Game 64: Canadiens finally defeat Thrashers

Canadiens goaltender Carey Price makes a save against Thrashers’ Chris
Thorburn on Tuesday night.
Scott Cunningham, NHLI via Getty Images

Preview | Matchups | Tuesday’s

NHL schedule | Boone’s

Hits and About last night …
| Stubbs on Twitter | Hickey’s game story

PRE-GAME AUDIO: Jacques Martin | Jaro Spacek | Ben Maxwell

• At a Glance: The Canadiens finally found a way to defeat the Atlanta Thrashers on Tuesday night, a 3-1 win in Atlanta despite being outshot 41-23. Max Pacioretty scored his 12th goal of the season 13:22 into the game when his shot from the blue line went off the stick of at Atlanta player and eluded Chris Mason. Only 34 seconds into the second period, James Wisniewski scored a power-play goal when he flipped a puck beyong Mason from the goal line. At the time, it was only Montreal’s sixth shot of the game. After making 35 saves, Carey Price was finaly beaten 14:14 into the third period when Nik Antropov redirected a pass from Anthony Stewart, catching Price moving in the wrong direction. Canadiens captain Brian Gionta sealed the win with an empty-net goal with 44 seconds to play. Price finished with 40 saves, including 16 in the second period, for his 29th win of the season.

• Key Moments: Moments before Antropov’s goal, Pacioretty failed to score on a breakaway that would have give then Canadiens a 3-0 lead.

• What It Means: Montreal has won two straight games and improves to 34-24-7 for 75 points, good enough for sixth place in the Eastern Conference, 5 points ahead of the New York Rangers, who sit sixth and lost on Tuesday night.

• What’s Next: The Canadiens continue their road trip with a pair of games in the Sunshine State. They play the Panthers on Thursday and the Lightning on Saturday.


  1. LA Loyalist says:

    That’s interesting. I mean I don’t know the guy and goalies are usually pretty laid back (like drummers, is that weird or what?). Warrior goalies (St. Patrick, Hextall) are more unusual.

    Someone in Ottawa made an interesting comment about Kovalev the other day, that he needs to feel important to play well, needed. Like when Koivu went down and Kovy was captain he played well, and he may play a lot better in Pittsburgh until Crosby comes back and then slip again. I don’t know, just a theory, but let’s watch for it.

    Perhaps Halak freaked out Price and the show of confidence from management was enough to straighten him out.

    The lesson, i think, is to be really careful with our kids, they are each different and I don’t mind being a bit inefficient with our players, having older guys like Mara, Sopel, Spa, Gill… who may be past their peak but if it keeps us from burning out the next PK or Savard or Larry then I think it’s well worth it.

  2. WestHab says:

    was it Higgins that said he could be a 40 goal scorer? Maybe now if they line him up with the

  3. observer says:

    at $7 million a year he has lots to smile about and certainly keeps him out of depression.

  4. habstrinifan says:

    This board, tonight, is amazing(weird), reading. In one post Atlanata has beaten us twice but our ability is ‘definitely’ superior to theirs (they are not even close) but in those two games we didnt show up. Our talent knows no bound when we show up it seems.. contrary to the evidence of our record. Other posts revived the Price-Halak debate. Yet another post mnimised Talon’s work in Chicago because they could ‘tank’ but teams like us cant ‘tank’ and ‘rebuild’ because of the pressure. Quite the dilemna though, because, while he cant ‘tank and rebuild’ PG is also great and and wise because he refused to ‘tweak’ assertively and with deliberate purpose as other ‘dumb’ Gm’s have done this past month or so. And the post above confirms that we ‘have’ 3 lines( yes 3 lines) that can score but their scoring touch has been hampered because of the ‘trade bullcrap, a miasma which inexplicably affected our team from day one and may have even migrated across seasons.

    So I will just sit tonight and watch the game (or more likely read Boone’s blog) and do what I do for all games in recent history. Nervously pray that we pull out a win.

    And one day, soon I hope, the right decisions would have been made, on and off the ice, that there would be no question about the grandeur of this team and the posts will speak of an excellence rather than pollyana-esque inanity.

  5. TomNickle says:

    Disagree on Sergei.  He doesn’t have the ability to find quiet areas on the ice or the shot to be a 40 goals scorer.  Not even a 30 goal scorer in fact.

    55-60 points for Sergei is not out of the question though.

  6. savethepuck says:

    It’s easy to make good trades when you are a seller every trade deadline selling to desperate buyers. When you finish as a lottery pick that many years in a row, your best players are kids under 20 making small salaries. You always have veterans someone wants at the deadline to make a playoff run.

  7. light_n_tasty says:

    I agree, except that Price’s record last year 13-20-5 sucked.  That’s not average, that’s bad.

  8. SeriousFan09 says:

    I think Thornton’s issue is he’s not mean enough, literally. Everything I always hear about Thornton is he’s one of the nicest guys in the NHL you’ll ever meet. I think he just can’t stoke his competitive fire hot enough to really lay it down when it matters and want to win badly enough. He has the talent to dictate a game will be played if he enforces it, but he can’t seem to want to use it to just flat-out dominate like say Crosby.


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

  9. LA Loyalist says:

    Do you think Boston ruined Thornton by bringing him up so fast with so much pressure? Or is that just him?

    I think it’s an important lesson. Look at young Price, young PK. PK seems to have the personality to handle it, but not everyone does and I think it’s a big consideration in how we bring up our young players — you’ll be able to comment on this very well as you’re evaluating them over time.

    Not to broaden the question, I remember the Thornton situation in Boston very well and while of course we hate Boston I felt very bad for him.

  10. Storm Man says:

    I like what he brings to the table in the WHL, But look at what Locke did in the OHL for 2 years and where is he now?. I hope Gallagher proves me wrong. 

  11. Jordio-oh says:

    Defence wins hockey games, the playoffs are proof of that.

    And while offence also wins hockey games, Weber has one goal in 34 games and hasn’t registered a point in his last 8 games so its not like we’re losing alot of offence with him as a healthy scratch.

  12. joeybarrie says:

    He is 14-2-1 in his last 17 starts with 3 shutouts and is averaging .932 in those games.

    Pretty good numbers and 3.8 million for the current Stanley Cup winning goalie is not terrible in my mind.

    His career average is the same as Halak’s and with his Cup ring, I think he is worth what Halak is worth.

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  13. lefreak says:


  14. GrimJim says:

    The path is quite simple, a top goalie, a stud defense man and a big center.   

    Did Tallon mean a top goalie like Carey Price, a stud defense man like PK Subban and big center like … okay Habs still need that one. …

  15. observer says:

    LOL – leetle boy wow are you ever funny! you should be on saturday night live! or is that past your bedtime?

  16. observer says:

    He’s another one who learned the game in a totally different era.

  17. mrhabby says:

    Stablity is priceless. Last thing new owners want is upheaval and thats what they got…stable, not to flashy managers of a public trust. I would think Geoff Molson pitched this to secure investors. Alot of money changed hands.

  18. patience is a virtue says:

    that’s cause he played half the year with the NYI.  he is even since arriving in Mtl.

  19. AK_PK_Usay says:

    montreal is the city with the highest taxes in the nhl, which means, players in montreal get inflated salaries, as they would get a higher NET pay elsewhere

    chicago got some great picks, you need to be bottom and out of playoffs for a few years to get those great picks, only exception was pittsburgh.

    habs never really tanked in last 10 years, we’re a middle of the pack team, which means, unless we luck out and get a star draft pick, we will take a SLOW and i mean SLOW road to contenders, and who cares? besides the holigans that winning in playoffs brings, does it really matter?

    we won gold at olympics, a week later did anybody care?

    you’re basically saying sex is all about the climax…

  20. G-Man says:

    This is exactly the kind of game the Habs should win. But, they are not a .500 club on the road, so who knows?
    Here’s hoping they come up with a solid effort and win going away.

  21. CanadienBoy says:

    Spacek back for playoff

  22. showey47 says:

    Another overtime winner? He scored 2 goals all year with the other coming in a 7-1 win over the devils 3 months ago. Guess you also didn’t know that was hainsey’s first career overtime goal.

  23. N.B.habs fan says:

    Glad to get Sopal,good D man and he wants to play in Montreal.The Habs are still better team than most .No matter what happens I will always love my HABS..

  24. mbplekfan says:

    PG could be looking at Sopel to replace Gill or Hamrlik for next year. Not as old but still going to pass the magic over 35 barrier.

    One or two years to Sopel while we groom Nash should get us over the next few years.

    As far as reserve defenceman go I would keep Mara over Picard. He’s bigger, tougher and wont get pushed around by the bigger teams.

  25. derfab says:

    Our smallest guys got a rest at the break last year which gave us a lift into the playoffs.

    Gomez, as we all know, will be the key, which is why everyone is muddying their shorts over him. He can elevate his game to work with Gionta, but will he?

    Gorges was fantastic and will be missed.

    No Markov, no PP.

    Flyers, Bruins or whoever in 5 unless Gomer shows up.

  26. Bugs says:

    Over/under pt total for Maxwell tonight (if he plays of course): 0.5

    Call it.

  27. SeriousFan09 says:

    Habs Brendan Gallagher’s two latest goals in the WHL, the move he makes on the first goal is becoming his signature move.


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

  28. SeriousFan09 says:

    He’s playing against MTL, the team that drafted him and he’s a kid looking to score his 1st goal. Knowing how couteous MTL is towards players looking to get their 1st NHL goal I can’t see how Maxwell doesn’t score tonight.



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

  29. G-Man says:

    Zero- zippo- nil-nada.

  30. AK_PK_Usay says:

    Wiz, Sopel and Mara make our D both bigger and tougher, we are playing a “price” centric game, so big Ds that can protect him make all the difference.

    We have 3 lines that can score, its rare more than 1 line performs per game, but now that they don’t stress over all the trade bullcrap, maybe the players can concentrate on their game instead of the constant “rumors” wishfull “fans” get wet over.

  31. CanadienBoy says:

    Will find out big Byfu… 6’5″ 265 lbs..

  32. andrewberkshire says:

    I’m gonna say he gets torched in the first period in a matchup against Benny and DD, -2 in a couple minutes played, benched for the final 40.

  33. ed lopaz says:

    I’ll be the first to take it back if I’m wrong, but Weber is way better than Mara in every way.

    Looks like they will play Mara against certain teams and Weber against others.


    Also, hate to be negative because as Boone mentioned Sopel seems like a real good guy, but he can’t skate.

    The game is played on ice, after all.

    His skating last game was below par – especially when he had to go back in our zone to collect a loose puck and move his feet.

    I should  add that Sopel was Atlanta’s # 7 d-man when we acquired him, and Mara was almost never dressed in Anaheim.

    Maybe that’s why pedneault felt there was still a need to be filled on the back end.

    Maybe Sopel was tired or nervous. I hope so.

    Habs hockey is “smart” hockey – we play 5 man defence, not just 2 – we move up the ice as a 5 man unit, we back check with 5.

  34. TripleX says:

    For all the people who think Bob Gainey and now his protege are great GMs.

    In 2005 Dale Tallon took over a Chicago franchise which was the joke of the NHL for decades.  Five short years later the team he essentially was responsible for won the Stanley Cup.  In his first year the team finished 14th in the 15 team Western Division.  Five years!

    In 2010 Dale Tallon took over the Florida Panthers.  He promises to follow the road that was successful in Chicago, by gutting the team and starting from rock bottom.  In an interview on a Toronto radio station he said the only way to rebuild is by hitting rock bottom and acquiring draft picks.  He said that over the next two years he has 23 draft picks and intends to build with these assets.  The path is quite simple, a top goalie, a stud defense man and a big center.   Dale Tallon said once these cornerstones are in place you build momentum and hopefully in 3 to 4 years you are ready to add some high priced UFA’s to complete the puzzle.

    I will be watching where Montreal is in 5 years as compared to Florida.  Interestingly  he said he was surprised Ottawa kept on to their high priced veterans as it doesn’t mesh with his views of a proper rebuild.

  35. Corporate says:


    1) Sopel: Yes he is tough but he has only started. We can only judge in a little while as he has not played enough yet to get a good read.

    2) Mara: Yes he is tougher but he is a defensive liability. I rather have a guy like gorges that can play better D but not hit than have a guy that hits and not great at D.

    3) Wiz: he is a good offensive guy. he only started hitting for the last 2 or 3 games. Other than that he was not a hitting machine or tough for that matter. 


  36. ed lopaz says:

    I really like The Wiz. he is an excellent pick up.

    If I was the GM I would be signing him to the big contract he deserves.

    knowing the habs.

    they wait until July 1.

    they will offer Wiz about 500,000 less than what he’s worth, and wacth him walk away.

    sad but true.

    Pierre – The Wiz is a very good hockey player.

    He is still young, he is tough, he has great offensive instincts.

    Sign him!!!

    Habs hockey is “smart” hockey – we play 5 man defence, not just 2 – we move up the ice as a 5 man unit, we back check with 5.

  37. adamkennelly says:

    anyone remember the last game we played vs. Thrashers in ATL?  We got punked all over the ice and lost 3-0 – since our lack of size was only marginally addressed since then (addition of White, Sopel and Mara) lets see what game ATL brings to the table.  They got the bodies to make life miserable for our skilled guys.

  38. JIMVINNY says:

    Totally incorrect that Sopel was Atlanta’s 7th d-man.  he had played all but two games, one of which was the day of the trade, a game for which he was pulled from the line-up because he had been traded.

  39. mrhabby says:

    Panthers make no money.. zip….. So the owners will have to dig deep into there own pockets and pay for the players that Tallon will either sign as UFA’S or bring up thru the system. The cap is going to increase further putting pressure on the owners. Peeps could care less about hockey down in Florida. i just came back from Florida.

  40. Shawn S says:

    You make it sound so easy to win a cup. Lose for 5 straight years, accumulate these high draft picks then you have all the young guns you need to go all the way.  Just look at all the success LA, St Louis, NY Islanders, Colorado and Florida(I could go on) have all had employing that same strategy over the past decade. Oh wait…….

    For all the genius that is Tallon, he also woefully mismanaged the cap, and the defending stanely cup champ hawks are barely 2 points into the playoffs today after trading away so many cup just to stay within the cap. 

    Why can’t we be like a Detroit/New Jersey (excluding this year.) perrenial Stanley cup contenders that draft right no matter what position they get and sign the players that fit into their system.  I’d like to think thats the strategy Gauthier/Gainey are going with as we move forward.

  41. Fox says:

    I think you owe me some sort of fee for the use of my name

  42. SeriousFan09 says:

    Antti Niemi getting 3.8 million a season for the next 4 years. He is not leading in any statistical categories in the NHL at the moment and he’s being outplayed by the rookie who took his job in CHI. Nothing like more financial mismanagement in the NHL giving players more than what they’re worth.



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

  43. TripleX says:

    The plan is easy!  It is in the details and implementation that requires great management

    Why can’t we be Detroit or New Jersey?  Again it requires great management.

     The bottom line is that regardless of which plan ownership takes it requires sound management.  Get the BEST management, scouting and coaching available.  Without these ingredients no plan will ever be successful.

    My argument has never been about which road Montreal takes but rather who is leading the charge.  Montreal needs great management and deserves it.

  44. ed lopaz says:

    stand corrected. he was not their 7th d-man.

    he was their #5 d-man.

    Habs hockey is “smart” hockey – we play 5 man defence, not just 2 – we move up the ice as a 5 man unit, we back check with 5.

  45. lefreak says:

    lol sopes looks kind of like dolph lundgren’s goofier younger brother.

  46. dasbooth says:

    Well said Shawn! That is the strategy they are going for. To do that you can’t jeopardize the future every trade deadline, you have to be patient with players and WORK THE SYSTEM!! When we play the system we win (aka vs VAN) when we don’t we lose (aka vs TOR)

    “Shutouts are really more of a team stat” – Carey Price

  47. AK_PK_Usay says:

    the wiz is -18…

  48. mbplekfan says:

    he’s a good hockey player. the problem for us is his size. smaller guys can dominate in junior and do well in the A but it takes a special player to survive and do well in the NHL.

    We have too many small guys right now and they dont fetch much on the trade market so they arent marketable.

    The good news for Brendan is that in the next 2-3 years when he is maturing our small guys contracts will be falling off the books.



  49. mrhabby says:

    i was hoping for Yzerman when Gainey kind of retired. Not saying PG can’t do the job but i wanted something more.. a different look.

  50. patience is a virtue says:

    i like him too ed, but who does he play with and can the Habs afford the $4M+?

    way i see it, we gotta go for,

    Markov ($5.5M) – Gorges ($3M)

    PK ($1.5M) – Gill ($2M)

    Weber ($800K) – Spacek ($3.8M)

    Sopel ($1.5M), Nash (two-way)

    = $18.1M

    If Spacek wasn’t signed, i could see it.  And the Wiz doesn’t want to play 3rd string.  Maybe he can play with PK (who’s increasingly effective defensive reponsibility may balance the Wiz’s antics in the d-zone), but do you really want to give up Gill?  His leadership and PK prowress are pretty invaluable at $2M per… 


  51. lefreak says:

    a cup can do that, look at what it did for khabibulin.

  52. RGM says:

    Do you really think Dale Tallon, the guy who doesn’t know how to properly work a fax machine to send in RFA qualifying offers, is a great GM? Have a little more of that drink in your avatar.

    Go Habs Go!

  53. ed lopaz says:

    you give up Spacek, virtue.

    I hope Spacek retires. He sucks!

    Habs hockey is “smart” hockey – we play 5 man defence, not just 2 – we move up the ice as a 5 man unit, we back check with 5.

  54. ed lopaz says:

    Islanders kind of suck, you know.

    Habs hockey is “smart” hockey – we play 5 man defence, not just 2 – we move up the ice as a 5 man unit, we back check with 5.

  55. patience is a virtue says:

    ya, i like.  HOW?

  56. HabFanSince72 says:

    Actually, after a slow start, Niemi has been lights out for the Sharks in the last few months as they have moved steadily up the standings. Whether he will be good for the next 4 years I don’t know, but he is one of the best goalies in the league in the second half of the season, to the point where he is being mentioned as a potential Vezina finalist.

    Also, Doug Wilson is probably one of the best GMs in the league.



  57. TripleX says:


    Normally new ownership means bringing in his own management team.  I was supremely disappointed when Geoff Molson chose to stay the old course.

    The old management team did make a lot of money for Uncle George.  Sadly that is what matters most.

    Who knows maybe a requirement of securing the loan was to keep the old management in place?

  58. patience is a virtue says:

    clarification – i think Spac is overpaid and over the hill, but he most definitely does not suck.  he has been a reliable workhorse for a battered and bruised d-corps for two seasons.  just hasn’t lived up to his offensive billing.  maybe getting back to the left side, and away from top match ups will help…

  59. SeriousFan09 says:

    Niemi only became a goalie with a winning record this season because of a fantastic February stretch going 10-2, before that he was 11-13-3. He’s not going to win the Vezina based on one month’s hot streak anymore than Toews will win the Hart (and I really like Toews) for dragging his team back into the playoffs with 21 points in February.

    Don’t know about Wilson, I question the judgement of anyone who thinks Joe Thornton should be a key piece in a team looking to win a Championship.


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

  60. Storm Man says:

    Corey Locke did some great things when he played with the Ottawa 67’S…. Let’s see where Gallagher ends up in the next 3 years.

  61. ed lopaz says:

    Can’t blame Molson, XXX.

    Habs went to the ECF last season.

    That means Gauthier and Martin were successful, and the Habs made a ton (about $20 million) of playoff money.

    GM’s and coaches do not get fired when their team is successful.

    I’m no fan of todays management – as you know – but as long as the season is successful the habs will not make major changes.

    Habs hockey is “smart” hockey – we play 5 man defence, not just 2 – we move up the ice as a 5 man unit, we back check with 5.

  62. ed lopaz says:

    ok – maybe suck is a strong word.

    Spacek is no where near as valauable to the Habs as a guy like The Wiz, and Spacek will make 3.8 million next year.

    If we are tight on the cap, I would prefer to move Spacek and keep the Wiz.

    Habs hockey is “smart” hockey – we play 5 man defence, not just 2 – we move up the ice as a 5 man unit, we back check with 5.

  63. lefreak says:

    I agree.

    Not to mention a goalie’s stats are most likely the most easily skewed pieces of data in the sport. A goalie can play pretty well and pay for it on the stat sheet from a few bad performances and a lack of support on the defensive side. There are quite a few goalies that are better than their stats suggest in the NHL, and if they had the benefit of playing with teams that were more solid they would rise up the ranking sheet quite a bit. 

  64. observer says:

    He is just what San Jose needed to finally get them over the hump.

  65. observer says:

    Badly outplayed for 2 periods by the Leafs on Sunday but either came back strong or Leafs completely ran out of gas? Atlanta won the 2 previous meetings with the Habs, this game is huge for them. But no way are they as good or even close to the Habs on ability IF the Habs show up from the opening face-off on.

  66. LA Loyalist says:

    When did we get 3 lines that can score? We are in the mid-20’s in scoring out of 30 teams.

    Did I miss something?

  67. lefreak says:




  68. LA Loyalist says:

    I think how PG handles Wiz will give us an interesting clue as to his plans.

    My take is we pretty much have to sign him within reason, 2/3 years max.

    there are no assurances that Markov and Gorges will be 100%, Hammer, Spa, Mara and Gill can no longer do big minutes. 

    Hopefully Sopel will be good. Our future is PK and Weber, we have to back them up and have depth.

    And god forbid more injuries are always a possibility. 

  69. ClaytonM says:

    You mean like Carey Price from last year? He was playing solid hockey, but it wasn’t reflected in his stats because the team in front of him took more nights off than with Halak.

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