Game 62: Comeback vs. Penguins wasn’t to be

Canadiens defenceman Roman Hamrlik rides Penguins’ Tyler Kennedy into the boards.
Dave Sandford, NHLI via Getty Images

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The Gazette

The Canadiens found out how the other half lives as they ran out of miracles Thursday night. Montreal came back from a 3-1 deficit to take a 4-3 over the Pittsburgh Penguins, but Evgeni Malkin took over from there to lead the visitors to a 5-4 win.

Malkin, who has picked up his game since superstar teammate Sidney Crosby was sidelined with a high ankle sprain, scored his 35th goal on a breakaway to tie the game at 4-4 at 10:22 of the third period and then assisted on Sergei Gonchar’s power-play goal at 10:58 for the game-winner. He had a goal and two assists and continues to lead the NHL in scoring with 82 points.

The Canadiens’ power play, which has ranked among the best in the National Hockey League all season, played a major role in the Canadiens’ shortlived comeback as it scored the first two times they had a man advantage.

And the Canadiens also received another key goal from Michael Ryder, who has suddenly come to life while trade rumours swirl around him.

Ryder tied the game at 3-3 when he banked a shot off goaltender Dany Sabourin’s skate from the low faceoff circle at the 21-second mark of the third period.

It was the 12th goal of the season for Ryder, but more important, he has scored four of those goals in the last three games. His goal was sandwiched between power-play goals by Christopher Higgins at 18:07 of the second period and by Roman Hamrlik at 3:25 of the third period.

The loss meant the Canadiens were unable to keep pace with the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference standings, while the Penguins moved into a tie with Montreal and New Jersey for the second-best record in the East with 75 points each.

It might have been an emotional letdown after the historic win over the Rangers Tuesday, but it was a familiar story as the Canadiens came out flat.

The Penguins outshot the Canadiens 15-8 in the opening period and grabbed a 2-0 lead. Ryan Whitney opened the scoring with a shot from the point at 6:46. Huet had to deal with a deflection and a fair bit of traffic, including Evgeni Malkin, who picked up the first assist on the goal.

Jarkko Ruutu, who is known more as a pest than a scorer, made it 2-0 at 18:47. Ruutu’s second goal of the season was a gift as Andrei Markov didn’t get as much was he wanted on a clearing pass. The result was that Ruutu found himself alone in front of the net. He caught Huet moving from one side to the other and put the puck between the goalie’s skates.

The Canadiens dodged a bullet a few minutes earlier. Jordan Staal appeared to have a clear path to the net, but he was brought down from behind by Ryan O’Byrne. Referee Bill McCreary could easily have called for a penalty, but instead gave O’Byrne two minutes for tripping and the Canadiens were able to kill the penalty.

The Canadiens’ homestand continues Saturday night when the Columbus Blue Jackets are at the Bell Centre. The game will be preceded by ceremonies to retire general manager Bob Gainey’s No. 23. The festivities start at 6 p.m. and the opening faceoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

THREE STARS 1. Evgeni Malkin 2. Alex Kovalev 3. Ryan Malone


  1. 24 Cups says:

    showey – I totally agree with you – in fact this is the only real pet peeve I have with this website. I understand that the columnists try and keep us updated and feel the need to add new threads at least once a day. But posters tend to be lazy and post comments on whatever is at the top of the page, whether it relates to the thread or not. On game day, the game day post should always be at the top. It should be standard procedure regardless of which writer is in charge for that afternoon.

    I think it would be beneficial if Dave would give us some insight into how these decisions are made. It would also be great to know how he (and the others) feel about having the game day thread at the top as a matter of standard policy. (outside of a major trade or unusual event)

    The Original 24 Cups

  2. WindsorHab-10 says:

    Can’t fault Carbonneau for sticking with the same lineup as Tuesday night against the Rangers and this includes Huet. I think he deserves a start tonight and I hope the Habs remember what Crosby-less-Pens did to them on Hockey Night In Canada last time they played. It’s payback time.

  3. WindsorHab-10 says:

    Huet is starting and rightfully so. He was amazing in the shootout and earned tonight’s start. I’m sure Price will bounce back his next game.

  4. showey47 says:

    I am the only one that thinks this article should be at the top of the top instead of being the 5th down? It is game night.

  5. 46_14_27 says:


    Two things stand out from your post:

    1. You have a very limited knowledge of the game we love to call hockey

    2. If you don’t learn a little bit more about sex, you may also end up with a limited amount of spending money.

    Go Habs Go

  6. sidhu says:

    I’d play Price against a weaker C-Bus team. I’d rather have him face Modin, Fedorov, Nash, than the leading scorer in the league in Gino. Huet is the goalie who won the last game, I can’t see Carbo making any changes to that lineup the game after. I hope Dandy steps it up tonight because I thought he was the least significant player on the ice for us against NYR.

    Go Habs Go!

  7. JF says:

    I hope you’re right. When he pulled off the shootout win in the Atlanta game, it seemed to raise his confidence enormously, and he was great the next few games.

  8. ONTARIO HAB says:

    thanks man are there no bars still owned by some players?

  9. wd40 says:

    i suppose there’s no jinx if you say it before the game starts 😉

  10. wd40 says:

    if you want to stay in the heart of downtown, i really like the “new” Ye Old Orchard Pub on de la Montagne (between St.Catherine and Rene-Levesque). course you could always go the Cage aux Sports .. there’s one right at the Bell Centre (get there early if it’s a home game). the added plus there is you’ll get to enjoy 8 free wings on the house if we score 5 goals or more. those are two of my favs, but there are many options.

  11. Hoegarden says:

    I should add that Cedric is leading the ECHL.

  12. Hoegarden says:

    Penguins are very hot of late with their PP.
    13 goals in 43 attempts in their last 9 games or a 30.25% success. Gonchar leads the NHL with 35 points on the PP and Malkin has 34. On our side, Kovy has 34.

    Our goalies in the minors are currently doing very well.
    Halak now leads the AHL with a saving percentage of .928 and Cedric Desjardins is ranked #1 with his .935 sp.

  13. A. Berke says:

    I agree that Price needs to get the start tonight if nothing else, to get back his confidence.

    Besides in the rangers game, IMO he was weak only at the second goal, on the other 2 goals the defence (the whole team) was a lot more culpable than Price. After all, goalies are humans and they will be scored upon. What needs to be addressed are the soft ones and that applies to both Price as well as Huet.

    Hoping for a good game tonight with a lot of hard work from the team and hopefully better than mediocre officiating.


    Ali B.

  14. T-roy West says:

    Here’s hoping that Huet gets a shutout tonight!

  15. habfan53 says:

    And throw in Vigneault from last year.

    Sometimes I wonder if we gave up on them. ALL FOUR were hired with NO NHL experience. Vigneault ran into a period of bad luck with injuries 2 years of over500 games lost. Therrien needed to learn to control his temper (still a work in progress) and Julien never mind Montreal the unkindest cut was Lamorillo last year.

  16. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    amazing how you just mentioned 3 Habs coaches…

    our time is truly coming…it is destiny.
    1. Feb 19, 2008 – History was made.
    2. Thank GOD we have Alex Kovalev… his PRIME
    3. The BELL CENTRE should be rebuilt to sit 80,000 fans
    4. We will win the CUP

  17. habfan53 says:

    With Pittsburgh in town tonight I was thinking about Therrien handling the club without Crosby (8-4-2)
    I can’t speak for the west but I would say three candidates for the Adams from the east would be Therrien, Carbo and Julien who has played basically the whole year sans Bergeron.
    Montreal has been lucky(for a change) in that we have not had to suffer any major illness or injury to a key player this year foran extended period.

  18. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    thats the REST factor, and Carb has to read that.

    a goalie can have a good game and still lose.

    I’m sure Carb will give them both work, but once it becomes
    more clearer than the other will sit.

    right now its HUET’s JOB…and the only thing thats going to
    take that away is HUET…NOT PRICE.

    even if price starts 7 of the last 20 and wins them all
    and Huet starts the other 13 and only wins 7 but loses 6
    I still think Huet would get the call come playoffs.

    but with Price ready to jump…just like Carolina and GERBER/WARD

    GERBER dropped the first 2 then WARD came in for the run.
    1. Feb 19, 2008 – History was made.
    2. Thank GOD we have Alex Kovalev… his PRIME
    3. The BELL CENTRE should be rebuilt to sit 80,000 fans
    4. We will win the CUP

  19. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    it was the perfect circumstance for a goalie to stand up and make a point.
    some guys thrive on that chance…gives them EXTRA incentive…motivation.

    its called a “challenge”…..most veterans NEED IT…most rookies FEAR IT.
    1. Feb 19, 2008 – History was made.
    2. Thank GOD we have Alex Kovalev… his PRIME
    3. The BELL CENTRE should be rebuilt to sit 80,000 fans
    4. We will win the CUP

  20. ONTARIO HAB says:

    i just hope we can utilize both and not wait till one blows up to put in the other guy

  21. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    The answer to that TODAY = HUET.

    but when the time comes? we don’t know yet.
    1. Feb 19, 2008 – History was made.
    2. Thank GOD we have Alex Kovalev… his PRIME
    3. The BELL CENTRE should be rebuilt to sit 80,000 fans
    4. We will win the CUP

  22. Habs_008 says:

    Huet might have played one time that i remeber this year, after having a bad game. I love Price, he is our future. But i dont like sitting Huet for 3-5 games. He needs to play 2.

  23. Rogie30 says:

    One of our goalies really has to step it up, funny that Huet looked more comfortable as a releiver, and I like him alot, and tighten up that defense, boys.

  24. Habster101 says:

    I think we should play Price tonight…give him a chance to repair his mishap last game.
    Huet is OK…again I will say he is our #1 goaltender for this year….

    Price played good against the kids in Pittsburgh before.

    Huet has been an integral part of the team and will win us a cup for it with Price watching, learning and sometimes contributing…

    Next season Price will be playing the lead role with Huet backing him for our 2nd cup in a row…

    then Huet will retire and Price will carry the torch further and create new history for us to dwell on…

    sounds crazy? just remember where it came from when it happens…

  25. ONTARIO HAB says:

    Hey hab fans Im planning a trip to Montreal soon I would like to watch a game at a sports bar somewhere. Is Richards tavern still there? Where would be the best place to go?

  26. T-roy West says:

    Team990 is a joke!

  27. Shobud says:

    I think we might see a big difference in Huet tonight..After pulling that game out the other night he knows that he can do it..Even shootouts..I sure hope I am right.. If he folds tonight you better start looking to someone else for the playoffs

  28. Wayne says:

    I thought Max was it. I don’t think we need another sh!t disturber. Besides, the type of players who stir the pot and not fight, only serve to piss the other team off even more. Sometimes to the point of cheap-shotting the best players. If anything, we need a goon to protect Max and everybody else. We need a size-able side of beef sitting there on the bench to remind the opposition there’s a price to pay.

  29. ONTARIO HAB says:

    that is Carbos job to make sure it doesn’t happen

  30. HABZ 24 says:

    habs best beware, after comming off a huge high last game theres bound to be a let down,do it vs pitt and ull get burned.go habs go!!

  31. ONTARIO HAB says:

    well Prof. who starts game 1 of the playoffs

  32. ONTARIO HAB says:

    Carbo has to change his stay with one guy till he blows up plan. That way we can take advantage of both goalies

  33. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    I’d consider PRICE….I don’t fear the penguins and it would be a good bounce-back game for the kid…Usually we allow Huet to bounce back under similar situations.

    But I also see Carbs strategy, reward the hot hand with another start, and from that perspective it would be CRAZY to start Price after HUET was integral in out MOST HISTORIC GAME!

    but I’d definitely get Price back in sooner than later.
    1. Feb 19, 2008 – History was made.
    2. Thank GOD we have Alex Kovalev… his PRIME
    3. The BELL CENTRE should be rebuilt to sit 80,000 fans
    4. We will win the CUP

  34. HAB-PROFESSOR says:

    I think you hit the nail on the head…he is a CLUTCH PERFORMER.

    In regards to your Moniker, at the trade deadline you will have to change it because it will become Irrelavant based on if Ryder is traded and/or if he remains, and the trade doors are closed…then the negativism’s associated with the name will have no place going into the playoffs!

    of course if the unthinkable happens and we lose 15 of the last 20 and the leafs get in and we are out and Ryder is the cause of it all…..then I WILL CHANGE to DUMP-RYDER myself!

    1. Feb 19, 2008 – History was made.
    2. Thank GOD we have Alex Kovalev… his PRIME
    3. The BELL CENTRE should be rebuilt to sit 80,000 fans
    4. We will win the CUP

  35. Edwardo says:

    For sure, Team 990 just said Huet is in.

  36. Habs_008 says:

    That wouldnt be fair to Huet. Huet plays a bad game he is sitting for 3 or 4 games. Price plays a bad game and he starts the next one? Not cool, play Huet.

  37. wd40 says:

    i had the same feeling listening to him yesterday. unless he really is the ultimate take-it-as-it-comes human being, he seemed almost impossibly content despite the flurry of rumours and uncertainty around his name.

  38. ONTARIO HAB says:

    i agree but i heard that huet is in

  39. Ian G Cobb says:

    Drop your handle for a more positive one would be nice. We definitely need a better face off man. How about ” I’ll Take The Draw”—Ian

  40. jew4jah says:

    i downloaded a garbage version of the game on torrents last night. it’s missing some goals and the ‘fight’ between komi & dubinsky. there should be a full version online soon enough. not that i condone illegal downloading or anything like that.

  41. RetroMikey says:


    Respect my friend. You’ve got my e-mail and contact me once you hear any news!

    “We will win the Cup only with Carey Price in the nets”

  42. REB says:

    I like the idea of Hossa in a Habs uniform, and I can understand the logic of trading 2 UFAs for 1 UFA (or some other combination thereof), but what I really want (and I’m sure BG wants the same) is to announce the signing of Hossa to a 2-3yr contract that doesn’t break the bank. Could this be what is holding up the parade – BG having permission to secretly negotiate with Hossa before a trade is done? I know Ryder sure looks happy lately – has he secretly (with permission) negotiated a decent contract with Atlanta?

    Ahhhh, don’t you just LOVE rumours!!!

  43. krob1000 says:

    nice post!!!

  44. ONTARIO HAB says:

    I would like to see what he will do in the playoffs
    I have a gut feeling he will be huge

  45. Scotty90 says:

    Retro-Mikey and Smart Dog…. I wrote RDS and asked them if DVDs’ of the game were available. I don’t know how long it’ll take for an answer but they will e-mail me back. Will let you know what they say.

  46. TradeRyder says:

    Should They Still Trade Ryder?

    You may be surprised at my answer….

    At the start of the year I said they should trade him because I thought he wasn’t speedy enough to fit, and he needed to be fed the puck to score. I wanted someone else on that first line and thought there was no other place for him. I really didn’t like his last and second-last plus-minus place over two years and thought his value was as high as it could get.

    I still say I was right and if we HAD traded him and he had 12 goals at this point everyone not born in Newfoundland would agree with me.

    But all this time the one thing that sometimes made me hesitate was his 3-goal performance in the last game last year. He wanted to get to the playoffs – and more than any other Hab that key night he showed it where it counts – on the scoreboard. Tuesday night Ryder had that same kind of game – he was in the flow, found his spots, and put it in when it counted. He may be a play-off performer. And I have to admit that given the play of Koivu and Higgins this year that having only 12 goals has to do with more than just Michael Ryder.

    And what makes it really tough is the guy is so darned likable. A class act. So should we trade him? I think if the right offer comes along, we still should. He might go on to score 30 more next year, but if on the other hand he slumps again, it will be a huge distraction, and someone like Chipchura will stay in Hamilton because of it.

    That said, I would not be upset if we kept him. His value isn’t what it was when I started the “Trade Ryder” campaign – and he has become a more complete player. What is more interesting is what Bob is thinking right now. My guess is that Bob will watch these next games very closely to see if we have the goal-scoring Ryder back which would be fabulous for a team already strong in scoring but over-reliant on one line.

    Regardless, I will drop the name TradeRyder at the trade deadline. I’m open to suggestions for another. Right now “SitSmolinski” is the front-runner. 🙂

    And regardless of that – way to go Michael. Great game Tuesday night.

    Let the kids play… let the non-performers watch or walk.

  47. ONTARIO HAB says:

    so who’s in net tonight?
    I would go with Price

  48. Smart Dog says:

    If someone has that – I’d like it to! I’ll give you twenty bucks for it!
    Habs Fans! The FUTURE looks bright:
    Plekanec, Higgins, Chipchura, A Kostitsyn, Lapierre, Latendress,
    Price, S Kostitsyn, Komisuarus, O’Byrne

  49. the real vinnydj says:

    We need another Komisarek but this one will play up front and take out bodies. Did you guys see him laying everyone out just before he took that high sticking penalty?. HOLY MOLY.

  50. wd40 says:

    another good test for the Habs. it’ll be interesting to see how the team responds after the incredible high they’ve obviously been riding. and with 20+ games to go, it really doesn’t mean anything, but if the playoffs started today, they’d be our dancing partner. 😉

  51. cautiousoptimist says:

    Sooooooooooo, how about that Pittsburgh game?

  52. Rogie30 says:

    Marian needs a big winger that can go to the boards and feed him the puck, thats our next objective, toughness.

  53. Habhopeful says:

    I Agree, hossa will do good for this team, how could he not hes a very talented two-way player, goal scorer and playmaker and big, fast with good hands…But then again lecavalier would be better to have then hossa but for now, lets keep with Hossa

    “Like, you can’t get a girl pregnant when she’s on top man, I mean, its gravity…Just can’t happen.”

    -Jason Segel

  54. krob1000 says:

    I’ve been posting it for nearly a month and now finally almost everyone is on board…we still have a few people who refuse to take the time to look at the facts and call Hossa a non-playoff guy….it’s ridiculous. I added the Lecavelier bit as he seems to be the chosen one around these parts….that is a dream….Hossa is very real.

  55. RetroMikey says:

    Anybody still ot there that can make me a DVD copy of the full version RDS game against the Rangers please?
    Contact me on my e-mail address

    “We will win the Cup only with Carey Price in the nets”

  56. Habhopeful says:

    i already posted all that far below lol

    “Like, you can’t get a girl pregnant when she’s on top man, I mean, its gravity…Just can’t happen.”

    -Jason Segel

  57. Rogie30 says:

    He is simply one of the best players in the league, and makes us not only better, with a little toughness, we now look likea contender for once.

  58. krob1000 says:

    For those of you who think Hossa is a no show in the playoffs.

    Hossa’s career playoff stats 13 g 22a 35p in 55 games (he sucked in his first three playoffs as a kid and last year the whole Atlanta team disappeared in the first round…they were truly awful). If you discount Hossa’s first three years when the Sens were chokers in the first round (Hossa was only one of their primatry scorers in the third year) he has 12g 19a 31p in 41 games.

    Lecavelier’s career playoff stats are 18 goals 15 assist for 35 points in 45 games ( He also didn’t amke the playoffs for the first five years of his career when he was young and not fully developed like Hossa).

  59. Rogie30 says:

    A first line center to compete with Ottawas top line, and an instigator-Paulsson shut down player would be nice.

  60. odber says:

    beg to differ,neil does a number on us and we could use some help in this dept.

  61. Habster101 says:

    dont worry about Chris Neil…he’s just a big mouth who will get penalized at the wrong time against Montreal and our power play will take care of the rest…

    we dont need a goon of anykind, we have talent, and talented players know how to deal with big mouth goons…

    this isn’t the 80s style hockey anymore…

  62. Habster101 says:

    Well lets see how they play tonight against Pittsburgh before we want any trades or not…

    this will be a bigger test than NYR were, if they can keep up the same intensity and play well hopefully for 60 mins then really we don’t need anyone…

    But Hossa would still be a nice fit in Montreal, he’d get his respect in the league back and he can also revenge Ottawa for dumping him into the abyss of the league…

    Hossa this year + Lecav next year = 2 Stanley’s back to back…

  63. wd40 says:

    As the Trade Deadline approaches, what would you like to see Gainey do?

  64. odber says:

    it would be nice to pick up a player that can counter chris neil,,,tired of komasarik having to deal with this guy all the time.

  65. 24 Cups says:

    Shobud – I understand where you are coming from (to a degree), it’s a lot like Ian and some other guys. I respect that. All I’m asking is that you take s step back and look at the over direction and makeup of the team. Let’s not just ride this winning streak thinking it will carry us forever. This is a major chess game we are in now and I think that we win both ways – we have a lot of pieces to play and we have a leader who will proceed cautiously to move those pieces. But as the game unfolds we also have to be ready to adapt and change our strategies. It’s the only way to victory.

    The Original 24 Cups

  66. Habhopeful says:

    Gettin rid of ryder(who everyones know has been having a crappy year) is okay in my books, we did good without him so far this year and would probably still do good without him…As for Streit, I love streit, hes one of my fave players on the habs, i even have him in a couple pools, but if its those 2 guys for Hossa, that is a good trade…On top of it, during the offseason, we still could have a chance of resigning streit because he is UFA and if he really loves it here he’d be willing to come back, unless of course Gainey and waddell place some sort of restriction
    on that type of deal, as for streit’s PP abilities, he was awesome at the point, booming shot and good vision, but SKOZ
    has been manning the point lately and thats what carbs is trying to make Skoz into, a Streit type point player on the P.P, we’ve seen him already get good cross ice passes and good positioning, if not you, then me cause i have noticed it…In the end i think it’ll be good to have Hossa

    “Like, you can’t get a girl pregnant when she’s on top man, I mean, its gravity…Just can’t happen.”

    -Jason Segel

  67. Habs_008 says:

    Are you kidding? To Get a guy like Hossa for 2 players who wont be here next year? Even if Hossa leaves in the Offseason, i would rather have him. I belive we will have a better shot at the cup with Hossa. The Guy can flat out PLAY! Streit is gonna ask for way too much next year. Someone will pay it, not us. Ryder same.

  68. Shobud says:

    Everyone is all shook up about hossa and maybe someone else.. If we make changes now you better start praying.. Add guys now and we won’t make it past the first round..I don’t understand people..The team we have has us in a tie for fisrt place and they want to make changes..It just don’t make sense..I pray Bob does not make a deal

  69. Habs_008 says:

    I actually like that trade for Hossa…. I think Hossa will break his playoff funk if he comes to our team. He is a great player. And getting Hossa for 2 players who possible/more then likely will sign somewhere else next year, Wow Gainey knows what he is doing. I would take One Hossa over a Ryder/Strait. Ryder is starting to pick it up now. But what happens when this streak ends?

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