Habs head off on crucial final road trip before playoffs

The Canadiens left for New Jersey on Monday after practice, hoping to end their late season slump.

It’s a pivotal week for the Habs, who have struggled defensively and in goal since clinching a playoff spot. They play the Devils Tuesday night (7 p.m., TSN-HABS, RDS, TSN Radio 690), the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday and end the regular season in Toronto on Saturday against the Maple Leafs.

“I think the trip comes at a good time for us …where we’ve just had two good practices,” coach Michel Therrien said.

The players had a good attitude during them and the coaching staff did a lot of teaching, Therrien said, adding it’s important that they play the solid hockey they’re able to play.

“We’ve got to get back to our good habits.”

The Canadiens practised at the Bell Centre, where they also had their team photo taken. Colby Armstrong, who has been out with a knee injury, practised on a line with Jeff Halpern and Brandon Prust. When asked about Travis Moen’s status for Tuesday’s game, Therrien said he would reveal his lineup on Tuesday.

“I’m good to go,” Armstrong said after practice. “Hopefully I’m in. I feel good in practice.

“I think one thing we’ve noticed is offensively and defensively we haven’t been supporting each other as well and opening ourselves (up) to be taken advantage of – you see we’re giving up five, six goals a game every once and awhile here down the stretch. So not what we’re supposed to do by any means. We’re supposed to be a stingy tough team to play against.”

The Canadiens plan to call up some players from the Hamilton Bulldogs, who finished their AHL season on Sunday, Therrien said. The Habs will provide more details later Monday.

The lines at practice were: Bourque-Plekanec-Gionta; Pacioretty-Desharnais-Gallagher; Galchenyuk-Eller-Ryder; Prust-Halpern-Armstrong; Moen-Dumont-Blunden; White.

Defence pairings were: Weber-Markov; Bouillon-Subban; Diaz-Gorges; Drewiske-Kaberle.

(Photo by Dario Ayala/The Gazette)

826 Comments

  1. frontenac1 says:

    Leafs have been lucky. Reimer has a horseshoe up his arse ,forwards score on every third shot. It aint gonna last amigos. I would love the Habs to meet them first round. We would snuff them in 4 or 5. Now the Islanders,well they scare me.

  2. B says:

    Any chance of seeing Daniel Pribyl play for a team from this side of the Atlantic ocean ever? I believe he is 20 now and signed to a contract in the Czech league through next season. How long do the Habs hold on to his rights after drafting him in 2011?

    –Go Habs Go!–

    • Storman says:

      Must be signed by June 1st of this year to retain his rights

      • B says:

        Thanks Storman! If he is already under contract with a Czech team for next season then I guess the Habs will not be able to sign him and will lose his rights on June 1st. He was a long shot, but I always wondered how he would have progressed and played over here.

        –Go Habs Go!–

  3. Jetcar70 says:

    I’m probably alone in saying this, but I don’t want to see the Leafs in the first round. Given how we have played against them this year, it doesn’t strike me as a great match-up, especially considering “play off” hockey and all that comes with it.

  4. jedimyrmidon says:

    This is what the Swarm defense has looked like over the past 5 games:

    http://blogs.thescore.com/nhl/2013/02/05/backhand-shelfs-shortest-systems-analyst-post-ever/

    No wonder Price looks terrible having to make a save on similar scenarios (and not surprisingly, failing).

  5. Mattyleg says:

    It’s amazing.
    I’m not one of those people who enjoys giving other fans ‘the gears’ or ‘engaging in good-natured ribbing’ or whatever.

    I had a Leaf-fan friend who tried that on with me, and I got him to agree to simply commiserate with each other after losses, and congratulate each other after wins. Fine. Worked great. I didn’t have someone rubbing salt into fresh wounds the day after a loss, and I had someone saying ‘you guys are looking good’ when we were. Equally, I was able to do the same for him (whether I really believed it or not – and he was good at calling me out for lying to him!).

    There’s another Leaf ‘friend’ of mine on Facebook, and he’s been VERY quiet for the past number of years. Wasn’t even sure if he was following hockey anymore.

    Suddenly, as our current slump took hold, he’s on FB, posting statuses mocking Carey Price and the Habs (a team he holds season tickets for, which he sells to Habs fans). Confident of the Leafs making the playoffs, he revelled in tearing apart the Habs and being generally inflammatory.

    Then the Laffs started to lose, and their presence in the playoffs became uncertain. Silence. No responses to queries about his team. Then, the Leafs make it, and he’s crowing and taking swipes at everyone.

    Pathetic.

    Unfriend.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  6. The Jackal says:

    Armdog in, Moen out, according to Arpon Basu.

    Edit:

    MT told Therrien they expect bigger contributions from him, Moen agreed – will sit out at least this game.

    Price in nets.
    ______________________
    Hockey sine stercore tauri.

  7. Un Canadien errant says:

    Great articles on the vagaries of drafting NFL players.

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9202430/bill-barnwell-inconsistency-nfl-draft

    EDIT (quote): If it really is true that one team doesn’t draft significantly better than another, the course of action is actually pretty simple. Massey lays it out in his study: Give yourself as many chances as possible to get it right. In other words, amass as many high draft picks as possible.

    We should keep that in mind in June when the Canadiens draft, especially since they’re dealing with 18 year old players, not nearly finished products like the NFL does. I do think that the beefed up front-office will help, and that Trevor Timmins seems to have an eye for talent and make good decisions, but it’s still a crapshoot.

    ———————————————————————–

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  8. Small_Town_Boy says:

    I would love for Montreal to have this song as the opener of game one of the playoffs!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcJ-wNmazHQ

    Dat’s wha me tinks

  9. habfan53 says:

    Just a few random thoughts

    Since Colby Armstrong got hurt Montreal is 4-6-0 .

    Last night on “OFF THE RECORD” Marty Turco when asked if he had a choice who would he pick to start the series? Price? Reimer? or Anderson? without hesitating he said Price.

  10. The new poll is a good question but there should be a third option. 3. I have no idea

    That would be my vote.

    Shane Oliver
    Twitter @Sholi2000
    http://www.Sholi2000.com
    Custom Sports Figures

    • Ian Cobb says:

      Did you get my tickets Shane?

    • habtastic74 says:

      I thought the same thing. Without being in the locker room, team meetings, etc. there’s no way that any of us can really make a complete evaluation of his captaincy skills.

      • Exactly, none of us know what Gionta says. Considering he’s been a leader on the only two teams he’s ever played on I will now choose 1. If the Montreal Canadiens asks him to be Captain, who am I to judge?

        Shane Oliver
        Twitter @Sholi2000
        http://www.Sholi2000.com
        Custom Sports Figures

        • Mattyleg says:

          I wonder what people are basing their decision to vote ‘no’ on.
          Because he doesn’t blow up at the media and call his team-mates out in public?
          Did Béliveau do that? Did Koivu? Did Gainey?

          ….nnnnnnno.

          —Hope Springs Eternal—

          • That’s right Matty! Ah Beliveau, what a great man!

            When I wrote him in 2005 I wasn’t expecting anything from him, just wanted to thank him for his service to the city and the team.

            He wrote me a nice little note back, and signed a card to Matthew and Meagan. Incredible!

            Shane Oliver
            Twitter @Sholi2000
            http://www.Sholi2000.com
            Custom Sports Figures

          • moan_for_moen says:

            because i couldnt feel like i could say yes

    • hab fan in leaf jungle says:

      Gionta is a good captain; he is just not a very effective hockey player on THIS team. The team is under-sized and he merely adds to that problem. On a team like TB (Marty St.Louis is an exception as far as size goes and is therefore a very effective leader) or Philly or Toronto who have size and grit he would be an excellent leader who would bring calmness and intelligence to the ice and the locker room. A captain should have qualities which do not exacerbate the existing problems but rather provide a solution or contrarian perspective.

  11. Phil C says:

    I heard Brian Burke on the radio telling an interesting story about the 2007 Ducks Stanley Cup team. That team only lost 5 games the entire playoffs, so the perception is that they steamed-rolled the opposition. But in the Detroit series, the series was tied 2-2 after four games. Anaheim managed to win game five 2-1 in overtime, but Burke said Detroit hit 3 posts in that game. So the outcome of that series could have easily been much different with a little puck luck for Detroit.

    His point was that the difference between the best and the worst team in the playoffs is not very much. You have to focus on the team you are playing and not worry about later match-ups, as any team can beat you if you lose focus.

    Looking at the Eastern Conference outside of Pittsburgh, the teams are all very close. Montreal has a good shot as any to make it to the Eastern final. If Pittsburgh gets knocked out, anything can happen in the East. Ottawa was the 1st seed in 2006, yet lost 3 overtime games to Buffalo and lost the other game by 1 goal while outshooting Buffalo 44-17. Hello Ryan Miller. If Pittsburgh runs into a hot goalie like that, who knows.

    The West is even more wide open. Even though Chicago have had a dominating season, I can easily see Anaheim (who have beaten them 3 times this year), LA (same team as last year), or even St. Louis (lots of improvements at the deadline) taking them out.

    • LTHF says:

      Anyone know who is sitting out tonight?

    • Ian Cobb says:

      PHIL!. You and Burke are absolutely correct, all teams that get into the play-offs are very close in talent. The biggest difference in the winning team today is the coaching and preparation to play different styles and players as each round goes by. Coaching is the biggest difference in today’s game for sure.

    • The Jackal says:

      If Pittsburgh runs into a hot goalie…. we know how that goes :D

      Good points for sure. I hope our goalies get hot and stay hot, because if we tighten up on D and keep scoring, we will again be very dangerous. I like our chances against any team in the playoffs, except Pittsburgh.
      I really hope we meet Boston for revenge. If we play the laffs, I hope we DESTROY them.

      ______________________
      Hockey sine stercore tauri.

  12. Thomas Le Fan says:

    The eventual winner of the cup may get some help along the way but you gotta take what comes and dance with who you brought. Go Habs!

    There is no crying in baseball, “i” in team or “chuck” in Galchenyuk.

  13. Kooch7800 says:

    Sleeper team for me in the NHL playoffs…st louis blues.

    if van city gets them first round they will be toast

    “Keep your stick on the Ice”

  14. commandant says:

    #14 is a power forward who scored 50 goals in the QMJHL this year.

    http://lastwordonsports.com/2013/04/23/anthony-mantha-2013-nhl-draft-player-profile-14/

    Go Habs Go!
    Your 2013 NHL Draft Headquarters, Now Open.
    http://lastwordonsports.com/

    • Kooch7800 says:

      we need power forwards….unfortunately, we won’t be drafting at 14

      “Keep your stick on the Ice”

      • habtastic74 says:

        With 3 second rounders and our pick likely being around 20th, I would not rule out trading up if we really want someone. Players can also be drafted quite a bit lower than their projected spot. This player is more than a slight possibility I would think.

    • scuba says:

      Saw this kid play once this year and he was invisible for the first two periods and then, boom, he took over the game. Had about 4 monster hits, a goal, assist in the third to tie the game and hit the post on another chance. That inconsistency is what scares people I think but what I saw in that one period was crazy potential.

      ——————————————————————————————————–
      I can’t tell if the Habs are great or terrible because sometimes they win and sometimes they lose.


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