Game 63: Canadiens weather Hurricanes’ storm

Roman Hamrlik and Alex Auld defend the net against the Hurricanes on Saturday night. Robert J. Galbraith, The Gazette

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AUDIO: Jacques Martin | Tomas Plekanec | Alex Auld | Brian Gionta | Mike Cammalleri | Brent Sopel

• At a Glance: The Canadiens gave themselves some breathing room in the Eastern Conference playoff race with a 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night at the Bell Centre. The teams exchanged six goals in the first two periods, with three on either side. Jussi Jokinen opened the scoring when he took advantage of Alex Auld’s misdadventure behind the net to slide the puck into an open net. Auld started in the place of Carey Price, who was under the weather. The Canadiens would score twice before the end of the first period to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. Michael Cammalleri scored for the second straight game at 13:48 of the period when his wrist shot whistled over Cam Ward’s shoulder. Andrei Kostistyn did the grunt word below the goal like and passed the puck to Lars Eller, who beat Ward at 16:53 for his fourth goal of the season. The Hurricanes tied the game 2:10 into the second period when Tuomo Ruutu redirected a puck behing Auld. Tomas Plekanec put the Canadiens up 3-2 when he used a Hurricanes defender to screen Ward to bead the goaltender with a wrist shot from the slot 5:13 into the period. Cory Stillman tied the game 3-3 10:49 into the period with a wrist shot of his own that eluded Auld. On their first power play of the game, which came at 14:10 of the third period, Kostitsyn deflected Roman Hamrlik’s point shot beyond Ward at 16:07.

• Key Moments:
It took more than 54 minutes, but the Canadiens finally got a power play against the Hurricanes and made it count.

• What It Means: Montreal gave itself a cushion in sixth place of the Eastern Conference, moving to 73 points with a 33-23-7 record, six points ahead of the Hurricanes in eighth spot and three up on the New York Rangers, who are in seventh.

• What’s Next:
The Canadiens hit the road for three games this week, starting on Tuesday in Atlanta, then off to Florida on Thursday and Tampa Bay on Saturday night.

429 Comments

  1. Thomas says:

    Because Gomez is useless, and does less harm will riding pine.  Playing time shouldn’t be earned by the amount of salary they make, it should be earned by their play.  Gomez hasn’t earned anything but the bench, yet his salary seems to supersede that, its a shame really

  2. Nine1one says:

    MOen had 7 goals in their run; while making a part of their really good checking line. He was good in anaheim

  3. WindsorHab-10 says:

    Does the idiot behind the bench know how & when to usde a timeout.

  4. WindsorHab-10 says:

    Release the sob after this game.

  5. observer says:

    what does that have to do with habs or any team?

  6. The Cat says:

    I dont know if such a website exists with those stats easy and handy. Itd be a great idea if it did. I once tried to keep track of that stuff but just not enough time, but its been my experience that usually, a star defenseman missing will have a greater impact than a star forward. Thats just my observation, I dont have stats and I could be wrong.

    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  7. observer says:

    Sorry, I don;t care what the media has invented, there only is ONE Stanley Cup won each year and it is SINGULAR and is ONLY won by a team. Same for the Super Bowl, they do not give out 53 Super Bowls each season.

  8. samTHEman says:

    LMAO playing on a team that won the Cup and winning the Cup pretty much the same thing. I know what you mean. You’re implying they weren’t key factors in their Cup win. Well, maybe not, but I wasn’t implying either that we have a bigger chance of winning the Cup because we have 5 guys that have won it on our team. Just pointing out that we have lots of experienced players.

  9. WindsorHab-10 says:

    Could be a long night then.

  10. andrewberkshire says:

    That would be tough from Hamilton.

  11. observer says:

    Hope Sanford starts!

  12. solomio says:

    Montreal seemingly ALWAYS has trouble with Carolina.
    D will be important however I think Habs goal scoring is whats needed.
    I don’t have a feel for this game but unless the Habbies bring their A game they are doomed. Is that Eric Cole still with these guys? Uh oh !

  13. habsfannfld says:

    he should have spent the majority of this season in Hamilton. Look what it did for Max Pax

  14. solomio says:

    Why? You think I’m over valuing those players over 2 or 3 years?

  15. CanadienFanTrappedinNiagaraFallsNY says:

    I completely agree and I would want nothing to do with the oil spill in Edmonton. Organization is garbage if you ask me.

  16. TomNickle says:

    If you’re certain that the majority of the site feels this way you haven’t been logging on much lately.

    We are a good defensive team but by no means elite.  We’ve been riding our goaltender all season.  Hamrlik doens’t play half of the game by the way.  He’s averaged 22 minutes/game over the course of the season with that mark much closer to 20 minutes over the last 20 games or so.  Meaning that he’s taking 1/6 of the minutes available.  Hardly the sign of your most valuable piece back there.

    If your argument has now taken that much of a hit that you need to start playing for site votes, I think we can conclude that he in fact has not been our best defenseman.

  17. TomNickle says:

    Minus 9 in the last thirty games.  I suppose that’s an analysis of last season too.  Our penalty kill went from 1st overall to 8th with him taking first wave duty.  Our powerplay has stunk since he’s been quarterbacking it.

    Saying that a player filling in for other players’ duties is relevant, and even admirable of him to do it.  It doesn’t however mean he’s good at it.

     

  18. thebigguy says:

    “‘Member when they finished 1st in the conf that time and we were 8th and we beat’em few years back? Or the time they were 2nd and we were 7th…remember? Yeah, they were “the best” then too.”

     

    Maybe this year it’ll be 3-6 with similar results.

     

    We have our history -24 cups.

    They have their history – historical choke jobs.

  19. CanadienFanTrappedinNiagaraFallsNY says:

    I agree with the theme of your post, but I would have to disagree that Tampa has a young core. It is a lack of a young core that will give that team 1 or 2 opportunities to win the Cup before bottoming out. And I’ll predict that they don’t accomplish the feat.

    Aside from Hedman and Stamkos, everyone is reaching expiry…

  20. JF says:

    As for Sopel, I’m not sure that Phillips had anything to do with the signing.  It could be that Gauthier learned that Spacek is out for the season or at least for quite a few weeks.  Remember that he traded for Wisniewski before it was official that Gorges was done for the season.

  21. TomNickle says:

    Gorges, Markov and Spacek done for the year.

    Hamrlik playing terrible.

    Wisniewski nearly losing his eye.

    Yeah, why would our GM want to add a depth defenseman?

    What a dumbass.

  22. CanadienFanTrappedinNiagaraFallsNY says:

    Does or does not? Post is confusing me a tad.

  23. Habnofear says:

    RAH RAH RAH BLAH BLAH BLAH ……..

  24. JF says:

    Thank you, but I hope you’re wrong about AK46.  I still think he’s a valuable player for the Habs, and I doubt we’d get anything like equivalent value in return.  I hope Gauthier gives him a one-year deal with a modest raise to show that the team still believes in him.  Then, if it doesn’t work out, we can trade him next year.

  25. CanadienFanTrappedinNiagaraFallsNY says:

    I’m just teasing, bugs. I need you as an ally when the francophone bashing re-convenes. As it inevitably will.

  26. solomio says:

    Hey oldrrty here’s what I would do for next season

     

    Goal:Price – sign him 3 years 12 million. Auld – let him go

    Defence:

    Hamrlik – Sign him for 2 years for 7 million.

    Spacek – Let him go.

    Gorges –  sign him for 3 years for 7.5 million.

    Subban – sign him – 3 years for 6 million

    Gill – sign him- 2 years for 4 million

    Picard – let him go

    Weber – sign him – 2 years for 3 million

    Wisnewski – sign him – 2 years for 8 million

    Markov – sign him – 3 years for 14 million

    Sopel – too early to say

    Mara – sign him – 2 years for 2 million

     Forwards

    Gomez – Trade him if you can – grin & bare it

    Cammaleri – grin & bare it

    Plekanec – perfect

    Gionta – grin & bare it

    Kostitsyn – sign him – 2 years for 6.5 million

    Moen – stand pat

    Pouliot – sign him – 3 years for 7.5 million

    Eller – sign him – 3 years for 6 million

    Paciortetty – sign him – 3 years for 8 million

    White – sign him – 3 years for 3.5 million

    Halpern – let him go

    Desharnais – sign him – 3 years for 6 million

    Pyatt – let him go

    Darche – 1 year for a million

    Problem is I think I’m over the cap!!

    Oh yeah and Martin goes upstairs and Muller becomes head coach

  27. thebigguy says:

    I don’t see any reason to be angry about management. We’re a team on the rise, not on the way down. We’ve kept young players that show heart, rather than floaters who get points on crappy teams. Grabovsky, S. Kots are not top 6 players on teams that want to go far in the playoffs. They’ll get their points, and eventually get large contrats to underachieve in Florida, but that’s about it.

     

    We have a team with a bright future. Price, Pacioretty and Subban is a pretty amazing young base to be building on.  Outside of Tampa, I’m not sure there are many teams that have the young core we have. As far as I’m concerned, Martin and Gauthier deserve the benefit of the doubt with the team they’ve produced.

    Also, the hard on (or wetness, depending on your gender) people seem to have for Boston is patently absurd. This is the same team that produced a choke of historical proportions. It’s the same leadership from last year. Unless you think Nathan Horton and Tomas Kaberle are somehow going to discover brass balls, I sincerely doubt that this team that’s only 4 points ahead of us is going to do  a whole lot.

  28. rob_c says:

    90% chance that draft pick will never see the NHL, and if it does will be 3-5 years away. A depth defenseman who knows the system, fits in the dressing room, wont disrupt the chemistry, with some toughness, who’s a real team guy.  Man PG is a moron. He gave up so much for Mara its ridiculous!

  29. otter649 says:

    Alot of complaining about Gomez & well deserved but Gomez is actually doing better than Chris Drury who signed the same contract at the same time with The Rangers (along with Wade Redden)……….

  30. TomNickle says:

    In the last 30 games he’s a minus 9.  Our powerplay has gone into the tank, our penalty kill has also gone into the tank.  He’s been one of the primary reasons for those failures too.

    If you want to evaluate every player on the roster based on the first 30 games of the year.  Yeah, he might have been one of our best defensemen.  Over the course of the year?  He’s been one of our worst.

  31. solomio says:

    With Moen in front of the net Gomez should be shooting much much more rather than waiting for a Dman to come crusing in and hoping that he can score.

  32. Ian Cobb says:

    This team can and should go a long way. If they don’t, the blame goes behind the bench for sure. Enough of picking on certain players. It is up to the coach to place each player in a position of being successful. That is what coaching is all about.

  33. HabFanSince72 says:

    He has done a great job but I fear he is running out of gas.

  34. christophor says:

    He’s been our best defenseman.

    An even +/- player who plays in a defensive system against the opposition’s best players. He makes some stupid decisions, but he’s been far more capable in stepping up to the plate than was expected. 

    I think I’m using “terrific” relative to expectations here, not to mean that he’s a terrific number 1 defenseman compared to some other teams’ number 1 defencemen. 

  35. Pieboy says:

    Offered a ride in the countryside.  Salary “capped.” Bettman’s new NHL. Gomez next.

  36. Danno says:

    We’ll all need a few drinks tonight with Auld in nets.

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  37. Mike D says:

    This just in from the “So What” files:

    It’s official.  McCabe to the Rags for Tim Kennedy and a 3rd.

    – Honestly yours

  38. Mattyleg says:

    Tsk tsk Bugsy, you’re forgetting HI/O directive 74: “Any Available Player Is Better Than Any Current Hab At That (or any other) Position.”

    It’s on p. 411 of your handbook.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  39. Tremblant Habs Fan says:

    He played 67 games for Vancouver in 2006 and was voted player of the year for the team, maybe he was ‘good’ then.

  40. Bugs says:

    Spacek taken out back and put down sounds like…

  41. SeriousFan09 says:

    Bob Mackenzie reporting he believes FLA’s Brian McCabe is off to the Blueshirts in exchange for Tim Kennedy and a 3rd-round pick.

    The stink of Toronto and the Panthers Curse on the guy, bold prediction this does nothing to boost their post-season aspirations.

     

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  42. munch17 says:

    Alex Auld doesn’t deserve to be dumped on. The second goal against the Leafs was weak – the other two were great shots.It was a typical home game after a road trip. He has done pretty well otherwise and has been a good team player.

  43. CanadienFanTrappedinNiagaraFallsNY says:

    He has had at least as many bad games as good, and his good games have come against awful teams (Florida, early-season Islanders).

    Also, I do not know where he got a reputations as a good backup, which I frequently hear. His career statistics do not approach “good”. Certainly will not be on the team next year, and he can be rid of this year, I am all for it. He was no awareness in the net. Reminiscent of Patrick Lalime.

  44. CanadienFanTrappedinNiagaraFallsNY says:

    And our posters think the Habs trades are pathetic. This is sad if the Rangers think it will make any difference.

  45. SeriousFan09 says:

    From Habs Beat man Arpon Basu’s Twitter:

    “Big props to @LouisJean_Sportsnet for picking up that Sopel has been given Spacek’s stall in Habs room. Spacek’s nameplate has disappeared”

    Spacek out for the season I guess?

     

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  46. Propwash says:

    Price hungover? I KEED! I KEED!


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