Quick hits

Let’s hear it for the PhD line.

Appropriately scholarly, because Jeff Halpern and Mathieu Darche are graduates of Princeton and McGill, respectively.

Benoit Pouliot?

Magna cum laude from the School of Hard Knocks.

Benny lost his father when he was still in junior hockey.

He lost his mojo in Minnesota after being the Wild’s first-round choice, fourth overall (just ahead of Carey Price) in 2005.

After a promising start with the Canadiens, Pouliot lost his confidence. He bounced from one line to another, went months without scoring.

Then Jacques Martin put Benny with two hard-working veterans, and the line caught fire.

Pouliot and Halpern have each scored four goals. Darche has two (in nine games).

Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez have one goal each.

Mike Cammalleri has three.

Ostensibly the third line, PhD is carrying the Canadiens. Jacques Martin lauded their “simple and very efficient” play. 

Oh, and Carey Price was excellent. Again.


Price kept the Canadiens in the game through an early Buffalo flurry, during which the Sabres had a 10-2 shot advantage.

Really, we couldn’t have hoped for a better early season from Price. The Canadiens are the only team in the league that hasn’t allowed more than three goals in a game – and that requires good goaltending.

Some notes:

• Andrei Kostitsyn played really well with G&G, his new linemates. Four shots on goal, three misses (a couple of which should have been goals) two blocked. As has been the case in almost every game, AK46 skated, hit and looked interested.

• Mike Cammalleri had five shots. The goals will come. And I liked the new power-play alignment, featuring Cammalleri and Andrei Markov at the points.

• The PK was perfect on four disadvantages. Great stuff, but the Buffalo PP is a tragedy.

• The Canadiens were 25-32 on faceoffs. Against a better team than the Sabres, that would have meant chazsing the puck all night.

• Every player on the roster, except Lars Eller, played double-digit minutes. That will mean legs against Ottawa.

• Jaro Spacek played a manageable 16:20 and save for being caught on Buffalo’s first goal, was pretty solid.

• Gomez and AK46 were minus-2.

• What was with Gomez stopping on a breakaway? You don’t see that every day.

• 14 Canadiens had shots on goal, just 11 Sabres

• Trailing 1-0 on home ice, Buffalo had four SoG in the third period. Pathetic.

• The Antichambre gang talked about MAB. Please.



  1. Propwash says:

    ^ Facepalmworthy.


    You clearly don’t watch the games.


    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  2. sidhu says:

    Forget about MAB, how about Weber — 7 goals in the A!

  3. Xtrahabsfan says:

    Ya mean Price too you was erotic…..Cause Hero is a  very big overestimation.! Carey played well against a very week Sabre’s team and while  even I am incouraged ,the real pressure has yet too be applied  by a Team like Vancouver OR the Hawks so we’ll see…..

  4. Chorske says:

    Gomez has an aversion to shooting. It’s astonishing. Was at a party tonight with some folks from France who had never watched a game. And this one guy kept saying, mais ce numero onze, il ne tire jamais!

    Price wasn’t just excellent. He was heroic. Every game he plays like this helps me believe the Habs brass backed the right guy.

    Halpern should have been first star- not to take anything from Benny, but Benny’s goal from the left was 100% a product of Halpern crashing forward, distracting the goalie.

    Good game against a weak opponent. Remember that these were the kinds of games we were losing last year…

  5. habitual says:

    Happy to grind out a win – I love Darche’s work ethic and good for Benny.

    God, Gomez and Gionta have no confidence.  Gomez bails on a breakaway, cuts away left and passes the puck to Gionta who cuts away right, & doesn’t get a shot off.  The puck goes the otherway and into our nets.

    Surely the Canadiens can afford a sports psychologist for these two.

  6. Wayne says:

    Yes, it WAS really nice to see Benny score tonight. He seems to have heeded to a notion that if he can’t find his old-game, just keep your legs moving, hit everything and hustle till you get rewarded by your efforts. Sheesh, I’m starting to sound like my wife.

  7. cheentron says:

    great article boone. it’s only you that i reads on the regular these days!  didnt catch this game, but good on us for capitalizing on a struggling team, without plex our best forward.  sounds like martin made some astute changes to the top six, (something like i would have done), and good to see pouliot finally get some results, which he deserves.  i feel his start of the season is promising, and i’ve been slightly annoyed with how little of a chance martin gives to up and coming players, something carbo was very good at.  but winning a game against a division rival without plex is great, and sounds like markov was better used too.  dont play him with subban, they’re both too creative.  imagine how awesome our team will be with one of these guys on the ice every night for 50-55 minutes.  you’ll see goals, from somebody.  our highest paid players will start earning their money.  i’m so happy for the future of this team with subban, kids a superstar.  i love the guy.  and price can come back.  i still have love for him (still have for halak too).  so i think most of the changes that have to made for us to be a good team will be made internally (coaching decisions, hoping the best from martin here), and maybe we can free up some space by trading spatch, but its fine if he stays.  him and andrei + prospects for an elite forward seems like a good trade.  anyways, see you guys tomorrow, night

  8. Shiloh says:

    Two points and we didn’t really play that well. Ottawa is hot so we’ll see tomorrow if we’ve turned the corner. Can anyone remember a game where Darche didn’t give 100% – even if he only played a few minutes?

  9. Wayne says:

    Hey Mike, Thanks for the game call and great wrap up as usual. We appreciate your efforts once again.

  10. Jbird says:

    Being on the 3rd line ain’t that bad.  Love live PhD!   . . . . till a couple more games from now when JM takes Darche off the line to get Cammelleri going.

  11. Propwash says:

    Pics from Hurley’s coming soon! Apologise in advance for lousy quality, they were taken from my Blackberry and the room was dark.


    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  12. yathehabsrule says:

    That and I saw your hand, when you were taking the pictures. It was shaking! :p


    Note the new digs! but yeah I’m still on Twitter!

  13. punkster says:

    So glad I bailed before the flashbulbs started to pop.

  14. RGM says:

    Another day, another win. Can’t ask for much for than that.

    Nice to see Pouliot pot a couple, and I do like the Boone-christened PhD line. That’s good stuff.

    Carey, what can we say? I’m sure that it’s getting pretty comfortable at the back of the bandwagon these days. I still retain my prime seat.

    If we can get G&G going, this team will be in the top 5 at the end of the season.

    Go Habs Go!

  15. Mike Boone says:

    PhD is a Dave Stubbs creation. Credit where credit is due.

  16. RiverviewCanadien says:

    Yup Price is playing great, better than I expected and probably most posters (he is really playing great), but hey I will drive the Halak wagon any day of the week, except when he faces the Habs.

    He better be the Griswolds Christmas tree.

  17. tony d says:

    Price and the PhD line made all the difference. They won this one for our boys. Hopefully the other lines will return the favour soon.

  18. RGM says:

    The Stubbs-christened PhD line it is.

    Go Habs Go!

  19. Chuck Chuck Goose says:

    For what it’s worth, he was fishing for suggestions on Twitter and I (presumably along with several others) sent that one his way :-)

  20. Propwash says:

    LOL, I blame that on uber amounts of coffee 😛


    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  21. JD_ says:

    What’s with the lousy quality, Props? The pictures are all dark and look like they were taken with a Blackberry.

    (Thanks for the report back from HI/O HQ.)

  22. Castor says:

    I think the big boys (pun intended) know they’ll need to step it up soon. Here’s hoping they do with Vancouver, Boston and Philly coming up soon…not to mention an energized and revenge seeking Ottawa tomorrow.

    I’m going to be at the game tomorrow…c’mon boys!!!

  23. punkster says:

    Simple and efficient, a concept the Gs have not yet grasped this season. It’ll come.


  24. king ddd says:

    some guys on the AC are tools ( what the hell does denis gauthier knows). we dont need MAB. why dont we give  a chance to webber agin?



  25. Propwash says:

    The problem is, Webber isnt built as a D guy, fine, he has a point shot, but thats about it.


    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  26. habs001 says:

    most of our games this year will be like this…one or two plays or saves will decide games either way for us…we could just as easily lost this game but same story vs the blue jackets…but without the pp working it will be difficult to win vs top teams .

  27. Propwash says:

    Well, to be honest, I took them with my Hasselblad but I’m such a n00b that I couldn’t figure out the focus and exposure….



    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  28. JF says:

    Pouliot’s best game this season, but in spite of all the jokes on HIO about how often he falls down, he’s been good in just about every game, skating hard, finishing his checks, playing with much more instensity than we’d seen in a while.  Many on here were wondering why JM did not put him back on the Gomez line, but maybe the coach knew what he was doing.  Maybe he thought that with Gomez and Gionta struggling and Pouliot still half in the doghouse, the pressure would be too great for him on that line.  Also, if the line did not produce, he would likely be the one taking most of the blame.  Playing with Halpern and Darche, he looks comfortable and confident.

    Speaking of that pair, they have great chemistry; it must come from their time together in Tampa.  Halpern said when he signed here that Darche was a very under-rated player, and I’m beginning to agree with him.  He showed great hustle tonight, and something he does that not enough of our team do is drive to the net.  It earned him a goal the other night, and it helped him set up a couple more.

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