Maple Leafs bookend Habs’ wild ride

The logo you see at left is one that Canadiens fans – and the team, you’d expect – hope we can use much more of in the days ahead.

The Habs are home tonight to the Toronto Maple Leafs, their opponent 81 games ago when the NHL season opened for Montreal at the Air Canada Centre.

One difference: Carey Price started that game. Jaro Halak gets the call tonight.

With the New York Rangers’ inspired 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers last night, the guillotine tightened (to quote Price) just a little more.

The Habs are still in control of their own destiny, if barely – take the Leafs to overtime tonight, no matter the final result, and the Canadiens are in the playoffs.

Lose in regulation, however, and all bets are off. Such a loss by Montreal combined with one more point earned by the Bruins in their two remaining games and an OT win by the Rangers over Philly tomorrow will be the season’s end fore (that’s not a typo) the Canadiens.

141 Comments

  1. Habsforlife 1959 says:

    Dave,

         I hate to say this but who will be starting in goal for the Habs tonight?

  2. shootdapuck says:

    Dave, you omitted Bill Friday, John Ashley and Red Storey!

    “The three stars as selected by Red Fisher of the Montreal Star:
    1st star: Henri Richard
    2nd Star: Doug Harvey
    3rd Star: Jacques Plante

    Final score Detroit Red Wings 5 Montreal Canadiens 3”

  3. Ron says:

    I see where you are at and I agree that if they get the point so be it and if they do not then so be it also. If they can’t play well enough too earn a playoff berth on their own then what hope of going much further than the first round do they have. Getting the point or not and being bounced from a berth will not change much this season. Changes need to be made and fixing is in order. PG has his work cut out for him either way.

  4. shootdapuck says:

    And losing!

    Lost to Finland in Pre-tourney game.

     

    “The three stars as selected by Red Fisher of the Montreal Star:
    1st star: Henri Richard
    2nd Star: Doug Harvey
    3rd Star: Jacques Plante

    Final score Detroit Red Wings 5 Montreal Canadiens 3”

  5. Danno says:

    I miss Roger Doucet, organ music and white boards…

    I also miss that guy with the trumpet who got the crowd going. Those were the days my friend…

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  6. mrhabby says:

    that damn gomez.

  7. Exit716 says:

    And Gainey helped the Rangers get Gaborik with that Gomez trade.

     

  8. smiler2729 says:

    I see your point, Dave, “steeped in history” and “name him for the right reasons” and all that -BUT- this team, its arena and the whole NHL is more about entertainment and less about hockey than it has ever been in its long fading history.

    It’s almost WWF mentality now as every arena has loud music, gimmicks, contests and all those bells and whistles making the game and its traditions a complete afterthought.

    The mere fact that the Montreal Canadiens have gone a whole season (their 100th for crying out loud!) without a captain is shameful (that’s Toronto Dysfunctional Leafs territory). Let’s give the people what they want and remember, sadly in these times, IMAGE IS EVERYTHING.

    Here’s hoping Brian Gionta skates out with the C though I know it won’t happen, dooming this rudderless bunch to 9th place or a quick 4 game 1st round sweep.

    I miss Roger Doucet, organ music and white boards…

  9. Bill J says:

    While I agree to disagree, and please do not take that as my being insensitive to your feelings, because yes perception is often the root cause to arguments.  Please know it was not coming from a derogatory place, except for the fact that MANY French-Canadians (prefer this I assume? lol) would prefer having the BEST Coach or the BEST Captain – regardless of them being able to speak French.

    IE if the Habs had a 100% English Squad & Coaching staff – but won the Cup ?  French-Canadian fans would be quick to look past the language barriers.

    Cool ? :)

  10. mrhabby says:

    gaborik stated last year ..he did not want to come to  montreal..rangers 1st on his list.

  11. moonkid says:

    I’m nowhere near the math wiz needed to calculate this but..

    8 arenas losing power for 2 months and/or 11 planes crashing. (since Caps, Canucks, Hawks, Devils don’t have to travel after last game) Let’s have them all land on the island in “Lost”. I don’t want to be grim!

  12. Danno says:

    Not exactly the Jack Adams trophy, but Jacques Martin can gaze at this beauty.

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  13. HabsFanInVictoria says:

    The ghost of Clarence Campbell?

  14. gumper says:

    Not wanting to prolong the debate, but perhaps you’ll allow that what is nothing to you could be something to somebody else.

  15. Habsone says:

    Lets do it Habs!  I still believe!  Go Habs Go!!   Lock Martin in the bathroom!

  16. aemarchand11 says:

    Yes Gaborik would leave Minnesota (Lemaire) to come to Montreal (Martin)…… No, he wouldnt.

    -Halak it alot because the Price is right-

  17. mrhabby says:

    yep totally agree with you..i am hoping this does not happen. i will cringe.

  18. Big Ted says:

    When it comes right down to it, every team has to earn their way into the playoffs and if the Habs lose tonight, they don’t deserve to be there. But that being said, let’s not forget about the awful awful refereeing over the past two years, especially over the first half of this season. Looking back, I would not be surprised if Chris Lee has cost the Habs 3-5 points and he’s certainly cost them at least the 1 that would have put them in already. So yes, the Habs need to do the job and get in the right way, but what does that say about the role sub-par officiting plays in the league who gets in the playoffs is affected by the incompetence of one official. Yet another reason Chris Lee, Colin Campbell, and Gary Bettman all need the boot.

  19. Off-side says:

    And now for the good news…

  20. Off-side says:

    The C won’t make them skate any better, any faster or protect their goalie any more.  And if it does and we make it, then I suggest we sew a C on every jersey for the playoffs!

  21. habsgod says:

    COME ON  what’s happening to us? we are suppose to stick together and cheer for our team! no matter what ,so we’ve lost a couple of games i beileve we are going to make it in
     maybe this will help you guys to belive this will happen

     

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=barLaHrtvoM

  22. SmartDog says:

    YGTR… Gomez = Gaboric – 30 goals

    Good post.

    ————————————————————-
    Not signing or trading Pleks = yet another missed opportunity.

  23. Bill J says:

    I am allowed to use the word 😉 – as a Born in Montreal raised in French 100% FRENCHIE.

    Sorry you feel that way, but your making something out of nothing.

  24. Say Ash says:

    How scenarios ya got there for us to win the cup without winning another game?

  25. Bill J says:

    You assume Gaborik would have signed with the Habs ?

    Really ?

     

    lol

  26. gumper says:

    As a pure white sixth generation Ontario lad, I must say I find the term Frenchie offensive.

  27. gumper says:

    Couldn’t agree more Dave. I’ll add that I’ve slowly been coming to the conclusion that there may not be a captain on this team, and that’s why the team is in its current pickle.

  28. SmartDog says:

    I agree with you.

    And the Habs management would NEVER put publicity stunts over hockey success.  Well, if you ignore ALL of last year at least….

    ————————————————————-
    Not signing or trading Pleks = yet another missed opportunity.

  29. SmartDog says:

    I didn’t mean that I think they’ll get the point. 

    I mean if they don’t get it – meh – they’re not ready for the playoffs anyway.  I’m worn out on hope for these guys… they get it or they don’t, and if not maybe they’ll fix some things.

    ————————————————————-
    Not signing or trading Pleks = yet another missed opportunity.

  30. BKAK72 says:

    This is the difference (in bold) b/n the HABS rested for the playoffs or limping into them:

    GOMEZ $7.35m cap hit w.77GP 12G 45A (5’11” 200 lbs)

    GABORIK $7.50m cap hit w. 75GP 42G 44A (6’1″ 200 lbs)

    — I will not apologize for being a delirious HABS fan! —

  31. Bugs says:

    Great, we’re screwed.

    Thanks, Dave.

    Always fun when you drop in.

    Ridiculously overhyped, call me

    L.Bugs Potter, esq. Assistant-Director of St-Habbie’s Hospital for the Blind, Head Physician of Neuroflannelogy Unit, and Occupational Therapist in Habsbros Emergency Ward: http://habsbros.blogspot.com/

  32. Danno says:

    Dave, I agree the C should not be used as a cheap stunt. But the team needs a spark of some kind. I say do it.

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  33. Bugs says:

    In the game against Buffaler, we got into their heads with the Canadian gold medal-winner ceremony, while Miller was standing there pickin his nose thinking about his silver.

    But how do you remind a team of losers that they’re losers when they KNOW they’re losers? I mean, every single Toranna-based communiqué or article starts off with “Yes, we know we’re losers, thank you, but still…” so how do you get into their heads? You can’t.

    I suppose we ought to expect SOMETHING tonight, some motivational pre-game ceremonial I-don’t-what.

    Agree a Naming-a-Captain bit would stir up some drama.

    But it would only work with Markov. Not necessarily because he would make the best captain on the team, but because it would get 21 273 people cheering and buzzing the loudest.

    ONE captain playing wouldn’t make a difference tonight; 21 273 folks buzzing just might.

    Ridiculously overhyped, call me

    L.Bugs Potter, esq. Assistant-Director of St-Habbie’s Hospital for the Blind, Head Physician of Neuroflannelogy Unit, and Occupational Therapist in Habsbros Emergency Ward: http://habsbros.blogspot.com/

  34. Dave Stubbs says:

    I love and respect my friend and colleague Boone to death. (OK, I respect him.) His most recent About Last Night was genius.

    But if the Habs trot out a captain tonight after dragging their feet for 81 games, they need their heads examined. The captaincy of this franchise is steeped in history. Name the man for the right reasons, with an eye to what the C means in the much larger picture.

    Don’t name him as a desperate stunt to rally the troops and the fans after the team has failed, twice, to beat summer-bound teams with a playoff berth at stake, with a third bottom-feeder at hand.

    Dave Stubbs
    Habs Inside/Out
    Sports Columnist/Feature Writer, Montreal Gazette
    • On Twitter: twitter.com/habsinsideout1

  35. moonkid says:

    More useless stats:

    Assuming the Bruins lose in regulation tonight, there are 16 possible outcomes for the Sunday games. 13 of them result in the habs making the playoffs.

    If the Bruins DO get a point tonight, then there are still 4 possible outcomes on Sunday, with 3 of them resulting in habs making the playoffs.

    So.. it still looks good even if they lose tonight. (At least, that’s what I try to tell myself!)

  36. jimmy shaker says:

    Halak’s in…..Now is MAB on the D or up front?  SK74, Darche, Pyatt, Laps or O’byrne……who’s the odd man out?

    Shaker

  37. Bill J says:

    To answer your question about the Captain

    A: Because Pierre Boivin wanted a Big #1 Center Frenchie to be the next Captain.

    or

    A: They only realised No Captain nominated hurts the team, in the team meeting they just had ?

     

    Either way, not too impressed.

  38. Raster says:

    Talking about bookends, We did win the first game of the season against the laffers but lost Markov. Since we are practically in I suggest that we call up Neilson and sit Markov. This will give Orr a fine dance partner and maybe add an inch to our wee forwards. We only have 1 callup left until the dogs are eliminated so lets not waste it……or maybe Suban?

     

    Sing O’Canada when we play the leafs tonight, It will driveBurke and Wilson crazy and leaf fans can’t boo.

  39. Ron says:

    They have had the last 2 games to get a single point and move on but showed either total lack of desire by quite a few players on the team to show us that they want or even can advance beyond a first round if in the post season. Quite a few are living in embarassment now and it does not appear to bother them. Hope the last few days and the riding the pines has shown the team what is at stake and what each and every player needs to do to redeem themselves. I wonder down deep whether JM is the coach to beable to do it. The home ice crowd should bring out some form of professionalism to not want to stink the place out. One friggin point aginist a team that will come out hitting and taking as much liberties as they can hand out will be difficult to over come. The boys will need to be pumped more than any other game to take control of their own destiny or a few player will have played their last game as a Hab. Good luck.

  40. jimmy shaker says:

    Gotta be 5!

    Shaker

  41. RetroMikey says:

    I really don;t understand why the rant on JM when little Sergei was benched?   It’s not the first time he has been benched in Montreal or in Hamilton.  A coach and his associates are there try to assemble the best possible players on ice and if little Sergei is replaced by hardworking players in Darche and Pyatt, so be it.  He’s doing the types of things that all coaches, (even a
    coach who doesn’t preach aggression like JM) will find unacceptable.
    He’s been unwilling to take a hit to make a play and unwilling to go
    into the corners for much of this season. The number of times he’s
    bailed on getting to the puck first on the forecheck this season has
    been really disappointing. If you have a chance to retrieve the puck
    and create offensive chances for your team but you bail out because you
    don’t want to get hit, I don’t see why you should be rewarded with PP
    time. Not trying to be too down on the kid, but I think he is way too overrated in my books.  I see other players on the farm like Desharnais who would play better than Sergei but the “too small: factor comes in place.

    Unfortunately he’s lost his mojo and let the temper tantrums begin. |See ya Sergei!

     

    “We will win the Cup one day only with ? in the nets “

  42. ed lopaz says:

    very simple:

    habs win – JM will start next season as head coach

    habs lose – JM will be moved somehwere in the organisation (3 years left on his contract), and Habs will promote Boucher

    if the players lose to Islanders, hurricanes, and leafs to end the season and NOT make the playoffs, how could the coach possible convince PG and Molson that he has control of the room? Impossible.

    i really like boone’s comment about gionta coming out as captain tonight – it makes sense – fires up the team and the crowd, and this should have been done at least 40 games ago in any case.

    have to ask: who could possibly give me a reason why the habs would not have given gionta the C at some point earlier this season??

    this organisation blows.

  43. Danno says:

    Of course you know there are three kinds of lies. Lies, damned lies and statistics.

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  44. EastCoastJoe says:

    I agree, BUT…sadly I work with a lot of Leaf fans.  Trust me, this is anything by a nothing game to them.  They were prancing around yesterday like tonight’s game was game 7 of the Stanley Cup final, guaranteeing me of a Leafs regulation win!  It’s very sad and pathetic that this is the only thing they have left, so I didn’t bother getting into the whole 43 years without a cup, 5 years no playoffs, 29th in the league stuff.  Just too easy.

    “IT WAS JUST A SQUIRREL, PEOPLE!”

  45. Danno says:

    I hate to show you this, but here is the ugly truth

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  46. Exit716 says:

    What’s the over-under on useless shots of Burke in the press box tonight?

     

  47. jimmy shaker says:

    I’ll take these two guys I guess, right?????  I swear I saw “The Rock” spell it J-A-B-R-O-N-E……okay maybe I didn’t.  Damm wikipedia!  Thanks Dave, way to start my day off on a hooked on spelling lesson.  Can Paul Stewart come out of retirement for this game?  Then I would feel a lot better!

    Shaker

  48. SmartDog says:

    I can’t say I’m worried.  One point against the Laffers in a crucial game that means nothing to them and everything to us.  If they can’t do that, I don’t want to see a post-season Habs.  Might as well go golfing and live in embarassment for the summer.

    ————————————————————-
    Not signing or trading Pleks = yet another missed opportunity.

  49. SmartDog says:

    Yeah, but I here they buried his lucky tie under the ice.  Or was that in the backyard behind Bob Gainey’s old house? 

    ————————————————————-
    Not signing or trading Pleks = yet another missed opportunity.

  50. TommyB says:

    LMAO…….very good!

  51. SmartDog says:

    I’m sure you don’t mean that as an insult Dave.  But just so you know, the dogs are listening.  And some of them haven’t even had breakfast.

     

    ————————————————————-
    Not signing or trading Pleks = yet another missed opportunity.

  52. Danno says:

    Too bad Albert Einstein isn’t around to explain the theory of relativity, or the “What If’s” of this crazy playoff race.

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  53. DriveTo25 says:

    Lets get a W tonight and make the playoffs through the front door! New blog post by the way! ‘Canes review & Buds preview, Check it out!

    _______________________________________________________

    http://www.driveto25.weebly.com <—-My Blog, I’d love to know what you guys think!

  54. BJ says:

    Habs this season with Darche:

    In: 15-8-5

    Out: 24-25-4

  55. Danno says:

    The following shocking stats of JM’s sorry track record against the Leafs comes from Dennis Kane’s blog,

    ——————————————————————————————————————–

    The following is the offender’s playoff rap sheet against the Toronto
    Maple Leafs, the team the Habs need to assault on Saturday.

    1986-87 with St. Louis. Lost to Toronto 4 games to 2.
    1999-2000 with Ottawa. Lost to Toronto 4 games to 2.
    2000-2001 with Ottawa. Lost to Toronto 4 games to none.
    2001-2002 with Ottawa. Lost to Toronto 4 games to 3.
    2003-04 with Ottawa. Lost to Toronto 4 games to 3.

    ———————————————————————————-

    P.S. Check out Dennis Kane’s blog. It’s loaded with lots of good stuff for Habs fans.

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  56. Dave Stubbs says:

    Dan Marouelli referees his final NHL game tonight. Wes McCauley works with him. So don’t blame the outcome of this on Chris Lee or Kerry Fraser or Vern Buffey or King Clancy or…

    (And Jimmy, for future reference: it’s spelled jabroni.)

    Dave Stubbs
    Habs Inside/Out
    Sports Columnist/Feature Writer, Montreal Gazette
    • On Twitter: twitter.com/habsinsideout1

  57. Danno says:

    Jacques-O would be a virtuoso on the triangle. A can hear him now. Ting! ting! ting!

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  58. smiler2729 says:

    The Laffs have clinched 29th place, they could finish with the worse PP and PK in the NHL. Ron Wilson is a genius, though, just ask him. They have serious salary cap issues next season (Giguere $7 million, Phaneuf $6 million, not to mention Jeff Finger’s touchy 3.5 cap hit and Tucker’s $1 million buyout hit) -BUT- they’ll come into Montreal and kick Hab ass as usual cuz JM has no clue as how to beat this team – EVER!

  59. jimmy shaker says:

    Can we find out the ref schedule somehow?…so at least we can be prepared for that jabrone!

    Shaker

  60. Dave Stubbs says:

    Hopefully, this dog’s breakfast is repaired. Thanks to Arpon Basu.

    Dave Stubbs
    Habs Inside/Out
    Sports Columnist/Feature Writer, Montreal Gazette
    • On Twitter: twitter.com/habsinsideout1

  61. CaliforniaHabsFan says:

    Odds of Habs making playoffs still at 97.7% according to Sport Club Stats.

     

    http://www.sportsclubstats.com/NHL/Eastern/Northeast/Canadiens.html

  62. EastCoastJoe says:

    I don’t know what instrument, but it would be one that needs no emotion and allows him to stand very still and stone faced under all circumstances.

     

    IT WAS JUST A SQUIRREL, PEOPLE!

  63. Danno says:

    I’m hoping for Chris Lee to get the call to ref the game. There’s not enough drama without him.

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  64. Danno says:

    Nice to see H I/O has a crack team of fact checkers working 24/24!

    Hey, what kind of instrument should JM play? Maybe the fiddle. He’s good at that. Fiddlin’ that is…

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  65. BJ says:

     

    I don’t how well posters here understand French but I would very highly recommend listening to http://www.rds.ca and go to the Antichambre and listen to the date when Gino Odjick was on. Funny, entertaining and touching.

     

  66. EastCoastJoe says:

    I beat you to it by a minute Danno! :-)

    I’m sure it was just mis-typed.

    “Maybe I’ll play the piano.” – Bob Gainey

  67. Danno says:

    Just posted the same idea. But you beat mine! Cheers to you EastCoastJoe!

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  68. jimmy shaker says:

    That might be a good thing…..he might be sending the negative vibe down from the presser, just like I would after getting fired for no good reason!

    Thanks,

    Shaker

  69. Danno says:

    IF we lose to the Leafs, Boston only needs one loser point (lose in overtime) either from the Canes or Caps to squeeze us out. That, combined with Rangers winning in overtime against Philly on Sunday.

    Dave, I believe that is what you meant to say but here is what you put down regarding Boston:

    If the Bruins lose in regulation today to Carolina and
    again tomorrow vs Washington;

    I think that should say “lose in overtime”

    I may be wrong on this, and if so please forgive me.

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  70. EastCoastJoe says:

    Mr. Stubbs, you have an error in your post:

    You wrote:

    <i>Lose in regulation, however, and all bets are off. In this case, here
    are the two ways they can be bounced from the postseason:

    • If
    the Bruins lose in regulation today to Carolina and
    again tomorrow vs Washington;</i>

    The Bruins in fact need one point.  I’m sure this was just an oversight.  If the Habs and Bruins lose their remaining games in regulation, they are tied in points and the Habs win the tiebreaker because of more wins.

    In any case, I dream of a rare early easy going victory tonight, up by 3 after 1.  And of course hanging on to lose in OT.

     

    “Maybe I’ll play the piano.” – Bob Gainey

  71. Dave Stubbs says:

    Carbo’s in Belarus with Canada’s under-18 team, so he’s a healthy scratch.

    Dave Stubbs
    Habs Inside/Out
    Sports Columnist/Feature Writer, Montreal Gazette
    • On Twitter: twitter.com/habsinsideout1

  72. jimmy shaker says:

    Cole, Carbonneau and Millen or Hughson, Simpson and Healy….who’s getting the call and will that effect the outcome of tonight’s game any?

    Shaker

  73. jimmy shaker says:

    So tonights game is going to be anything but a given for us…..first off Toronto layed an egg vs the rangers, so the likleyhood of them laying two eggs in a row is very low!  Second, Toronto always plays us tough, or we just don’t elevate our play enough, (pick your poison.)  Since all of the games have been close this year except for the 3-0 shutout they laid on us, this game should be no different.  J.S. Giguere….is he going to play like Wardeur and play out of his skin like so many goalies seem to do against us?  IS JM going to instill the confidence this team needs right from the get go?  Are these guys going to show some self pride and put together an effort that is deserving of the two points?  And are the fans going to help out tonight or add to the frustration?  I hope we can get that point tonight, that Jaro plays another solid game and that the cubs lose this afternoon to that same canes team that pummeled us.  And finally, please get it done, because I want  off this rollercoaster ride that is the last week of the season, where every friggin scenario seems to be turning out the way we don’t want it to!

    MAB and Marky 3 goals tonight, bring it home!

    Shaker

  74. MontrealAtheist says:

    Let’s hope we can lose to the Leafs in OT and qualify !!!

  75. Habsforlife 1959 says:

    I believe!!! I believe!!! A win!!! A win!!! The Habs will be firing on all cylinders tonight. The boys will give the hometown a much needed win. JM needs to roll 4 lines and use the power play to their advantage. Lauffs are dead last in PP & PK and our Habs will put it all on the line tonight. Look for Cammalleri- Plekanec- AK46 be the go to line. Habs must play a full 60 minutes and stay away from any scuffles the Lauffs will try to do. I’m flying to Toronto in the morning and I would love to wear my Habs Jersey going through the airport in early when I arrive showing who the best there is. Staying in T.O for 2 weeks and then head back home. C’mon boys give us all a sweet victory. Go Habs Go!!! Go Habs Go!!! 


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