Game 79: Halak, Canadiens blank Sabres

Canadiens defenceman Ryan O’Byrne celebrates his first goal in 25 months. He’s greeted by forward Travis Moen.
François Lacasse, NHLI via Getty Images

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At a Glance: Now this is a perfect weekend: the Canadiens won their second game in as many nights and goaltender Jaroslav Halak earned two straight shutouts. Montreal whitewashed the Buffalo Sabres 3-0 at the Bell Centre Saturday, 24 hours after having scored a 1-0 win over the Flyers in Philadelphia. This time, Halak made 29 saves to run his streak of shutout goaltending to 144:01. Canadiens defenceman Ryan O’Byrne nearly scored on his own net early in the first period, took a roughing penalty a few minutes later, then at 12:03 scored his first goal of the season – and his first in 25 months to the day – on a redirected snap shot from the point. Tom Pyatt got his second of the season at 2:41 of the second, converting the rebound of a Maxim Lapierre shot; that was something coach Jacques Martin has been wanting to see more of from his team. Then in the third period, Sergei Kostitsyn finished off a fine play with Dominic Moore feeding Travis Moen, who found SK74 in front of Sabres goalie Ryan Miller for his seventh goal of the season and second point of the night.

Key Moments: Good night for Sergei Kostitsyn, the game’s third star, but let’s give the nod to big defenceman Ryan O’Byrne for his first goal in more than two years.

What It Means: The Canadiens remained in sixth spot in the Eastern Conference with 86 points and a 39-32-8 record. The Boston Bruins, 2-1 overtime winners in Toronto, are next with 84, while the New York Rangers, 4-1 winners over the Panthers in Florida, pulled even in points with idle Philadelphia with 82 points, through the Flyers have more wins.

What’s Next: And then there were three: the Canadiens hit the road Monday for a game Tuesday in Long Island against the New York Islanders, head on to Raleigh for a Thursday match against the Carolina Hurricanes, then return home to wrap up the 82-game regular season next Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.


  1. deuce6 says:

    Narrow minded? It goes both ways..If you can’t see that he doesn’t belong in the NHL, than you are just as narrow minded..

  2. slapshot777 says:

    In my opinion, right now Holmgren has no bargaining power whatsoever. PG tells Holmgren what he wants and if Holmgren doesn’t comply no trade. Holmgren can go peddle his troules elsewhere.

    Holmgren thought he had Bob up against it with his this or nothing attitude, but I guess looking back now Bob was the smarter GM, he didn’t cave into the goon tatics that Holmgren thinks he can still use in the management role. I bet if Paul had a do over he would gladly take it now.

    Come this summer any GM dealing a goalie to the Flyers will have Holmgren by the short hairs. It will be the GM with the goalie calling the shots not Holmgren.


    To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high.

  3. slapshot777 says:

    K-Hab didn’t say trade him for Hartnell, he said it would be more likely to get traded for a Hartnell type. He also went on to say the Habs should get nothing less than a Carter type player if they were going to trade Halak.


    To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high.

  4. ManApart says:

    it actually is a possibility, though unlikely.

  5. HardHabits says:

    Maybe he’s played his last game this season, and barring injury or a major flame out by Halak, the playoffs too. What happens over the summer is anybody’s guess as good as yours or mine, but I will say this, that right now Halak looks good for years to come, no coddling or learning curve needed, he’s the real deal and IMHO hasn’t reached his apex, meaning that he has many more solid all-star and MVP seasons left in him yet. If the Habs keep both then both need to fight for that number 1 spot next season and whoever earns it gets it. This year Halak has earned it. I think that is pretty much indisputable. It  doesn’t mean Carey isn’t expected to come in if called upon. I certainly feel better with him as a plan B than I would with most other team’s plan B’s. As many say, goaltending is the least of our worries.

  6. jimmy shaker says:

    Which is fine with me, and by playing the 7D you limit all those guys minutes and allow them to be that much fresher out there when they are on the ice….and with jaro and hammer 36 and 35 years of age, lesser minutes is better for them especially at this stage of the season and going into the playoffs if we get there.  So, it’s JM’s fault and Hammer’s for being flat footed against sutter and adding to the misfortunes of Carey.  I don’t see his physical game out there either…..he does take the body a little bit more than soft and tall Gill but not much.  I think his legs are gone from all the minutes this year and he has become a liability…..So JM needs to see this and play with 7D.  And what plays was MAB responsible for that lead to almost scoring chances?


  7. wmarcello says:

    We’re basically saying the same thing here, except that I think MAB’s upside is not worth his downside, while you think the opposite. All I know is that if Jaro is not on fire last night, MAB is directly responsible for about 2-3 goals. In my books that doesn’t make up for a few good passes out of the zone.

    Spacek’s minutes don’t need to be limited. He’s doing just fine.

    Finally, regarding Hammer, he doesn’t cost Carey the Carolina game if he’s not out there in situations he shouldn’t be. That’s JM’s fault. He’s actually still a decent D-man and he brings a physical game, but as the season has worn on him he just doesn’t belong out there against top lines any more. His minutes need to be limited, there’s no way he should be benched.

  8. habs4_25th says:

    could it be worse than letting Patrick Roy go ( due to Trembley.) and then have him turn around and stick it to us that he can win a cup with out us??  The shame!!

    “To you from failing hands we throw the torch. Be it yours to hold high.”

  9. wmarcello says:

    Deleted: double post.

  10. Say Ash says:

    My mistake – it was MY avatar that peaked…ahem…

  11. hab lifer says:

    and what is the advantage to getting into the playoffs?

    oh yes, so we can be swept in 4 straight. something to look forward to.

    when are some of you going to realize that this team was not built for the playoffs. come to think of it, other than the trash bin, I don’t what this team was built for.

  12. christophor says:

    i didn’t know they didn’t count. 


  13. jimmy shaker says:

    Yes exactly…..we have defensive d-men in Gill and Gorges and Marky sometimes, where MAB is an offensive D-man…..which we need to bring balance to our D and for the opposing forwards to worry about and have to backcheck on or could be scored upon.  Yes he sometimes makes poor decisions with the puck, but his offense makes up for his defensive errors.   MAB is more solid than all the guys offensively….so you pick your poison right?  5 defensive guys +1 offensive guy, or 4 defensive guys and 2 offensive guys.  I’ll take the balance and my two great goalies back there helping out in times of trouble.  And yes Hammer should be sitting, he cost Carey the carolina game, get’s beat inside and out time and time again, is taking bad penalties, and has no offensive push.  If JM were smart he’d use 7 D, like I’ve been pleading for on here, that would limit GILL’s, Hammer’s, Spacek’s and MAB’s time on the ice and keep them all in the 15-17 min range, making them more effective when they are on the ice.  7D with MAB and 11 Forwards that is the winning mix.


  14. SeriousFan09 says:

    He just said don’t trade Halak or Price for anything less than a Carter. Don’t twist what he said, he just argued that Halak is worth more than a Hartnell and therefore don’t get suckered into a trade for a piece of garbage like him.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  15. wmarcello says:

    Hammer SEEMS like our worst defenseman out there, but it’s not all his fault. He’s far better than Gill, but Hammer has the task of playing against top opponents all night. If you put Gill or MAB out there in Hammer’s place against top opponents, they would get humiliated almost every shift.

  16. jimmy shaker says:

    +/- isn’t effected by special teams……Yes your right about MAB being brought in for Markov, and it was quite early on in the season……which is why you would’ve thought the team would wait a bit longer to see if Spacek was going to produce like they had hoped for……so since he wasn’t and the PP was struggling like it did, BOB had to pull the trigger on this. 

    My breakdown on all our D was just that, a breakdown, on what each guy brings to the table.  I wasn’t comparing MAB just to Gill solely.  In fact, I did say that GIll does need to be on the ice and dressed, where I did see MAB playing over, was O’Byrne or Hammer.  

    I have been pleased with Gill and understand his game and except it.


  17. wmarcello says:

    Gill is also a huge liability out there, but he’s also not usually out against top opponents, and his minutes are often limited. As for +/-, PK goals against don’t count, just like PP goals for don’t count.

    If MAB plays D at all today, JM has to seriously limit his minutes and his defensive assignments. His 20 minutes last night was FAR too much, especially considering him and Hammer were out against strong opponents.

  18. Xtrahabsfan says:


  19. HardHabits says:

    You mean my avatars wont get any better after this one?

  20. wmarcello says:

    At the start of the year it was probably Hammer, but now I agree with you. Gorges is heavily underrated. Spacek is pretty steady too.

  21. wmarcello says:

    The other guys aren’t perfect, but all of them are more solid than MAB on defense. His cons back there far outweigh the pros IMO. If he’s on the ice at all, it should be PP only, and forward the rest of the time, if that.

    As for Hammer, he shouldn’t be sitting, but he shouldn’t be playing 23-25 minutes against top opponents. Him and MAB were completely overmatched last night. OB brings some physicality, and is somewhat of a liability out there, but he’s young and he has to be played. Otherwise he’ll never get better.

  22. HardHabits says:

    I am speaking intangibles not only stats. I think he’ll be able to play more games and maintain the same level. Right there that’s an improvement. My point is I believe that he has many more years of quality play in him and he has yet to reach his apex. 

  23. christophor says:

    well then someone else of that size and scoring profile. 

    but jeff carter would be hard to refuse.

  24. SeriousFan09 says:

    So he sends us his biggest malcontents and we give them a real goalie? No thanks. We deal a goalie, we’re sending him out West so he doesn’t murder us for the next 10 years.


    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu.

  25. christophor says:

    Bob brought in MAB because markov was injured and they needed another dman, not because of spacek. remember, the signing was early in the season, i.e before we saw that spacek for sure wasn’t going to produce as much.

    MAB and gill do not bring the same things to the table defensively. gill IS slow but stops far more goals then he is responsible for. his +/- is a little better than MABs, and thats with a full year on the PK that MAB doesn’t play on. MAB, on the other hand, has a +/- that negates all of his goals. it isnt worth it.

    i wont say that gill is wonderful he isn’t. but if you consider that MAB’s +/- negates the offensive upside, then you have to take the better DMAN: gill.

  26. jimmy shaker says:

    But got the job done and started the play off where we got our only goal of the game yesterday.  MAB, keeps on getting points……look at my breakdown of all our D above and then let me see what you think of him?


  27. christophor says:

    packaged with something else, one of them might fetch a jeff carter. especially if philly misses the playoffs. the pressure will be on. and i do believe holmgren said there are players on his team who think they will be back but wont be.

  28. jimmy shaker says:

    Why can’t it be this:  When Jaro plays, no matter if the team scores 1, 2, 3, or 4+ the team usually get the W.  Hence Jaro’s W vs. L record this year.  Whereas when Price is in the net, no matter if the team scores 1, 2, 3, or 4+ the team somehow comes up on the short end of the stick and Carey get’s the L added to his record.  There is no grey area there in those points….it’s all black and white.  Jaro’s record vs Carey’s record.  Maybe I’m missing something here Tommy, but those are the facts right?


  29. K-hab25 says:

    NO!!! They are RFA’s with no power. Halak is arbitration eligible, so if negotiations go wrong with him he may be traded to avoid giving him a big raise through arbitration. Price on the other hand has no power and no GM is going to give him a big contract coming off a sub par season. I know everyone thinks we have to trade one of them, but I think that’s ridiculous. Neither will bring back the Jeff Carter type that everyone seems to think. More like the Hartnell type and I don’t know about you, but if they trade either goalie for anything less than a Carter type I feel it would be a huge mistake. They don’t have an expiration date, sign both and make a trade at next years trade deadline or next offseason.

  30. jimmy shaker says:

    No, and I’m a Halak supporter!  I like Price and want him around here!


  31. K-hab25 says:

    Why is it Halak plays well for a year and half and the organization “owes” him, but after Price played well for a year and half everyone whined about the organization sticking with him last year. You know like they “owed” him the opportunity. Can’t have it both ways. Either you earn as you go or you’re “owed” for the past. What I mean is if Halak is shelled these next 4 games, which is not going to happen, but hypothetically. If he’s shelled and really looks bad is he still “owed” the playoffs for past accomplishment or do you go with Price?

  32. habs4_25th says:

    If he has then we will endure another long string of goalies who can only take us to the playoffs, but never get us to the cup. a la Patrick Roy!!

    “To you from failing hands we throw the torch. Be it yours to hold high.”

  33. jimmy shaker says:

    Tommy as much as I want to get into the goalie rant with you, I just don’t think we are going to change eachother’s mind so I’ll leave it at that.  But I do agree with you on the last point you make…..some people are just jabrone’s and need to be slapped in the face with a hot cup of shut the hell up, on here and the bell centre.  And JM TOO!


  34. Chuck says:

    Question: Has Carey Price played his last game for the Montreal Canadiens?


    Cheer for the crest on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.

  35. K-hab25 says:

    Did you just compare Halak to OV ? HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA !!!!! Ya right!!! Why is it an insult to compare Halak to Theodore or Huet ? He hasn’t accomplished what they have in this league yet and you act like it’s insult to Halak. Theodore won the Hart trophy for christ sake. What has Halak done? I love how Price was just as good as a 20 year old rookie and people like you say he hasn’t accomplished anything, but Halak is somehow elite. What a joke!!!!

  36. jimmy shaker says:

    Yes, your right! There is passing the puck out of our zone and starting our offense on the way to scoring the first and only goal of the game.  MAB: +1 with 3 shots on net, 1 assist and 20+ min on the ice…..not bad for a guy that hasn’t played D in a while.  Yes some bad decisions with the puck, but should we look at everyone else’s miscues last night?  Or do we just see our narrow minded opinion of this guy, much like the Jaro/Carey debate.


  37. adam76 says:

    I thinking of a word, rymes with blasshole.

    Nice USE of CAPITAL words, though.

  38. jimmy shaker says:

    Sorry Adam my friend you’re quite wrong in your opinion.  Yes MAB has some work to do on his D game, but let’s be realistic of the fact that it was his first game back on D in forever.  While he is lacking in his zone, he does make up for in his offense, hence the first time out pass he made that started the play for the goal yesterday.  So if we are going to look at his shortcomings and not the other guy’s….it doesn’t really add up or deserve any merit.  Let’s look at our D…..Gill, soft and slow…..gets beat regularly if anyone has anykind of speed coming in on him, and adds absolutely zero on offense, are we calling for his ass to sit? NO, and nor should we, because he’s our PK guy and defensive defensemen.  Gorges, pretty much our most well rounded defender…..good in our zone, try’s to jump in and help in the offense, not really great at any one thing in particular, but a very good defensemen for us.  O’Byrne…….not ready for top 2 minutes right now, actually dragging marky down as well.  Taking stupid penalties right now and gets beat rather easily to the outside as well.  What does he add to the offense?  Again, zero.  Are we calling for him to sit.  NO!  Spacek, the guy that was supposed to do what MAB has been doing……but has actually added nothing to our offense.  He’s been I think a decent defensemen and playing better every game of late I think.  He’s leading the team in +/-……but his main reason for being here was for his shot and offense.  But since he’s done nothing, BOB had to go out and bring in MAB….so should we be calling on Spacek to sit?  Answer = NO.  Now we have Hammer…….the guy that has hurt us the most……he gets beat to the inside/outside, is slower than gill out there it looks like……He is supposed to have a little bit of offensive skills in his bag, but I don’t think he’s been able to raise the puck on a shot from the point or even get it through the traffic to the net this whole year.  This is the guy that should be sitting and should be getting screamed at on here, but everyone is blind to these facts.  There is marky, but the only thing you can say about him is that he loves to pinch, maybe a bit too much, and get lazy at times in our zone.  So now it leads me to MAB……..yes sometimes he doesn’t make the best decisions with the puck…..that’s his weakness…….what he does bring to the D and to the team is quickness, that first pass out of the zone which is very good……he’s got speed to join the rush, and he actually has some offensive skills to contibute, where Marky is the only other guy on the D that is offensively dangerous.  So while everyone is calling for MAB’s head, let’s not be naive to think that the other guys back there are perfect.  I’ll take MAB and what he brings to the table over hammer and obyrne anyday of the weak. 

    Cheers to a win tonight!


  39. HUDSONHAB says:

    All I know is, JM had better spend more time figurrin have to play in our end and getting the puck out than which good goaltender to use.

    I repeat…There is too much space between the Habs forwards and the oppositions d-men in the defensive end. They collapse down and are running into each other and when the puck goes back to the point they can’t get there.

    By the way, I think I would start Halak tonight.


  40. HUDSONHAB says:

    MAB has the shot on the PP that he isn’t using, lots of give-aways….. Gill is good on the PK, also give-aways…. Hammer is more well rounded, also give-aways and too slow.  And the winner is  {{{ GILL }}} Has been pretty steady and doesn’t try to do too much unlike the other two who are always scarry with the puck in our end….



  41. jimmy shaker says:

    You might as well call it in now then!


  42. sh00n says:

    Gorges is our best defensive defenseman. And why rush PK? He came up and did well, bring him back full time next season.

  43. adamkennelly says:

    MAB needs to sit period.  even on the PP, opponents know to pressure him either taking away his shot or making him fumble the puck and turn it over..recipe for disaster.  his problems are apparent to anyone watching video – opposing coaches and players know what to do and have taken advantage of it.

  44. SPATS says:

    10-4, amen, oui monsieur j’suis d’accord, WTF, unfrickinbelievable, do they want to win or not???????????

    I will probably not renew my RDS feed if they don’t bring the kid up for the playoffs

  45. Flabadagub says:

    Marc-Andre Bergeron is friggin horrible. Are you tryn’ to tell me that PK Subban could not help more than the likes of Gill, Spacer, Georges etc…. ? or that he does not deserve to??

    There is something not right with the team and/or the league because of this.

  46. TomNickle says:


  47. adam76 says:

    So would you start Price tonight?

  48. TomNickle says:

    Gill’s been steady all year.  He hasn’t made nearly as many mistakes in a Habs jersey as he did for the Pens, Bruins, Leafs.  We’ve gotten quite a bit out of him and he plays with pride every night.  Something that Hammer doesn’t do.

  49. TomNickle says:

    When Markov is in the lineup I’m of the opinion that Bergeron isn’t worth the trouble of having in the lineup.  Put Cammalleri or Gomez back on the point for the PP.  Both of them can work the half boards and the top of the zone with no problem and both have the speed to make up for mistakes.

    People who have said that Hammer’s been better than Spacek this season need their heads examined.

  50. habs03 says:

    Man everyone hates Gill, lol, I really like him, he is the best on the PK, but horrible at with the puck. He is the perfect D-partner for Subban next year, Subban cares the puck while Gill stays back, during the 2 games Subban was up he played very well.

  51. WestHab says:

    Yeah he should stay with this one.  But he did cut off the girls head, some photographer eh?

  52. TomNickle says:

    The statistic that I just posted, the one you replied to, throws that theory completely out the window.  

  53. habs03 says:

    Ya its true he has been horrible lately but I still he’ll be alright, as for MAB shot, I think it helps the PP even though its not doing so well now, but like I said if he isn’t a forward he isn’t playing.

  54. TomNickle says:

    Care to justify that comment?  If by damaged goods you mean leaning toward one goaltender I have no problem saying that at this point I am.  I, at this point, am rooting for Carey Price to pull ahead and cement himself as an all-time great.  It may never happen, but man it would be nice.  

    In spite of me being damaged goods, I’m still qualifying what I have to say and I don’t use one simple TEAM statistic, like wins, to prove Carey Price’s metal.  Last night notwithstanding, Price has been better since the Olympics and is getting a raw deal here.  

    His coach is a piece of trash for his lack of public support and for people to boo their own player is disgusting.  Those people are not fans of the team, they are trying to have an impact on the roster because they have nothing better to do with their lives.  Some people on this site are no better.

  55. WestHab says:

    I’ll still take Hammer over Gill, MAB anyday.

  56. JD_ says:

    Pre Game

    Pierre Houde has sold out to Big Cereal. In a blatant attempt to make a few bucks on the side, RDS’ Pierre Houde wore a Froot Loops™ tie last night. Frickin’ shill.

    There was a separate knob for the radio alarm. Could barely hear Gord Miller, let alone Pierre McGuire, over the sound of the game and the crowd during the TSN telecast last night. Frankly, it was like there was no play-by-play or colour whatsoever. Not complainin’, just sayin’.


    That wasn’t a SO, that was a STFO! There are shutouts and then there are shutouts. Jaro washed his hands of the Flyers. Tabar-Halaque on a Good Friday, indeed.

    Working Good Friday is easily time-and-a-half. There were so many orange jerseys surrounding Pleks when he scored the game’s only goal, it looked like Philadelphia’s public works department had cordoned off the area with a bunch of pylons. Nice work guys!

    1st Period: Sampras vs. Lendl. Back-and-forth hockey. Loose and system-free. Like Pete vs. Ivan, absolutely passionless play (ha!). Getting a wee bit frustrated, the Flyers started to pour on the physical play towards the end of the period. They would eventually go on to outhit the Habs 24-12. No surprise there.

    A perfect fit for this city. Seems Philly fans have the habit of chanting “Bouuu!” every time Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher makes a heads-up play. The Habs should obviously trade for the guy cause, regardless of how he performs in front of the Bell Centre crowd, he’d be just about the happiest goalie in the world.

    2nd Period: Closer to form. Habs play a better puck-possession, finesse game with short, crisp passing. Philly’s more physical and opportunistic. With Philly effectively clogging their slot, the Habs can’t get in close on Boucher. Philly, on the other hand, is on Halak like a hobo on a ham sandwich, but our boy prevails.

    3rd Period: Deliverance. Good thing Halak brought his crossbow, cause Philly looked intent on making the Habs squeal like a pig for the better part of the third period. It was like watching a long, one-sided game of hot potato. Unlike the Habs, I’ve seen old ladies with walkers give Jason Spezza more pushback when he tries to bully his way through Ottawa’s Rideau Centre shopping mall.

    Time for a gut check. Yeah, a win is a win. Again, not complainin’. Having said that, one has to believe the team did a little soul-searching after last night’s game, cause that 3rd period meltdown is the kind of thing that will sink a team when the game’s intensity ratchets up during the playoffs. After going five minutes without a shot, and the team hanging on by a thread, a timeout would have been, well, timely. But this isn’t just about the coaching staff. On the whole, the players, who’ve shown incredible resilience this year, have to motivate themselves and each other to respond.

    Speaking of the Ozarks. TSN keeps playing this car ad where a family’s driving through some backwoods and there are clusters of furniture laying about, as if someone’s living out there without a roof over their head. Scott Hartnell’s “summer place”?

    Post Game

    That’s a shame: In response to finding out that he’s once again been voted by his peers, in a poll conducted by Sports Illustrated, as the most overrated player in the NHL, Mopey Loaf defenceman Dion Phaneuf said, “Everyone has their own opinion and I respect that.” Of course, what Dion meant to say was, “Everyone has the same opinion and I can’t stand that.”

    That’s a shame II: In a particularly poignant display of denial, overpaid Vezina Trophy fluke, Tim Thomas, in response to hearing boos after he was pulled in a 3-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres, commented, “I don’t know if they were booing me or the fact that I was leaving the game.” Here’s your first clue, Timmeh: The fans roared with approval when Rask came in to replace you. Booya!

    Bring on the Buffalo Millers!


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