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:

    Price doesn’t “lose” games, he just doesn’t do quite enough to win them..Halak steals games, Price doesn’t..That is the difference..

  2. WestHab says:

    It worries me too but I think we’ll win it.  But it will be a goon show.  On one end I think the Habs could get a lot of PPs. On the other we could lose a primer player for the playoffs.

  3. BosKibbles says:

    I somehow wound up with a -10 for my score.

    Still. Better than Komisarek.

  4. deuce6 says:

    MAB shouldn’t be in the line up, period..There is a lot more to the game than simply shooting the puck..

  5. BosKibbles says:

    Wow, didn’t know that. Good to know someone is posting relevant stats!

  6. TomNickle says:

    Hammer played ok last night but that doesn’t change that he’s been the team’s worst defenseman since Markov’s return.  He’s also been the deciding factor in 3 losses in the last two weeks.  No player has had that negative of an impact on the roster in a long time.

  7. BosKibbles says:

    Jaro looks like the Akroyd brother they never talk about…

  8. Xtrahabsfan says:

    Tom,dude you sound like damaged goods……..

  9. TomNickle says:

    Consistency is the most important thing for any professional.  I’m just trying to make the point that there is a misconception out there that Price loses games and Halak wins games.  They have actually the same number of wins where the team has scored a victory with 2 goals or less.  That’s significant when considering whether or not goalies “steal” or “win” games.

  10. WestHab says:

    ditto here, MAB is a cardio health hazard.  He makes a boring play look exciting.

  11. habs-hampton says:

    That’s why I qualified my comment with “usually”.

    I stand by my comments. The team seems to do better with Halak in net.

  12. Mattyleg says:


    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  13. homerbowen says:

    Next Sat against the Laffs worries me for a couple of reasons;

    1) If we need it to get into the playoffs we won’t get in.

    2) Burke & Wilson will want a goon show to end the year and we have only pussies

  14. Nick_Habs1 says:

    Here is another post that DID NOT watch the game lastnight. If you think they played better lastnight….thats proof you know nothing about hockey.

    Give your head a shake.

  15. habs03 says:

    Spacek better be feeling better or they better call up a D-man, MAB should not be playing D, he is beyound horrible back there, I kno Shaker wants Hamrlik out and MAB in on D but I have to respectfuly think that nuts, MAB should be in the lineup everygame for his shot but only as a forward.

  16. habs-hampton says:

    I love Price, but the bottom line is that team seems to win and usually plays better in front of Halak. Therefore we have to ride Halak to the end (whenever that is).

  17. Say Ash says:

    You make it sound as if consistency is of low importance.

  18. BosKibbles says:

    Saw this funny Jacques Martin quiz and thought of Dave Stubbs:

    How Would Jacques Martin handle this?

  19. light_n_tasty says:

    Consistency is the most important aspect of goaltending.

  20. Say Ash says:

    Your avatar has peaked.

  21. TomNickle says:

    Yeah Yeah Yeah, Jaro steals games and Price doesn’t.

    Well, that was the third time this season that Halak has won a game when the team scores 2 goals or less.  Price has done it three times too.

    Don’t get me wrong, Jaro is a very good goalie and played great last night but the only thing he’s done better than his teammate this season is remain consistent.

  22. christophor says:

    please no MAB on D. 

    sorry to those who want him there. 

    my heart can’t take it.

  23. habsguy says:

    Exactly,  the players today are bigger stronger and faster,  the equipment is better,  the sticks make for harder shots,  and the goalies equip is twice the size.  I also the think the players are in better shape.

  24. habsguy says:

    BTW,  the Bower comment was meant as a joke!!!

  25. youngwun says:

    you have no idea what you talking bout!!


  26. habsguy says:

    Okay lets see….Sawchuk was great, Bower was okay but was 40, our guys are kids and will only get better,  Hall and Plante had an awesome year in STL, our guys (if we could keep them together and happy) could have a decade of Hall and Plante,  Smith was above ave on a great team,  Resch was okay, Hayward was good,  but not even close to either of our guys,  that leaves us with Moog and Fuhr,  close but I would take our guys hands down over the two of them….All great goalies though and I understand your point……The year Theo was zoned in was proably the best goaltending I have ever seen for that short period!!!!

  27. Maffu says:

    No surprise tonight. Halak will hold the fort against the Sabres.

  28. Habhopeful says:

    The Montreal Parade started yesterday BTW!! MTL is the best when it gets nice out…

    The problem with the habs is usually we have one line who stays hot or atleast one player who is on a hot streak…At one point it was the Gio-Gomer-Pou-Pou line..>Then it was the Pleks-Camz-Titz line that was hot…and when both lines were cold, our depth scoring would come into play…These past few games, every line has been cold…Its only a matter of time before we start to heat up and start scoring again…Give it time, I say we break out tonight, Halak could have possibly given the team some more confidence after last nights performance


    “I went to see a fight the other night…And A hockey game broke out!” ~Rodney Dangerfield~

  29. Storm Man says:

    Yes on you tube and type Alf

  30. says:

    If he is a Red Wing his Ws will be better lol 😉 (wink wink, joke)

    They call me Shane

  31. habsguy says:

    I think it’s just you looking at his butt!!!!!

  32. says:

    Yeah it’s hard to compare our tandems against the past.  Then again it’s hard to compare the past to today.

    My favourite tandem?  Dryden/Bunny


    I never got to see Vachon/Gump, but I bet they were awesome too.


    They call me Shane

  33. Habhopeful says:

    Found this snooping on the net: I guess a little forewarning to the Flyers…




    Cant wait till tonight! Last night was a heartstopper! Loved it!

    “I went to see a fight the other night…And A hockey game broke out!” ~Rodney Dangerfield~

  34. Say Ash says:

    Anybody got a clip of JM completely wigging out, or should I just go back to my unicorn hunt?

  35. Storm Man says:

    Neilson is hurt 🙁

  36. Storm Man says:

    You forgot your meds today

  37. andrewberkshire says:

    Hasn’t peaked? So next season Halak will post a .945 save percentage? Why can’t fans just be happy with consistency. There’s almost no possible way for Halak to improve on this season in the reality that we live in.

  38. Jbird says:

    Hmmmm Something is up with Spach in that shot.  

  39. naweed235 says:

    ya and i still believe that Ovechkin is going to be like Begin…

  40. HardHabits says:

    Halak hasn’t peaked yet and wont for a long time. He’ll only get better.

  41. HardHabits says:

    It’s just you.

  42. linp says:

    I am quite optimistic this time. Ranger and Philly will fight it out. One of it will not make it. Atlanta’s schedule is a killer. We’ll be at least 8th.

  43. Jbird says:

    I’m not relaxing yet, but the Habs are in a relatively good spot vs. the 4 other team. I feel confident that the team chasing us are too crappy to catch the habs – even if the habs mess up royally. 

    The math is a bit complicated cause of the 4 other teams in the race for 3 spots. If the Habs beat either the Islanders, the Sabres or the Canes they are almost garaunteed the last spot.  If the Rangers, Thrashers, Flyers or Bruins lose one the chances of a playoff spot go way up.  Even if they Habs don’t get 1 point in their next 4 games they still have 1/3 chance to finish 8th.   

    I absolutely agree with Tony M on sitting everyone vs the Leafs.  


  44. linp says:

    I would call up Conboy and Neilson for that game. Then we are ready.

  45. Storm Man says:

    Im happy for the win happy how Halak was the man(I still think he is going to be like Theodore) great 40 mins of hockey by the team but WTF not one shot for over 14 mins in the 3rd. I dont know what Martin has for brains but this rope a dope style will get us killed in the playoffs. Martin let the guys play a 60 min game.

  46. Bugs says:

    Is it just me or does the leading Jaro in the picture look like his garter’s ridin up his butt?

    Ridiculously overhyped, call me

    L.Bugs Potter, esq. Assistant-Director of St-Habbie’s Hospital for the Blind, Head Physician of Neuroflannelogy Unit, and Occupational Therapist in Habsbros Emergency Ward:

  47. B says:

    Gainey signed Martin to a 4 year deal.

  48. Habs Proud says:

    Halak to the rescue again last night, he has carried this team most nights in close games, Price has played well in a lot of cases too. I am a fan of both, but lets compare Price vs the Canes and Halak vs the Flyers, both games the Habs thought the game was only 40 minutes long and the extra 20 minutes was an optional skate which most opted not to participate in, lets put one in our own net like Hamrlik did and lets leave,  oh say Mike Richards unattended beside the net like O’Byrne did Eric Staal to bang in a rebound and guess what, the result is the same, last night we got lucky that it wasn’t a loss, just a bounce away from a devistating loss. Carey Price is not a bad goalie, if given a chance, as I said I’m a fan of both of these young guys

  49. B says:

    Bouillon? Schneider?

  50. Born in a Bad Year says:

    It was quite nice of Philly to call one for us last night.

  51. ed lopaz says:

    what about robert lang? Coyotes

  52. smiler2729 says:

    I’d really hate to have it all come down to the freaking Leafs next Saturday night. I gotta live here in Leafland with these clowns, that’d be their Stanley Cup.

    ]It’s bad enough every time Toronto beats Montreal on a Saturday night, I find the front page of the Toronto Sun sports section taped to my dressing room area at Sunday morning hockey.

    Imagine if they ever won a Cup, I’d have to move back to Montreal.

  53. ed lopaz says:

    stubbs – although I agree with sitting our key guys against the leafs – not sure I would send Subban out in that situation, either.

    leafs could be head hunting; and a d-man who carries the puck through the neutral zone with speed can be an easy target for a head hunter with no interest in the puck.


  54. RC-51 says:

    Just out of curiosity, of all the players we traded and/or UFA’s  last season, only Begin in Boston and Kovalev in Ottawa are in the playoffs as of today!

  55. smiler2729 says:

    What about Sawchuk/Bower in Toronto? Or Hall/Plante in STL? Or Smith/Resch NYI? Or Moog/Fuhr EDM? I remember Brian Hayward pushing Patrick Roy pretty good in ’88.

  56. wmarcello says:

    I agree with sitting some guys against Toronto. We ALWAYS seem to lose important guys to injury when we play them. I still contend that Subban could help for one game though, just while Spacek is out. We’re missing a defenseman, plus we’re offensively challenged. Subban could help in both cases.

  57. Tremblant Habs Fan says:

    I agree with all said in the previous two posts, but it’s highly unlikely that Boucher gets the call. Martin has a hefty contarct for another 2 years and Carbo is still getting paid. Boucher’s time will come , just not next year.

  58. jimmy shaker says:

    IF, IF, IF…..hopefully we are in position to rest some guys….but like a couple of years ago it might come down to that stupid game next week to see if we are a go or no go for the dance……I’m dreading that game if it does come down to it.  I guess it should all have to do with todays outcome of all the games.


  59. Dave Stubbs says:

    No Subban yet. Not with a playoff berth still unclinched. If Habs lock it up this week, bring him in next Saturday vs. Toronto and let him have some fun. Sit Markov that night. Tony Marinaro had a good point last night: sit Halak, Markov, maybe a banged-up forward or two. Leafs won’t care if anyone’s left standing that night.

    Dave Stubbs
    Habs Inside/Out
    Sports Columnist/Feature Writer, Montreal Gazette
    • On Twitter:

  60. jimmy shaker says:

    True, that he sometimes makes it look like an adventure out there……but it was his first game back on the D in forever and he wasn’t as bad as hammer looked… he made the first pass out to get the play going for our goal last night…….Just as Jaro get’s the W”s, MAB is steadily getting points game in and game out….now if we could get cammy off and going things will be alot better.


  61. SLONCOLD says:

    Jaro is really starting to turn some heads in the league. I’m sure philly would have traded a second round pick for a win last night too.

    In a market that has been pro carey, i’m amazed of the push and calm you see in halak; it says a lot about his character. Jaro should get the start tonight and pretty much run the table for the season.

    Playoffs are a different story i think both goalies should be considered and unless one gets blown out of the water or allows really bad goalies, i think they should choose one to ride and go with. My choice would be halak. I’m sure price would do just as well in the playofss but i think the organization owes halak the chance to start the playoffs.

  62. jimmy shaker says:

    C’Mon Jaro…..hopefully you don’t need to stand on your head like last night for the win…..maybe cammy can break out and get a hatty…….Oh and please let Spacek’s virus be passed onto Hammer so he can sit.  PP will score tonight, and Miller won’t pull a Miller like he did last time around! 


  63. smiler2729 says:

    Martin also has to learn to call a Time Out late in close games.

  64. zak says:

    If all does not go well I would like to see the whole ‘Dogs coaching staff with the Habs next year.

    with all the call ups this year they,ve done a great job with that team.Coaching does make a difference.i.e Coyotes

  65. Bill J says:

    No but it might hinder the balance in Hamilton.

    Tough call – in Hamilton you have a Calder Cup contender (due in large part to Subban & Desjardins – oh great ANOTHER goalie to controverse about lol)

    In MTL – you have a team fighting for it’s playoffs lives.

    I too would like to see PK – but somehow I don’t see him being called up unless 2-3 defencemen go down to injuries in MTL prior to this season ending.

  66. wmarcello says:

    I want him to stay with the Bulldogs too, but one game won’t hurt his development. If Spacek is still out, that’s a huge hole in our D right there that MAB can’t even begin to fill.

  67. cashbagg says:

    always an adventure when he has the puck in the defensive end!

  68. wmarcello says:

    Also, I’ll be fine with either goalie in tonight. If it wasn’t a back to back, I’d say go with your #1 in Jaro, but lots of GMs play their backups in a back-to-back situation, and Carey is by far the best backup in the league right now. He’s been giving the team ample opportunity to win these games. They just haven’t delivered.

  69. cashbagg says:

    Let’s hope Martin has learned a thing or 2 in the past 2 months:

    Halak wins, Price loses. Quite consistantly too.

    Don’t ask me why. I call it the “Curse of Carey” as of late. The kid can’t catch a break, even when he plays well.

    Anyway….pleeeeeaaaaase Jacques, don’t test our playoff luck on Price, and start him tonight. He’s a good goalie, but he belongs on the bench until, God forbid, Jaro lays an egg in the 1st round.


  70. Bill J says:

    While I agree the Habs overule the Bulldogs in terms of “importance” level – I also think long term (not just this season) & when I think like that, I want PK to stay in the AHL this season – go win the Calder Cup & build on his winning experience.


  71. habsguy says:

    well I’ve seen them all from Plante, Dryden, Sawchuck, Hall, Parent, I’ve seen all the greats, but I’ve never seen a duo like we have right now!!!!!

  72. wmarcello says:

    If Spacek doesn’t play tonight, I really hope they call up Subban for the night. Otherwise we’ll just see 20 more minutes of Bergeron on defense. I just can’t take it.

  73. Bill J says:

    Bang on point.  It’s the position I’ve adopted, while yes I am on the Price side (long term), I will certainly admit I am on the Halak side (short term) as well.

    What I have known since day one of this season, we have 2 very good young goalies with a high ceiling on the talent level they have.

    The real issues ?

    I am starting to agree with many here, JM’s style is equally to Gainey — out-dated for today’s NHL.

    In one hand I would like to see Boucher come up next year, but is that too soon for a young coach ?  Do coaches also risk burning out if not “quite” ready ?

    I DO appreciate what JM did to improve the chemistry, but realistically if he could not build chemistry with the character players BG picked up, JM would truly be a useless twig.

    I like many others do NOT agree with him not sticking up for his player(s).

    Go Habs GO – Good luck to whoever is in net tonight, they will like the previous 78 games need it with the team & coach they are aligned to.

  74. smiler2729 says:

    The only position of strength on the club and there are about 15 NHL GMs who are envious AND all we fans can do is bitch and moan about which is better…

    Let’s count our blessings at Easter.

  75. habsguy says:

    I can’t remember a team with the goaltending we have,  either or,  Halak or Price, what a tandem!!!!

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