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. Danno says:

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

     

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

  2. Mattyleg says:

    “ssshhhh… you’ll feel a little pinch, then all your worries will be over…”

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  3. 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

  4. WindsorHab-10 says:

    They Stahl.

  5. Sportfan says:

    not gunna lie thats what i thought lol

  6. observer says:

    Bull! May have played on a team that won the Stanley Cup. END OF STORY!

  7. 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—

  8. Bugs says:

    Sure as hell’ll make more difference than exchanging Auld for Conklin at this stage of the season.

  9. 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.

  10. samTHEman says:

    Oh LORD….going to need a few cold ones. Cmon Auldie!!! Who’s in nets for Carolina? Staal in or out?

  11. observer says:

    Out means not playing PERIOD! Did they use the term “out” or “not starting”?

  12. Bugs says:

    Spacek taken out back and put down sounds like…

  13. Mattyleg says:

    I think we know Montreal on a Friday night too well.

    I thought so too.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  14. adam76 says:

    what a hipster

  15. Hobie Hansen says:

    Not sure which way each player shoots off the top of my head but they should play one defensive defenseman with an offensive defenseman during regular strength play. Wisniewski-Sopel, Subban-Gill, Hamrlik-Mara.

  16. observer says:

    Stahl is OUT which means he is not playing – he is not dressing.

  17. 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.

  18. observer says:

    He played in Montreal last night, they probably knew for last 2 days the situation with Price.

  19. 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.

  20. christophor says:

    That’s pretty much what the current pairings do. Hammer is more of an all round D who can play shut down if necessary. Wiz is the more offensive of the two and Hammer balances him out while being able to chip in himself from time to time. Then there’s PK-Gill and Sopel-Weber.

  21. christophor says:

    I thought it was, “you won’t even feel a pinch”

    You do feel the pinch?!

  22. observer says:

    well then he is NOT out!

  23. larisalapointe says:

    Five years is a lot in hockey years. I also believe he is good but has lost his confidence maybe since then, and somehow slipped through the cracks. It’s not that he’s that bad, it’s just that Price is that good.

  24. samTHEman says:

    You mean he’s naked?

  25. Rob D says:

    I would be willing to give up a 1st round pick in this draft. It’s a very weak draft in any case and I shudder to think that the Habs would be comfortable going into the playoffs with this offensively challenged squad. Not sold on Penner and his dicey work ethic but if they think they can motivate him, he’s exactly what they need. He’d make room for whomever plays with him to operate.Its a gamble of course.

    Incidentally, I would be in favour of benching Gomer for the playoffs. Love that guy…He marries ineptitude with a lack of balls.

  26. CanadienFanTrappedinNiagaraFallsNY says:

    Don’t give observer credit. All of them were key pieces, except Moen.

  27. Mark C says:

    Another deal that makes PG’s trade for the Wiz look like steal.

  28. dre1744 says:

    Well it looks like its up to bald auld to win us this game……   I’m gonna start praying to the hockey gods right about now!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. SmartDog says:

    That and Sople to me is much more vaiualbe than Mara.  Didn’t like MAra when he was here before.  The only positive now is he brings some toughness and depth – both of which we need.  Sopel is a PK specialist and THAT we need.

  30. christophor says:

    Hammer is having a terrific year. I’m surprised that it’s not talked about more often and even more surprised that he’s dumped on.

    http://tsn.ca/nhl/teams/players/bio/?id=1175

    Definitely unexpected. I’d say resign him cheap but I recall that Hammer is usually one to elevate his game only when Markov is out and his minutes and responsibities increase. The quality of his game generally goes down with his minutes and responsibilities. So maybe not a good use of 2 plus million.

  31. samTHEman says:

    LOL yeah you’re probably right. I wonder if guys like observer and Timo actually like the Habs.

  32. Mike D says:

    Yup!

    - Honestly yours

  33. observer says:

    Did Crosby win a bigger Cup than Letang for example in their year? I repeat, “they played on a team who won the Cup” – end of story.

  34. samTHEman says:

    Maybe i’m misunderstanding your original comment when you said “they might have played on a team that won the Cup”.

    What are you implying by that? That the guys we have that’ve won it (Gomez Gionta Moen Gill Sopel) were irrelevant to their team during their Cup win? Or that putting a bunch of guys that’ve won together on a different team means nothing?

  35. observer says:

    obviously he is NOT out he is in uniform.

  36. Ian Cobb says:

    We have a nice mix of quality vets and rookies on our roster to carry the day, under the correct coaching staff.

    After J.Martin put this train wrecked team together last year and took us on a very nice run into last years play offs. I have been very slow to be critical of his coaching ability to take this club to the next level. But it is now show time, to give the paying public their monies worth.

    Yes we have been hit hard by the injury bug to key players this year. But we do have a very good farm team to draw replacement players from and we have picked up some more experience for our back end.

    There is no excuse for this talented team to fall on its face this year. It is getting late in the season and it is now time for the coaching staff to get this team playing winning hockey with more consistency than the recent past.!

    Come on Jacques, It is time to show us what your made of. Just ask PK to coach you on how to develop some more enthusiasm and intensity behind the bench.

  37. samTHEman says:

    Nothing? Lol so?

  38. Mike D says:

    IMO, Penner would be a bad idea for this team.  I don’t like players with questionable work ethics (which we already have a few of), and for whatever reason, Montreal seems to make some players lazier…or at least some players who were considered lazy while they played here seemed to be much improved in that department as well as in the scoring department after they were traded.  4.25mil is too expensive for someone like Penner.

    Conversely, the playoffs is actually the one time you actually DO want Gomez playing on your team.  Seems to be the only time he comes close to earning his salary.

    - Honestly yours

  39. CanadienFanTrappedinNiagaraFallsNY says:

    In my response to your comment below, I did indeed “bash” Auld. He is not good. I did not however say that we should sign Conklin, if you were drawing that connection.

    While on the topic tho, couldn’t we trade with the Islanders for Nabokov if he was willing to take the trip?

  40. TomNickle says:

    I have my opinions about Hamrlik which some call over the top.  But I haven’t yet seen anyone call his season terrific.  Anything specific you can say about his play that’s made his season terrific?

  41. CanadienFanTrappedinNiagaraFallsNY says:

    Maybe he was… but unfortunately he wasn’t…

    .902 save percentage, 2.94 GAA in those 67 games. When was that considered good? When Georges Vezina played?

    Here’s to the team vote though!

  42. CanadienFanTrappedinNiagaraFallsNY says:

    He did not have a good year when he played 67 games, if anything he showed the opposite. see above.

  43. TomNickle says:

    Wisniewski’s done a nice job of trying to replace what Markov brings, if Sopel can come close to mirroring Gorges production defensively and on the penalty kill there are no excuses.

    With the positive additions of Pacioretty, Desharnais, Eller and Subban this team is as talented as it’s been in 15 years and should be playing their best hockey soon.  If not, you are on to something about the coaching on this team.

    A decent season from Gomez would have this team in the division lead and primed for home ice through 2 playoff rounds.  It’s Martin’s job to put #11 in the best situation possible for the team’s sake.  Having him with Moen and a revolving door on the right wing is unacceptable.

  44. HabFanSince72 says:

    It’s Martin’s job to put #11 in the best situation possible for the team’s sake

    Bottom of the St.Laurent with cement shoes? Maybe AK46’s buddies could help.

  45. TomNickle says:

    Subban and Gill have both been significantly better than Hamrlik.  A revolving door at the position beyond that doesn’t say a whole lot for Hamrlik.

    Has he been the best because Martin has stupidly fed him icetime in situations where he won’t succeed?

    Our powerplay has gone into the tank(Leaf game aside) since Hamrlik took over quarterbacking it.  Our penalty kill started it’s major downhill slide with him getting minutes on it.

    He has areas where he is excellent, but he has not been our best defenseman.

     

  46. WindsorHab-10 says:

    If JM wants to prove his worth, he would bench Gomez for the rest of this game.


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