Game 55: Habs lose, Ottawa three points up

Canadiens defenceman Patrice Brisebois throws a hair-raising check on Toronto’s Darcy Tucker.
Christinne Muschi, Reuters

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You knew the Toronto Maple Leafs weren’t going to stink out the joint as they did two night ago at home, 8-0 losers to the Florida Panthers.

And you knew the Canadiens knew they were in for a fight, as they always are when their perennial rival comes to visit.

So Montreal now heads to Ottawa for a Saturday date against the Senators, having dropped a 4-2 Bell Centre decision tonight to the not-dead-yet Maple Leafs.

With a victory and a Senators loss at home to Florida, the Canadiens would have taken over top spot in the Eastern Conference. But the Senators won 5-4, and coupled with the Habs loss pull three points ahead of Montreal.

The loss tonight evened the season series at three wins apiece. It was Canadiens goaltender Carey Price’s first defeat against the Maple Leafs, having beaten them the past three meetings this season.

Montreal outshot Toronto 36-28 but ran into Vesa Toskala, a hot goalie who was named first star on the night.

Tomas Plekanec, centring the Canadiens premier line, got the Canadiens on the scoreboard at 11:09, scoring his 20th of the season to equal his output of last season in just his 55th game this year.

Plekanec had a yawning Leafs net to shovel the puck home, fed by Alex Kovalev who deflected an Andrei Markov pass from the blue line, then took a second stab at it through a Toronto defender’s skates to set up his centreman parked at the edge of Toskala’s crease.

Toronto’s Chris Newberry tied it with a one-timed blast past Price at 17:24, fed by teammate Dominic Moore who outmuscled Canadiens defenceman Mark Streit along the boards.

Darcy Tucker, Public Enemy No. 1 on most visiting rinks he plays, was left unattended by Canadiens defenceman Patrice Brisebois at 1:24 of the second period, sneaking in front of Price to take a passout from Matt Stajan to bang in the goal that put the visitors up 2-1.

Kyle Wellwood then stretched the lead to 3-1 at 19:36, banging a rebound past Price on the power play with Sergei Kostitsyn serving a hooking penalty, the Canadiens’ first penalty of the remarkably tame game.

Kovalev brought the Canadiens to within one with a shorthanded goal, on a fine head-man pass from Plekanec at 6:20 of the third after a goal-saving effort by defenceman Josh Gorges, who continues to play well on the Montreal blue line. Plekanec sent the Russian on a breakaway, Kovalev scoring on a nifty backhand deke for his 25th goal of the season.

That gave Kovalev, the night’s second star, three goals and five assists in his last four games.

Tucker then hit the vacated Canadiens net with 29 seconds remaining to round out the scoring.

485 Comments

  1. The Teacher says:

    Hahaha, interesting theory ;)

  2. Ed says:

    Would it not also make sense that Tanguay not play? Another rumour with no substance.

  3. coutNY says:

    Is this Stubbs, scheming to drum up some mid-day posts to win some side bet with Boone that he get more post per day? Contraversy sells..LOL

  4. The Teacher says:

    Amen to THAT!

  5. habfan53 says:

    It’s not like Savard in his later years, Houle thoughout his tenure or Savard gave him anybody to lead.

  6. jew4jah says:

    he’s saying that they were just waiting for obyrne’s thumb to heal before pulling the trigger on the whole deal.

  7. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    we need BOUILLON tonight…he is KEY against the leafs…

    this is a big blow if he cannot play.
    ———
    1. Thank GOD we have Alex Kovalev…..at his PRIME
    2. The BELL CENTRE should be rebuilt to sit 80,000 fans
    3. Your’re not a Hab fan till you watch & UNDERSTAND “The Rocket”
    4. We will win the CUP in 2009

  8. habfan53 says:

    That was out on 110% last night and Marc DeFoy pointed out it’s funny how Tangauy keeps playing and that Tanguay’s father has said over and over that Alex does not want to be part of the media circus in Montreal.

  9. Ed says:

    Right you are. I had forgotten about that.

  10. The Teacher says:

    boy, oh boy…

  11. habfan53 says:

    I agree But you and I both know it is going to happen.

  12. Ed says:

    Koivu is a class act, and it is hard to believe the things that some so called fans say about him. He has given his all to Montreal’s team and city. He deserves to hold the Cup, and I wish him the best wherever he plays. Hopefully, he will raise it soon in Montreal, whether it’s this year or next.

  13. coutNY says:

    Streit was already back on D…. and Breezer was filling for Hamrlik. That would mean we call-up or try Dandy back?

  14. showey47 says:

    streit is already playing defence with hamrlik out with the flu, i wonder if dandy may play his first game on defence,or rush obyrne back or bring up valentenko

  15. G-Man says:

    The Habs have a hallowed past. Koivu has led the Habs to nowhere. ‘Nuff said.

    Gilbert

  16. The Teacher says:

    Yawn, stupid is as stupid does.

    Komi isn’t stupid. That answer your question?

  17. coutNY says:

    Can I get a witness… Amen brother.

  18. G-Man says:

    The old “anonymous source” rumor mill- Ryder is not playing because he and O’Byrne have been traded to Calgary for Tanguay. One of the conditions is that Ryder does not play until the deal is done (when O’Byrne is ready to go).

    Onto tonight. Time for the Habs to lay a beating on the laffs, but it’s always a relatively close game. Should be rough and tumble and a lot of fun to watch. Looking for Higgins to snap out of it.

    Gilbert

  19. krob1000 says:

    Will Belak play 3 or 4 minutes tonight???? Will Belak instead eat 3 or 4 steamies at the Bell Center????These are more pertinent questions you should be asking Factface.

  20. habfan53 says:

    Let’s get off this Komi/Belak

    How about Washington last night with 1 win they go from 12th to 3rd.

  21. Ed says:

    Just in from Fan/Team 990, Bouillon will be a game time decision because of an injury to his foot. If he can’t play, Ryder will. I assume Streit will be back on defense. Ryder will only play if Carbonneau has no other options. He is definitely the last option as far as Carbonneau is concerned.

  22. coutNY says:

    …more of antention seeking laff fan!

  23. krob1000 says:

    I never have really piped in on all this Koivu crap before because it is crap but I feel now it has to be done. There is a huge difference between a lack of production due to minimal effort and a lack of production. Koivu brings it every single night (aside from when we found out he had the flu there…only time I thought he looke lethargic). He is gettting tons of chances and setting others up for even more. He has taken some very lazy penalties and others that were penalties that can be attributed to hard work and trying to recover the puck…..so be it. He needs to be smarter but this in no way changes the fact that this is HIS team.

    It is awesome that Kovalev has stepped up and led on the ice and learned to be a mentor to the Kostitsyn’s,etc. It is great Kovy seems rejuvenated and it is great that they have become our no. 1 line. I am certain,however, that if you asked Kovy who the elader of this team is he would say it is without a doubt Koivu. He may say Koivu needs a smack up side of his head for the hooking penalties but he is still our leader. Has it ocurred to anyone that it is under Koivu’s tenure as captain that Kovalev has finally decide to bring it every night. Maybe a couple seasons of watching a warrior like Koivu (who never takes a night off) battle guys fourty or fifty pounds heavier (and win) even when our team wasn’t playing well has rubbed off. That would be my guess along with the fact that our entire management team embodied the same work ethic as players and do now as coaches.

    There is a new (return of the old) culture back in Montreal and the pride has been restored. Koivu has to be credited for that as well. One can argue he was here for years and nothing happened but he has hadf very few full seasons and NEVER had a supportive management team. The guys we draft and acquire have to be “coachable” and likeable…..we have no headaches (bye Samsonov). Koivu is the liitle engine that could and now he finally did…..be happy. He is not 27 years old anymore and many of his best years were unfortunately lost to injury but through it all he remained a model of class and the epitomy of an NHL warrior. Koivu is as deserving a captain as we have ever had in Montreal and you guys should never forget that. Especially if it is becasue of a little scoring slump.

  24. Ian G Cobb says:

    Trouble maker!

  25. Bill H says:

    You make a good point about staying out of the box. I’ll add to that: outskate the Leafs.

    Your corporate money conspiracey theory is a little bit delusional, don’t you think?

  26. jew4jah says:

    anyone know what’s up with this week’s puckcast?

  27. coutNY says:

    Yeah that makes sense Belak a 4th line enforcer and Habs 1st pairing Defenseman… maybe if the laffs turnout another 8-0 showing Komi could tune him up, still not worth the risk of breaking his hand on his face.

  28. showey47 says:

    belak? LMAO the guy gets less ice time than the guy who drills the holes for the net after a zamboni flood. Your facts are about as relevent as the food menu at hooters.

  29. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    Why would he fight BELAK?

    BELAK is a trained LETHAL fighter, and although KOMI can match him with strength and probably wrestle him to the ground, you DO NOT WANT TO FIGHT BELAK.

    I’ve seen BELAK go against the toughest in the league and he can go.

    you need a LAROQ or a BRASHER to go BELAK…not KOMI.

    remember were talking about fighting, in all other categories KOMI is SUPERIOR.
    ———
    1. Thank GOD we have Alex Kovalev…..at his PRIME
    2. The BELL CENTRE should be rebuilt to sit 80,000 fans
    3. Your’re not a Hab fan till you watch & UNDERSTAND “The Rocket”
    4. We will win the CUP in 2009

  30. habfan53 says:

    I’ll bite and I suppose you think this would be an even trade to

  31. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    I agree with your KOIVU point, and maybe taking time off LATER (when 1st place is secure! or should we be saying a playoff berth!)…The Man is an inpiration and we will not forget that. If I was GM and his wish was to stay a HAB then retire, I’d sign him for life…we are the GREAT CANADIENS and it is our role in the league to set examples….who else will? phoenix?

    we don’t kick our people to the curb like those bloody laffs, and what they did to RICK VIAVE…they CUT HIM during tryouts!… joke of an organization, and they do not retire numbers!..some new punk comes along and wears a great #, thats not how you build history….FOOLS.

    You see most fans don’t know whats coming down the pipe like the list you just spelled out…Gainey can see the big picture, he is no FOOL.
    ———
    1. Thank GOD we have Alex Kovalev…..at his PRIME
    2. The BELL CENTRE should be rebuilt to sit 80,000 fans
    3. Your’re not a Hab fan till you watch & UNDERSTAND “The Rocket”
    4. We will win the CUP in 2009

  32. habfan53 says:

    He is waiting for doctor’s OK to play tonight. He’s ready but it will take a couple of games to get his legs back.

  33. Sulemaan says:

    Ok, I think I follow you now HP. You just want players to stick to their game and not try to replicate others (i.e. Kovalev). Fair point.

    I think Koivu is just tired. He’s carried this team on his back for a long time. Also as fans we forget that this guy is a cancer-survivor and nearly lost his eye. If nothing else, I would even give him the odd game off to recharge once we know we will make the playoffs.

    With regards to trades and other stuff, why bother? People are talking about trading for Hossa and I’d rather go with youth and win the cup in 2009 and beyond.

    I’d deal away Ryder, Brisebois, Dandenault and call up the youngsters.

    Prospects such as Fisher, McDonough, Yemelin, Valentenko, Carle, Subban, White, Maxwell, Chipchura, D’Agostini, Halak should stay with the team. We build from within and add on UFA’s and trade when the time is right.

  34. habfan53 says:

    Even with the Cap going up 3 million we will be hard pressed to keep the same team.

    Assuming we trade or don’t sign Ryder that will give Gainey 6 million.

    WE have to sign O’Byrne, Streit, Halak or Huet and Komisarek next year.
    that 6 mill is gone because there are probably a half dozen I have not mentioned.

  35. coutNY says:

    They also have McCabe out… Thats a good thing.

  36. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    when that happened against BOSTON, he was in that ” I HAVE TO MAKE THE TEAM” mode….and boy did he make it.
    ———
    1. Thank GOD we have Alex Kovalev…..at his PRIME
    2. The BELL CENTRE should be rebuilt to sit 80,000 fans
    3. Your’re not a Hab fan till you watch & UNDERSTAND “The Rocket”
    4. We will win the CUP in 2009

  37. habsgod says:

    hey my fellow saskatchewanian and hab bro !where in saskatchewan are you located?

  38. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    I’m not saying there is open dissension at all…in fact I really see a BROTHERHOOD and thats what has most impressed me this year.

    but at the inner levels of a players thinking, they have to step on the ice and perform….and the KOVY line is a tough act to follow.

    Maybe thats why KOIVU isn’t on his game, or at times looking disinterested.

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

  39. habfan53 says:

    In regards to Koivu:

    Though I’ve never thought of him as a 1st line center I have great respect and admiration for him.
    It’s true that he is taking a lot of inopertune(?) penalties actually I looked it up he has cut 3 Power Plays short the rest of the team 2.

    I think he may feel a little left behind because of the success of the KPK line and the ineffectiveness of his.

    I would hope that Gainey and Carbonneau would sit down with him and just tell him what he means to the team what they expect from him.
    It worked with Kovalev this summer.

  40. coutNY says:

    Agreed, but Kosti Jr. making it a mission to prove his worthiness sometimes with his open ice hits. Granted I love that he’s making a difference, but sometimes I think his anger might get the better of him… Little Man sindrome. We need him healthy and scoring not throwing fists with the opposing teams meat head… But honestly I would not want to see his play or attitude differ and lose any of the fire which he has brought to Montreal.

  41. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    you know what you do with dangerous wounded animals…..

    I wouldn’t worry about a laff comeback, they don’t have the tools in the tool kit for that, we just need to jump in front…and stay clear of the BOX.
    ———
    1. Thank GOD we have Alex Kovalev…..at his PRIME
    2. The BELL CENTRE should be rebuilt to sit 80,000 fans
    3. Your’re not a Hab fan till you watch & UNDERSTAND “The Rocket”
    4. We will win the CUP in 2009

  42. Sulemaan says:

    With all due respect, I don’t buy that theory Habs-Prof. All of the comments from the media and other observers are that Montreal has a tight dressing room this year.

    I think the other players are genuinely happy about the Kovalev line. You don’t climb to the top of the Eastern conference otherwise and credit is due to the coaching staff as well.

  43. krob1000 says:

    http://www.thescore.com/nhl/nhl_injuries.aspx

    This shows him out until Sat. and the Score is geared to gamblers so I’d beleive this one.

  44. The Teacher says:

    Then I can’t help you :)

    I must refer you to Hab-Prof’s delusional conspiracy theory.

    P.S. Did he appeal the ruling?

  45. Sulemaan says:

    Going to be a good game tonight. But we better be ready to play because the Leafs are right now a wounded animal that has been backed into a corner. They are still stinging from the 8-0 loss to Florida.

    If we do happen to get a 3 goal lead, I only hope the Habs don’t go into a defensive shell and keep laying it on.

    I would have thought that Ryder would get the nod tonight as he has had success against the Leafs in the past. I guess Carbo disagrees. Just like Samsonov, if it wasn’t finished before, Ryder’s career as a Hab is over now.

  46. coutNY says:

    The Carolina game was the Jan 31st when the incident occured. They’ve played 2 games against the Senators and Flaorida since the Feb 1st suspention, so I was including all the games even if he was out with injury or awaiting the ruling???

  47. krob1000 says:

    I was more impressed with the cap rising 3 million. This should leave no doubt as to whether or not we go after one of the big names out there.


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