Game 80: Habs blow it on Long Island

Canadiens’ Maxim Lapierre is pushed off the puck by Islanders’ Jack Hillen Tuesday night. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Preview | Matchups | Tuesday’s NHL schedule | Boone’s Game Blog and About last night … | Stubbs on Twitter | Hickey’s game story

AUDIO: Brian Gionta | Tomas Plekanec | Ryan O’Byrne | Josh Gorges | Jacques Martin

• At a Glance: The Canadiens came out flat against the New York Islanders, trailing 1-0 after 20 minutes and being badly outshot and outplayed, eventually losing 4-3 in a shootout. The Canadiens woke up in the second period with goals by Tomas Plekanec, his 25th, and Brian Gionta, who tied Michael Cammalleri for the team lead with 26 goals. Blake Comeau scored the game’s first goal and Sean Bergenheim tied the game 2-2 only two minutes into the third period and the Islanders were buzzing the net after that, with the Canadiens on their heels a little. But Maxim Lapierre scored a pretty goal four minutes later as he fought off two defenders and went in alone on Martin Biron, beating him with a nice backhand to the roof of the net. But the Isles did not roll over with Frans Nielsen tying the game 3-3 with 2:01 to play. Halak allowed two goals in the shootout, while the Canadiens could not beat Biron. Halak faced 42 shots in 65 minutes of play, making 39 saves, but he was beaten handily in the shootout.

• Key Moments: Halak was left alone in the first period as the Islanders took 15 shots on net, with Halak stopping all but one, while his teammates could muster only five shots on Martin Biron. Halak also made an incredible save on John Tavares in the third period shortly after the Islanders had made it 2-2.

• What It Means: The Canadiens miss a chance to clinch a playoff spot and drop to 39-32-9 for 87 points. The Flyers’ win in Toronto prevents Montreal from clinching.

• What’s Next: Two games remain the regular season, with a visit to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday and a home date against the Toronto Maple Leafs to finish the season.


  1. I_SAY_FIGHT says:

    i guess it depends on the team we end up against

  2. HabFanSince72 says:

    Sorry. Watch it anyway if you want to see some of the most sublime football ever.

  3. Storm Man says:

    I guess your saying Price plays in the playoffs;)

  4. krob1000 says:

    1. Yes , but not technically 2. New Jersey for us  3. if Healthy Chicago…otherwise Detroit. 4. Detroit vs Montreal sinceit’s My final, if I were betting…Detroit vs. Pittsburgh for the hat trick. 5. Detroit 6. Datsyuk 7. Yes 8. Markov 9. Philly 10. if you buy a ticekt you can win….tonight we buy our ticket.

  5. SlovakHab says:


    1) Not yet

    2) Penguins!

    3) Chicago

    4) Chicago – Penguins

    5) Washington

    6) O’Byrne

    7) not unless he’s extremely bad or injured

    8) Gionta

    9) Philly or preferably both

    10) Theoretically – yes


  6. Storm Man says:

    The Hab fans booo good hockey players when did this happen??

  7. Somethingwithhabsinit says:

    Gomez’s cap hit is 7.3 and lasts until 2013-14. Vinny’s cap hit is 7.7 and lasts until 2019-20. I am glad we didn’t wait.

  8. Storm Man says:

    His stage will be this years world cup, He is magic with a soccer ball I just hope he let’s England win the world cup this years he can win the next 3. I know I dare to dream 

  9. TomNickle says:

    Ok, now you’re just twisting ideas to suit your argument.  Saying that the sustained success of the Habs Powerplay is a result of coaching because it takes less time to work on is a joke.  The only adjustment that’s been made to the Powerplay in this town since the lockout is that Kovalev ran the first unit Powerplay from the halfboards and now Markov runs it from the top.  That’s it!  The Habs sustained success on the Powerplay is not a validation of your idea that Coaches have a huge influence on Special Teams.  That argument makes no sense in light of the team having 4 coaches in the last 5 years.  That makes ZERO sense.  

    The PK on this team has improved I will grant you but that comes with the shift in personnel too.  Any arguments that Hal Gill and Sergei Kostitsyn have been the biggest changes in our Penalty Kill?  Plekanec too.  Oh yeah, and Goaltending, that one’s pretty important.

    The Powerplay is a reflection of skill, not coaching.  Detroit Red Wings have been right there with us in Powerplay.  People will argue this because of the Penguins, but they have no skilled wingers at all.


  10. Jbell10 says:

    1. We win but dont clinch.

    2. NJ

    3. Detroit…you know they are going to go deep again.

    4. WAS DET

    5. WAS…Ovech, Semin, Backstrom…nuff said.

    6. Ovech

    7. Good question, if they are tight games I would stay with Halak. If  Jaro is lookin a little soft throw Carey in the pipes.

    8. GIO

    9. Not a big deal, I will say Boston…never like seeing Chara the playoffs.

    10. YES WE CAN! If Jaro plays amazing and our power play is killer.

    thanks Fugz…nice way to end the day


  11. I_SAY_FIGHT says:

    1) No 2)Pitt, Ott, Jersey (eithergoalie) 3) SJ 4) PITT (MTL) Vs SJ  5)Chi, WSH 6)Crosby  7) It depends on the team,

    Washington   Halak 0-0-0  Price 2-1-1 (Adv: Price)
    New Jersey    Halak 1-1-1 Price 0-1-0 (Adv: Halak)
    Buffalo          Halak 1-2-0 Price 1-1-1  (Adv: Price)
    Pittsburg       Halak 1-1-0 Price 0-3-0 (Adv: Halak)
    Ottawa          Halak 1-2-1 Price 0-2-0 (Adv: Halak)
    Montreal      *****************************
    Boston          Halak 2-1-0 Price 3-0-0 (Adv: Price)
    Philadelphia  Halak 1-1-0 Price 1-2-0 (Neither)
    Rangers        Halak  3-1-0 Price 0-0-0 (Adv: Halak)

    8)Gio  9)both 10)6.25%

  12. krob1000 says:

    save it til next year and get Recchi put on it…he was a good Hab  and is still who I think of when I think of number 8

  13. SLONCOLD says:

    vinny=7.7 cap hit 400k more than gomer

  14. Storm Man says:

    I think all kids should get to enjoy the great game of hockey, But it boils down to a generation thing just like hockey for kids here in Canada. Plus the fact hard to find a outdoor ice rink in 70 percent of the world.

  15. fuhgawz says:

    1)yes 2) Jersey 3)Black Hawks 4)Habs VS Black Hawks 5) Caps 6)Ovie 7)Yes 8)Benny 9)Philly 10) YES

  16. habfan53 says:

    Forget the press are you frgetting the treatment the “Boomer “got in Montreal .

    First he was booed by the fans because he won the scoring championship instead of the Rocket.

    Then he gets shipped off to the Rangers “THE RANGERS” by management

    Finally they wait till it was to late to retire his number.

    ALL thisfor a man who only wanted to play for “Les Glorieux”

  17. christophor says:

    lionel’s 4th

  18. christophor says:

    chicken or egg first? those things wouldn’t just show up without the love for hockey being there first and without those things being there, can they have a love for hockey? you seem to just be painting a picture of a world that loves hockey and has it accessible to them, instead of actually arguing for it.

  19. fuhgawz says:

    some questions :

    1) Do we clinch tonight?

    2) Team in the East you fear to face the most?

    3) Team in the West you fear to face to most?

    4) Who is in your Stanley Cup final this season?

    5) Your in a hockey draft what team are you loading up on?

    6) Who is your top pick of the playoff draft?

    7) Jaro starts the playoffs IF he loses the first 2 games do you go to Carey?

    8) Who will lead our team in scoring during the playoffs?

    9) Team you would like to see miss the playoffs the most Philly or Boston?

    10) Can we win it all?


  20. Storm Man says:

    Im sorry to hear your a Arsenal fan;) but your a Habs fan so your still in good standing enjoy the game tonight.

  21. J. Ambrose says:

    Barca’s ball control is incredible. Never seen a team play keep-away the way they can. 

  22. Say Ash says:

    Broad strokes, I’ll admit. And I’m well-travelled, I assure you. But you can’t dismiss that a significant aspect to soccer’s popularity is its economics, and by your own rationale, its accessability. Suppose every park and playground had a rink, a pile of sticks and equipment – you don’t think the odd kid would step off the…pitch…and check out this hockey thing?

  23. habfan53 says:

    The problem is the “HART” used to be MVP now it goes to whoever has an OUTSTANDING season. The recognized this for the goalies and split it up for 2 awards the Vezina  for outstanding and the Jennings for Lowest Goals Against

  24. Kooch7800 says:

    Wait till they see how good Taylor Hall will be and he will be in a Bruins Jersey.  I wonder how much they will like Kessel then.

    That would be like us giving up two first rounders and a second rounder for Cammy.  Don’t get me wrong I like Cammy but not at that price.

    I wonder if Tampa will dump Vinny now that Stamkos has emerged as a sniper?

    We should have waited. His cap hit is less than Gomez

  25. christophor says:

    if (1) more coaching goes into special teams, then (2) Special Teams are the best indication for a coach being good or bad. nothing amiss here. but i did also make an exception for better teams, for the reason i’ll explain now.

    you’re doing the same thing again: making unnecessary divisions. coaching is not the same as not-skill. coaching works with skill. of course its helped to recognize that markov is a premiere PP man: use him. the leafs are a different story. you’re still confusing “powerplay success” with “the powerplay not being the worst part of the team”.

    also, the fact that the habs PP is still good, in spite of having 4 coaches of late, actually helps my argument. you can’t affect 5 on 5 so quickly but you can influence the PP an PK rather quickly because its not such a broad area of play to address: it doesn’t require a player’s whole game. this is why new coaches have been able to facilitate effective special teams for the habs despite being new, and it is also why the 5 on 5 production has steadily decreased. there is coaching in all areas, but the coach will have a hard time influencing the aspect of the game that calls upon all player’s and their total defensive and offensive skill sets. 5 on 5 “systems” take a longer time to implement accurately. this isn’t the case on special teams.

    then, the exception is not only better teams (which usually have a good PP and PK because the SKILL) but also for coaches who have been around long enough to get a handle on their whole team’s game (ruff). wilson isn’t one of these coaches and the leafs skill can’t make up for it without coaching.

  26. krob1000 says:

    Just tell him he is playing AAA foot hockey …… I played rep soccer until that age myself…then I gave it up for competitive baseball in the summers.  I found soccer was one of those sports that got more boring as players got better and I got older, the game seemed to actually slow down and the jogging got too organized! Hard to imagine baseball being more exciting than soccer but at about that age pitchers started to really bring it and hitters started to develop some power, guys could make the pretty double plays,etc …it was a no brainer for me! 

  27. Jordio-oh says:


  28. Kooch7800 says:

    I have watched a few dogs games this year and PK is good there is no doubt.  My only worry is he dipsy doodles all the time when he is the last man back which is EXTREMELY dangerous and can be very costly.  He takes tons of risks which is not good when you are on D and are the last man back. If you remember he did the same in the World Junior tourney last year as well.

    He is playing really well in the AHL but I am curious to see how he plays when he moves up with the big boys.  He will either be great or an extreme liability.

  29. I_SAY_FIGHT says:

    I went to the winter classic and a guy had a kessel 81 jersey but he taped over the kessel part, Maybe next year we’ll get another No.8 and you can get another name put on it…

  30. topher5468 says:

    On my way to the game tonight. I have to wear my Koivo Jersey because I cant wear the $350 Komisarek jersey I bought last year. I wish I could muster the strength to throw it the Garbage but I just can’t  I wish they still wore red on the road, then I coiuld wear my Price jersey, even though I know hes not playing. It should be a competetive game. The last time we were here Markov returned and it was a good night. Much more on the line tonight. 

    “It’s not an obsession, It’s a way of life..”

  31. Say Ash says:

    I forgot! That was awesome!

  32. Storm Man says:

    I think you need to traval around the world a little more, It’s not about poor kids playing the sport it’s more about how easy to find a place to play a pick up game of soccer.

  33. Kooch7800 says:

    Best line in the article “the Canadiens could punch their playoff ticket as early as tonight!” hahaha there is three games left I don’t think that is considered early

  34. JD_ says:

    My 14 year-old son’s a AAA jogger, then.

    I’ll try to break it to him easily.

  35. christophor says:

    hard to say “what if”. you’re now assuming one game is better to argue that it is. good tongue in cheek explanation at the end there, though. don’t bother watching the italian serie a if you ever watch

  36. HABWARRIOR says:

    we need subban up so he can create for our forwards cuz our D now aint cuttin’ it.

  37. HABWARRIOR says:

    2008-2009 Flames 6 1 2 3 1 2 0 0 0 16 6.3 NHL Totals 6 1 2 3 1 2 0 0 0 16 6.3

  38. TomNickle says:

    Your original argument was that Special Teams are the best indication for a coach being good or bad.

    Now you’re saying that more coaching goes into special teams.

    Both are false.

    If you really believe it’s the case, where do you attribute the Habs Powerplay success over the last 5 years with 4 different coaches and now two almost completely different teams who are very close in skill set?

    Andrei Markov!  The best offensive defenseman in the Eastern Conference working with lively boards and a strong shot on the right side.

    That’s not coaching, that’s skill.

  39. Storm Man says:

    I dont think he would be under scrutiny here in montreal the press is so loving and caring about the players who come here and play in Montreal;)

  40. Jordio-oh says:

    one goal, two assists in 6 games.

  41. Say Ash says:

    It’s the most popular sport because most kids around the world can’t afford to play much else, just like most inner-city kids in the U.S. play basketball – that’s all there is for them. I truly believe that if poor kids had access to equipment and facilities, soccer would, umm, take a dive.

  42. cautiousoptimist says:

    JT makes Hart Trophy arguments for Halak and Plekanec, as well as a heartfelt nomination for Josh Gorges.  I’ve never taken sides in the goalie debate and won’t start now, but I gotta say, there aren’t a lot of players around the league that have been more vital to their team’s success than Halak.  If that’s the criterion for the Hart, Halak should be a shoo-in.  Who has stolen more points for their team than him?  And it doesn’t hurt that he’s third in the NHL in save percentage (.001 behind Miller) and 8th in GAA (0.01 behind a couple of bums named Brodeur and Bryzgalov).

    1. – not a hockey site, but still kinda neat
    2. Mike Boone: “With Gainey at my side, I’d walk into any dark alley in the world.”
  43. christophor says:

    “you might only get to see a player of this quality once in a lifetime, and he’s only 22″.

    good point, i think.

    also, 3 very different goals.

  44. Say Ash says:

    How did Cammy do last year in the first round?

  45. christophor says:

    well then organized jogging is more popular than any other sport 10:1. maybe you should give it a chance and see what all the fuss is about. 

  46. HABWARRIOR says:

    I hope  Cammy pots a few tonight and gets his game back.We’re gonna need him for our long playoff drive.Not to mention the PP needs to be improved.

  47. christophor says:

    now imagine factors like those, except in a more controlled scenario that isn’t 2 way hockey. results are more predictable. the more controlled and simple the environment, the better control the coach can potentially have.

    also, coaches focus on whatever part of play needs focusing on. i said weak teams need to focus on special teams, so thats where the coaches of weak teams should focus. if wilson doesn’t do that, then he should. plus, the head coach is HEAD of the coaching staff so he is still responsible for who he assigns where. 

    its also a point for my argument that there are specific coaches for these parts of the game. coaching is indeed more intense in these areas. i’m not saying there isn’t coaching with 5 on 5. its not a good reply to my argument to say: there is lots of coaching in 5 on 5 hockey. that doesn’t say its more than on the PP or PK.

    i’m really surprised you haven’t heard this often. i haven’t heard kypreos say that but it is something i hear on occasion from here and there. i didn’t carry a notepad and write down where i heard something i thought was commonplace.

    i do appreciate good debate though and expect you still disagree.

  48. The Juice says:

    Too much emphasis on “clinching”. Pretty much a foregone conclusion. Key is the 1st round matchup, hopefully the Sabres!

  49. Jordio-oh says:

    AHHH. i wanted to go all day without knowing the results so that i could watch the replay tonight at 11pm. Seeing is how I’m an Arsenal fan and they are getting worked over, i suppose i should thank you for saving me the time.

  50. TomNickle says:

    Are you telling me that Boom Boom Geoffrion’s grandson wouldn’t be under more than normal Hab scrutiny?

    That kid would be followed home after games and would wake up to reporters on his lawn.  EVERYDAY.

    This would be as close to have a grandson of Richard’s on the team.  It wouldn’t be spotlight, it would be like having a person on your back everywhere you went, including stepping onto the ice.

    Haha, I wouldn’t wish the treatment that kid would get here on my worst enemy.

  51. Psycho29 says:

    Is that you Tony Marinaro????



  52. TomNickle says:

    I’m sorry Chris but that’s almost completely incorrect.  Nick Kypreos is the only analyst I’ve heard say that.  And I hope he’s not who you’re going by here.

    Wilson has the worst stats on the Powerplay because he has the least skilled team in Hockey.

    He has a bad penalty kill because he hasn’t had any kind of decent goaltending until recently and they’ve had no experience penalty killing forwards outside of Sjostrom.

    5 on 5 play is affected MUCH more by coaching than Special Teams and I’ll give you some reasons.

    How many forecheckers are the opposition using?

    Which side do they tend to dump the puck into?

    Which forwards carry the puck into the offensive zone?

    Do they rim the puck or use a cross ice dump?

    Ok?  That’s just offensive zone entry, I can keep going……

    When we break out are they using a lock, trapping or bringing two down low?

    Are they keeping one man high in the slot?

    Does their weak side defenseman pull away from the boards and trap himself in the middle?

    Do their defensemen pinch more often than not?  How far down are they willing to go?

    That’s just information for breaking out of your own zone….now how about…..

    What is the gap control of their defensemen like?  Do they play aggressively at the blueline or do they back in on their netminder?

    Does the back pressure come from the middle or do they force inside out?

    How high do their backchecking wingers stay?

    These are all things that the coaching staff has to analyze in order to play the game and make adjustments to these things to just be competetive in a hockey game let alone win it.  

    And another note, it is very rare that a Head Coach runs their Powerplay or Penalty Kill.  In fact, usually the rookie assistant or associate coach gets assigned the Powerplay just so that the Head Coach can get a first hand look at how he communicates with the players.

  53. adam76 says:

    Not all players crumble under the spotlight of Montreal.

  54. linp says:

    Messi is a living proof that size is not everything for professional sport.

  55. adam76 says:

    organized jogging. 

  56. christophor says:

    note edmonton: terrible team, terrible 5 on 5, but not at the very bottom in special teams. 

    this isn’t saying quinn is excellent, but not as bad as him team makes him look.

  57. JD_ says:

    Game, set, match.

  58. REB says:

    Bugs, I agree with you…on both counts.  Couldn’t help chuckling myself!

  59. HabFanSince72 says:

    Completely off topic, but Barcelona are spanking Arsenal. Messi has a hat trick in the first half. Arsenal barely getting a touch of the ball.


  60. ManApart says:

    Trading last year’s 1st rounder and this year’s 2nd for Tanguay was pretty funny, in a very sad way.

  61. christophor says:

    good on burke. but still the worst PP and PK in the league. not good on wilson.

  62. ManApart says:

    The Leafs are 12-8-3 since the trade deadline. Not too bad, for a rebuilding team. Burke made some very good moves dumping dead weight and bring in some youthful enthusiasm.

  63. christophor says:

    i’m not talking about the PP and PK being successful, i’m talking about them not being the worst stats on the team.

    saying that only the W counts sounds like the argument from the goalie debate. its not so simple. that these areas are more directly affected by coaching isn’t my opinion, its something you’ll hear as commonplace from any analyst or coach.

    5 on 5 is the vast majority of play and where you’re most evenly comparable in skill with the opposition. this isn’t one the coach can influence so quickly. the leafs’ 5 on 5 is actually pretty good: almost even.

    the PP is when the coach can rely on working with the puck and not worry about a 2 way game. the PK: only defence. they are unique situations. the leafs have the worst PP and PK again.

    strong teams can rely on 5 on 5, which is why the PP and PK aren’t the only markers of a good coach when you’re talking about strong teams. but weaker teams need to work from special teams. they should at least be better than 5 on 5 if the coach is good.

  64. TomNickle says:

    Do you want the kid to commit suicide?

  65. Storm Man says:

    Off topic what would it take to get Blake Geoffrion out of Nashville?

  66. TomNickle says:

    Almost every offensive category is attributed to skill Chistophr, not coaching.  You can implement set plays but it’s very rare due to the film work that teams do.  

    So, to have a successful Powerplay you need skill and offensive creativity.  Ever try to teach a group of unskilled players how to run a breakout on a Powerplay or to setup in the offensive zone on the Powerplay?  IT’S HARD, TRUST ME.  I had no hair by the time I was 24 because of it.

    As for Penalty killing, it takes smart disciplined players just as much as it does coaching.  The PK is simple, if they run an umbrella, you run a diamond, if they run off the halfboards with two up top, you run a box and get aggressive in the corners.

    The only true measure of a coach during a hockey game is what their goal differentials are in the 1st and 3rd periods of hockey games.  That’s my opinion.  It reflects how well prepared a team is to start a game and how well the team adjusts when the game is on the line.

  67. Chris says:

    Trotz should have won it last year.  What he has done with that line-up should make it a no-brainer.

    But I suspect very strongly that Tippett (Phoenix) or Sacco (Colorado) will walk away with the hardware.  Cory Clouston in Ottawa and Terry Murray in Los Angeles are another pair of coaches that will undoubtedly garner some buzz…the Kings have a lot of young talent, so that could work against Murray.

    In Ottawa, Clouston has his team churning along despite an uncertain goaltending situation (Elliot vs. Leclaire and even Brodeur!), a crazy number of injuries to key players (Alfredsson – 12 games, Spezza – 22 games, Michalek – 15 games, Kuba – 26 games, Foligno – 21 games, Campoli – 15 games, Neil – 14 games, Volchenkov – 16 games), the Heatley trade in the off-season, the Cheechoo situation in the middle of the season…messy year in Ottawa.  (And one that mirrors that of Montreal surprisingly well!)

  68. Chuck says:

    If you have to debate whether or not it’s a success or a failure… it’s a failure.


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

  69. cautiousoptimist says:

    I particularly enjoyed this comment:

    “The Leafs are one free agent signing away from being competitive. They
    need to sign Kovalchuk next year.”

    Maybe I’m a bad person.

    1. – not a hockey site, but still kinda neat
    2. Mike Boone: “With Gainey at my side, I’d walk into any dark alley in the world.”
  70. mrhabby says:

    true about those stats hard to argue that.

  71. christophor says:

    if you look at the broken team JM has worked with this year, he’s affected it where the coach can have a positive impact: goals against, special teams. thats what you build from if you have holes in your team. 

    in the case of the leafs, they have more “hole” than not. even if all their stats are near the bottom of the league, their worst stats should not be the ones listed above.

  72. mike g says:

    My vote earlier in the seaon would have gone to Sacco or Tippet. Now, Sacco is out and replaced with Trotz.

    However, lol, I would give it to Tippet in the end. It’s sad for Trotz because like you mentioned he does such a fabulous job year in and year out without ever getting credit for him. Had Phoenix not been such a great team this year, Barry would win hands down. But I guess it’s is bad luck once again, because the saga that began in the desert this year has turned into a Cinderella story too hard to ignore.

    The Coyotes were a mess. They had no owner, no coach, no fans, nothing. Tippet threw himself in there and look at the results. I think the Habs had a better chance finishing 1st overall than the Yotes finishing over .500 at the start of the year. For Dave to go in there and do what he’s done can’t go unnoticed.

    So my vote still goes to Dave, but maybe a trophy should be created for the Barry Trotz’s of this league…He really deserves some recognition for his fabulous work in the music city (maybe a country song!, lol) …

    “These head movies make my eyes rain” -Simple Jack

  73. mrhabby says:

    i guess i tend to agree with you on most points and iam slightly in favour of what BG did excluding the gomez contract. i still would have liked to see us build around a superstar but whatever works is good for me.

  74. christophor says:

    true, true. but if your best asset is your coach, then your best stats should be those he has a closer influence on. they haven’t been. on the contrary, they’ve been the leafs worst stats in recent history

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