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

Preview | Matchups | Saturday’s NHL schedule | Boone’s Game Blog | Stubbs on Twitter

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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.


  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. 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:

  7. 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.


  8. 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.

  9. 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! 


  10. smiler2729 says:

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

  11. 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?


  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. cashbagg says:

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

  17. 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.”

  18. 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.

  19. 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.


  20. wmarcello says:

    Deleted: double post.

  21. 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.


  22. Say Ash says:

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

  23. 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!!!!!

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. christophor says:

    i didn’t know they didn’t count. 


  29. habsguy says:

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

  30. 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.


  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.


  34. 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.

  35. Xtrahabsfan says:


  36. HardHabits says:

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

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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. 

  40. christophor says:

    well then someone else of that size and scoring profile. 

    but jeff carter would be hard to refuse.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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?


  44. 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.

  45. 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?


  46. 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.

  47. jimmy shaker says:

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


  48. 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?

  49. 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.”

  50. 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..

  51. 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!


  52. 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.

  53. 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!!!!

  54. 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.


  55. adam76 says:

    I thinking of a word, rymes with blasshole.

    Nice USE of CAPITAL words, though.

  56. 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!


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.