It’s Habs vs. Lightning in Eastern Conference semifinal series

Tampa Bay Lightning v Montreal Canadiens

When Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin was asked after practice Wednesday morning in Brossard which team he preferred to play in the Eastern Conference semifinal series — the Detroit Red Wings or Tampa Bay Lightning — his answer was predictable.

“I don’t have a preference, I really don’t to be honest with you,” Bergevin told reporters, noting that the Red Wings and Lightning are both “very good, fast teams.”

The GM added: “Whoever comes out of it, that’s who we’ll play. If our goal is to move forward we can’t pick and choose who we’re going to play. It’s going to be hard, but I have confidence whoever we play we have a chance to win.”

Well, now we know that the Canadiens will be playing Tampa Bay.

The Lightning advanced to the conference semifinal after beating the Red Wings 2-0 Wednesday night in Tampa in Game 7 of their conference quarter-final series. The teams went into the third period tied 0-0 before Braydon Coburn opened the scoring for the Lightning at the 3:58 mark. Anton Stralman added an empty-net goal at 18:42 with an assist from goalie Ben Bishop, who made 31 saves for the shutout.

The Canadiens swept Tampa Bay in the first round of the playoffs last year, but the Lightning won all five games against Montreal this season (4-0-1) while outscoring the Habs 21-8. The Canadiens had a 4-0-0 record against the Red Wings this season.

“The (regular season) results really don’t matter at this time,” the Lightning’s Steven Stamkos told reporters in Tampa after Game 7. “(The Canadiens) played solid in their first round. We found a way to get it done. Two good teams. I don’t think we worry about anything that happened in the past. Focus on the present and what we have to do.”

Lightning goalie Bishop, who was sidelined for last year’s playoffs because of an injury, has a 10-1-2 lifetime record against the Canadiens.

Here’s the schedule for the Canadiens-Lightning series:

Friday, May 1: Tampa Bay @ Montreal, 7 p.m.
Sunday, May 3: Tampa Bay @ Montreal, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, May 6: Montreal @ Tampa Bay, 7 p.m.
Thursday, May 7: Montreal @ Tampa Bay, 7 p.m.
*Saturday, May 9: Tampa Bay @ Montreal, TBD
*Tuesday, May 12: Montreal @ Tampa Bay, TBD
*Thursday, May 14: Tampa Bay @ Montreal, TBD

In a rare public appearance Wednesday, addressing the media in Brossard, here are some of the other questions Canadiens GM Bergevin answered:

• On beating the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference quarter-final:

“We beat a team that, since February, was 23-3-3, so if you think about it this was the hottest team coming into the playoffs. Based on those six games, they played very well. We beat a very good hockey team, a team that even when you’re up 3-0 on them, they’re not dead and they showed that a lot this season. I think it shows that we have a lot of character to beat that team.

“I’m not sure — and I don’t have this conversation with other general managers — but I’m not sure there were too many teams that wanted to play the Ottawa Senators in the first round.

“Ottawa is a fast team with a lot of talent, but they’re a very physical team, too. I think if you look at our series against the Boston Bruins last year — a bruising, tough series that we won in seven games — I think that helped us a lot in the Ottawa series. We learned a lot from Boston and it helped us deal with a fast, hard-hitting team.”

• On the Canadiens’ offensive struggles: 

“My mentality, and I’m very firm on this, is you’re going to win games with good defence. I won’t change that. We’d certainly like to add scoring to the team, but not at the cost of our defence. We’ll always try to improve our offence but, as you know, nothing is free. Would I sacrifice Carey Price for a 50-goal scorer? No, that’s inconceivable.

“The best scorers come at a price. They don’t generally move, they’re hard to get, maybe the best way to get (a 50-goal scorer) is to draft and develop one. But again, when you’re successful you become a victim of your success, drafting 26th, 27th, 24th overall when the scorers are drafted early.

“I’m very comfortable with our defensive identity… I saw a statistic recently that said teams that spend the most of defencemen are the teams that make it to the playoffs more often than not.”

• On defenceman Nathan Beaulieu’s injury — which will sideline him for at least the first four games of the conference semifinal series — and Bergevin’s refusal to divulge specific information on player’s health status:

“To protect the player, you hide things. You don’t want the player becoming a target later in the playoffs. This is nothing new. When teams get eliminated (from the playoffs), that’s when you get a better idea of who was hurt and how badly they were hurt.

“I’m not on a power trip; we’re just trying to protect our player. It could be a concussion, it could not be a concussion, you don’t know and I do … If I could tell you and it would stay between us, I would but I can’t and it doesn’t help us. I don’t want (the other teams) to know what the injury is.”

• On head injuries and potentially revising the NHL’s concussion protocol: “There’s a protocol, but if we have to sideline a player every time there’s a hit to the head — and you’ve seen what happens in the playoffs — there’d be 10 guys in the quiet room on each team. Punches after the whistle, you see those left and right, hits to the head happen on every play. It’s just that if there’s a sign that a guy has a concussion, if there’s a sign that he’s shaken up, we’ll take him out.”

• On his reputation as being a hands-on general manager:

“You have to be yourself, if you try to be someone you’re not, the players will pick up on it. When I played in the NHL, I was on a team where the head coach was a real taskmaster and the assistant coach was a nice guy, he was what you might call the ‘good cop.’

“Then our coach got fired and the assistant coach was in charge. He tried to become the bad cop, the tough coach, but we know that wasn’t him. The players felt that and it didn’t work out.

“I can’t be someone I’m not — which isn’t to say that I’m always with the players — but I feel like there are some moments where I can speak to them honestly and encourage them. Sometimes, you need to be told the truth, not in a bad way, you need to hear it like it is while being encouraged. I’ll never change, the day it doesn’t work out with me, someone will take my place because I won’t change.”

With files from Montreal Gazette’s Christopher Curtis

(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

• Bishop, Lightning shut out Wings in Game 7,

• Lightning looks for redemption against Canadiens,

• Lightning becomes ready-for-postseason players, Tampa Bay Times

• Canadiens vs. Lightning preview,

• So we meet again,

• GM Bergevin has earned regal status in Montreal, by Christopher Curtis

• Habs’ Price a finalist for Hart Trophy, by Pat Hickey

• Habs’ Subban has sights set on bigger prize than Norris Trophy, by Pat Hickey

• Complete second round playoff schedule,


  1. ufaruffajosp says:


  2. Danno says:

    Johnston Johnston Johnston Johnston Johnston Johnston Johnston Johnston Johnston Johnston Johnston Johnston Johnston Johnston


    That was easy!


    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”
    Updates, highlights & great discussions on all things Habs

  3. Cal says:

    My replies to my questions:
    1-Do you really believe this is a team that can outgun opponents?
    2-Did you believe MB when he said this was a step back year?
    3-Did you think a team that made 13 roster changes from the team that made the semi-final last season to this would get by the first round?
    4- Does the outright hate for Therrien grow by the day or the hour on HIO?
    5- Will Lacroix be fired over the PP?

    1. No. Habs finished 18th with only 221 GF.
    2. Not really. I felt the changes, especially the late ones, added size, speed and character.
    3. I have to say I was certain about the series, simply because Ottawa’s miracle run had to end and they could not keep up the pace.
    4. By the hour, seemingly. Yes, I exaggerate, but the criticisms he gets here reflects the poster more than the coach.
    5. It’s an easy choice, especially if the Habs don’t go all the way.
    JJ and Jodoin are doing the job. Lacroix, not so much.

  4. HairyHabist says:

    What’s up with all the fraidy cats? Lotta people said Ottawa would beat us because of the regular season too. And who won that series?

    Detroit proved Tampa Bay is vulnerable. If the Wings had Price they wouldn’t have blown that 2 goal lead with 5 mins. left and then won the series the next game.

    Long as we got Price I like our chances. And I certainly ain’t afraid of no Bolts.

    • johnsonlarue says:

      Of course Tampa are vulnerable–heck, we finished ahead of them in the standings. But they’re a team we don’t match up well against. They’re faster than us, a bit bigger, score 30% more goals, and their goalie is kryptonite to our perpetually snakebitten forwards.

      A smidgeon of hope? We managed to go 2-2 against another goalie we’ve had very little success against–Craig “Andypants” Anderson–proving that, indeed, anything is possible.

      But realistically speaking, the only way we’re taking this series is if a) Bishop has a breakdown of epic proportions, or b) Price delivers one of the best playoff performances ever by an NHL goaltender.

    • Cal says:

      Bolt busters? I feel a song coming on.

  5. Un Canadien errant says:

    • On head injuries and potentially revising the NHL’s concussion protocol: “There’s a protocol, but if we have to sideline a player every time there’s a hit to the head — and you’ve seen what happens in the playoffs — there’d be 10 guys in the quiet room on each team. Punches after the whistle, you see those left and right, hits to the head happen on every play. It’s just that if there’s a sign that a guy has a concussion, if there’s a sign that he’s shaken up, we’ll take him out.”

    (Video of full Marc Bergevin press conference here.)

    This segment of the press conference was arresting. A NHL GM explains that during every play, after every play, during every scrum, a player gets hit in the head, whether it’s an elbow or crosscheck or punch. Because of that, it’s impossible to send a player to the quiet room every time there’s a blow to the head, since, as he continued, “you’d have ten guys in that room for each team.”

    His conclusion, after giving assurances that he while has full confidence in his medical team, and that if the league decides to go to an independent observer he’s comfortable with that to, was still that the protocol only kicks in when a player has symptoms of concussion.

    For Marc Bergevin, a player gets checked out by a doctor when he has been knocked out or staggered or took a blow to the head that made him woozy. Not if he takes a blow to the head, but was “fine”.

    I have nothing but respect and affection for the current Canadien GM, but this mindset is a few years behind the current research and best practices. According to concussion care and prevention guidelines you can find online easily, from reputable sources.

    If there is “a sign that a player has a concussion”, that means there is a symptom, which means that the player should be taken out of the game. Period. And not come back. And not return to action or to the bench like Dale Weise last season after the hit by John Moore. Or like Nathan, possibly, after the hit by Erik Karlsson.

    The ‘quiet room’, the evaluation by doctors, that process doesn’t overrule the initial symptoms that the player displayed. If Dale Weise can’t stand up, to the point that P.K. has to grab him and hold him upright so he doesn’t fall down, if Dale has Bambi legs, he has suffered a concussion. No matter how clear headed he feels afterwards when examined by doctors, no matter how much he pleads that he’s okay and wants to go back in.

    He can’t after showing these symptoms be ruled out, be okay. The sign is the symptom, which is the evidence that the concussion occurred. Where there’s smoke there’s fire. Where there’s a sign there’s a concussion.

    And the best care in these cases is to immediately cease activity, and avoid exposure to noise or bright lights. Not to sit on a player bench as a decoy to the other team.

    But even beyond that huge problem, that shows to me that either the NHL concussion protocol doesn’t follow the best practices I can find online from the Center for Disease Control or the Mayo Clinic or American Academy of Neurology, or that the Canadiens medical team or its General Manager and coaches don’t understand it, is the primary cause described in the first quote.

    The NHL fully accepts that guys will receive blows to the head in scrums, punches to the “side and to the back of the head”, and there’s really nothing they can or will do about it. It’s the cost of doing business. Standard operating procedure. Even though the rules as written in its own rulebook could easily deal with all these ‘unavoidable’, routine blows to the head.

    When a player rabbit punches Sidney Crosby in the head, when a Marc Méthot jabs a recently-concussed Max Pacioretty in the head, that’s an act of God. It’s impossible to prevent. Skate blades are sharp, players will sometimes get cut. And players have fists and have used them in the past and will use them in the future.

    The sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, there’s nothing we can do about it, or even understand why, according to Bill O’Reilly.

    What madness is this?

    If I’m a lawyer and am about to represent Sidney Crosby and Max Pacioretty and David Perron and countless others in Round 3 of the concussion class action lawsuit against the NHL, and the league argues that the players knew the risks, I’m going to counter with this quote from Marc Bergevin. This will be the smoking gun, that the league knew its players were getting bashed in the head routinely, and did nothing about it. Even though its own rulebook, which should be a big part of its health and safety protocol, specifically proscribe all these blows, and the manner in which they’re delivered.

    Monsieur Bergevin, I give you big props for the work you’ve done, the energy and attitude you’ve injected into the team, the brain trust you’ve surrounded yourself with, the kind of team and organization you’ve built and continue to build.

    But on this topic, you’re a fullblown dunderhead. You don’t get it, you don’t understand the concussion protocol, or the need to radically improve it. Which means you haven’t put in the effort, because you’re not a dummy.

    Further, this means that you’re a part of the problem, part of the old guard, as much as Brian Burke or Jeremy Jacobs and Don Cherry and P.J. Stock.

    So things aren’t about to change. I better understand that now.

    And why when a Zdeno Chara punches a Sidney Crosby in the mouth the first game after the latter removes his faceshield to protect his recently fractured jaw, after play ends, during a scrum, that the offender gets away with it.

    Marc Bergevin, unfortunately, is one of the proverbial frogs swimming in the pot of water being slowly brought to a boil. He can’t feel the temperature rising, immersed as he is in his environment.

    Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae.–Kurt Vonnegut

  6. Kooch7800 says:

    New Thread

  7. HabinBurlington says:

    Cal’s Famous 5
    1) No, Present Habs can’t outgun other teams
    2) Yes, Stepback year, team still requires upgrade in Top 6 talent
    Doesn’t mean the team can’t find success, overachieve.
    3) Yes, thought they would get by first round, was worried when Ottawa became opponent.
    4) By the sands of the hourglass, the rage towards MT indeed grows here at HI/O. These are the Days of our Lives.
    5) Yes, I sure hope that someone is held responsible for the PP’s lack of success.

  8. ClutchNGrab says:

    New thread

  9. Slack says:


    —–Stone Dived—–

  10. aHabberlikeyous says:

    @ Dunboyne: i like ruffling your feathers!

  11. HUDSONHAB says:

    Who does back to back games in Tampa hurt the most?
    I think if gm3 is very physical, gm4 will go to the healthier team.
    But what a break it would be if there was a sweep.

  12. Ian Cobb says:

    After a 7 game series and a long flight, we had better jump all over these guys, first and second game. Don’t let them catch their breath for a moment, they have the talent this year to plaster Price with rubber if you give them just enough, or a penalty or two.!

    Going to be a coaches series, this one!

  13. careysubban3176 says:

    Responding to Cals 5 questions
    1-Do you really believe this is a team that can outgun opponents? No, but the issue we are taking of is the PP. That has nothing to do with outgunning opponents

    2-Did you believe MB when he said this was a step back year? No, the Habs still had a competitive roster and Carey Price

    3-Did you think a team that made 13 roster changes from the team that made the semi-final last season to this would get by the first round? Yes, They didn’t get rid of any major contributor to the team. Gionta, Briere were way past their prime. Gorges was really the one guy I could see being missed but Petry took over that real quick

    4- Does the outright hate for Therrien grow by the day or the hour on HIO? Not hate (from legit intelligent fans like myself and most others) but frustration that MT refuses to make major adjustments to something that is clearly not working (PP). Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results

    5- Will Lacroix be fired over the PP? YES!
    Stop blaming the goaltender! He can only do so much.

    • Strummer says:

      3. I don’t think they replaced the size and offensive output of Bourque and Vanek.

      • careysubban3176 says:

        Both those guys only played when they wanted to, which was seldom at best

        Stop blaming the goaltender! He can only do so much.

        • HabinBurlington says:

          But, Bourque did provide Playoff scoring, and Vanek based on reputation alone required close checking from other teams. While he did regress over the playoffs, hard to deny his goalscoring ability.

          I had no objections with the moving of Bourque. But Strummer’s point is valid in that these players were not replaced on the roster with proven scorers.

      • Old Bald Bird says:

        I think they missed last years Bork a lot in the first round.

        • twilighthours says:

          Vanek, too. He only got suck in the 3rd round.

        • Kooch7800 says:

          Bourque was one of our best players in both playoff years we had him. People seemed to forget that. During the season no doubt he sucked.

          I really think that is why MB tried to get DSP to replace Bourque’s clutch goals. He sure had his chances but Bourque seemed to have better hands and is much more experienced.

          I would have been ok with Bourque around for just the playoffs. He wasn’t making crazy money.

          I think Mitchell and Flynn are a decent 4th liners but have been a little shocked at their lack of offense. Their numbers looked better offensively in Buffalo that in Montreal

          • HabinBurlington says:

            I so badly wanted to believe in Bourque turning it around this season. Big bodied forward with good hands = playoff success.

            McCarron, Scherbak, Gregoire, these players can’t get to Montreal soon enough.

          • Kooch7800 says:

            100% agree Sir

  14. HUDSONHAB says:

    1: Subban left side down low. He can shoot or bring it out to the slot and also just rotate with Petry or Marky. Players need to move too and this gives defensive support no matter who is up high.
    2: the only problem with changing too much is miscommunication. This would leave us vulnerable to shorthand goals. Put not trying something different is like not trying.

  15. Mattyleg says:

    Afternoon, gang.
    Alex 425, I certainly saw you there.
    You look just like your avatar, it’s amazing!

    As I mentioned on the previous page, I think we’ll have a better time against Tampa than we would have against Detroit’s shutdown defence system and their now-finally-in-form goalie.

    We can take these suckers, but I reckon it’ll take another 6 games.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • Ian Cobb says:

      Going to be a fun series Matty. But a lot tougher than last year for sure. hope Markov is healthier with Beaulieu out for this series.
      By the way , where is Weaver.?

      PS. see you at Hurley’s after both games.

    • careysubban3176 says:

      This series is going the distance. It’s gonna come down to one badly timed call by the refs. Just like in Ottawa

      Stop blaming the goaltender! He can only do so much.

    • Alex_425 says:

      Matty, I believe I have found you, via the social media service known as “CobbHub”, in partnership with Facebook.

      And thanks for noticing, I trimmed the trees for a good hour before heading out. Gotta look my best.


  16. SteverenO says:

    Like all Habs fans , I am hoping that we can reverse the tend of the season series versus the Lightning. If we find ourselves unable to win games one and two, I would consider implement a radical strategy, as follows.

    If our objective is to shut down their offense and have low scoring games we can play a 2-3 formation with two forwards and 3 defenseman instead of the traditional 3-2.

    Instead of 4 forward lines (12 forwards) and 3 defence pairngs (6 defensemen) we dress 9 defensemen and 9 Forwards:

    for example:
    Plekanec- Pacioretty
    Eller – Glachneyuk
    Desharnais- Gallagher
    Prust -Weise
    Parenteau or Mitchell ( extra forward)

    Markov- Gilbert- Subban
    Emelin- Petry-Patteryn
    Gonchar- Beaulieu- Weaver


    Steve O.

    • careysubban3176 says:

      The Habs still have to score at least one goal to win. It would be almost impossible to score

      Stop blaming the goaltender! He can only do so much.

  17. Rad says:

    Renaud Lavoie says that Bournival is back on the ice. That is good news. I don’t know how far Bournival is from returning, but he would be excellent in a checking role against Tyler Johnson and/or Kucherov.

  18. dhenry1234 says:

    All this talk about the our games during the regular season. It’s playoffs. The regular season doesn’t matter anymore…. We’ve all watched enough playoff series to understand this.

    with Price in net, it doesn’t matter who we face. There’s always a 50% chance that we win the game. Flip a coin 7 times. If heads comes up 4 times, we win the series. That’s just the way it is.

  19. SmartDog says:

    1. Do you expect to see a very different power play from the Habs?
    2. What is the cost of changing it? Or not changing it?

    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      (nice to see you SD)

      1. Different but not “very” different
      2. Not changing it = no PP goals and therefore increased pressure on 5×5 to produce scores. Also, the threat of penalties will not inhibit TB’s physical Dmen.

      • SmartDog says:

        Exactly. And the cost of changing it is pretty much nada. It really can’t get any worse. So why the heck don’t they? Real mystery. Makes me angry.

        Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          We have plenty of theories (language; personal loyalty; blah blah) but to me they’re all bogus. There simply has to be some entirely logical reason pertaining to information we can never know (until someone publishes a candid biography).

        • Cal says:

          time for Cal’s poor imitation of SD’s 5 Questions.

          1-Do you really believe this is a team that can outgun opponents?
          2-Did you believe MB when he said this was a step back year?
          3-Did you think a team that made 13 roster changes from the team that made the semi-final last season to this would get by the first round?
          4- Does the outright hate for Therrien grow by the day or the hour on HIO?
          5- Will Lacroix be fired over the PP?

          • BJ says:

            1) No
            2) No
            3) No
            4) No
            5) Yes

          • Dunboyne Mike says:

            1. No, can’t outgun. Therefore try to reduce every gun-fight to a knife-fight.
            2. Yes, took the step-back year at face-value (but can’t contain my fannish hopes for the playoffs)
            3. Of course I did! It’s us!
            4. Sometimes it seems like that, but maybe it’s really just that those don’t like him are very vocal and persistent.
            5. If it’s established that the PP’s futility is his fault, I hope so.

          • innis_mor says:

            #5’s not done yet?!?

    • careysubban3176 says:

      1) No. They always use subban and that guy beside the net to pass. It never changes.
      2) To change it you fire the coach who controls the PP (not the head coach…not yet anyway) and if the habs don’t change it, it will cost them this series. The Lightning will score goals the Habs have to match them.

      Stop blaming the goaltender! He can only do so much.

    • habcertain says:

      Yes for the 1st 30 seconds, then Pk/Marky/DD/Max/Gally assume their rightful positions on the throne.

    • Canadiens just off the ice.

      Parenteay-Desharnais-Eller on PP2…..Coach Therrien got one part right, now just have Eller play center and move Weise on there and Desharnais out then maybe they have something.

      Also Therrien tried Petry and Subban together on PP1…..hey 88 games later, who knows……..

      Good for Therrien, I may make a coach out of him yet.



      Custom Sports Figures
      Simply the Best, Thank You Montreal

    • BJ says:

      It seems to me that looking at the teams that do produce on the PP’s videos on how to do it, would be a good investment of time. If they have already done that (which it appears they have not) is it just a lack of skill that makes it so difficult to execute? If they get taken out in this round and the PP has had little or no contribution, I would expect to fire the assistant and bring someone else in that has had success on offence. Perhaps Guy Boucher?

    • FormalWare says:

      Only TWO questions? Cutbacks, I suppose. Anyway:

      1) I expect to see Lars Eller get a bit more PP time. I don’t expect the PP to take a radically new approach; I think the Habs will wait and see if the Bolts can kill their PP as efficiently as the Duffy-Wallins did, before “blowing it up”.

      2) The costs of changing it could include shorthanded chances against, and not being able to get a fresh Lars Eller on the ice as the PP expires, to guard against the Bolts’ pushback. The cost of Not changing it is obvious – the likelihood of continued futility.

      WWSD (What Would SubbieDoo?)

    • innis_mor says:

      MB was misquoted, or maybe he just mis-spoke (or maybe he was just being hopeful, yesterday, when questioned on the Hab PP.

      “A work in progress” he was quoited as saying.

      He may have actually said “a work in regress.”

  20. Dunboyne Mike says:

    Given that Tampa swept us 5-zip during the season, we are holding extremely tight to the traditional wisdom about the playoffs being a whole new season.

    For comparison, prior to our 2010 playoffs miracle, ie. squeaking in late and eighth before eliminating Wash and Pitts on the back of Halak, our regular season series with those teams were:

    vs Washington — an even split, 2-2 (with one win a shoot-out)
    vs Pittsburgh — won 1, lost 3; outscored 17 goals to 7

    Traditional wisdom cannot be ignored!

  21. Hobie says:

    Habs are a better team than TB. Better structured, better defence and better goaltending. We can beat TB if we play our usual strong defence and get the timely scoring. We do need the offence to wake up though. I have a feeling Pacioretty and the boys up front will be hungry after a quiet first round.

    Stamkos isn’t 100% and even though Bishop had the shutout last night he’s beatable.

    Nothing is guaranteed but I think the Habs are slightly favored.

  22. Forum Dog says:

    This will be a series where MTL’s coaching staff will have to earn their paycheques. Babcock et al. managed to hold Stamkos off the scoresheet entirely, and still lost the series in 7. MTL won’t likely be able to keep him from finding the twine at least a couple of times, but they don’t want to let him get untracked either.

    Habs have the advantage in goal, and the defensive depth is comparable, but up front Tampa has a lot more size, grit/net presence and scoring potential. At least on paper. It will be up to Therrien and his crew to get the right match-ups/lineups and neutralize Tampa’s top-six. At least that’s how I see it….

  23. HabFab says:

    Pierre LeBrun

    Therrien says his team has been doubted and criticized since the first game of pre-season. They’re used to it. (read feed off it)

    “We’ve been underdogs since the start of the preseason. But, this group perseveres and works hard. They find a way.” – Michel Therrien

    If you want to be the BEST, you have to beat the REST.

  24. Prop says:

    Y ‘ all are a buncha 1337 haxxxorz…


  25. SteverenO says:

    @ Paz

    I like the idea of splitting Subban and Markov, However Subban should NOT play with Emelin: Here are the numbers for Subban with partners during the reg season

    (Even strength only)
    Subban over all : 1669 mins – 88 GF , 67 GA (+21)
    average minutes per : Goal for= 19 /per Goal against= 25

    with Markov: 1286 mins – 69 GF , 49 GA (+20)
    average minutes per : Goal for= 18.5 /per Goal against= 26

    with Gilbert: 47 minutes – 4 GF – 3 GA AVG: 12 MpGF –
    with Emelin: 200 Minutes – 8 GF – 8 GA AVG 25 MpGF
    with others: 136 minutes – 7 GF – 7 GA AVG: 19 MPGF
    (Subban played less than 30 minutes with any other partner)

    ideally we will use :

    Subban/ Gilbert
    Petry/ Markov
    Emelin/ Patteryn

    Unfortunately, I doubt that we will see Markov and Subban split up, as Therrien says, ” its too late in the season to change things up”


    Steve O.

  26. HabFab says:

    John Lu


    #Habs Therrien on matchup vs Lightning; “We’re probably the only team in the playoffs with home ice advantage that’s the underdog.”

    Got the b@st@rds right where we want them!

    If you want to be the BEST, you have to beat the REST.

  27. Un Canadien errant says:

    Carey Price, Alexander Ovechkin and John Tavares?

    Blatant East Coast bias.

    Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae.–Kurt Vonnegut

  28. dr zgembo adislic says:

    Bold prediction MTL in 4 ✌

  29. johnsonlarue says:

    Happy Johnson Day, everyone!!

  30. HabFab says:

    Wheeling, the Hab’s ECHL affiliate, were eliminated in 7 games from the 1st round of play-offs.

    Fucale and McCarron are the last two Hab prospects whose teams are in the run to the Memorial Cup. Fucale’s Quebec team has a bye, win or lose, as they will host the tournament this year but they still are playing for the Q’s Championship.

    If you want to be the BEST, you have to beat the REST.

  31. SmartDog says:

    Montreal needs to do just 2 things better to beat Tampa:
    1. Get the power play going
    2. HIT. Tampa is the faster team. Montreal needs to hit them to slow them down.

    Unfortunately, the Habs didn’t make any adjustments all year even though Tampa skated circles around them… so I expect Tampa in 6.

    And THAT Jack Todd, is why people don’t like Therrien. He does what he does well obviously. But he doesn’t make adjustments even when EVERYONE know he needs to.

    Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • Kooch7800 says:

      Just out of curiosity what was your prediction of Tampa vs Detroit. My guess is it was not 7 games with Detroit playing the best of the two teams in game 7.

      My point, this is a new season and the regular season means nothing. Stamkos has 0 goals in the playoffs this year

      • SmartDog says:

        I didn’t make a prediction. I didn’t watch Det that closely, never saw a game between those teams. But I did watch 5 Habs-Tampa teams and my point is that Therrien didn’t adjust at all. AND even against Ottawa he talked about “tweaking” the power play which is ridiculous. One of the league’s worst power plays and despite working on it, he goes 5% in the playoffs and he’s TWEAKING. He needs to BLOW IT UP. Everyone knows this. It needs real change. But I don’t expect that. I can take losing. I can’t take losing because someone is too damn stubborn to address something so obvious.

        Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

        • Kooch7800 says:

          I 100% agree with you that the pp is a complete joke and I can’t understand why it hasn’t seen more of a shake up. I honestly think they need to separate PK and Markov on the PP and I really don’t know why they don’t. It is too easy to defend against.

          The series should have been quick against Detroit but it went 7 and really Detroit should have beat them. They really showed how rattled Tampa can play. I think the Character of the habs will prevail but our best players will need to be better this series…ie pleks, Subban, Markov, Max, DD, Chucky all need to rise up a level.
          The good thing is the habs will be motivated as Tampa smoked them in the regular season.
          I also think Stamkos is hurt and Kucherov took a pretty nasty head shot. The habs will need to play physical and run interference like ottawa did against us to neutralize their speed.
          I am not an MT fan by any stretch but he did make some smart moves last series with Eller and Weise that he capitalized on.

          This series will be a long and hard one but I have a feeling The habs will move on

          • SmartDog says:

            Yah, total credit to Therrien for the system, the team record, all that. He’s done a lot for this team. And yes, Tampa can get rattled. The Habs are SOOOO structured they let Tampa play their game and then wonder why they lose? Habs need to throw Tampa off their game. I can’t believe in 5 games against them this year they didn’t see that. Hugely frustrating.

            Listen to the Smart Dog. He knows his poop!

    • innis_mor says:

      Emelin needs to Kronwall Kucherov …. have him reminisce.

  32. JF says:

    I find it a little strange that the poll is divided roughly 75%-25% in favour of the Habs despite our abysmal regular-season record against the Bolts – one OT win in nine games over the last two seasons. This is a team that out-scored us by at least 50 goals this year and put at least four past Price in all but one game. And Bishop is a goaltender on whom we have only once scored three goals.

    I know the playoffs are different and the series will probably be a low-scoring, tight-checking affair – if it’s anything else, we obviously haven’t a prayer. But still, it’s a little surprising that three-quarters of respondents think we’re going to beat four times out of seven a goaltender we’ve only ever beaten once (in regulation).

    The reason for this confidence has to be Price. He’s the best in the League, he’s capable of stealing games, etc. I agree with all of this, but think it might not be enough. Mrazek was significantly better than Bishop in the Detroit-Tampa series, but the Red Wings still lost. I know we’re a stronger team than the Red Wings, but I’m not very optimistic.

  33. aHabberlikeyous says:

    I know! How about the Dolts? Capital D.

  34. aHabberlikeyous says:

    Where was the indignation about tu*ds, save that it was overused? But i guess its a slippery slope… if t@mpons were to catch on there would be no end… the whole world become a grade 6 lunchtime school yard!

    • Dunboyne Mike says:

      I dunno.
      Could be just you all alone in that schoolyard!
      Not a sight a teacher ever wants to see.
      If there has to be a name, Dolts is preferable…

      or Tampa Bay Frightening

      or Johnson Band Height King

      or Carpathian Bay Tight Ring

  35. Dunboyne Mike says:

    “Well the underjohnson drew a heavy sigh
    Thinking johnson else would come.
    And the johnson said to the second one there,
    ‘Well I hope you have johnso-on.

    BANNED on the run,
    BANNED on the run…

  36. frontenac1 says:

    Carpathian Anus?

  37. youngwun says:

    Tampa in 5

  38. twilighthours says:


  39. HabFab says:

    Mr Johnson, I assume.

    I have the POWER!!!!!!!!!

    If you want to be the BEST, you have to beat the REST.

  40. aHabberlikeyous says:

    Or t@mpons

  41. crane says:

    Power Play

    Patches pleck Galch

    P.K. Eller Gally

    Markov,Gilbert,Petry, defence with P.K. sliding back when possible

  42. aHabberlikeyous says:

    More like Mcgrubber… so tamp@ns it is!

  43. Dunboyne Mike says:

    Lines at this morning’s practice:

    Johnson Johnson Johnson

    Johnson Johnson Johnson

    Johnson Johnson Johnson

    Johnson Johnson Johnson
    (imo Johnson is so wasted on the 4th)

    D pairings

    Johnson Johnson
    Johnson Johnson
    Johnson Johnson

  44. mdp2011 says:

    So Johnson eh? This is a good omen. We have finally concurred Johnson on HIO, just as the Habs will concur Johnson in the Tampa series. Seriously though, I am more worried about Johnson than Stamkos. If the Habs can shut down Johnson, they will win the series.

    • jimmy shaker says:

      Don’t forget, palate, kucherov the other russian, drouin who didn’t really factor in the detroit series, calahan, killorn etc. Lots of weapons to deal with. Price has to be dialled in every night.

      Shaker out!

      • Dunboyne Mike says:

        Indeed, so many weapons.

        Such a different style of team from the Habs. For TB, success is predicated on the weapons having their way.

        For us it’s on shutting down weapons.

        Should be an interesting series.

    • FormalWare says:

      Habs will “conquer” Johnson – in name, body, and spirit. But they will Never “concur”!

      WWSD (What Would SubbieDoo?)

  45. Cal says:

    Johnson. Copy and Paste is your friend.

  46. Say Ash says:


  47. jimmy shaker says:

    Ray Ferraro says that if the bolts handle the habs easily, maybe Babcock would be interested in coming to Montreal. Not sure if MB would do it…..seems like a loyal guy, especially after giving MT a 3 year extension. It’s nice to hope though.

    Shaker out!

    • Cal says:

      Detroit’s last 6 playoff seasons: 2010: Lost Conference Semifinals to San Jose Sharks. 2011:Lost Conference Semifinals to San Jose Sharks. 2012: Lost Conference Quarterfinals to Nashville Predators. 2013: Lost Conference Semifinals to Chicago Blackhawks. 2014:Lost Conference Quarterfinals to Boston Bruins. 2015: Lost Conference Quarterfinals to Tampa Bay.

      3 second round losses and 3 first round losses. Didn’t play Subban in the Olympics. Detroit can keep him, thanks.

  48. twilighthours says:

    Johnson Johnson Johnson

  49. aHabberlikeyous says:

    Hey just a thought (probably not a good one- then again i rarely am able to filter myself) if we called the sens tu*ds, can we call bolts tamp@ns?

  50. aHabberlikeyous says:

    Tampa going to take this series vs Habs in convincing fashion by scoring lots of goals and letting none in. (There’s my reverse-jinx for the series!).

  51. Paz says:

    Why Markov and Subban should be broken up.

    1) Stamkos and John son play separately on two different lines

    2) Petry is playing well enough to partner with Markov, Subban can be partnered with virtually anyone, including Emelin. If Emelin is goid enough to play top 4 with Petry, than he is certainly ok with Subban.

    3) The Subban – Markov pairing is not contributing enough offensively, neither 5 on 5 nor on the power play, it is time to get more offence from both of them, and we will need more offence from the dmen if we are going to win the series.

    4) We have not beaten Tampa all year with the Subban -Markov pair together.

    5) Carey Price can cover for most of the downside to splitting them up.

    • Cal says:

      They weren’t separated last series (as per your prediction) and they likely won’t be this series. When Subban and Markov are on the ice, the Habs are more often attacking than defending. Getting “more” from this pairing means the forwards get the job done and finally start scoring when either PK or Markov set the table for them. This year’s Habs just don’t score as much as fans like. All they do is win.

  52. Alex_425 says:

    Good morning, commentariat! Wonderful day out there, more to come! Woefully tired this morning, but you wouldn’t know it from all these exclamation points!


    Went to the game at the Big O last night. Incredible atmosphere, the best I’ve ever seen with my own eyes. Even though we didn’t get the win, I’m still proud of what that team has accomplished, still wearing my new jersey today. I think the saddest thing is not that we didn’t win, it’s that, going up against a “big” team like that, a very “winning” team as well, this win for them is more like just another notch on their belt, whereas this could have been HUGE for us. It’s like the Spanish League, AKA The Real Madrid/Barcelona Show. What’s one more title to them, really?

    Back to Hockey, well aware that the playoffs are a completely different beast from the regular season, but I’m still not happy that we have to face Tampa, not at all. They WILL score goals on us, quite a few, and I feel in this particular series, our offense absolutely NEEDS to step up and keep pace.


    • HabinBurlington says:

      You must have seen Matty, he was there too!

      • Alex_425 says:

        Sure, was he… the guy in blue? Or… was he the guy in blue?

        As I have yet to be able to attend an HI/O Summit, or meet up with anyone here during or after a Habs game, I’m afraid I don’t have any faces to match these names. Yet. But don’t worry, I’m good with faces.


        • Dunboyne Mike says:

          In like manner I, too, have attended a game with Mattyleg. It was international rugby, Canada vs Ireland, in Dublin in 1997.

          He and I have yet to establish whether or not we saw each other there.

          (And I mean, does that guy ever do anything else except go to games?)

          As for the quarters, I hope we’re able to shut down Tyler…

          … JOHNSON!!!


  53. Kooch7800 says:

    Habs will win this series but it will go 6 or 7. The key is getting in the grill of Bishop and getting him angry. He loses his composure easily and Gallagher, DSP and Weise need to make life not so easy for him

    • savethepuck says:

      I think Prust is in his head more than anyone. They have had a few altercations.

      “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
      Carey Price

    • Alex_425 says:

      At least we can take solace knowing that Detroit has helped us realize Bishop’s weaknesses, so I agree with you there. Gotta keep buzzing around that net, make him feel like his “space” is no longer his space.


      • Kooch7800 says:

        He didn’t look good at all against Detroit. For some reason against other teams he struggles and against the habs he thrives. That needs to change starting now.

        The NHL is its own worst enemy

  54. jimmy shaker says:

    We all know the PP sucks and has sucked all year long so I’m not really expecting much even though splitting up Marky and PK on the PP is showing us they are at least trying to do something, now if MT would give Larry some PP time, they might be on to something really big. The other big concern is the penalty kill. The PK which was top 3 for most of the year has really tailed off. That needs to be addressed quickly. They need to keep Tampa to 1 or 2 PP goals for the whole series in my opinion.

    Shaker out!

  55. aHabberlikeyous says:

    @Cal… can u use your HIO super powers to find that perfectly worded rev- jinx from a poster just b4 the sens series… went looking for it but cant find it and leaving for work soon… i know im crazy.

  56. HabinBurlington says:

    From former ref/player Paul Stewarts most recent blog.

    “As we well know, what we can say or think really doesn’t affect what the NHL would do now or in the future. That’s too bad. The NHL places less emphasis on the quality of the product than its bottom-dollar profit margin and perpetuating what is comfortable (i.e. cronyism and patronage) in the hockey operations department. Rules get tinkered with but few ever ponder the practical impact or the long-term consequences on the quality control aspect. Instead, we get folks who are clueless about officiating dictating how games ought to be called and then operate in a perpetual state of reactive damage control.”

    Hard to disagree with that statement.

  57. aHabberlikeyous says:

    @ savardian… yessir.

  58. frontenac1 says:

    Habs in 5. Price will have one stinker.

  59. Mavid ® says:

    tomorrow can’t come soon enough..GO HABS GO

    Weed Wacker Grandma Smurf

  60. aHabberlikeyous says:

    Where’s the poster who reversed jinxed Habs so eloquently?

  61. hockeyphilosopher says:

    I say the Habs can beat the Bolts in 5 IF and only if Patches is scoring. If the foggy-headed Patches of the Ottawa series shows up, this puppy over and the Bolts take it in 5.

    And another thing… Pleks needs to contribute offensively. Awesome that he is sharp defensively, but that crossbar he hit in game 6 should have been burried.

    Look for the fourth line to be a factor again this series. I’d like to see the fourth line bang in a few greasers this series. Cooper was hilarious last season matching lines against Therrein, who kept sending out his fourth (Stank-os barely saw any time on ice until Coops woke up and stopped line-matching).

  62. ClutchNGrab says:

    How do you select the second round winners?

    – Best Goalie
    – Best Defencemen
    – Best Forwards
    – Best Coach
    – Most experience in the playoffs

    A mix of all is the correct answer, sure, but which one has the most value in your evaluation?

  63. aHabberlikeyous says:

    Tsn 690 saying soccer will eventually take over as nation’s #1 sport….so wrong!

    • frontenac1 says:

      NHL hockey is turning into soccer amigo. No more fights, players suspended for good hits, fakers flopping around like they were shot,shoot outs, 1 or 2 nothing games.
      All that’s left is players exchanging their stinky jerseys after the game.

      • ClutchNGrab says:

        When you see young guys at 22 years old, laying down on the ice just for the sake of 10 seconds of cheering. A cheering that is mostly forgotten as soon as a goal is scored, but certainly forgotten when the fans close their TV to go to bed or go home from the arena.

        But not for the player who will live with the brain damage for the rest of his life.

        You have to admit, human beings are not only selfish, but not worth much more than animals.

    • Savardian Spin-o-rama says:

      Let me guess who said that…Marinaro?

      ~~ You’ve been spun ~~

  64. aHabberlikeyous says:

    I thought Johnzon was a 3rd liner! Anyways, we’re gonna need to shadow Stamkos, Callahan and Johnstown. Nemestnikov, Palat, Drouin, Filipula are going to have to be contained.

    From what i gathered of DET/ TBL series, Babcock emphasized applying pressure so as to stay in TBL d-zone as much as possible, and had success. tampas D are on the slow side but skilled offensively. tampas O are same but o so tricky up the middle, and if they manage any sustained pressure in the o-zone, they make you pay and fast!

    Good challenge for Habs! Strike iron while its hot, puck possesion and forecheck is key, staying out of the penalty box while resurrecting the PP could be a game changer. My 2c. Oh yeah and CP has to b better than Bishop.

  65. GenerationYHabs says:

    Alright Cal, I`ll give this one a shot.
    MTL in 7
    NYR in 6
    ANA on 6
    CHI in 7

  66. Timo says:

    Where is Prop?

  67. TorontoHabsFan says:

    Granted, Montreal has been brutal against Tampa Bay this year. But know who else they looked brutal against in the regular season? Ottawa.

    I think this goes 7 and Price is enough of a difference to eke out a series win.

  68. Arrow77 says:

    I’m happy Lightning won. I don’t think the Canadiens will beat them (why would I, after Tampa owned them all year long?) but you can’t go through the playoffs hoping to get a favorable match-up. If the Habs wants to be the best team in the league, they’ll have to do it by going through their nemesis.

    Only right way to do it.

  69. mdp2011 says:

    For those asking below, here are the broadcast crews for the 2nd round. I switched to TVA after game 5, and will be sticking to TVA for the rest of the Habs Cup run. Just can’t take CBC/Rogers any more. I am sure round 2 will be a Stamkos and Cooper love fest on CBC.

    MTL/TB: Hughson, Simpson, Heals
    ANA/CGY: Romanuk, Johnson
    NYR/WSH: Randorf, Galley
    CHI/MIN: Cole, Millen

  70. Paz says:

    With Markov and Subban matched up against Stamkos, that leaves Petry and Emelin against the Bolts second line, led by the hottest scorer, John son.

    My first thought is I do not like that match up.

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