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.


  1. Will Longlade says:

    The radio station that originated that rumour is about as credible a source as Hannibal Lecter. Agree, Higgins is due to snap out of it. He always plays well against the Laffs.

  2. HotHabs says:

    Agreed. But, if Hossa is smart he’ll know that Atlanta is a dead end. The main reason Waddell wants to keep him is that his talent/numbers sell seats. If Hossa were to sit down and look at the potential in Mtl., he might just want to jump on board while the train is picking up steam this season and for many to come. In my opinion, Hossa is worth making some sacrifices to acquire. Bob is a pretty wise GM, so we’ll see what happens.

    enjoying the high’s of being a Habs fan

  3. habsgod says:

    yeah this is awesome another fellow saskatchewan habs fan like myself!eventhough i’m from regina

  4. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    the Hossa was just a general statement towards that subject which has been brought up alot lately!…and I agree he may be the key for Koivu….up to BOB…we have the cap room..but HOSSA has to want to come here, otherwise we do not want him…he may be reluctant based on how we treated his brother.

    1. Thank GOD we have Alex Kovalev… 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

  5. HotHabs says:

    Understood, but you too can only speculate what goes on in the dressing room…

    BTW, I never compared Hossa to Koivu. So, I’m not sure where you’re going with the “get LOST!” comment. I did say that Hossa would bump Koivu’s on-ice production. Everyone’s agrees that Koivu has not had the help necessary over many years to really shine. Hossa would guarantee a brilliant Koivu line, without a doubt!

    enjoying the high’s of being a Habs fan

  6. JF says:

    Agree 100%. I’ve always admired Koivu for his courage and dedication to this team and for what he contributes off the ice, to the team and to the city. One of my favourite Habs moments is his return from cancer and the huge ovation that just went on and on and didn’t stop even for the national anthem. His numbers this year may not be great but that is largely because his wingers can’t finish. He always puts in the effort. Without him we seldom win; remember the series against Carolina a couple of years ago. I want to see him win the Cup with us, finish his career as a Hab and eventually have his number retired.

  7. coutNY says:

    Don’t have any confidense in O’Byrne long-term? or do you really belive he’s gone in some deal, Hanrlik should be back on Saturday anyway and O’Byrne soon also soon…by chance if Cube if hurt for any period of time. I don’t thing we need too look into it too much if Boullion is questionable tonight, most likely would be a one or tonight thing…

  8. showey47 says:

    lmao, good job scotty. How about you finish you beer and swat him up the side of the head with the empty mug

  9. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    I wouldn’t be quick to dismiss the impact that KOIVU has on this team, aside from the stats…

    you can only speculate…you don’t know what goes on in the dressing room.

    are you or anyone else going to look KOIVU in the eye and think that he should not be the captain?, can you stand up and face him and make that call?

    PLEEEAASSSEEEEE….just his stare back will make you run and cry…

    NOBODY is ready to take the ‘C’ as long as Koivu is in town…there is nobody at his mental level.

    oh, and about HOSSA?, he couldn’t shine KOIVUS shoes….with that tinted windshield…get LOST!

    1. Thank GOD we have Alex Kovalev… 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

  10. Scotty90 says:

    What is it with you and “will Komisarek drop his gloves tonight with Neil?” or “will Komisarek drop his gloves tonight with Belak?” Why would he…Komisarek is not there to fight. Komisarek is not a fighter. He is big and strong, and gives punishing body checks, but he’s not a fighter. He cannot throw a punch properly. He’s a star defenceman, not a prize-fighter. Why should he risk hurting himself and putting the team in a difficult situation. He’ll come to his team-mates defence and thats great, but that’s not what he is paid to do.

    I know you are hoping for such a match-up so that Komi gets hurt, maybe hurt the Habs’ chances this year in the race for the Cup….. and finally so you can come on here and P— everybody off. Something for you to cheer for essentially… I mean what else is there for you to cheer about? But you know what, it ain’t gonna happen because Komi is a lot smarter than you (thank god)! So why don’t you just buzz-off and return to your laffs site (unless they already kicked you out) or I’ll have to SWAT you again.

  11. Bean says:

    Ah man, me too. The seeding of division leaders is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. I had hoped when they announced next year’s schedule change they’d finally agree to do away with this too.

    (Wishful thinking, I know. However, there’s been quite a bit of muttering in the media about changing this over the last year so who knows?)

  12. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    if it wasn’t for the HABS, I wouldn’t even watch hockey, or ever have played it.

    They set the standard I grew up with…it was all about HONOR and PRIDE to put the jersey on and be part of that team…and thats what we should carry in life with whatever we do, Honor and pride…I don’t think its by random chance that Hab Fans are the way they are, they expect…and respect.

    to a player it should never be about MONEY (ovechkin), it should be about excellence… is just the by-product of success.
    1. Thank GOD we have Alex Kovalev… 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

  13. OldGrover says:

    Agreed. And Tanguay’s LW – I’d like to see a RW come in to play with Koivu, drop SKost down to the Kid line.

    So :

    Whichever of Begin / Kostop / Streit / Dandy / Smo / etc

    Doesn’t have to be Hossa, but I think Hossa’d be sweet on that line.

    I figure tradables are Dandy, Ryder, picks, prospects

  14. HotHabs says:

    I am a Habs fan, no doubt, but I am disappointed with Koivu’s numbers this season. He is a classy guy and works hard. However, if management feels the need to trade him in order to improve the team this year and for years to come, then so be it.

    THE TEAM IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ONE PLAYER. As fans, we need to come to terms with that fact.

    Some will contend that Koivu is the heart of the team, but I think those days have passed. When I think of the Habs and the heart of the team, Koivu is not at the top of the list. Names like Komi, Kovy, & Higgins lead the pack. I am not saying I want Koivu to go, but I don’t think the best team/trade decisions are always made with the heart leading the way either.

    That said, if the Habs did pick up Hossa – long shot indeed – I think it would be a huge boost to Koivu’s production (if he were to remain in Mtl). Imagine a line of Hossa-Koivu-jr.Kosti – Whoa!!! And, BTW, Hossa has been bashed for not showing up in the playoffs, but look at his stats: besides last year when the entire Thrashers team didn’t show up, he has 34 pts. in 51 post-season games – not too shabby.

    Tonight: if the Habs get an early lead of 2+ goals, the Leafs will fold. They are just too fragile to handle that kind of pressure, especially in Montreal.

    enjoying the high’s of being a Habs fan

  15. N.B.habs fan says:

    Proffesor,thank you .you are a true HABS fan ,

  16. moser17 says:

    Komi has a cool head. Neil was chirping at him in vain, and Neil looked like the fool because Komi wasn’t just ignoring him, Komi hardly even knew he was there! He was focused and Neil couldn’t provoke him. I say if Komisarek does drop the gloves tonight, with Belak or anyone else, it will be because dropping the gloves is exactly what he has in mind or exactly what the situation calls for.

    It’s like Noel Gallagher once said: “When I write a song, I don’t say ‘F*$% me! That sounds like T-Rex!’ It sounds like T-Rex because I *wanted* it to sound like T-Rex!”

  17. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    what did you expect from a leech pit…..

    1. Thank GOD we have Alex Kovalev… 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

  18. OldGrover says:

    Agreed. Well said.

  19. mrstewart61 says:

    Totally agree. A team could be seeded 3rd although they have fewer points than a team that misses the playoffs.

  20. The Teacher says:

    Haha, just asking 😛

  21. Y says:

    I dropped by the Laffs boards the other night when they got annihilated and it was pretty sickening to see how many posters on that site had Belak in their sigs, praising him, wanting him to father their babies, you know that sort of stuff.

  22. Y says:

    I wouldn’t see Gainey pulling off a crap trade like that even if he went senile and lost vision in both eyes. Big, humongous guy for a speedy, little man that we already have enough of? I don’t think so

  23. Hockey11 says:

    Dandy doubtful on D, if so it will be a one game emergency.
    I hope the fans realize that injuries are a big part of the game and that is why Carbo needs to keep everyone ready to play insted of grousing to the media that they haven’t been playing well. We may need Ryder fir the stretch dirve if problems persist on the injury front. All we will get for him is 3-4 round pick anyway.

    We need 22 playera to be ready for flu, injury etc. stay positive on all the players. Dandy will be fine on D for a game, better than u know who!

  24. Y says:

    Lame. They really need to drop this “division leader” seeded first BS. Either that or dismantle the Southleast division

  25. gmd says:

    That would suck, I like O’Byrne and don’t think Tang will be of use to the Habs.

  26. Sask Habs Fan says:

    I hail from Saskatoon. Nice to see some more saskabush people on here…cheers!
    Chuck Norris’ calendar goes straight from March 31st to April 2nd; no one fools Chuck Norris.

  27. Ed says:

    I think Gainey is too smart to give up O’Byrne and/or Higgins.

  28. N.B.habs fan says:

    Koivu,is still a class act,he works hard and has alot of presure on his back to keep this young teams moral up .Koivu needs to be treated with the outmost respect from the fans.He will help this team to win the cup and raise the banner like Carbo did .GO KOIVU GO

  29. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    Dandy probably forgot how to skate backwards!
    1. Thank GOD we have Alex Kovalev… 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. 24 Cups says:

    habfan53 – how many games will it take for McCabe to get his hockey brain back?

    The Original 24 Cups

  31. 24 Cups says:

    coutNY – I don’t think Dandy has played defense more than once this year. Could be an adventure. If Boullion is hurt for any length of time then we might have to make a move on getting a 4th defenseman. Not a big name, just a steady player.

    The Original 24 Cups

  32. The Teacher says:

    One mistake and let’s trade him?

    didn’t the RDS announcers blame Huet on that one for leaving Booly in a compromising position?

  33. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    CUBE plays tough and thats what we need against the leafs.
    And don’t forget what CUBE did to Tucker and Wellwood….they haven’t forgotten.
    1. Thank GOD we have Alex Kovalev… 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

  34. The Teacher says:

    Tanguay is easy pickings because of his last name, that’s all. I don’t see him coming to us at all.

  35. Odie Clegorn says:

    Has anybody looked at the stats on these two players over the course of their first three seasons in the league?

    Tanguay: Games: 228 Goals: 57 Assists: 119 Points: 176 +/-: +49
    Ryder: Games: 244 Goals: 85 Assists: 91 Points: 176 +/-: -20

    Given the calibre of team that Tanguay played on during those first three years, Ryder’s numbers are quite impressive in comparison. Of course, that plus/mius stat is well worth $5.3 million a year don’t you think?

    If Tanguay’s daddy say his son doesn’t want to play in Montreal because of the “media circus”, can you imagine what will happen to his +/- once he’s traded?

    And for what it’s worth, somebody please tell me that the habs aren’t looking at giving up Ryan O’Byrne and/or Christopher Higgins as the deadline approaches.

  36. The Teacher says:

    Hahaha, interesting theory 😉

  37. Ed says:

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

  38. 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

  39. The Teacher says:

    Amen to THAT!

  40. habfan53 says:

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

  41. jew4jah says:

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

  42. 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… 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

  43. 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.

  44. Ed says:

    Right you are. I had forgotten about that.

  45. The Teacher says:

    boy, oh boy…

  46. habfan53 says:

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

  47. 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.

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