Habs get well-deserved day off on Sunday

The Canadiens enjoyed a well-deserved day off Sunday after winning all three of their games last week, beating Minnesota 6-2 on Tuesday, Washington 3-2 on Friday and Pittsburgh 3-2 on Saturday.

 “We played a strong game as a team,” Tomas Plekanec told reporters following Saturday’s game. “When you’re playing against the best player in the world, you want to shut him down and make sure he’s not on the scoresheet. That’s what we did.”

The Canadiens held Sidney Crosby off the scoresheet for only the fourth time in his 23 lifetime regular-season games against Montreal.

Plekanec dominated Crosby, winning 14 of 19 faceoffs against the Penguins superstar for a 74-per-cent head-to-head success rate. Plekanec went 16-for-21 on the night in the faceoff circle for a 76-per-cent success rate.

Crosby had four shots on goal, was minus-1 and won only 22 per cent of his faceoffs overall.

“He was talking all the time,” Plekanec said about Crosby. “I didn’t say anything. I was just listening. I’m a good listener.”

Coach Michel Therrien was pleased with the line changes he made last week that resulted in three victories with Max Pacioretty scoring five goals in the three games – including two against Pittsburgh – after being reunited with David Desharnais and Brendan Gallagher.

“I’m satisfied because we got results,” Therrien said. “We had three wins this week playing against Minnesota that had one loss in 12 games. We get the win in Washington and then beat the best team in the conference. We got results and that’s what we were looking for when we made these changes.”

The Canadiens scored 12 goals in the three wins after going through an 11-game stretch in which they scored only 18 goals.

The Canadiens have another three-game week coming up with stops in Buffalo on Wednesday (7 p.m., RDS, TSN-HABS, TSN Radio 690), Washington on Friday (5 p.m., RDS, TSN-HABS, TSN Radio 690) and then a Saturday Hockey Night in Canada showdown with the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Bell Centre (7 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690).

(Photo by Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

Price, Pacioretty lead Habs over Pens, by Pat Hickey

Canadiens roll up wins after line changes, by Pat Hickey

Plekanec shuts down Crosby, by Dave Stubbs

Pacioretty scores pair against Penguins, NHL.com

Double duty for Plekanec, Canadiens.com

Price looks like goalie for Team Canada, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Penguins welcome rookie to the club, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Habs vs. Penguins photo gallery, montrealgazette.com

Sid vs. Ovi has defined generation, NHL.com

418 Comments

  1. slyCH says:

    Just got back from the gym to see I have to request for a deletion. Interesting. Do I have to raise my hand for permission to use the restroom?

  2. Cal says:

    Ooooooh, Fancy. Now we can request a post be deleted. No wonder the edit function hasn’t been working.
    It’s got spell check and everything! :)

  3. SteverenO says:

    I have been quite voiciferous about my dislike of Therrien, and I still don’t like him, but to be fair I have to admit that he has the team playing quite well.

    The gam eplanagianst Pittsburgh was very weel conceived, we never allowed them time to “set up” their plays. we were constantly pressuring the puck and everyone of the HABS gave it their best effort.

    There were still many questionable, if not downright foolish, ice time management decisions as there have been all season long. Fortunately in the last three games anyway, they did not cost the team any points.

    What are the attributes that go into making a “good coach”?

    Here’s my list in order of importance and my perception of how Therrien rates at each aspect.

    Motivating players (getting the most out of available talent): B
    Ice time management: (using the right players at righttime): F
    overall strategy/game preperation (x,s and 0’s) : B
    Special teams strategy/game prep (x,s and 0’s) : D
    Teaching skills: (helping players to improve their game) : C
    Player communication : (letting guys now what’s expected): C

    Media Communication:
    (language skills in both official languages): who cares?

    Conclusion I would still like to see a coaching change as I don’t believe the team will reach it’s maximum potential under Therrien’s leadership.

    As long as Therrien is at the helm, it would sure be nice of management hired an analytics specialist; someone who could let the coaching staff know who is most effective in different situations.

    regards,

    Steve O.

    • Ozmodiar says:

      Here’s what would be downright foolish: looking at a small sampling of statistics through a key hole, then using the results to make ice time management decisions.

      I know you’ve been asking to see more of Pleks on the PP. Well, while the other team’s top lines were resting on the bench during their PK, Pleks was resting along with them. He was fresh and ready to shut ‘em down 5 on 5. Koivu + Parise / Ovechkin + Backstrom / Crosby – Kunitz …… these guys wish Pleks played more on the PP as well. :)

      3 wins against top teams after juggling lines, and you give him an “F” for ice management because you don’t agree, in theory, with what he’s doing. Why not grade on results???

      /would like to see what MT would do with that report card

    • mrhabby says:

      okay you make a few points..but there is zero chance MT will be fired this year..even if the team does not make the playoffs he will not be let go. the team is playing well he deserves credit as do the players.

  4. Bripro says:

    RDS are reporting that the Forbes team evaluations are out, and the Habs value has increased from $575MM to $775MM, an increase of 35%, which keeps them in third place behind the Laffs and the Rangers. The biggest increase belongs to the Canucks, which went from $342MM to a,whopping $700MM.

  5. Sportfan says:

    Apparently Martin Erat asked the Caps to trade him.

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!
    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

  6. Bripro says:

    So Max gets a well-deserved vote as second star of the week in the NHL.

  7. Bripro says:

    One player who’s never in the Sochi discussions but who deserves at least an invitation (IMO) is Gallagher.
    With a bigger ice surface and more room to manoeuvre, he would be even more effective than he is now, if that’s possible.
    The fact that he’s overlooked is equal to his being drafted 143rd.
    And they say all of the hockey scholars are in the NHL. They should consult with a few of us first!

  8. Habsrule1 says:

    Hey guys,

    Erat asking for a trade. I’m not too impressed with his overall stats for the last few years, but does anyone know the player he is more than I do?

    Would he be a good fit if the price was right and we were able to free up the cap space/position with the trade?

    Go Habs Go!!

    “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

    • mrhabby says:

      i think he is complete waste of time..poor stats and crap attitude..one thing MB wants is high character guys.

    • Stevie.Ray says:

      He’s the same type of player we already have too many of (preposition ending a sentence!!!!).
      He’s also getting older and is past his prime

      • The_Truth says:

        I agree, really not the type of Player we need.

      • Habsrule1 says:

        Thanks guys. That’s kinda what I was leaning towards also. I just figured leave no stone unturned.

        I’d love the Habs to find another perennial 30 goal guy (I say “another” cause they have 1 (Max – who did it once so not perennial!) now.

        Go Habs Go!!

        “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

    • rhino514 says:

      didnt they give up forsberg for him? Man, at least we haven´t made a gaffe like that in quite a while…

    • SteverenO says:

      He put up good offensive numbers in 2010/2011 17G , 33 A 50 pts (+12) and 2011/2012 19 G , 39 A 58 pts (+14)
      His production dropped off some what last season 5 G, 19A 24 PTs (-7) .

      maybe a question of linemates?

      Has always been very effective on the penalty kill, so-so on the PowerPlay (only one really good season on the PP).

      at 4.5 million/ year, signed until the end of next season when he becomes a UFA, I don’t think that he brings enough upside to justify the cap hit.

      regards,

      Steve O.

  9. Bill says:

    Ok, so Parros fights Orr … who fights McLaren?

  10. Bill says:

    Any love for James Reimer on Team Canada? He’s played amazing all year on a terrible defensive squad.

  11. Stevie.Ray says:

    The Fourth Period (A legitimate rumour site) is reporting that Bergevin is looking to land a top tier first line forward.

    They say that Bourque is the guy that he has been using as trade bait, and that Chicago contacted MB about him before they made the trade for Versteeg.

    Goes on to say that the E. Kane rumours don’t seem to be going away, but from what I have heard the asking price is too high (although I think Bourque would be good for WPG).

    Also, says that MB is actively trying to sign Markov, Diaz and Subban, although Diaz could be traded if it were for a top line forward.

    • mrhabby says:

      Most teams are looking to add..it would be a big cost and likely some top prospects being moved etc,etc.

    • Mattyleg says:

      Nothing like legitimate rumours to get the blood pumping!

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • Timo says:

      I thought wee Davey is the top tier first line forward… now that he got a goal and a couple of assists and all.

    • The_Truth says:

      The Habs could certainly use a top forward, like Ottawa pulled off for Bobby Ryan. Not sure why MB wasn’t trying to do this in the off season instead of picking up Briere for 2 years.

      Problem is, top line forwards are hard to come by and expensive. Bourque certainly won’t be enough. A guy like Beaulieu and a draft pick would have to be included with him. I don’t even know who they could be available besides Kane.

      • Stevie.Ray says:

        I think Plekanec would be a guy that would have to go the other way. WPG is a little shaky down the middle and he could help stabilize it. So Plekanec + Bourque + 1 or 2 hot prospects and maybe a first round pick as well.

        • The_Truth says:

          Habs would never trade Pleks. He is their only legit top center right now. Without him, the forward core falls apart. I could only see him moving in a deal for a Malkin type player.

        • Habsrule1 says:

          Kane is not worth that much. If Pleks was involved it would be close to straight up. If Bourque is the guy, then add a prospect and maybe a pick.

          Go Habs Go!!

          “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

      • Habsrule1 says:

        We never really know what MB is trying to do. I find it funny that we seem to assume he’s not trying to do the things that wind up getting done by other teams.

        Did you know that the other team has to accept the trade also?

        Go Habs Go!!

        “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

    • piper says:

      I’d love to see them make a deal for E. Kane. But Subban, Price, Gally would be untouchables IMO.

    • Kooch7800 says:

      the source being Ottawa sun….not reliable at all

      “Keep your stick on the Ice”

    • rhino514 says:

      Why in G&d´s name would Bergevin want another forward?
      They currently have Briere and either Bournival or Bourque on the fourth line. How much deeper do you want to get?
      The only way the rumours make sense is if Bourque is unhappy in Mtl; I think there is a good chance he has been playing hurt, and am doubtful that MB is really trying to trade him. We need his size, even if he is inconsistent.
      If you look at when he hasn´t played well, it´s been either just before sitting out with an injury or just after an injury; otherwise he´s actually scored some goals for the team and played well, and I haven´t seen anything wrong with his attitude at all.

      • Habsrule1 says:

        A team and GM are ALWAYS trying to make their team better. The idea is to give something up for a player of the same position wherein the one you’re getting fits the mold better or is a better player, and if that’s the case, you also offer prospect(s)/pick(s) because you are getting the better player.

        Pretty common in the NHL….or any sport, really.

        Go Habs Go!!

        “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

    • Ozmodiar says:

      >The Fourth Period (A legitimate rumour site)

      /chuckle

  12. HabinBurlington says:

    My votes for Sochi in goal:
    Price, Luongo and Crawford. Not sure of order, I suspect it is Luongo’s job to lose though.

  13. Thomas Le Fan says:

    I voted for Plekanec as best forward but, to me, that’s the trouble. As good as he is, he’s not good enough to be our best forward and we’re not good enough if that’s the case. Go Habs!

    There is no crying in baseball, “i” in team or “chuck” in Galchenyuk but … there is fighting in hockey.

    • Mattyleg says:

      I don’t understand that.
      Plekanec is an amazing two-way forward who has been consistent throughout his career (with one glitch), and I don’t understand why that is a problem.

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

      • PrimeTime says:

        His point total does not reflect being a teams best forward. However I agree he is our smartest player which most teams would covet and we would be worse without him.

        • Mattyleg says:

          Is the question ‘what forward has the most points’, or ‘who is the best forward’?

          Some people’s insistence on seeing the negative is just depressing.

          —Hope Springs Eternal—

          • Habsrule1 says:

            I like Plekanec. I hope he’s with the Habs his whole career, but I think Max and Gallagher are better and more valuable to the team. I could see the Habs replacing Plek’s skills easier than Max & Gallagher’s if a trade was in the works for a legit 1st line centre/30 goal scorer, for example.

            Go Habs Go!!

            “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

    • Bripro says:

      Pass your comments onto Crosby and see what he says.

    • krob1000 says:

      He is also good in the room…intangibles are important…every team needs a good listener.

  14. Bill says:

    I understand the logic of playing Parros and Murray against the Leafs, but … isn’t that kind of trying to play their game instead of ours?

    Even with those guys in, the Leafs are a bigger, tougher, meaner team. I don’t see that trying to go toe-to-toe with them is gonna work out too well.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      See your point completely, problem is if Parros doesn’t dress then either Whitey or Prust gets mauled by either Orr or McLaren. It isn’t the most scientific strategy, but like U.S. and Russia building matching amounts of nuclear warheads during the cold war, we need to dress Parro to matchup to those goons.

      Otherwise I fear for Prust, because we know he will take one for the team and get in a scrap with those guys.

    • JF says:

      Agreed. When we beat them last year, it was by playing our game. One game they spent the first period more focused on hitting every Hab in sight than on scoring goals. We won that one 5-2.

    • mrhabby says:

      Parros was signed to start against the teams with the biggest apes..he has to start other wise why sign him. Iam tired off seeing the Canadiens mauled.

    • donmarco says:

      If left unchecked, Colton Orr could wreak havoc on our smaller players, leading inevitably to someone list Prust taking him on. And the last guy I want to see fighting Orr is Prust. We got Parros for a reason, even if its only to negate the effect that players like Orr can have. I’ve seen too many games where players like Orr, or Lucic, or Neil have really disrupted our team, even gotten into their heads. I’m only saying Parros shold be in as a deterrent.

  15. Bill says:

    Cal, so you would go with Crawford and Fleury as Team Canada’s goalies based in their Cup wins?

    I think I’d go with Price and Luongo, but that’s just my opinion. Price for his play this year, and Luongo for experience … he was clutch last time.

  16. Bill says:

    Hey guys, did Therrien acknowledge PK sticking up for Markov? I’m not much for fighting, but at least this was a case of spontaneously defending one’a teammate … I thought his heart was in the right place at least.

  17. Kooch7800 says:

    I was away on business in Taiwan last week but from what I read it looks like the habs had a good week and Max is filling the net in bunches.

    I knew once he got one the levy would open. Glad to see it.

    Hopefully the habs will be up for a good December. The Bulldogs seem to be playing better as well. I will be at the game on Friday. Can’t wait to see Tinordi and Nate B on the back end of their D

    “Keep your stick on the Ice”

  18. SmartDog says:

    Just wanted to note that I loved PK’s play this week-end. Grabbing Crosby in a headlock, dropping the gloves with a guy for hitting Markov, just basically being ornery and unstoppable. That’s what the TEAM needs to be.

    ————————————-
    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • Kooch7800 says:

      I was glad to see him stick up for Markov as well. Shows the team first mentality which so many critisize him for not being.

      “Keep your stick on the Ice”

    • Bun E. Laroque says:

      PK was great, the definition of a multifaceted player. If any other Canadian defenseman in the league won the Norris trophy would there be a debate as to whether they should be on Team Canada?

      • The Jackal says:

        Yeah, Letang!

        ______________________
        Hockey sine stercore tauri.

        • Eddie says:

          First Letang would have to win a Norris, which of course, he has not done yet. Then Letang would have to be 217 lbs, and be able to play Physical style, which he isn’t, and can’t do.

        • Mike D says:

          Did anyone else notice that Letang wasn’t on for at least one of Pittsburgh’s PP’s on Saturday? They went with Paul Martin and Malkin on the back end with Sid, Kunitz, and Neat up front.

          – Honestly yours
          Twitter: @de_benny

      • PrimeTime says:

        PK is still an emerging star that will get be even better in a year or two. He still makes some poor decisions defensively but his offensive skills make up for it. Team Canada may take a chance on him if he continues to focus on the defensive role of his position but he will not be a top 4 even though he is the reining Norris winner.

        • Eddie says:

          There is no “taking a chance” when selecting Subban.

          As Gretzky said, Team Canada will win gold with Subban selected.

        • Bun E. Laroque says:

          I’m pretty sure there will be more than 4 defensemen on the team. Seems to be a popular opinion that Pernell is a defensive liability but I think that is blown out of proportion. A few giveaways and ill timed pinches does not mean he is incapable of playing a solid defensive game. And his upside in every other area is HUGE.

  19. Habimus-Maximus says:

    Boston and Penguins tonight….should be good

  20. slyCH says:

    Am I the only one to be a little sad to see Brodeur not in the Olympic mix? What a career he had. An era coming to an end.

    • donmarco says:

      I don’t think he’s out of the mix at all, in fact I wrote below that he’d be a sentimental favourite as a third goalie. Since the chances are slim the NHL will approve participating in 2018, it’s less critical to have a young up and comer go just to get the experience. And I’m really not sold on Crawford yet.

    • Mike D says:

      I’m sure you’re not the only one Sly, but I’m happy he’s not in the mix.

      Great goalie and great career for certain, but his time has come and gone – end of an era as you say. I think at this point though he’s just playing to chase records and further secure his own. Just my opinion of course.

      – Honestly yours
      Twitter: @de_benny

  21. Timo says:

    Would any of the glorious HIO reporters like to update us on status of Murray, Parros and Bourque? Or are these press passes only for discounted hot dogs?

    • Mattyleg says:

      Murray is still large and Swedish/Scottish; Parros’s moustache is coming back in nicely, but it’ll be a while until it’s back to its early season form.

      Who’s that third guy?

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • PrimeTime says:

      I doubt the discounted hot dogs are part of the deal but working every home from the pressbox would be cool, then access to the players post game. Then again, most careers have a beneficial upside that is better than a discount on a mix of grounded ingredients made into a liquid mash then cooked to solidify in to a food product than can be best described as the North American version of Haggis, but less healthier. What extra benefit does your career provide?

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I knew there was something we should be bitching about! Fricking lack of status updates, stupid Habs organization.

      Fire the coach immediately!!!!

  22. scotland says:

    getting emelin back was huge. getting prust and pacs back along with him. prust is perfect on the line with galchenyuk and elar. you cant stick prust on the fourth line and have him fulfill the role he was hired for. he has to be played regularly and having him ride shot gun with elar and galchenyuk is perfect. habs will be less likely to see elar carried off on a stretcher (again) or galchenyuk for that matter. the montreal canadiens have needed to get tougher and more physical for 10 years. that does not mean having some tough guys on your fourth line playing six minutes a night. having said that mt needs to start playing the fourth line more. white, bornival, moen can create scoring chances, energy, white and bornival also being speed. not a bad fourth line. they will get bbeter if the coach invests in them by giving them more ice time.
    still not sold on gorges. hear great things being said about him (all about character, leadership, dressing room presence) little of skill. he panics with puck often, has real trouble getting puck out of zone. he blocks as many shots as he screens price on. not a a top four on most teams.

  23. donmarco says:

    Providing no injuries occur before Saturday (typing this with crossed fingers), our lineup against Toronto should include Parros, White, Moen, Prust, Murray, Emelin and Subban. Bring it on Laffs. We haven’t iced a team like this against them since……….. well ever.

    • Mike D says:

      I’m not disagreeing, but if we ice both Parros and White, then I believe one of our other forwards has to sit, and MT would probably scratch Bournival.

      Personally, I’m not a fan of any Habs line-up that doesn’t include Bourny at the moment.

      – Honestly yours
      Twitter: @de_benny

      • donmarco says:

        I too thought Bournival would be the odd man out, and while I like him, I think it’s just as important for our big boys to insure the skill players have the room to play. And if we didn’t acquire Parros to play against teams like the Leafs, why did we get him? He’s been a healthy scratch for too long and needs to get some ice time. I suppose it’s possible to sit White and start Bournival, but I’d rather have White and his face off and PK skills on the ice.

        • Mike D says:

          All valid points. As mentioned, I wasn’t disagreeing. I don’t think it would be detrimental to scratch Bourny for 1 game either as watching from the press box can also provide more perspective on the game. It would just suck cuz he deserves to play.

          – Honestly yours
          Twitter: @de_benny

        • JF says:

          Not sure Parros is completely healthy. He took a therapy day a while back even though he’d barely played.

        • Bob_Sacamano says:

          You´d honestly consider dressing Parros at the expense of Bournival? You´re either a Leafs fan or unbelievably stupid.

      • slyCH says:

        I didn’t see the last few games but isn’t Bourny playing hurt? He had under 7 minutes of play last game.

    • Bob_Sacamano says:

      Or we could sit Parros and Murray, dress a more talented team and outskate and outshoot them easily. After three wins against teams that are all better than (or at least as good as) the Leafs, dressing Parros and Murray would be stupid. These guys are our two worst hockey players by far.

      • donmarco says:

        But the teams we just beat, at least in Washington and Pittsburgh’s case, play similar styles to the Canadiens, with more of an emphasis on speed and skill. Toronto does not play that style of game, and without some level of deterrence on the ice the likelihood of them running our smaller players all night is very high. I wouldn’t have a problem seeing 3 lines getting the lions share of ice time, but when the Orr’s, etc, are sent on the ice to have a 4th line that will counter it and stop the nonsense before it starts.
        Guess we’ll see Saturday.

  24. HabinBurlington says:

    Which contract would you prefer:
    27 year old center, was never drafted in the NHL.
    249 career games, 56 goals 84 assists, 140 points. .56 pts per game
    5 yr. contract 4.2 million caphit

    27 year old center, was never drafted in the NHL.
    200 career games, 35 goals, 80 assists, 115 points. .58 pts per game
    4 yr. contract 3.5 million caphit

  25. Ian Cobb says:

    Rolling 4, full court press energy lines, is fun to watch. And our place in the league standings reflect our play.

    Here is where we place in the 30 team league this week, opposed to last week. We have turned the corner on this season. Now if we can stay healthy. !!

    Total points——-28. For 13th place. Last week 22 for 17th.

    Goals for———–64. For 17th place. Last week 52 for 22nd.

    Goals against—–51. For 3rd place. Last week 45 for 6th.

    Goals differential+13. For 9th place. Last week +7 for 13th.

  26. Mike D says:

    Random interesting stat….and impressive too:

    STL has 3 Dmen who are in the top-9 for points by Dmen – Alex P., J-Bo, and K. Shat.

    PHX has 2 Dmen that are in the top-6 for points by Dmen – OEL and Yandle

    – Honestly yours
    Twitter: @de_benny

  27. 24 Cups says:

    As I mentioned on the weekend, I think that Montréal is now poised to move from being a bubble team desperately trying to finish 8th into a team can that finish 2nd or 3rd in their division.

    I can’t see Tampa surviving long term without Stamkos but Detroit may also be in a bit of trouble. Pavel Datsyuk may be out for awhile with a concussion but the team was spinning downward even before that happened. The Wings are presently 2-3-5 in their last ten while playing .500 hockey on home ice. They also have a GD of -7 having given up 70 goals, the most of any team that is certainly playoff bound (Montreal has given up 51).

    Not only is Datsyuk hurt, but Jimmy Howard is struggling big time. His overall record is 5-7-6/2.72/.908. He’s 2-5-6 in his last 13 games and hasn’t won a contest in his last 8 outings. Detroit’s D also nosedives once you get past Kronwall.

    It certainly looks like the Habs picked a perfect time to get all their injured players back.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAh4bU1dnTE&feature=player_embedded

  28. Mattyleg says:

    Hey, where’s our buddy from Turku?
    Haven’t seen his smiling face around in ages!!

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  29. rljmartin says:

    Would love to see Bournival with Eller and Chucky. That line could be explosive.

    • Mattyleg says:

      That would definitely be fun!
      I could see it happening after Christmas, perhaps.

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • JM says:

      rtj – That would be as good as it gets. Three good scoring lines and some scoring from the 4th with Prust on it …

    • 24 Cups says:

      I’m afraid that a full roster probably means Bournival sits. I seriously doubt that the Habs want to waste the combined 7.3M that Briere and Bourque make. Having said that, not many team ever have their full complement of players available at any given time in the year.

  30. DipsyDoodler says:

    Next up are Buffalo (John Scott) and Toronto (Colton Orr).

    Does Parros play? Both games?

    If he sits against Buffalo then so does John Scott, probably. Maybe Parros should play just so that we get the benefit of John Scott.

    If he doesn’t play against Toronto then we’ll know he’s hurt.

    BTW, Scott’s numbers are atrocious. Buffalo have taken 13 shots on goal during his 60 minutes of ice time.

    The opposition is twice as likely to have a scoring opportunity as his team is when he is on the ice. Then again the same goes for Parros.

    What’s incredible is that not a single Buffalo forward has a positive Corsi % which is why they are dead last.

    http://www.extraskater.com/players/on-ice?sort=corsi_pct&season=2013&min_gp=1&pos=F&team=buf

    • donmarco says:

      I can see Therrien not messing with the lineup that won the back to backs so I’d be surprised to see Parros against Buffalo, but Toronto’s style of play is well known and he has to be in the lineup on Saturday. I also think Bouillon will sit out one of the back to backs so would expect Murray to play against Toronto and Cube against Washington. Just my opinion.

  31. JF says:

    Reflecting on our victories over Washington and Pittsburgh gave me a bit of perspective on how the team has improved in key areas over the teams of the past few years.

    First, goaltending. Both Price and Budaj have been outstanding this season. Neither has had a bad game or even given up a goal they should clearly have stopped. This is an enormous improvement. Price at any rate used to give up a questionable goal in just about every game, and if we were leading by a goal going into the third period, you could almost bet that the tying goal would be one he would like to have back. Not invariably, but often enough that we complained he couldn’t shut the door, couldn’t steal a game. I, at any rate, was always dreading that soft late goal when we were protecting a one-goal lead. Not this weekend. The Caps or Pens might have tied the game, but I had no fear it would be on a soft goal. So what was arguably Bergevin’s biggest move over the summer has already brought the team to a higher level than it had previously reached.

    Second, defence. We never stop hearing about how our defence is too small and too soft, but the numbers tell a different story. We have given up 51 goals, second-fewest of any team in the Conference, and our goal differential of +13 is also second. The defence makes mistakes, but it does not regularly cost us games, as was the case two years ago. That season, any team going into the third period down a goal or two (sometimes even three) against us knew that if they applied sufficient pressure in our zone, defensive errors would give them chances to score or they would force us to take penalties. No lead was safe that year. It was our giving up a 3-0 lead to Vancouver early in the season and losing in OT that convinced me we were a bad team; I also remember our giving up a three-goal lead to Minnesota in the space of about two minutes in a late-season game. Those kinds of meltdowns are much less likely to happen this year.

    This brings me to how we protect a lead. We no longer collapse around the goaltender and let the other team attack in waves, which was both boring to watch and largely ineffective. We try to get the puck deep and keep attacking. The result is fewer scoring chances for the other team, less pressure on our goaltender and defence, and fewer penalties. This is a change in strategy that implies also a change in attitude. Collapsing into a defensive shell is an attempt not to lose the game; attacking is an attempt to win it. Our team are becoming winners, and they’re learning how to think and play like winners.

    • donmarco says:

      Nice post, and well thought out. While there are still many here who will heap on the criticism it’s still important to look at the growth of the team over time. Nonetheless, this is still a team in transition that could make some noise next year, but is more likely poised to become an elite team in 2015.

      • JF says:

        I agree that we’re still a team in transition, but I think we’re not very far from being a good team. We still need a bit more size and muscle, and especially more depth within the system. Some of our defensive prospects are close to being ready, but if we were to lose a couple of our top-nine to injury, we’d be in deep trouble.

        But we’ve made huge strides in goaltending, defence, and some of the key intangibles – attitude, approach to the game, thinking like a winner. BTW, these intangibles are the main reason I think the Oilers are a disaster. Even when they fill all the holes in their roster, none of their talented kids will have a winning attitude or know how to win.

        • donmarco says:

          Could not agree more, however I think we’re already a “good” team, just not complete. A little patience, some added experience and we’ll be really close to being a “great” team.

    • 24 Cups says:

      Jane – Thanks for a realistic evaluation. I think it’s only fair to state that MT has to get some credit in terms of your last two points. As for the goaltending, maybe Stephane Waite was the best off-season “free agent” signing.

      • JF says:

        Steve – From the moment we acquired Waite, that hiring looked to me like the biggest off-season move Bergevin could make. For us to even dream of becomng contenders, our goaltending had to be rock-solid. It seems to have become so almost overnight.

        As for Therrien, I was actually in favour of the hiring given the options available. I think he’s doing a good job overall and I think he’s also learning. He’s not perfect and he’s going to make mistakes, but that can be said of just about any coach. But results certainly temper our perception of the coach. How many people think Paul Maclean is a genius this year?

    • HardHabits says:

      You and I appear to see eye to eye on many things. Excellent comment and I agree on all 3 counts.

  32. Habs_Norway says:

    Great day!
    First, MF DOOM concert, then a tasty lamb-kebab before the game.
    Good win for the lads.

    ______________________________________
    Say no to visors and sign Emelin for 10 years

  33. Hstands4Hockey says:

    The term ‘lock’ is being thrown around WAY to liberally for Team Canada Sochi. In my opinion, there are so many great options that the roster is WIDE OPEN and there are only 3 100% locks: Crosby, Toews and Keith. A healthy Stamkos would be there too, but that’s a huge question mark.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d be shocked not to see guys like Tavares or Perry but I could foresee scenarios where they would be left off the team, however unlikely.

    This will be the most controversial roster since the Zaumner-infused, Messier-less Nagano team.

    ——————————————————————–
    Rule #76: No Excuses, Play Like a Champion!
    @Hstands4Hockey

  34. HabinBurlington says:

    http://www.cbc.ca/sports-content/hockey/opinion/2013/11/monday-musings-daniel-alfredsson-and-homecoming-week.html

    Big week of homecomings, Torts back to Madison Square Gardens, Alfie back to Ottawa, Vinny back to Tampa. I think only Vinny gets a warm reception.

    • donmarco says:

      You neglected to mention that the CBC, or at least this writer, ranks Price as third in nets for Sochi behind Harding and Crawford?!?!

      While I like Harding a lot, and what an inspirational story he’s writing, to rank either of them ahead of Price is a joke. Crawford’s numbers, aside from wins, are just slightly better than mediocre. With Luongo and the Canucks sliding I think right now, it’s Prices job to lose.

      IMHO

      • HabinBurlington says:

        I saw that and figured I would leave alone, since I don’t think there is even a remote chance Harding is on Team Canada ahead of Luongo, Price and Crawford.

        • donmarco says:

          I do, however, like the sentimental choice of having Brodeur go as the third goalie. He’s playing his way into consideration, while goalies like Smith and Fleury are sliding. Holtby was out of the picture by the middle of October. Not seeing a clear cut second goalie emerging yet.

      • Habsrule1 says:

        Unless luongo completely flops, I think he will get the starting job and Price will back him up. There’s a small chance that would change if Price completely outplays him in the prelims.

        Go Habs Go!!

        “Fans are great, but the quickest way to start losing is to listen to them.” – Sam Pollock

    • slyCH says:

      Am I mistaken or did Alfie already make an appearance in Ottawa.

  35. Mattyleg says:

    Great, great weekend of hockey, folks.

    Thi should be an eye-opener for fans who, when it was pointed out that we had the most man-games lost to injury, insisted that all teams get injuries, and that we just suck, and aren’t ‘built’ for the NHL or the playoffs…

    Having all of your players fit AND working together effectively (i.e. not just back from injury) is the key to doing well in the NHL, in this Age Of Parity.

    Ask Tampa Bay how they’ve done recently!

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • HabinBurlington says:

      I must confess, I didn’t get to see nearly as much of the Pittsburgh and Washington wins as I hoped to. How has Prust been looking? He is the one player whom i worry most about being re-injured, as I fear he constantly plays through injuries.

      • Mattyleg says:

        He’s been looking good.
        Same energy, same hard-nosed play.
        Doesn’t look hesitant at all, and is taking checks rather than sidestepping them.

        Like Moen and White, Prust reads the play really well, but can’t capitalise on the opportunities he creates for himself! Looks good.

        —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • DipsyDoodler says:

      My favourite is “injuries are not an excuse”.

      Really?

    • Ron in Ottawa says:

      It was a great weekend of hockey and the habs have won against three very good teams. My one worry is that in moving Gallagher away from the EGG line, that seemed to get Patches and DD going but now Eller and the other Gally are not doing anything. I like Prust, but he is not a substitute for a firecracker like Gallagher and this means we have again only two lines scoring. To make this really work, MB needs to find a way to find someone else for the 3rd line to bring that same kind of umph. Bourke is not the answer and I don’t think we have seen anyone down in Hamilton who is ready yet.

    • chanchilla says:

      to be fair matty, our man-games lost to injury still include drewiske, and included christian thomas.

    • donmarco says:

      Just one more factor, and that is the Habs played the most games against western conference teams as well. And we all know how well eastern teams are playing against their counterparts. Hopefully this week will be the start of a nice long run.


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