Game 60: Habs sweep Flyers, tied with Senators

Alex Kovalev is congratulated by teammates for his first-period goal, his 27th of the season.
Len Redkoles, NHLI via Getty Images

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Who needs the Boston Bruins when the Canadiens have the Philadelphia Flyers to kick around?

Twenty-four hours after blanking the erstwhile Broad Street Bullies 1-0 at the Bell Centre, the Canadiens skated to a 5-3 victory at the Wachovia Centre tonight to complete a four-game season sweep of the Flyers and hand the slumping home team their seventh consecutive loss.

And don’t look now, but the Canadiens, who won their third straight and 19th road game of the season, have jumped into a tie with Ottawa atop the National Hockey League’s Eastern Conference, both teams with 73 points though the Senators hold a game in hand.

Montreal goalie Carey Price made 34 saves to earn his third victory in as many starts since last Wednesday and 12th win this season. Price yielded just four goals to Philadelphia in his three wins over them this season.

Alex Kovalev had a goal and two assists in a game that had many rough edges and featured some superb penalty killing by the Canadiens.

The Habs managed 33 shots on Flyers goalie Antero Niittymaki, compared to the Flyers’ 37 on Price.

Kovalev, with his 27th of the season, and Philadelphia’s Mike Richards exchanged first-period goals, Kovalev’s coming first at 6:18 on a pretty, seeing-eye pass from behind the net off the stick of linemate Tomas Plekanec.

Richards’s goal, scored shorthanded, snapped Price’s goalless streak at 112:26, a span stretching back to the first period of Wednesday’s game in Florida against the Panthers.

Defenceman Francis Bouillon, in what was probably his best game in a Canadiens uniform, then put the Habs back on top with 1.2 seconds to play in the first on an end-to-end rush (that’s not a typo), finally whipping a shot past Niittymaki for his first of the season.

Bouillon’s goal followed the confusion of a vicious check laid on Sergei Kostitsyn in the corner to the left of Price, the ensuing jousting match involving Montreal’s Josh Gorges and the Flyers’ Jim Vandermeer, and it came one day short of the first anniversary of Bouillon’s most recent goal.

But Bouillon’s goal didn’t break the Flyers’ back, as a goal late in a period often does. On their first rush of the second, Philadelphia’s Braydon Coburn shot toward the Montreal goal, the puck deflecting off defenceman Mike Komisarek’s stick and floating like a knuckleball over Price’s shoulder at 34 seconds.

Michael Ryder responded, however, emerging from the press box tonight to put Montreal back in front at 2:15 with his ninth, cashing a rebound after a bit of scrambly action around Niittymaki.

Saku Koivu made it 4-2 at 10:10 on a 5-on-3 Montreal advantage, taking a pass from Andrei Markov to beat a sprawling Niittymaki along the ice for his 11th. Kovalev also assisted, his third point of the night, having also assisted on Ryder’s goal.

Maxim Lapierre iced the victory into an empty Philadelphia net at 18:36, his fourth of the season, before Riley Cote scored at 19:41 to round out the scoring.

The Canadiens improved their season record to 32-19-9 while Philadelphia fell to 30-24-5.

The Habs return home for three Bell Centre games this week – they face the New York Rangers on Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday and the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, when Bob Gainey’s No. 23 will be retired in a pre-game ceremony.


  1. LizardKing1967 says:

    Look, yes, I said I like Streit’s versatility, but a team is made up of 12 forwards (sometimes 11), and 6 D-men(sometimes 7). You got alot of if’s there. “IF” we lose a d-man to injury. “IF” we lose another to a major or game misconduct. Teams are not built on IF’s. I could say what “IF” we lost one forward to injury, and another to a misconduct. Then we only have 8 “natural” forwards left to play. Don’t think a D-man will take a misconduct, if they are already down to 5. I am not knocking Dandy, and I know he started as a forward way back when. But he’s been a D-man for ages. If there is no room at D, let him go. Put another young body, or trade for another “natural” forward.

    Also, it shows we have lots of depth at D, but we are un-deep up front like this.


  2. HKisses says:

    Damn i wish Vinny came here….i saw him at Subways two summers ago….and saw him driving his yellow Ferrari 360 beside me …aand lives pretty close to me too…would be mental if he came here….but then again who the heck are we gonna give for him?

  3. Jonnyboy says:

    Also thanks, it is really nice.

  4. Jonnyboy says:

    It is also $170 for the year or $15 a game.

  5. JF says:

    Haven’t heard anything, but Gorges’ flu must have been a very slight case, otherwise the team would have told him to stay away for fear of passing it around. He only missed one practice. My guess is he’ll be fine tonight.

  6. Blitzen says: is supposed to carry it online.

  7. JF says:

    If Price continues to play well and gets more starts than Huet, it would affect Huet’s trade value and might play into our hands in terms of re-signing him. No team will offer him a long-term multi-million dollar contract unless they’re convinced that he’s good enough and consistent enough to be a true starting goaltender. He hasn’t really shown that with us, but he’s great in short stretches. He’s what we need going into next season but he might not inspire complete confidence in other teams. In that case signing with us for another couple of years might turn out to be the best deal out there for him.

  8. Bean says:

    Who would you let go for Lecavalier?

    Personally, I think we’d have to give up too much (a big chunk of that bright-looking future you’re praising in your sig would go), but I’m curious what your thoughts are.

  9. habitual says:

    Al Strachan made a reference to this last night on Hockey after Hours. Where did you read this?

  10. habitual says:

    I have to disagree. Rather than being un-deep, it gives the team flexibility others would love to have. Consider, for example, a game if we lose a D to injury and have another get a major or misconduct. We’re not down to 4 D.

    Dandeneault was actually a good scoring forward when he was drafted. When he is in the line up he gives the checking line a little more offensive possibility than Nonstopolis and Begin bring (albeit that I love what Begin brings).

    Streit is a little too light as a D, and doesn’t get to use his speed and playmaking as well (save when he is on the point on the PP).

  11. Smart Dog says:

    Looks like a good line-up for tonight!

    Hey – did anyone else see that item on Vinny seriously wanting out of Tampa soon? What a shocker. Makes sense though. Now THERE’s a guy worth 7-8 mil a year. And I agree he’d look great in a Habs jersey… and contrary to what some might say I think we have the depth to trade for him. Uh-oh now let the barrage of big-time wishers begin!!!

    Habs Fans! The FUTURE looks bright:
    Plekanec, Higgins, Chipchura, A Kostitsyn, Lapierre, Latendress,
    Price, S Kostitsyn, Komisuarus, O’Byrne

  12. Smart Dog says:

    And don’t forget the birth announcements! LOL*

    Seriously – I agree. Thanks guys. Even more – thanks for listening to suggestions on how to make this work better… and for the articles and podcasts. I LOVE the podcasts – you can listen and do other things at the same time!

    (*Teasing you S-man of course… there is no bigger day in a man’s life than the birth of his child.)

    Habs Fans! The FUTURE looks bright:
    Plekanec, Higgins, Chipchura, A Kostitsyn, Lapierre, Latendress,
    Price, S Kostitsyn, Komisuarus, O’Byrne

  13. Maffu says:

    Smolinski out nice
    Kosto out alright to let Ryder play a bit since we have to trade him keep him seeing ice time
    Breezer out nice

  14. Ed says:

    I just got back from walking the dogs, and am now enjoying a cold one,as if it’s not cold enough outside. I like your hehe. Tee! Please forgive me, but I could not resist. “Hehe” just reminds me of somebody we used to know.

  15. habitual says:

    Shame on me for overlooking Pat Hickey too!

  16. Maffu says:

    You make a great point. Streit has shown he can score and set up superb plays, given, but Dandenault is only been given a somewhat regular spot as a forward because we’re waiting to get rid of him and hope he shows enough of what Streit really has to up his value.

  17. Hoegarden says:

    From CKAC – for tonight’s game;

    Smolinski – OUT
    Kosto – OUT
    Breezer – OUT

    Begin – IN
    Ryder – IN

  18. LizardKing1967 says:

    Think it was the Cube and Begin


  19. LizardKing1967 says:

    I have a question which I do not know if anyone has mentioned before, but it’s been bugging me all season. Why in the world are Streit and Dandy playing forward. What other intelligent team in the whole darn league has, not one, but TWO defencemen playing as forwards. Say all you want about Streit’s versatility, but how UN-deep is our team talent when we have two d-men up front. I would still rather see Begin and Tom the Bomb playing up there than two d-man.
    I do not have anything against Dandy and Streit, but come on, this is the NHL, not a saturday night pick-up game with the boys.


  20. Bill says:

    Best sports team-related site online, by far.

  21. Hoegarden says:

    Hi Suleiman,

    the only place I know of is below. You unfortunately have to sign up and I have not gone past this step.

  22. Hoegarden says:

    A long bow to a fine team of professionals. A great site to keep the Habs spirits up and exchange thoughts on the best darn sports franchise ever.

  23. Sulemaan says:

    Really good point about learning from the other posters as well JF. Glad you mentioned that.

  24. showey47 says:

    Possibly, but you can’t deny the numbers he has put up in the ways of g.a.a and save percentage. They still are decent numbers considering he has been inconsistent(very comparable to lundqvist who signed a 6 million per season contract). Huet obviously should not get this kind of money though. The only number in question is the number of games he plays in a season.

  25. OldGrover says:

    Damn straight – excellent site that has brought in an excellent community of people – great job to the Gazette (and to all of us :) )

  26. Higgins21 says:

    Very good post and congrats HIO staff.

  27. The Teacher says:

    ;) I tried my best to avoid the word hehe

  28. JF says:

    Completely agree. I love this site, look every day for new stuff, spend a lot of time reading stories and comments and following links. I’d like to thank not only the staff, but also my fellow posters, many of whose comments are very informative and thought-provoking, and some of whose analyses (krob and ebk) leave my head spinning. I’ve learned a lot, and my passion for the Habs has grown deeper.

  29. Sulemaan says:

    Agree 100%.

  30. N.B.habs fan says:

    Good for you to post this.I agree with this site it has helped me alot,I learened to type better,spell better,learned more about the team and picked up on alot of good post and new friends.

    Thanks HIO staff,evan at age 56 I have yet alot to learn ,and thanks to the fans for the help to learn more about the team.

  31. Ed says:

    It is about the TEAM, but don’t forget how much we used to talk about the SYSTEM. I think that Price has been the system for the last 2 games. His play has been instrumental in getting 2 wins, when the team in front of him scored only 3 goals. However, be careful what you say, or you might be blamed for the JINX. Look at your hyphenated word, and realize what it means. It would be nice though if Price could duplicate that feat of last night.

  32. Sulemaan says:

    Does anyone know if the game tonight is on any channel besides RDS or Centre-Ice? Online perhaps?

  33. Shobud says:

    I think come training camp he will still be looking No one wants a guy that can’t hold up a team.. Its ok to have a bad game but not a whole bunch..Win two and lose three.. I bet you put him on waivers and no one will pick him up

  34. Shobud says:

    Thanks from me too.. I think its great to be able to post your thoughts even if we don’t all agree It make it fun to see all the diff. ideas.. THANKS GUYS

  35. The Teacher says:

    I think Carbo is hoping the Habs pitch another goal-less game for Philly.

    It’s about the TEAM.

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