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. N.B.habs fan says:

    thanks buddy ,I wasn’t sure if we could get him if we had a chance,but I to would love to see Vinnie come here ,but not to lose to many good players.

  2. Smart Dog says:

    I wasn’t so hot on the Cube last year, but this year the more I watch, the more I like him.

    I think this is a GREAT D. One of the best in the league. Yeah, that fourth line is like a left-over dinner. And I’m even less thrilled about reuniting the three lost amigos. But maybe Koivu and Ryder can BOTH hit the net tonight… just getting their shots on would be a step up.

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

  3. Sulemaan says:

    Thanks SD. Have to share the news with friends.

  4. The Teacher says:

    OB is not a #4 right now and won’t be next year either. We need a stopgap until our prospects arrive.

    Pretty good shouldn’t be good enough 😉

  5. The Teacher says:

    I do want us to pick up Vinny LATER. Why give up assets if he indicated an interest in coming here. I think this year our goal is the playoffs and perhaps steal a round or two. Miracles can always happen but the Cup was not the plan this year. We need to improve our Defense a bit more IMO. Youth is good but contracts such as Dandy, Breezer, Ryder and Smokey as well as Bouillon and Begin’s will be expendable after this year. We have young D coming up so a true #3-4 D will help solidify our defencive core in front of our young goalie.

    We could then focus on retaining our RFA and going after UFA that are a fit for our team, hopefully with bargaining power behind us..

  6. Blitzen says:

    Not saying do this to get a guy we could use immediately. I’m talking about someone who could move in 2 years down the road for instance. We have so many D-Men coming down the pipe that it is unlikely we’ll be able to fit them all in anyway. Not so with forwards.

  7. slamtherimtim says:

    need to get him before its too late , if we do indeed get him it could never be too soon

  8. Fab K says:

    I wouldn’t give more than 4 or 5 players:

    Koivu (and definitely not Plekanec)
    Ryder or Higgins
    Huet or Halak
    a defender such as O’Byrne (imagine him playing in Tampa after what happened… lol), or Gorges…
    a couple of draft picks (one 1st rounder and a 2nd/3rd rounder. Not 2 first rounders).

    Tampa can then rebuild from there, having both youth and experience. This trade also adds a new addition to each position… The draft picks could help out as well.

    I wouldn’t even go close to Plekanec, Kostitsyn brothers, Komisarek or Price. They are untouchable!!! We will win the cup with these within the next few years (hopefully sooner rather than later)…

    What do you guys think?


  9. N.B.habs fan says:

    G-man I feel we should jump to get him ,He wants to play here so LETS GO GET HIM.

  10. Dintrox says:

    Go Habs Go!! Great performance Carey!!.. Guy’s riding the hot guy right now.. I’m expecting a physical game.. those flyers are gonna be feisty!!

    I am very concerned by the lack of finish.. yes we have won two in a row but have only scored 3 goals in those games…

  11. Wayne says:

    I agree with that. Higgins will come around too. He’ll kick butt in the playoffs, mark my words.

  12. G-Man says:

    The key for tonight will be shutting them down early and bodychecking. Good speed through the neutral zone should give us the advantage on a slow Flyers D; the Habs should be able to establish a strong forecheck right off the bat. Everyone has to turn it up a notch, ’cause Philly is feeling the pain of 6 in a row.

    As for trades, sounds like Vinny wants to renegotiate his deal with Tampa. Or just tease us into a frenzy. If Koivu, Higgins + 1 D prospect = Vinny I’d jump at it. I get the feeling others would part with more. Imagine how good Detroit would be with him? Or Philly? Or, gulp, Ottawa? If this is serious, things are going to get interesting real quick.


  13. habitual says:

    I wouldn’t go that way. The three rookies we have now are O’Byrne, Valentenko, and Emelin (spelling). It’s too early to see how these guys are going to do. What if in three years one or more is a Norris trophy candidate?

    We are ahead of where anyone thought the team would be, and it is nice but unrealistic to consider ourselves Cup favourites, so trading for a forward to put us over the top this year is not sensible.

    I would see which UFA can be signed in the off season. It means not having to give up young prospects, and it will allow us to see who is expendable based on a full season and playoffs. How did Dandy, Smokes, Nonstopolis and my favourite Begin do? Who can be let go to create the cap room?

  14. habs12345 says:

    this off season players will be looking at montreal differently i think we can land a hossa type player there and keep our hard earned prospects

  15. HKisses says:

    Yup sorry i did…..hmmm Alexei Emelin and P.K. Subban

  16. N.B.habs fan says:

    I have a Question for Teacher,Why dont you want us to pick Vince up later ,do we not have enough to to pick him up with out trading half our team? and do you think we are a contender for the cup this year,I would love to see that but even with a good center I feel we still need more experience,mabe next year I hope.just wondering what your thoughts were on this. thanks

  17. habs12345 says:

    i completly disagree i think it would be a big mistake to trade for hossa

  18. Blitzen says:

    Komi, Markov, Hammer and O’Byrne look like a pretty good 1-4 to me. Plus we have a TON of D prospects in the pipeline. We need forwards who can score.

  19. Blitzen says:

    I think you misunderstood the question. I’m talking about D prospects for a top-notch F prospect.

  20. HKisses says:

    Yea,Oli could play the wing… But hey enjoy the show….. Go HAbs

  21. The Teacher says:

    Our first priority should be getting a #3-4 D in the offseason. (This money will be used from the Smokey, Breezer, Dandy and Bouillon contracts (they will be traded).

    We will then go after someone who can help the offence. Unless it is Vinny Lecavalier, Jarome Iginla, Sidney Crosby, or Alexander Ovechkin. I won’t be happy giving 7+ mil to guys like Hossa which will throw our salary structure all out of wack.

    We need a physical player up front. Hossa is not that. He is not worth 7 mil on his own, all of the above mentioned players ARE.

  22. Shobud says:

    Just remember if you got Hossa.. You are not going to have the money to sign a lot of the ones you need next year.. I hope there is no trade.. Take a look at ottawa and we are right on their ass We don’t need any othe stars than the ones we have,,You might have a couple that make Hossa look like a liner

  23. LizardKing1967 says:

    Olli J is fine with me, but what do u do with Koivu?

    Guys, it’s been great. I hardly get to post at all, let alone this much in one day. I gotta go. Unfortunatly I will miss the game. going to a show I been waiting 30 years to see….. Jesus Christ Superstar at Place des Arts.

    Go Habs, Go Price.

    All u posters are great………lets just root for our team


  24. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    STREIT should be on KOIVU’s LINE….


    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

  25. HKisses says:

    OlI Jokkinen …PERIOD…IMO

  26. LizardKing1967 says:

    And, what am I giving up? We won’t get a top player for nothing.

    Higgins… probably the best 3RD LINE winger in the NHL.
    Streit… expendable for us, and a UFA.
    Yemelin… gotta give up a top prospect, and with O’B, Subban, Valentenko, Fischer, take your pick.
    1st rd pick… This years pick is gonna be near the bottom, unless we tank the rest of the year.

    So, what’s wrong?


  27. HKisses says:

    COrey Locke,Mikhail Grabovski,Matt D’Agostini….i would give up Grabovski….

  28. LizardKing1967 says:

    So, what do we NEED??


  29. LizardKing1967 says:

    First of all, we won’t get crap for Ryder….his stock has fallen big time. And second, I did not say Streit is a liability. He’s a very good puck carrying D-man, but we’ve got Markov. And in case you havn’t noticed, Gorges is starting to look pretty darn good coming out of our zone. And he can lay it on defensively too. What do we need more right now, a top notch scoring winger, or a mobile, soft defence, D-man. I like Streit as much as the next guy, but we need something different.


  30. Blitzen says:

    Question for y’all: I’m looking at our forward prospects and not seeing much, aside from Pax and perhaps D’Agostini, that could operate above a 3rd line. How about we trade a couple of our D prospects, of which we seem to have a ton, for a top notch forward prospect?

  31. HKisses says:

    And do what with ryder? .. I rather get soemthing out of Ryder and prospect …instead of giving up Higgins and Striet….As for Streit ,I don know why you guys think he has no handles on the puck….but go look at some of the previous games he can carry the puck into the offensive zone pretty quick, and has some good stick work….I don’t see Streit as a libility………IF we were to go for a player to trade for i would go with Olli Jokinen….Not Hossa

  32. The Teacher says:

    Hossa isn’t right for us, in terms of his skill set or salary cap hit. I’ll pass and go for something we NEED. He isn’t it.

  33. Bean says:

    Thanks for elaborating, I appreciate these kinds of thought-out replies!

    I agree that it would take a deal with the calibre of players you’ve mentioned to pry him out of TB’s hands. I’m afraid though that it’s still too rich for my taste, even for such a pure star like Lecavalier.

    I’ve had more fun as a Habs fan the last two years watching this group of young guys develop into astonishingly talented players than I’ve had in a long time, and I’m so looking forward to another year or two down the road to see how everything shapes up. I admit this maybe makes me TOO reluctant to consider a big trade, maybe I’ve got some blinders on, but I’m happy to stay the course with the current “Kiddie Corps,” as the bright future of our team’s been dubbed, and let Gainey’s long-term plans come to fruition.

  34. habitual says:

    Yes! Your best comment. The whole point of this site is to trade ideas, speculate, prompt the best from each other, but there are 25 other teams that would like to be where the Habs are, with those that got us there.

  35. mjames says:

    Not give up too much – look at what you are giving up. Also it is my view that you never ever give up draft picks. Besides Hossa is a rental –


  36. mjames says:

    Jimmy is smoking too much – STILL


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