Quick Hits

The Canadiens’ best penalty killer took three penalties.

The Canadiens were called twice for Too Many Men. That’s a league-leading dozen this season.

Two power plays were negated by Canadiens penalties.

The Canadiens went more than 10 minutes without a SoG in the second period.

The 10th-place team in the Eastern Conference, a team that was busy on Deadline Day, outshot your Montreal Canadiens 41-23.

And still they won.

They won – stop me if you’ve heard this before – because Carey Price is arguably the best goaltender in the National Hockey League.

The Canadiens won because they were opportunistic and lucky.

And that’s cool, because God knows Lady Luck has smiled on the other bench often enough this season.

But ask yourself this: How many shots and goals would Atlanta have had if there were 21,000 Thrashers fans in their building?

The Antichambre gang were all over the usual suspects: Scott Gomez, a defence corps that’s slower than climate change, Jacques Martin and his staff for all those bench minors.

“Jacques (Martin) has both hands in his pockets,” Michel Bergeron said. The coach’s hands should be restraining the players who hop on to become sixth skaters.

Ah, they get paid to nit-pick.

Did the Canadiens deserve to win?

Probably not. But it’s a road win to start the trip, two points in the bank and a firmer grip on sixth place.

And the coach may be overly fond of playing pocket pool, but Martin made some good moves:

• Watching the havoc wreaked by Cliff Thorburn and Evander Kane, it was wise to dress Paul Mara in preference to Yannick Weber.

• David Desharnais was used for 13:50. DD responded with a solid game, including 11-2 dominance in the faceoff circle.

• Lars Eller got 11:07 ToI, went 5-2 on draws and was used to protect a one-goal lead in the dying minutes. That’s a confidence-builder for the kid.

For me, Eller was the best centre on the ice – largely because Tomas Plekanec took those three minors.

Gomez?

They hate him on L’Antichambre, but I’ve seen him worse. How’s that for high praise?

Gomez set up Brian Gionta for the empty-netter and was plus-2 on the game – first time he’s been a plus since Vancouver, which was another road win.

Max Pacioretty was the Canadiens best winger, by a lot, and that has to help Gomez get untracked down the stretch.

As usual, P.K. Subban and Hal Gill were the best of the Dmen. James Wisniewski scored the winning goal on the PP, had three shots and blocked two. 

Roman Hamrlik’s ToI was back up to almost 21 minutes, and it showed. With Atlanta pressing, Hamrlik loked tired in the third period.

Brent Sopel is slow and had a gruesome turnover that led to Atlanta’s goal. If Weber draws in, it might be an interesting choice between the two Band-Aid Dmen, Sopel and Mara. But to their credit, Mara and Sopel played 4:10 on a PK that pitched an 0-for-5 shutout.

How good would this team be with Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges playing in front of Carey Price?

Ah, whaddaya gonna do?

I’ll have more to say in the morning.

81 Comments

  1. HabsFanInVictoria says:

    You vultures only have one word in your vocabulary: Gomez.  Is that all any of you have to say these days?  He’s not having a good season, fair enough.  He’s not earning his pay, fair enough.  But he’s here, and he’s not going anywhere so you can focus on something else and enjoy a win for once.  Are you not sick and tired of the same old broken record BS about #11?  Get real and start realizing that perhaps Gomez is just the latest scapegoat.  When you really put it into perspective… 

    Gomez did not:

    Trigger the current economic crisis

    Trade Leclair

    Drop an “F” Bomb at the Oscars

    Catch that ball at the Cubs game

    Shoot Mr. Burns

    Leave threatening messages on your answering machine

    Expose his nipple at the Super Bowl

    Trap the Chilean miners

    Steal your lunch money

    Kill Bambi’s mother

     

    Honestly, the guy is playing hockey and trying to do his job.  He’s not getting the desired results according to the standards of many, but that happens in pro sports.  Get over his contract, it’s not changing.  He’s not going to pay back when he’s not producing the numbers you expect.  Forget the stats, they don’t always tell the whole story.  If he’s frustrating you THAT much then you should find something better to do with your time.

    By the way, he had 14 points in 19 games in the playoffs last year and was considered one of our stronger players.  Remember, that run we made to the Conference Finals?  He was an important part of that and proved how much he cares, regardless of what the ‘so called’ experts think.

     

     

  2. OneTimer says:

    Bros; nice win tonight.

    A little off-topic but I’ve been offered Vincent Lecavalier straight up for Devin Setoguchi in my keeper league. What say you?

  3. Shiloh says:

    Just watched the game – Canadiens Express. It was a lot more exciting than I thought it would be and the Canadiens were really moving. It could be that I watched a really good edit of the game,

    Gionta’s empty netter was really neat. I knew he was quick, but he really showed the afterburners on that one.

    A road victory is such a great thing.

  4. andrewberkshire says:

    The stats you linked to are now updated for tonight’s game. However stats alone won’t tell you what you need to know about Carey Price. I had a conversation with a professional goalie scout who works in the Colorado hockey media, and I asked him what he thought of Carey Price, here’s what he said:

    “Price is easily one of the top 5 goaltenders in the NHL right now. His calm confidence under pressure and puck moving ability make him even more valuable. In 3-5 years he will be the top goaltender in the NHL unless someone else leaps forward. He’s already a Vezina contender at 23.”

    Then I asked, “So we Montreal fans don’t overrate Price? That’s good to hear” In response he said:

    “If anything Price is underrated in Montreal. His mental toughness is second to none, and I have doubts that any other goaltender in the league could put up the numbers he’s put up in that market. Nevermind age, in which Price is still maturing, he’s already ahead of nearly all his peers without hitting his prime”.

  5. andrewberkshire says:

    Your stats are outdated.

  6. Rad says:

    Carey Price the best goalie in the NHL?

    Let’s review the stats:

    He is 13th in the league in GAA at 2.41, and 12th in Save % at .919

    Even in Wins, he is 3 behind the league leader Jimmy Howard of Detroit, and tied with 5 others for 2nd place with 28 wins. Bear in mind, he has played a lot of games this year, so this particular stat can be misleading.

    Ahead of Carey in these metrics are players like Tim Thomas, Pekka Rinne, Jonas Hiller, as well as Luongo, Lundqvist, Boucher, and Fleury. Just below Price are other stalwarts like Bobrovsky, Vokoun, Bryzgalov, Pavelec, Ryan Miller, and Martin Brodeur.

    While I am happy to see Carey playing with confidence and performing at a high level this year, I think it is a bit premature to anoint him as the best of the best. 

  7. Fargo Habs Fan says:

    Boone…

    Love the new format, especially the video, but I think it is missing something.  How about more cameos from Habs-Dog?

    -Dustin-

  8. Mark Light says:

    Argeably the best. And my arguement goes along the lines of : Behind what for D?

     

    Jacques Plante and Ken Dryden played behind the likes of Doug Harvey, Larry Robinson and a crew of really talented D-men with a front end that spent far more of the game time in the other end compared to the crew in front of Carey Price.

     

    So – considering with whom he plays and the nature of the league right now?  I’ll take Price over any other top end goalie even up. Not dissing the remnant of a defence corps that plays in front of him, but with a healthy D and a couple of power types in front? His GA numbers would be sick and the save percentage would rise as well as the number of rebounds cleared rose.

  9. Mr. Habs says:

    Timo, you are going to get pounced on like Mr. Floppy flops around the ice!

  10. SeriousFan09 says:

    What a groundbreaking and turn-around declaration from you. I mean seriously, who saw this coming?

     

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  11. Number31 says:

    Because some people allow certain members of the media to shape their opinions instead of actually watching the guy properly. What I like about this year’s AK46 is he’s thinking more of the two-way game, which was mostly his brother’s game. I think it’s made him a better player and allows him to do more on this team.

  12. DearyLeary says:

    Andrei played another serviceable game.  Is Eller really the elixir that Andrei needed?

  13. Number31 says:

    Meh. Whatevs on the penalties. Refs let Atlanta get away with a heck of a lot of interference, especially in the 3rd. And they’re not the only team that gets away with it *Bruins*

    Habs deserved to win this. Don’t care what anyone says. Just annoyed by that suicide pass that broke Price’s shutout :/ Oh well. I am happy they buried an empty netter though! About time. They also dealt fairly well with and in control of Atlanta’s silly 5-man forecheck.

  14. Bill says:

    AK46 has had a solid year from the get go. He’s consistently back-checked and hit, and has produced at a reasonable rate compared to his past history. If he hadn’t been demoted to the Gomez line for so long, he’d be on pace for his best points season ever. Still leading the Habs in hits, I believe.

    Why does everyone think he sucks??

    Full Breezer 4 Life

  15. Timo says:

    Right… now Gomez is going to be praised for a lousy assist on an empty netter. Not to mention that just second before that he gave the puck away TWICE in his own end instead of clearing it out of the zone. Twice in a span of second. 

    Now, I think more reasonable folks here would agree that this year I have been on my best behavior – but tonight I am openly declaring that this team SUCKS!!! There is nothing about this team that is any good except for goaltending. A couple of solid rookies are drowned by the crap the rest of the team is. 

    Now there is no chance to improve until the next season.

  16. Timo says:

    I surprise myself sometime.

  17. Flabadagub says:

    Hey Boone, when lady luck smiles on my bench she’s got a black tooth grin!

  18. PeterD says:

    Tonight was the night after the deadline that never was for us.  As we all saw tonight, this is the team we will finish out the season with…give or take a few spare parts here and there.  The Antichambre group may continue to bash Gomez and the Climate Change slow Defense…but hey that’s who we have and we will either win or lose with them for the rest of the season.

    The last few games we have seen a side of Eller that many of us were hoping to see at some point…better now than never I guess.  I am glad JM and PG didn’t send him down to Hamilton to get that elusive ice-time some on HIO were calling for.  With him playing his natural Centre position he seems to be displaying a keen grasp of the game and that he has learned a few things under JM’s tutilege.  And how about AKost…is he the power forward we had been calling for PG to make a trade for?  Chemistry is a funny thing and not one of my stronger subjects when in school…but AK and Eller seem to be showing a certain kind of special chemistry that seems to have turned them both into better, more efffective players.

    Carey Price is a real revelation…I love the kids coolness on the ice and his calm under pressure.  It is difficult to think back to last season when he seemed to not have any confidence at all.  Now this goalie is demonstrating that he has ice water flowing in his veins and he shows a level of confidence that is pulling his entire game together for him and the team.

    So as we start down the final stretch drive towards the play-offs we are the team we saw tonight…unless J. Martin has a breakdown or a stroke I don’t see the coaching changing any time soon…so I say let’s get behind our team and give them the support they are going to need going forward.  Booing and bashing Gomez, or our slower retread defense or mocking the “system” is not going to be a productive use of our time…and hey, there is always the Draft table for more potential moves and again July 1st to help reshape the team for next season…but for now…this is it.

    Go Habs Go!

  19. Hockey Socks says:

    Well like that article a few weeks back pointed out: Aside from Price, Plekanec, Subban, and Pacioretty are the only untouchables. There are other players who are definitely good, but that’s still a very small “core”.

  20. ProHabs says:

    Ryan McDonagh update. Again had the most ice time of any Ranger tonight at 24:44. Also had more ice time than any Sabre except for Tyler Myers who played 2 more seconds at 24:46.
    However, all is good as Gomez got an assist on an empty net goal to give him 31 points on the season.

  21. Shiloh says:

    Home just in time to watch Canadiens Express on RDS – but it sounds like it wasn’t a very exciting game.

  22. DearyLeary says:

    Gionta and Patches seem to be playing fine with Gomer.  What’s Andrei’s excuse?

  23. HardHabits says:

    This isn’t figure skating. He will earn his crown though.

  24. Rad says:

     

    There are a number of other factors, but it seems to me that those balance themselves out. For example, the Habs don’t have a Chara to clear the crease, but then again, the team does emphasize a “defense-first” philosophy, as opposed to a Run and gun style that give up a lot more quality scoring chances.

    I think he is a very good goaltender who will get even better. I am not ready to place a tiara on his head just yet. 

     

  25. samTHEman says:

    Bryan Little….this guy can SKATE FAST

  26. ProHabs says:

    Carey has been great this year. Thank goodness he has bounced back the way he has or this year would have been a disaster. I think HIO would have gotten really ugly this year if Price didn’t have a great season. He should be a finalist for the Vezina. When even Pierre McGuire is saying he should be on the 2014 Olympic Team then you know that Price is having a great year.

  27. _Habsoloutly_ says:

    Thats funny Dean.

  28. SLYDER says:

    It is easy to pull up the standard measuring stick stats

     

    But how easy would it be to count how many BAD GOALS he has let in this season? How many BAD GAMES? How many times did Carey COST the team a game?

     

    …you will likely only need one hand to count all three stats combined – and still have a couple left to dig your gold mine and pull the old ‘roll and flick’

     

    i agree with HardHabits – easily top 5 in the world

  29. Mike Boone says:

    Have you thought about the supporting cast?

  30. SLYDER says:

    really…on the night of a huge W?

     

    such a debbie downer

  31. sidhu says:

    Good thing the Habs won, or else the Habs world would have been on PG even more for not doing anything significant yesterday.

    Things I liked:
    – Mara’s open ice hit in the first
    – Price tapping Mara after Mara deflected a dangerous shot out of play
    – Max Power is flying

    Things I didn’t:
    – Halpern belongs on the PK or the bottom 6, he just traps the puck even on 5-on-5 in the offensive zone. I find him very frustrating.
    – Gomez, Gomez, Gomez (it’s interesting how his first line PP unit was taken off in favor of DD’s unit, which ended up scoring The Wiz goal)
    – No killer instinct on this team, and too many penalties

  32. HardHabits says:

    Price is easily one of the five best goalies in the world right now and he definitely deserves consideration for the Vezina if not the Hart as well.

    Stats are meaningless. He’s the cornerstone of this team. His play tonight was remarkable. He has shown poise, confidence and coolness like I haven’t seen since he was MVP of the WJC and Calder Cup wins.

    What didn’t kill him has only made him stronger and he has passed his trial by fire with flying colours.

    I always liked his pick way back when, however I will admit I doubted him when he showed his frailty over the past two seasons. Nevertheless, he’s come back stronger physically and mentally and thankfully the Habs replaced Melanson as his game has flourished under Groulx.

  33. SLYDER says:

    Get over it already – he was not and will not be the player management expected Gomez to be when the deal was made (yes, i am aware of the colossal BUST that is Scott Gomez)

     

    and if Markov and Gorges were in the line-up today you wouldnt be tracking his stats….

  34. Rad says:

    This is where I got the numbers:

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/app?component=completeGAALeaderList&page=statshome&service=direct

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/app?component=completeSavePercentageLeaderList&page=statshome&service=direct

    According to the latter, his save % is .921 now, still in 10th place. I am not sure if these numbers reflect tonight’s game, but it would seem they are pretty close.

     

  35. badbalance says:

    well the other goalies with higher stats didn’t have to steal as many games as Price had to

  36. aussiehab says:

    i really like reading the comment section after a game. I love how much people care about this team, even though ultimately none of our opinions matter we give them anyway. and i think that is pretty spiffy. 

    plus the habs won tonight. what a plus

  37. habsfanmandy says:

    I disagree, Boone, the Habs definitely deserved to win. The outshooting was weird, because that’s not what it felt like during the game. The Habs came out strong, and Atlanta was, excepting our dumb-ass penalties, the worse team. They played with zero passion, zero consistent intensity – they were aggressive, but not with real feeling behind it.

    We were the better team. Plus, Price was on from the start, you could see he was in the zone – I was sure he’d get a shutout. Too bad.

    Good win, ESPECIALLY considering the way we usually play down to our opponent’s level. I was pleasantly surprised the guys were able to do it in that DEAD building.

  38. mbplekfan says:

    We got fleeced in the Gomez deal. No doubt about it. McDonagh will prove to be a front line defenceman.

    But we got Gomez when things were looking grim for the habs. We had punted the K’s, lost Tanguay and had almost no top line forwards signed. Things were desperate and we got a name brand center in Gomez. Unfortunately that name brand is now soured.

    If we can deal Gomez in the next season or two to help a team reach the cap floor we will be ahead.

  39. Antho says:

    i can’t agree with you more…the dressing room is divided by now

  40. krob1000 says:

    At least Carey Price saw all of the shots tonight and traffic in front of him for rebounds was kept to a minimum.  It was obvious we were outplayed but if he sees pucks he’ll usually stop them and if nothing these old slower goats did do a decent do a decent job of keeping the Thrasher out of Carey’s face most of the night…a nice change and a reason IMO the shot totals are higher than they seemed….

  41. SLYDER says:

    you watched a different game….ATL outskated the habs for the most part and were robbed numerous times by Price. An early on, despite the 1-0 score in favor of the habs, ATL was FLYING

  42. mbplekfan says:

    I have come to believe that without Carey Price this team doesnt make the playoffs. Even if Markov and Gorges were healthy half of our defence is over 35 and lacking mobility.

    No doubt PG notices this and hopefully has a plan to fix the problem over the summer. Hamrlik is a fine defenceman on the right team. At this point in time the Habs are no longer the right team. Spacek is a train wreck with another year on a contract we cant get away from unless some GM takes him.

    The relationship between Gill and Subban means that giving Gill another year makes sense, but that still leaves us with Spacek and Gill. 33% of the starting defence would be old.

    If we cant get rid of Spacek we have to let Gill and Hamrlik go. This defence has to get younger and more mobile. PK is great, but other than him we dont have much youth. Weber is a fine player but we need size on the back end.

    Emelin is the obvious answer. Tough, NHL ready and big. PG needs to pull out all the stops to get him over.

  43. kempie says:

    Good points

  44. G-Man says:

    Timo, you picked a bad night to declare, in your own pseudo-ironic style, that the Habs suck. Gomez will haunt your dreams the rest of the season and cause you to see pizza in a whole new way: Alaskan Mexican style.

  45. Bob_Sacamano says:

    Totally agree about Emelin. He showed at the Olympics that he´s ready. He´s physical too and he´s having a great season. I´d like our d next season to look like this: Markov, Emelin, Subban, Gorges, Wisniewski, Hamrlik or Spacek (I´d prefer Hamrlik for 2-2.5 m a season if we can move Spacek), Sopel or Gill, Weber, Nash. Certainly not too old.

  46. Stooof says:

    and they lost

  47. habs-hampton says:

    Grant Fuhr never had great stats either, but he was clutch.

  48. habs-hampton says:

    Boone, you mention that Gomez set up Giontas EN goal. But did you see how close that was to giving it to the D-Man in the high slot? If the guy hadn’t backed off, he could’ve walked into that one. Gomez got lucky there.

  49. Viruk42 says:

    Kind of surprised no one caught this yet, but I guess it was Atlanta…

     

    Boone: You say “Cliff Thorburn”, but he was a Canadian snooker player. Chris Thorburn is the hockey player.


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