Almost A Habs Night On Saku Night

Canadiens lose 4-3 in a shootout to the Anaheim Ducks, and although it was only one point garnered for the home team, what a night it was.

Saku Koivu came back to an appreciative Bell Centre crowd and proceeded to take three penalties, one which led to Max Pacioretty tying it with 13 seconds left in the third period, which was Max’s second of the night.

It was the tying goal with Saku sweating it out on his big and emotional night.  

A lovefest in fact.

My wife asked me why Alex Kovalev didn’t get this treatment when he returned the first time and I had to explain that things are slightly different with the two. 

Storming back was a lovely thing for Habs fans, which made up a little for Brian Gionta missing the net several times and looking less than great in the shootout when he made a little move and then fell over. Although Benoit Pouliot and Andrei Kostitsyn also looked quite feeble in the shootout.

It was almost like the Canadiens were spent after dramatically tying it up like they did.

And when I say storming back was a lovely thing for Habs fan, maybe it wasn’t for those who wanted things to be perfect on Saku night. I don’t know. I’m hoping all Habs fans wanted a win regardless of the situation.

I’ve not been happy with Gionta lately but I sure am with Pacioretty. No wonder he complained he wasn’t getting a fair shake when he was sent down to Hamilton in the beginning. The guy’s a goal-scoring power forward and should have been with the big club from the get-go.

Our friend Danno was at the game with his dad and they, like the rest of the monster crowd of 21,000, got their money’s worth, with the Canadiens getting it together in the third period and taking over. In fact, it was only Jonas Hiller in the Ducks’ net who stole this game for his teammates. And maybe Bobby Ryan.

Kind of makes one wonder what it would have been like in Ottawa Friday night if the Senators, who allowed seven goals, had a guy like Hiller between the pipes.

Great game and a big point for the Habs. Two bad it couldn’t have been two.

Random Notes:

Mathieu Darche, who has become such an important foot soldier for Montreal, scored the Habs’ other goal.

And although I don’t like to whine too much about officiating, the hooking call on Benoit Pouliot early in the third when the team was working on grabbing momentum, just might be the worst decision this year that I’ve seen by a referee. Pouliot raced back, lifted the guy’s stick in a great play, and was sent off. It’s calls like this that the bosses look at and decide if a referee is worthy of working the playoffs or not. 

I’m thinking this guy will be golfing come post-season.

I haven’t liked the Anaheim Ducks since they came into the league named the Mighty Ducks after a stupid Disney hockey movie.

Next up – Tuesday in the City of Brotherly Greaseballs when the Habs take on the orange Flyers.

18 thoughts on “Almost A Habs Night On Saku Night”

  1. Considering pretty much every ex-Habs who sets foot in the Bell Centre is subjected to some pretty vicious booing by the crowd (hi Max Lapierre), it says something about Koivu’s ties to the city that he’s granted a pass. I’ve heard too many rumors lately about Kovalev wanting to retire in Montreal to which I say hell no.

    The refs were simply brutal tonight, and I’d go on ad nauseum about them but I don’t have an extra $50,000 laying around to fork over to Bettman when he comes charging in on a white elephant to their rescue and demands reparations.

    Props to the Habs who are less likely to lay down and die, at least during the last 20 mins when trailing by a goal or two. Not sure when they threw that switch but I hope it stays on for the rest of the season and any possible post-season play.

    Why was Gio on the shootout? Why was AK? Pouliot I could understand cause he won the last shootout, but where was Max Patches, who was the best Canadiens player all night? Boy I miss Mike Cammalleri sometimes. Yeah, only sometimes.

    If the Habs can’t learn to take some abuse to keep traffic in front of the net, the unfriendly Greaseballs are gonna make the Ducks look like the Bambi-style Disney ducks instead.

  2. It was a valiant comeback, Tyg, and it shows big-time character. I was proud of them for making it a game. The difference was their goalie. He played great, otherwise our boys would’ve had this game way before the shootout. And speaking of which, the shootout was very weak on our part and you make a good point about Max and how he should’ve been there. Big test coming up against Philly.

  3. I have to agree on Pouliot’s penalty, how could anyone argue that was a hook? It became even more riling when the play was repeated with a Duck lifting the stick and not getting called. However, I don’t agree with your assesment that Pacioretty should have been with the big club all along I think the time he spent in Hamilton was critical. He matured and discovered how good he can be. He may have already thought that but it’s different when the stats back up your opinion of yourself.

  4. I heard on sportsnet there was a rumor that the Habs might be interested in re acquiring Kovalev before the deadline. I cannot imagine that ever happening. That would be a step backwards. He only plays every 4th game.

    My wish for this team is to play 53 and a half minutes of hockey every game. it seems they play 20 minutes and hope their goal tender steals the game.

    I agree about Pacioretty. Liked him since day one.

    I really think this team would do well if the coach would let them play a more offensive minded game. I am not advocating no defence but over the last 5 or six games they have played a more a more exciting brand of hockey. Even last night when they poured it on they were able to score. All we need now is a couple of bigger players to stand in front of the net and we’ll be alright.

    Subban is my favorite player now but he has got to learn to do different things when he rushes the puck. Now he always goes wide to the left hand side and does the same move. Its a wierd move that is fooling people now but once people catch on he will quicly be neutralized. Like Montreal did to Ovechkin last year….He rarely creates scoring chances on those plays. He needs to do different things so he doesn’t become so predictable.

  5. Maybe Pac’s time in Hamilton improved him in a big way, D John, so it’s a valid point you make. My thought was that they sent this long-legged forward down who had experience with the big club already and went with about ten midgets. Regardless, he’s been really good now, one of our best, and reminds me of many players of days gone by. I hope he can keep it up.

  6. Dennis, I think my ears are still ringing from the sound of the crowd after the Habs tied it up last night.

    And I can tell Tyg at what point in time the Habs started turning the tide in terms of being able to come back from behind like they have been doing lately.

    I think it first started happening when we came back to beat Boston 3-2 on Jan. 8th on Max Pacioretti’s overtime goal. And ever since then, Pacioretti’s become a big factor in our offensive success.

    And that win against Boston also had some last-minute dramatics as well since it was Brian Gionta’s goal in the last minute of play that sent the match into overtime.

    So, you can never rule the Habs out anymore whenever they don’t score that important first goal.

    And it goes without saying that my Dad and I had a wonderful time in Montreal. Every Hab fan has to do it at least once in their lives.

    We took the Bell Centre tour and also visited the Hall of Fame. I am sure you could spend all day just in the Hall of Fame if you were so inclined to read about every single artifact they have on display. It is just so awesome and chock full of history and tradition. One visit just isn’t enough.

    Getting back to the game, I agree that the officiating left much to be desired and maybe even cost us the win. But this is how the old cookie crumbles and we have to accept that refs will never make our lives easy.

    When we tied it up on Patche’s goal in the third period, the crowd exploded and the Bell Centre was so loud it sounded my head was stuck inside a jet engine. I’ve never experienced anything like it.

    Of course the shootout was a bit of a lunchbag letdown. And I agree that Jacques Martin should have considered Pacioretti and also Plekanec. But hey. Jonas Hiller (the man behind the Darth Vader mask) was on his game. And that bastard Bobby Ryan had to be a friggin’ party pooper and shoot one past Carey Price and that’s all she wrote.

    Price played a solid match stopping 37 shots on goal. And while Hiller was good, he had much less of a workload and only faced 26 shots.

    All in all, a really fine effort and a loss we can put in the honourable column.

    January is looking way better than December did as far as collecting points goes. So far we’ve earned a total of 14 our of a possible 20 which means we are performing at a pace of 70 per cent (.700) so far this month.

    December sucked if you recall. We only got 12 points out of a possible 30 that month as a result of that road trip from Hell.

    But if we keep up the pace we’re keeping now, we should continue to climb the standings and once again enjoy post-season play.

    And this is in spite of several key players being sidelined with injuries.

    One other thing. I ? PK. And so does my Dad.

    And I can tell you after feeling the love at the Bell Centre, 21,271 other fans in attendance love him too.

  7. Note…

    The heart symbol I used doesn’t show up on the second last line above. Instead there’s a question mark. It should say I (love) PK — (love) being the heart symbol which mysteriously was converted into a question mark.

  8. Hey Frank. Oh man that rumour better not be true. The last player we need is Kovalev. I can’t see this happening at all. And you’re right, they have been playing a more firewagon brand the last handful of games. Or part of the games. You make some other fine comments. We need some bigger guys in front of the net (what’s up with Moen. He should be doing this). And they have such freewheeling fast players that they should play a more offensive game. But Jacques Martin just isn’t that kind of coach. I like Subban too, and I also think getting Wiz is the best deal in a long time. He’s an important cog in the machine. Now it’s Philly and it’ll be interesting how they make out against this big, tough and talented team.

  9. Danno, you and your dad are back safe and sound. Good. I was wondering if you guys drove back in inclimate weather after the game as I know just how bad that 417 can be.
    I really need to see the Bell Centre but right now I’m just so far away it’s impossible. Maybe later on and I sure hope so. Yes indeed, I’d love to see the Hall of Fame there. I’d be in heaven.
    What a game you two saw! Wow! I was thinking about you being there often as it was on, especially in the third period when they picked it up. And seriously, twice I looked for you in the crowd and then I had to remind myself I don’t know what you look like.
    Now you’ve seen PK in action and it was a treat I’m sure. Evertbody loves PK. But Mike Milbury on Hockey Night in Canada mentioned a bunch of good rookies in the league this year and failed to mention him of course.
    Good for you guys, Danno, that you saw such a game and had such a great time. It’s also great that you have such a nice relationship with your dad. Not everyone has this and you’re a lucky guy.

  10. The heart symbol thing is a little odd Dennis. But then again, love has always been a mystery.

    I just didn’t want anyone to think I “question” PK. There are already enough knobs out there like Milbury and Cherry who are doing just that. With time they’ll all be proven wrong.

    Maybe when you come to Ottawa in March we can head out to see the Caps vs Habs if time permits…

    And you would be like a babe in toyland in the Hall of Fame Dennis. By the way, they HOF accepts donations, and if you ever needed a new home for some of your excess memorabilia, I can’t think of a more honourable place for them to be displayed.

  11. Danno, when I’m in Ottawa it would be so great to get down to Montreal but I think it’s almost impossible. I have just so much to do and so many folks to see including a brother and sister. But maybe like magic, game day will open up.

  12. What a classy and moving act by the Habs fans, it didn’t come as a surprise to anybody but it’s always nice to see the fans show appreciation to a true Habs Captain.
    And as for the game, I have this slight feeling that Saku took the penalties on purpose, you can take the Captain out of Montreal, but you can’t take Montreal out of the captain. The refs were absolutely brutal. That’s just how it goes, we can’t expect them to win every game.
    Now bring on the Philly Cheese Steaks!

  13. Watched the game on the espn player last night. During the game HNIC did a quick focus on Teemu Selanne and showed this goal celebration seemingly without any sense of irony given their recent slating of one of our favourite sons.

    This was 1992/93, so long ago the baby Jesus was still in nappies.

    Compare oh reader and contrast with more recent history

    One can only assume that it’s the choice of weapon that upset so many. The NRA lobby has some power. Or is it ’cause PK is assumed to be showing too much sympathy for the native American.

    Either way he can’t be accused of somehow taking celebration to new heights.

    Mind you Teemu is a European, with all the moral degeneracy that entails…..

  14. Blue Bayou, PK’s celebration seemed absolutely normal to me and I don’t understand at all what the fuss is about. Oh well. And a little trivia, players didn’t celebrate at all until Billy Reay in the late 1940’s started raising his stick over his head and it caught on. I guess in PK’s case, the stuffed shirts are going to be slow to embrace a little change.

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