Game 65: Canadiens move ahead of Sens

Canadiens goaltender Carey Price keeps his eye on an
incoming puck as Sabres centre Paul Gaustad looks to get in Price’s way during the first period on Friday night.
REUTERS/Gary Wiepert

Updated by Kevin Mio

Lineups | Preview | Game Summary | Event Summary | Boxscore | Game Story | Boone

Say hello to your first place Montreal Canadiens.

With their 6-2 win over the Sabres on Friday night, the Canadiens overtook the Ottawa Senators for top spot in the Northeast Division with 79 points and also moved into second spot in the Eastern Conference.

The win, combined with New Jersey’s 4-0 loss to the Capitals – with former Hab Cristobal Huet in net for the shutout – sets up a battle for first place in the East Saturday night as the Devils visit the Bell Centre.

Tomas Plekanec led the offence for the Canadiens with the first hat trick of his career – with all three goals coming on the power play – while also adding an assist on a pretty third-period goal by Andrei Kostitsyn. Plekanec now has 24 goals on the season.

Andrei’s younger brother, Sergei, scored the sixth Montreal goal on a 2-on-1 break with his brother. Miller made the initial stop, but Kostitsyn got his own rebound and slid it into a vacant net.

Alex Kovalev had another exceptional night, collecting four assists that included a beautiful lob pass to Andrei Kostisyn, who slid the puck between the pads of Sabres goalie Ryan Miller.

Plekanec opened the scoring 1:24 into the game as he whistled a shot past Miller’s right shoulder after receiving a pass from Kovalev to the side of the net. Mark Streit made it 2-0 for the Canadiens midway through the period. Streit also added two assists, giving him 47 points on the season, the same as Canadiens captain Saku Koivu.

The Sabres cut the Canadiens’ lead to 2-1 when Tomas Vanek scored a power-play goal with Koivu in the box.

But the Canadiens stormed back with Plekanec scoring his second and third goals of the game to give Montreal a 4-1 lead.

The second period was also marked by some rough play as Andrei Markov when Patrick Kaleta blindsided the defenceman with a vicious hit that went unnoticed by referees.

Later in the period, the Sabres’ Nolan Pratt challenged Guillaume Latendresse to a fight and Latendresse gladly accepted, landing a few quick rights that sent Pratt to the ice.

Tim Connolly added the second goal for the Sabres 11 minutes into the third period.

In his second game since being recalled from Hamilton, Mikhail Grabovski had two assists, doubling his points total on the season.

Montreal was a perfect 3-for-3 on the power play, while the Sabres went 2-for-6 with the man advantage.

Carey Price made 31 saves in the Canadiens’ 20th road win of the season. The Habs pelted Miller with 33 shots.

201 Comments

  1. habsgod says:

    that’s because he is the second coming of christ! why? because this is god’s team and god is a habs fan!

  2. frank81 says:

    He couldn’t even say it with a straight face when he reported it on SportsCentre.

  3. 1010 says:

    Gainey has put four hard years into turning this team around. I would be shocked if he wanted to start all over again in TO.

    GO HABS.

  4. WindsorHab-10 says:

    I’d rather see Gainey in a thong than anywhere near Toronto. They say “never say never” but I can honestly say that Dreger is dreaming as this will NEVER happen.

  5. RudeMood19 says:

    How was it bad? He wanted more money and the Habs weren’t prepared to give him that much. They got a second round draft pick in a deep 2009 draft

    It was a good move. And, another variable to consider: the goaltender market this year was terrible. Ilya Bryzgalov was put on waivers! JS Aubin brought back a 7th rounder. We got market value for Huet and it was a good move.
    _____________________________________________________________
    1. February 19th, 2008, a day which will live in sublimity.

  6. Shobud says:

    And I am with you on that

  7. Shobud says:

    Just can’t make you happy can they

  8. TripleX says:

    Battle for first on Saturday! It has been a long time for a Habs fan to feel the fever this late in the season. Already on pins and needles. We have to beat Brodeur sometime, this could be it.

  9. LizardKing1967 says:

    Cool. Huet gets a shutout toniite. 4-0.

    Pleks: The Man!
    Kovy: on a mission
    Price: stellar
    Georges: maturing rapidly
    Latendresse: Mike Tyson
    Mick Mcgough: Jim Bakus (a.k.a. Mr. McGoo)

    Great job on Grabs’ penalty. Cleanest penalty you’ll ever see.

    Jim-out.

    I BELIEVE!

  10. Bill H says:

    Check your email.

  11. usversusthem says:

    Well, this is go-time. The stage is set… if we can … not let the Sabres back into the game, we’re going to be facing off, thanks to a certain Mr. Huet and his new team, against the Devils for first place in the East tomorrow night. Intense!

  12. ross says:

    I’ve always used http://www.myp2p.eu/ coupled with a program called “Sopcast”. It’s not yet as good as watching it on cable or satellite, but it’s better than hitting ‘refresh’ on HI/O every minute. 🙂

  13. ONTARIO HAB says:

    YES GO HABS
    GO HUET

  14. MNaslund26 says:

    is markov ok?

  15. Bill H says:

    Please email me with the info on how to watch game on internet.

  16. Bill H says:

    I can’t see Bob going to Toronto. He’s put together a first rate team and he’s going to leave just when things are looking good? Besides, he spent his whole career as a player in Montreal.

    2-0 Washington and Huet beating NJD. Sweet.

  17. imafogdevil says:

    Anyone see Dreger’s column on TSN.ca regarding Toronto’s GM job. They say its Brian Burke’s, but he doesn’t want it. Interestingly, he says Gainey is on Toronto’s radar. I hope Bob has better sense than to go to Toronto.

    ___________________________________________
    It can only get better!! Go Ryder, Go Habs!

  18. LizardKing1967 says:

    Three words on Price in the first period:

    Lateral movement, WOW!

    Jim-out.

    I BELIEVE!

  19. tony d says:

    great 1st period/……..love the hussle….keep it up boys!!!!!!!
    Go Habs Go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. LizardKing1967 says:

    My point exactly. Win you get two lose you get 0.

    Jim-out.

    I BELIEVE!

  21. habber86 says:

    I tried adding only RDS to my package, but they forced me to get an entire French pack with a bunch of nonsense channels for $10/month or so… I just ended up getting the sports pack. Has anyone been able to order just RDS?

  22. Shiloh says:

    If you have Rogers you can get RDS for a few bucks a month. Are you at work?

  23. Shiloh says:

    2-0 Habs! Plekanec and Streit scored.

  24. Shiloh says:

    That’s the way it was for years. Teams would sit around for the entire third period to protect their point.

  25. Shiloh says:

    A win in OT is NOT counted the same. It is worth one point. The other point is for the regulation tie.

  26. Shiloh says:

    Not true. A team that finishes 9W 5L 1T finishes ahead of a team that finishes 9W 6L. A tie is better than a loss.

  27. razor436 says:

    There is a way. Seek and you shall find.

  28. habber86 says:

    anyone notice how Streit never uses his body to knock down pucks at the blueline when on the PP? It’s been happening all year. I notice it every game a couple of times…

  29. Sulemaan says:

    Anyone who knows where to watch this online tonight please share…

  30. Gooner says:

    I didn’t say anything about bringing Huet back, in fact I hope that Price does do well, after all if he does well then the team will do well, I just think that he came off as a little bit arrogant.

    Anyway no need to get your knickers in a knot. All I am saying is that he has to prove himself as a franchise player before I believe that he is one, which for the record I hope that he is!!

    So relax, what are you Price’s momma or something!!!

  31. Xtrahabsfan says:

    You tell him Jim !!!

  32. LizardKing1967 says:

    Oh, and by the way, as response to an earlier post as far as OT is concerned. My op is that since we now have a clear winner and a clear loser in the NHL, without ties, they should follow all the major sports and get rid of the point system. A win is a win, a loss is a loss. Continue with the shootout, but lets go by wins and losses only.

    If we look at the standings that way, it’s more cut and dry:

    NJ-37 wins
    Ott-36
    Pitt-36
    MTL-34
    Bos-34
    Car-33
    RAN-33
    Philly-32

    We fans should start a petition to make this happen.
    I find it rediculous these days. They say, “Oh, look, Montreal is 13 games over .500.” Since when do those 9 OT/SO losses count as .500???

    Jim-out.

    I BELIEVE!

  33. LizardKing1967 says:

    Ok, who here is calling Price “classeless” and “swell-headed”??? Are you on crack? I agree with RH, a little cockiness is GREAT. I seem to recall a certain goalie, most probably the best of his time, if not all-time, wink at a LA King player when he knew he’d win the cup. If that’s not cocky, I don’t know what is. Now, if that’s the kind of career you can get by being cocky, then, Carey, by all means, rub it all in their faces please!!!

    Leave the young guy alone, let him play, and, by the end of NEXT season, come and yell at me if his cockiness is worth %$^%!@^$%.

    Go out there and get em tonite boys!

    Jim-out.

    I BELIEVE!

  34. KerryPrice says:

    Not gonna happen anytime soon. The “new” NHL is all about creating excitement for the fans. Who doesn t want to see a four on four ot, or a shootout? Depending who is playing the game they are probably the most exciting part of the game. Why would they go back to a boring five on five ot where they can trap the whole time. Its not going to happen, the fans don’t want it, the americans don’t want it and most importantly Gary Bettemen don’t want it!

  35. nightmare_49 says:

    Lets hope Higgins keeps getting his nose dirty in front of the net tonight as that was the real reason he had a big game against the Thrashers. The other left wingers must step up their game also.

  36. wd40 says:

    for those of you who enjoy statistical analysis, i came across this site. this is pretty amazing stuff. to summarize, based on this model, the Habs currently have a 94.6% chance of making the playoffs, and if they go 10-7-1 or better in the next 18 games, they are in.

    http://www.sportsclubstats.com/NHL/Eastern/Northeast/Canadiens.html

    For a more global view:

    http://www.sportsclubstats.com/NHL.html

    furthermore, if they should win tonight, their chances improve to 97.2%. a loss, and their chances drop to 91.3%.

    enjoy.

  37. ONTARIO HAB says:

    in response to some earlier posts regarding other teams involved in the playoff race. I say TO HELL with who is behind us WE WILL PASS OTTAWA AND STAY THERE

  38. showey47 says:

    Did he say something cocky in an interview that i missed? From the interview i saw, he seemed upset that someone he saw like an “older brother” got traded away. If i missed something or another interview fill me in on it please.

  39. ONTARIO HAB says:

    where do you get off saying Price is classless if anything he has shown just the opposite

  40. Shobud says:

    And Huet proved something.. What

  41. Gooner says:

    I just think people are feeling that Price should be a little more humble than he is. I think it is the fact that he is so young that he is being tagged as cocky making a statement like that. Other than that I think that everyone expected this to happen one day. It just that it came as a shock to happen so quick. I do believe that most of the Huet fans will complain but will also be cheering him on as well. After all we are all true blooded Habs Fans.

  42. habfan53 says:

    For all the talk of the number of teams ahead and behind the Canadiens the fact remains that their destiny lies in their own hands.

    At the beginning of the year I would have been happy with 7th or 8th going into the playoffs NOW I would be dissapointed with anything worse than 4th.

    Montreal controls their own fate 9 games at home, 13 of 18 against east division teams. Of the 18 games left only Ottawa (3) NJ (2) SJ (1) and Anaheim have better records right now.

    Montreal biggest challange is to start winning regularly at home.

  43. showey47 says:

    What did price do to be called classless? Is it his fault huet was traded? No, it wasn’t. Its not like he gave himself the nickname “the franchise” like the way laff fans gave themselves the nickname “laff nation”. What did he do wrong other than being a 20 year old kid who is ahead of his learning curve? I know the huet fan club will be bashing price game after game unless he virtually posts shutouts for the last 18 games of the season which is totally unrealistic. Maybe halak will come in and take his job, these 2 will probably push each other alot harder than having a 32 year old who would be leaving at the end of the season anyway. If you guys want to be pissed at someone be mad at gainey for trading him, not a kid who was put into this position by gainey himself. If your not liking the ride on the bandwagon, then feel free to jump off.

  44. Shorzy says:

    No kidding!!! I still think he has a thing or two to learn about class, should have paid more attention to Huet when it comes to that!!

    It’s not that I dislike Price, but before we all tag him “The Franchise” shouldn’t we let him play a year first? I mean he hasn’t really proven anything at the NHL level yet, I know he was brilliant in junior and last year, but this is the big show, let’s see how he does now. Besides maybe he won’t play more, maybe Halak will come in and steal his job.. and “The Franchise”

    I hope that Mr. Gainey’s gamble pays off!!

  45. HABSMANIA says:

    maybe next season the nhl can drop the shootout. 5 on 5 ot for 5 or 10 mins.

  46. skoehn says:

    hmmmm price may use his swelled head to stop a few pucks tonite…

  47. showey47 says:

    exactly we don’t need to worry about the teams in the top 8, its 9 and 10 we should be concerned about. Especially the sabres at 9

  48. krob1000 says:

    The team can and should think that way. For me and my nerves given that I have been telling people since summer we are a no brainer to make the playoffs ……..I want to see the teams at the bottom end fade fast. A win tonight can go a long way in helping to accomplish that. We still need 16 points in my estimation in the next 18 games. That is my priority right now…..I am after all just a fan (context alert….I know none of us are “just fans”).

  49. HKisses says:

    The way “I” see it is that the Habs are 5th in the east and no one expected them to be at the position at this point of the season. We have 7 players that have reach 40 point mark..no other team has hat in the nhl at this point….We have a solid team ,but you have to admit sometimes Habs fans expect alot out of our team. To me their doing just fine for my liking, everyone has to understand they are young and talented.. This team will improve every season.

  50. nightmare_49 says:

    In the last 15 games or so it’s vital to go into the playoffs playing your best hockey as teams that go into the playoffs on a slide usually slide as the opposition will be at their best everygame. Past history shows that hot teams do very well when entering the playoffs. So take care of your record and forget about everybody else and things will work out.

  51. frank81 says:

    I’d rather have some distance between our spot and the 9th spot. Which is why it’s probably better if the teams ahead of us beat the teams trying to catch up.

  52. Cable Guy says:

    Wouldn’t you rather have 7 teams chasing you than just three teams chasing you? Better chance that we’ll stay in a playoff spot.

  53. Chuck says:

    We’re already in playoff position. I’d be just as happy if the teams behind us spent some time losing and stayed there.

    .
    .
    .

    ______________________________________
    “All bow down before the Komisaurus Rex!”

  54. Chuck says:

    All I’m hoping for tonight is a performance that isn’t as lacklustre as the last couple of times that I hauled my butt down to the end of the Queen Elizabeth Way and over the Peace Bridge. I’ll be delirious if we at least spend some time in the Slug’s zone, look reasonably interested in playing some hockey, and come out of there with a point.

    .
    .
    .

    ______________________________________
    “All bow down before the Komisaurus Rex!”

  55. Cable Guy says:

    The way I look at it I think it’s good if the team behind us beat the teams ahead of us so we can overtake them, that way we’ll have 7 teams behind us in a playoff spot instead of 3 teams behind us. It’s a little bit better cushion.

  56. krob1000 says:

    I am thinking that same way right now too. Right now I am cheering for any team playing the Flyers, Rangers, Bruins, Sabres or Islanders. This game tonight is absolutely huge given our position relative to the Sabres. We can either be eight points up or four points up…..I think we can all agree on which is better.

  57. 1010 says:

    Not so sure I consider the sens and pens losing as such a good thing. Maybe I’m being a glass half-empty kind of guy but I would rather have the teams beind me lose to the teams in front of me. Les Habs have not secured a playoff spot. We know for sure, well almost for sure, that the pens and sens are going to the second season. Philly and the bruins are trying to chase us down. I’ll take the playoff spot now and worry about our standings and potential playoff matchup later. Until I know these teams can’t catch us I’ll be cheering for the closest team[s] behind Montreal to lose every game.

    GO HABS.

  58. coutNY says:

    More interesting news on “Havlat season possibly over!” Trade day rumors floating around had a bunch of teams interested in his services… I think we were one of them in pursuit of a “impact player”.
    Continue reading….

  59. linp says:

    If our team can stay focus and play solid defensively in the first 10 minutes, we have a good chance.

  60. Justin says:

    Hey wd40,

    I really enjoyed the link. Keep the great posts coming!

  61. Shiloh says:

    The point is NOT for a loss – it’s for a regulation tie. In the NFL, a game can end in a tie – and each team gets one point. If the NHL did not award a point for the tie in regulation, overtime would be like watching paint dry – nobody would risk getting zero points. Allowing a shootout to count for all the points would not have the support of the league. I think the system we have now is great – except that people have to stop repeating the untruth that you get a point for a loss. You get a point for a regulation tie – not a loss. You get the extra point for scoring in OT or winning the shootout.

  62. LizardKing1967 says:

    I agree. Like I said, you win, you win, you lose, you lose. End of story.

    Jim-out.

    I BELIEVE!

  63. ONTARIO HAB says:

    Teams like Buffalo should not be a problem if they are we might as well miss the playoffs now because we wont win a single game

  64. Rich B says:

    Yes, I also missed this cocky statement. Please fill us in those of you who read the alleged statement.

  65. FawtMan says:

    Hmm.. So we won’t be getting the Chat back anytime soon?

  66. Gooner says:

    I don’t think it is that interview that they are refering to. I believe that it was the quote from above. Anyway I don’t see what all the commotin is. No one said that they hated him they were just giving their opinion on the article which is their right to do.

  67. A. Berke says:

    Furthermore, in the playoffs a loss in OT counts as a LOSS.

    A tie game by definition is a score that is equal to both teams when the game is over. However in an OT or SO when the game is over the score is NOT equal, so it should be win & loss.

    IMO, it should be a win or loss, if the league wants to reward a tie then points awarded should be 2 & 1 respectively but no more OT’s or S.O.’s (loss) to get the single. In baseball or football, if the game is decided in extra innings or OT, there’s a winner and a loser who doesn’t get any points.

    The 5 min OT and SO were implemented in order to make the game exciting south of the border, especially in the southern states where most folks are not exposed to hockey (and couldn’t care less) – I know, I lived in Houston for 22 years and the ones who attended hockey games were the folks transplanted from northern states or Canada.

    Ali B.

  68. nigel-ski says:

    We’re all saying it, so must be true– big game. I can tell from pregame interviews that vernier is pumped to play us for the first time, and Buffalo is a tough matchup always. I’d just like to say that I hope we’ll be ok with Halak & Price as our tandem. Both are top notch, but the decision not to play Halak while he we last called up was telling. I believe that even playing .500 hockey might be enough to get us to the postseason. What will we do when we get there though? That’ s less predictable. Should we miss the playoffs however, Gainey needs to be held accountable. IMO, he has been getting an easy ride so far in MTL, and am surprised at the lack of uproar over Huet’s deal and weak return of a 2nd round pick.

    Habs rule, Leafs drool…

  69. razor436 says:

    I don’t get it. Everyone is talking about Price as though he is the second comming of christ. To me, he seems no better than the other goalies in the league.

    I look forward to see what Grabovsky can do. I hope he is not easily bumped off the puck as was the case earlier this season.

    ——

    I would love to provide info where to watch the stream of tonights habs game, but I’m worried that it will be frowned upon. By the moderators I mean. 🙁

  70. wd40 says:

    hey you can call it somewhat premature to have thrust Price into the #1 position, but what exactly did Price to warrant that comment?

    Publicly, he’s said nothing but good things about Huet and according to some media reports was clearly upset at having his mentor and “big brother” traded.

  71. RH says:

    I agree with Showey47. I don’t think Price’s quote warranted a “swelled head” remark. Price IS a fifth overall, with a a world junior championship and MVP to match, as well as a Calder Cup championship to boot. He was signed for $2.2 million, last off-season and made this team, right out of camp. He knows he is considered the future of this franchise and, frankly, a little cockiness is good, to offset the naysayers and negative remarks. I don’t view his quote as anything but that, a quote.

    Look, as much as I wish Huet wasn’t traded, he was and that’s the end of that chapter in this franchises history. Let’s focus on sending some good karma over to our two ‘rookie’ goalies.

  72. RH says:

    Possibly a nominee for Bench Talk next week? Anyone else agree with me? Well, besides you Chuck.

  73. 1010 says:

    The schedule ahead does look tough and 93 points looks about right[give or take 1 or 2]. 500 hockey gives us 95 points and we should be safe with that. We’re obviuosly going to lose some of these games so let’s hope we get involved in a lot of 3 pointers when we do lose. The most important thing is getting into the playoffs. I know we’ll all be screaming bloody murder if we get knocked out in the early rounds, but, in reality, this team needs playoff experience. There’s a lot of guys on this team who’ve never been in the show and getting in their this year sets things up
    nicely for next year.
    Who knows, we could go on an oiler type run [2006] if we get on a roll.

    GO HABS.


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