of newspapers that has no validity behind it whatsoever. It was also in the Toronto Sun on Sunday. The hockey writers needed to compete for space with the Super Bowl hoopla.

    The Original 24 Cups

  52. coutNY says:

    For fact-rattling-sake Laffs facing a No. 2 goalie around 40% of their games this season.

  53. Bill H says:

    Bang on mjames. #1 – #4 are absolutely correct. BG doesn’t have a history of signing rental players or giving away draft picks. So I really don’t think we have to worry about this one.

  54. mjames says:

    Gainey should be fired if he ever made such a one way trade. This would go down as one of the worst trades ever by the Habs. If you think Nashville and Atlanta got fleeced last year this would trade would be worse.

    (1) MCDonough is your top 4 D man that every one has been screaming for. He is supposed to be a cross between Markov and Komi.
    (2)This year’s draft is supposed to be the best in years.
    (3) Higgins will be at least a 30 goal scorer during his career, plus he is a character guy.
    (4) Even if we could keep Sundin, he would ruin our salary structure remembering we need money to sign all our other UFA.


  55. Puck Bard says:

    I wouldn’t be looking for an easy win tonight. Remember when Sid was out of the lineup?

    That went well.

  56. RH says:

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to say. Can you find a link that will show Emery’s mask? Maybe then, I could figure out what you’re point is. Or, you could just tell me.

  57. RH says:

    I hate to say it but, even I’m getting frustrated with his lack of production. Alas, my man Ryder, will ultimately be relegated to eating hot dogs again, tonight. Such a waste of a wicked shot.

  58. RH says:

    I think the freezing weather, in that city, has frozen the brains of those at the Sun.

  59. mrstewart61 says:

    IMHO, too much to give away for a rental player. Then next year Toronto will have Sundin, Higgins, McDonough and another.

  60. stephen says:

    For what could ultimately (likely?) be a rental, there is no way I would give up Higgins and/or McDonough.

    Sundin is brilliant, but he is also nearing the end of his career, and could very well sign back with the Leafs in the summer.

    Higgins, McDonough, and a 1st rounder is far too much to give up on what might amount to be a few months of Sundin’s employment. Even if, for whatever reason, Sundin were to sign an extension with the Habs, I still feel his time with the team would not offset the loss of Higgins, etc.

    The Habs in the potential sweepstakes is an intriguing prospect, though…

  61. Ironfist says:

    What does everyone think of this? Taken from Sunday’s Edmonton Sun:

    Toronto C Mats Sundin to Montreal for LW Chris Higgins, prospect C Ryan McDonough and a No. 1 pick in 2008: Leafs Nation might think this is nuts, but if Sundin approves a trade, don’t rule out the Habs being in on the sweepstakes. Interim Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher has a strong relationship with Habs counterpart Bob Gainey and wouldn’t be afraid to move the captain to a Northeast Division rival. Higgins would give the Leafs some immediate help, McDonough, Montreal’s top pick in 2007, is a strong prospect and the No. 1 pick could fill a need.

  62. projectpete19 says:

    Here is the link

    Two other players will also removed so im not sure if it means anything

  63. HJ says:

    so is Brisecrap playing tonight? if he is, let the booing begin!

  64. krob1000 says:

    You could be very right. One of the other teams also rumoured to be interested in Hossa is the Rangers. Waddell got a two for one. I am sure there at least five serious possibilities Atlanta is looking at as you said.

  65. Woah_Dana says:

    Tres cool! Hope you make it! Me & my dad (TommyB) are driving from the Niagara Falls area. We’re crazy. Haha.

    GO HABS!
    ~Sergei Kostitsyn, marry me!!

  66. Sulemaan says:

    Timo, we could dress 12 defensemen and I’d still want to sit Brisebois.
    Even if it meant calling up (Carle, Valentenko, Bouchard, Subban, McDonough, Fischer and some guy from the ECHL).

  67. Trashknob says:

    I’m not normally one to give much of any credence to rumours (seriously) but this one is VERY interesting. I just heard Marinaro mention something on the Team to boot – not that that means anything either, mind you…

    For one it makes sense if the Habs have been able to speak with him to insure resigning him after this season. Gainey’s gotta be thinking about post-kovalev in addition to this year. Hossa is 28 and could be with us for the next few years as Kovy and Koivu either die down or leave. Everyone knows he’d be a GREAT fit with this team right now. Plus the Thrashers probably want to make up for last season’s trade deadline debacle. If they ain’t signing Hossa and they KNOW it – they’re DEFINITELY moving him for young talent they can keep.

    If this happens, I say look for O’Byrne, Ryder, and another prospect to be thrown in. I sincerely hope we hold on to Higgins though.

    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!!

  68. mrstewart61 says:

    I think it would be best for him and the team. I wish he was playing as a 30 goal scorer this year, but that doesn’t look like it’s gonna happen.

  69. Cable Guy says:

    There’s no way Gainey would make that trade.

  70. downeast hab says:

    I hope Ryder is put back in the lineup tonight,mainly to relish is last few games in a Montreal appears in all likelyhood he will be traded by the deadline.I am a fan of the habs and also of Ryder, but I have come to relize that he doesnt fit into Carbos plans.And rather than see him dwindled down to the role that he is playing now,I would like to see what he would accomplish with a team that would give him another chance. I will use an example of another Newfoundland player by the name of Cleary. He started off good, then went into a rout, but with a different coaching system he has found is form again with Detroit.Maybe Ryder will follow the same fate.

  71. Guy21 says:

    I find it hard to believe that anyone could have the ‘Dog’ as his hero… Emery using Tyson on his mask. Take your time and put all the letters in each word…(your is only four letters)……its hard for us old folks to head that kind of typing.


  72. G-Man says:

    I don’t think there will be any danger of the Habs easing up on the gas pedal tonight. Should be a hard fought 4-2 win, but you never know with that bleeping Neil. He produces zilch against most clubs, but has multiple point games against us. I hope that Huet is ready and able, not tired and out of gas. He is just plain playing too much.


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