Category Archives: Brendan Gallagher

Whomped In Winnipeg

Winnipeg

I’m sure hoping Dustin Tokarski’s family didn’t make the trek from neighboring Saskatchewan to see the young fellow guard the twine on Thursday night.

Because it just wasn’t Toker’s night as he and the Canadiens got kicked 5-2 by the Jets, with several of the five goals stoppable by our prairie boy backup.

4-1 after two periods. With the Canadiens outshooting Winnipeg 31-13. Over three frames, shots were 41-22 for the visitors. It should’ve been a fine win.

But Ondrej Pavelec shut the door at his end and Toker didn’t at his.

But forget about our goalie. Just one goal on 31 shots by the guys up front? Only two on 41? And of course once again the slightly less than magnificent power play blew the proverbial tire and went 0/4,

Another game, another fizzing out with the man-advantage. Sitting 26th overall on the feeble chart. It’s been going on all season and still hasn’t been sorted out. We’re not asking for much, not expecting the number one power play. How about a heady 17th or 18th or 20th?

Thursday’s loss shouldn’t completely rest on Toker’s shoulders, although it’s easy to do because Carey Price has spoiled us. This lack of offense, especially with the man advantage, is just plain ridiculous,  and as tiresome as hearing Don Cherry talk about how smart he is.

Canadiens got goals from Andrei Markov, who sent a wrist shot through a crowd and narrowed things to 2-1. And a close-in blast from Gally in the third made it a 4-2 game.

But soon after, the Jets scored another, and the Winnipeg crowd got their digs in by singing Ole Ole.

Next up – Saturday in Montreal when the Florida Panthers pay a visit.

A lousy night for the Habs, Toker or no Toker. Outscored and outmuscled, and if the Canadiens continue this gruesome lack of finish, even with Price in nets it’ll be tough sledding in the upcoming post season.

This offense doesn’t strike fear into the hearts of the opposition. Only into the hearts of Habs fans.

 

 

Not Quite For Canadiens

It was 30 seconds of classic P.K. Subban in overtime as he swooped in with the puck and circled back and and fooled oncoming Nashville checkers.

But shortly after, our man would whiff on the puck at the blueline, trip Preds forward Filip Forsberg as he dashed through, and with PK paying for his sins in the box, this same Forsberg would bulge the twine, giving the hometown Nashville Predators a 3-2 win over the Canadiens.

It’s a point, though. And the team played reasonably well, particularly Alex Galchenyuk, P.A. Parenteau, DD, and of course Carey Price.

So all’s well,  and the team now sits with 100 points, which is what the previous year’s team collected after the full 82-game season,  with this these guys still having 8 games left to play.

Nashville scored the lone goal of the first period when Mattias Ekhorn outraced not one, not two, but three Habs in the process (Markov, Pleks, and PK). But early in the second, at 2:28, Brendan Gallagher would fire one home to tie things.

Later on, nice work from P.A. Parenteau to DD put the team ahead and things were looking just fine.

But a bad bounce in the third period that went offJeff Petry tied the game at two, and then in overtime, P.K. did his brilliant to not-so-brilliant flurry that finished with Nashville sealing it.

Random Notes:

The Preds outshot Montreal 31-29.

Alex Galchenyuk had a great chance to score his 20th and ice it with just over two minutes remaining, but couldn’t bury the old biscuit.

Nice to see two elite goaltenders going head to head – Pekka Rinne and our man Price. Both were solid, as expected.

Has there ever been a time this year when the puck went from PK to DD to PA to DLR to DSP?

Next up – the boys head to Manitoba to tackle the Jets on Thursday night.

Another Fine Blanking!

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The Canadiens looked like they were coming off a Demerol party when they lost 4-0 to the Sharks on March 2nd in San Jose, and which kicked off the 3-game hard-to-swallow California crushing.

It had us all in a dither.

But Saturday at the Bell, the boys played hard-hitting, slick passing big time hockey as they slayed the Sharks 2-0, making it three straight wins, four of their last five, coming not long after the aforementioned California slide had us searching for the key to the liquor cabinet.

Great game by the Habs, regardless of the fact the shirtless Joe Thornton told Sportsnet’s Christine Simpson between periods that his line had been in Montreal’s end all game.

Not what I saw, Joe. And really, for the sake of us guys watching, could you please put a shirt on.

Carey Price saved the day when called upon, which could be said for just about every time he’s manned the nets this season, with this being his 9th shutout (tying M.A. Fleury for the lead), and second in a row after beating Carolina 4-0 on Thursday.

The win is also Price 40th of the season, just two back of the Habs all-time leaders Jacques Plante and Ken Dryden, which is absolutely exciting. Price has entered the Land of the Giants.

Tomas Plekanec got his team on the board in the first period, his 22nd of the year, on a great play that gave him most of a wide-open net to shoot at. The goal also came at a great time, with just 1:14 remaining in the period, and we could see that with the way they were playing, taking the lead late like that could very well spell serious trouble for The Shirtless One and his fish.

Brendan Gallagher would notch the insurance marker, his 21st, in the third with the Sharks’ net empty, and with just seconds left and the boys up 2-0, the Ole, Ole song began, with props to the singers. You sang it at the proper time for a change. When the game wasn’t in doubt.

And man, were the last few minutes tense with the goalie pulled and the score still 1-0, and with the game, and a shutout, on the line.

But the Canadiens came through, as they did all night, standing their ground, checking hard, passing well, and all in all, unless you’re a Sharks fan, a mighty fine night at the not-so-old Bell Centre.

A nice, impressive hometown win by the gang, and a tremendous thing to see, considering there’s only nine games to go and maybe, just maybe, they’re rounding into playoff form.

Random Notes:

Tom Gilbert took a puck in the mouth area during the second period and was gone for the night. Hopefully it’s only a chiclet or two and nothing more.

Props to Brandon Prust for playing a fine game, including a nice piece of business on the penalty kill late in the game.

The Canadiens have reached 99 points, tied with Anaheim for top of the heap.

Alex Galchenyuk needs just one more to reach 20 goals.

Next up – Tuesday, when the team hits Music City, U.S.A. to shut out the Predators.

 

Habs Halt Hurricanes

Slightly condensed tonight. Sorry.

Carey Price nailed down his 8th shutout at the Bell on Thursday soir as the boys win 4-0 over the Carolina Hurricanes and look decent while doing so.

Decent except for the second period when they let Carolina have their way a bit too much, and of course had to rely on Price to come up big. (Although a couple of pucks slithered through him and across the crease).

This team is spoiled rotten, having a goalie like Price to save their bacon when they slack off.

Dale Weise opened the scoring in the first by banging home a rebound after Brandon Prust had done much of the legwork, and Brendan Gallagher increased the lead to two after Tomas Plekanec stormed in and Gally finished it off.

In the second frame DD took a nice pass from Tom Gilbert while the boys had the extra man out on a delayed penalty, and in the third, Max, while trying to set up Pleks, had the puck bounce off Hurricanes goaltender and proud Ust-Kamenogorkier (pop. 322,000), Anton Khudobin, for Max’s 35th of the season.

C’mon Max. Five more.

A fine 4-0 win over a team that’s not that great, but a not-that-great of a team that the Canadiens can beat. Unlike others.

It makes my heart soar like the Birdman of Alcatraz’s buddies.

Next up – Saturday, when the Sharks swim into town.

Shots on goal – Canes 31, Habs 22.

Topped By Tampa

The Canadiens fell 4-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night, although they gave it the old college try after falling behind 3-0 before three minutes had been played in the second period.

Unfortunately, old college tries are never good enough because they mean losing. And this was to a growing rival who had already won the first three encounters.

It began poorly, that’s for sure. Brenden Morrow got his stick up into the face of Brian Flynn (who didn’t return) and on the four-minute penalty handed down, the Canadiens, and I know you’ll be shocked by this, failed to score.

Following that, a puck was deflected off Andrei Markov and past Carey Price to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead, and then, not even 24 hours after Max Pacioretty was anointed with a new McDonald’s hamburger (the Max 67), he grabbed the puck along the boards near centre ice, turned, and passed it back to none other than a free as a bird Steven Stamkos, who waltzed in and beat Price.

But because I appreciate Max so much, I’m won’t say anything more about this. Or bring up that pass to an Islanders player the other night that killed Price’s shutout. Because Max has 34 goals on a team that you and I complain about because they can’t score. And he had 39 last year.

He also came close several times after, obviously intent on making up for his faux pas. And if you don’t think any of the greats of the game – Howe, Richard, Hull, Orr, Beliveau, Gretzky, Lemieux etc, pulled a boner once in awhile, you’d be wrong.

Later in the second period, Pleks would finally get his team on the scoreboard while on the powerplay (yes, the powerplay), and in the third frame, P.A. Parenteau banged one home after Tampa goaltender Ben Bishop got crossed up behind the net.

But that was it, because Lars Eller was called for holding with just 2:22 left in the game, and with Carey Price pulled to at least keep things even, Steven Stamkos hit the empty net.

Now it’s across the state to take on the Panthers and hopefully better their record in March to three wins in nine games. Which, of course, is still nasty.

Random Notes:

There were a number of questionable decisions by the officials, including the call not made when Brandon Prust and Mike Angelidis fought and which was clearly started by Angelidis. But the instigator penalty wasn’t called.

And Lars Eller’s holding call in the dying minutes wasn’t flagrant by a country mile, and which of course, killed any chance of the Canadiens  squaring things up.

Shots were even at 34 apiece.

 

 

 

Canadiens Shut Down Coyotes

Lars Eller spun around after taking a smart back pass from Devante Smith-Pelly, fired the puck past Arizona Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith, and the goal, which would prove to be the winner, salvages the Canadiens dreadful western U.S. trip as the boys finally end up in the win column by blanking the Coyotes 2-0.

Smith-Pelly played a better all-round game than what we’ve seen, Carey Price notched his 7th shutout of the season and was his usual spectacular self, and Lars Eller was flying most of the night and redeemed himself in impressive fashion after taking a late-game penalty in L.A. that led to the tying goal by the Kings and all kinds of pain and grief for us.

Brendan Gallagher, set up by Tomas Plekanec, iced the thing with an empty netter.

It was a decent showing by the Canadiens, although the Coyotes sit 28th of 30 teams in the overall feebleness category, so maybe it wasn’t truly impressive. But it was a win that stopped the losing streak at three games, and for now we can take off our hard hats because the sky has stopped falling.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot the Coyotes 35-29, including 15-5 in the first period and 12-8 in the second, but the third frame saw Arizona post 15 shots to the Habs’ 8. But of course, our man Price was there to stop the nonsense.

Max Pacioretty had more than a few great chances to add to his 31 goals, but couldn’t beat Smith. DD, except for one blatant instance when he should have shot and didn’t, played a solid game and handled the puck in deft fashion.

Jeff Petry is showing to be a great addition to the blueline corps. He’s big, smart, a greater skater, good with the puck, and can lay out some bone crushers. Nice to see him wearing the CH.

It’s a solid group of Habs d-men, and I’d match our guys against any team’s.

Next up – Tuesday, when the talented and cocky Tampa Bay Lightning pay a visit to the Bell.

Only 16 Habs games remain in the regular season.

Eller’s Penalty Didn’t Help

Lars

Lars Eller got his stick up into the face of Drew Doughty with just 1:35 left in the third period, with his team winning 3-2 after being down 2-0 to the hometown L.A. Kings, and having stormed back from the dead.

The Kings, of course, with just 45 seconds left in the game, would tie it with Lars in the sinbin, and ultimately take it to a shootout where the Canadiens didn’t get the job done and lose 4-3.

I wish I’d kept track of all the ill-timed, momentum-killing, game-ruining penalties Eller has managed over the past few years. Penalties late in periods, penalties that cancel out power plays, penalties when it’s definitely time to not get penalties. It seems like he’s the king of this &$%#@% category.

I know what the Maharishi would tell me (if I knew him and he was still alive). Take deep breaths. Concentrate on trees and streams. Focus on the good that happened before Lars slipped up.

It’s a shootout loss that yes, gets the team a point, but it should’ve been two, and it should’ve been a cool halt to the California creamin’.

It stings, Maharishi. Just like it probably did when the Beatles dumped you. Eller owes us all a dinner.

The first period was as dreadful as the showings in San Jose and Anaheim. Outshot 13-2 and outscored 2-0. Heck, it was only a few games ago when the boys had shutout the Leafs and won their fourth straight, and we were feeling high and mighty and thinking magnificent thoughts.

But seven periods in California changed all that.

The second frame saw the Canadiens come to life though, and Tom Gilbert, looking like a forward, closed the gap to 2-1 when he swooped in and around Jonathan Quick and lit the lamp. And it became a tie game not long after when Gally took a nice pass from Plekanec and backhanded it home.

In the third frame, Max would notch his 31st on a nice pass from DD, and all was swell in Habsville until Eller’s brain froze like a tray of ice cubes, and with the clock winding down and the Kings on the power play, along with Quick on the bench and the extra man out, the bullet was fired to tie it.

Overtime would solve nothing, and in the shootout, the Canadiens shooters were Chucky (nope), DD and Max (yes), and Eller (post), while Kings skaters buried 3 of 4 on Dustin Tokarski, who overall played a decent game between the pipes.

This mostly lousy four-game road trip comes to an end on Saturday in Phoenix, but things don’t exactly let up. The following four games see the boys tackle the Lightning and Sens at home, and the Islanders and Lightning on the road.

Upcoming strategy? Keep Eller on the bench in crucial situations.

 

 

 

Zinging The Blues

The Canadiens played a solid game in St. Louis on Tuesday, whipping the home team 5-2, with the deal capped off by Carey Price setting a new team record with nine consecutive road wins.

A fine win against a fine team, showing that there’s absolutely no reason why the boys can’t beat any elite Western club when they reach the Stanley Cup Finals.

They also scored five times, something that hadn’t happened since nine games ago when they pasted New Jersey 6-2. It’s been seven times this season when they’ve scored five or more goals, which sounds sort of respectable but it’s not really.

Simply a fine effort by the road warriors, led by Galchenyuk and Gally each with a pair, plus a great goal from Michael Bournival after he stepped out of the penalty box and was sprung free with a dandy pass from Galchenyuk.

Galchenyuk had just returned to action after missing the last two games because of the flu, and thanks should probably go to me after I sent him my flu and cold-killing recipe that involves a precise mixture of Newfie Screetch and  several illegal lab drugs.

The win keeps the boys nicely perched on top looking down, and improves their February record to 7 wins and 4 losses, although they got points in a couple of overtime and shootout losses.

Now it’s on to Columbus for a Thursday night close encounter with the Blue Jackets. It’d be nice if they can score a bunch like they did on this night. Hey, they even buried one on the power play!

Feelin’ good about this win in St. Louis. So good in fact, that I’ve started my playoff beard.

Chewed By Panthers

It took six skaters from each team in the shootout before it was decided, and in the end, the Florida Panthers managed to make both Habs fans and Bruins fan unhappy at the same time.

It seems a truly unnatural act – Habs and Bruins fan on the same page. Doesn’t seem right and I never want it to happen again.

The Panthers left town with a 3-2 win over the Habs, with their two points putting them within spitting distance of the Boston Bruins and the final wild card slot in the East. The Canadiens hang onto first place in the East by a thread, tied with the Islanders, who thumped Nashville 5-2 on this same night, but our boys have a game in hand.

It was going so well too. Carey Price was once again allowing nothing. Brendan Gallagher had his team up 2-0 with a couple of nice goals from close in.

But soon after, the walls came tumbling down. Shortly after Gally’s second marker, Florida narrowed it to 2-1. And in the third frame, a shot from Price’s side blew by him and the game was tied.

The Canadiens had two great chances in overtime, first by Tomas Plekanec who swooped in and was promptly denied, and then Max, in the dying seconds, was also in close but couldn’t get a handle on it.

So that’s that. So far in February the boys are five wins and five losses, the first .500 month this season. Although there are still four games left in the month and maybe they can fix that number in a big way.

A couple of players to mention. Jiri Sekac, after being a healthy scratch lately, was a force to be reckoned with. He skated miles, made great plays and had fine chances, and in my mind was his team’s best player. It was much like the last time he returned after being scratched (remember that? His dad was pissed).

Maybe that’s the key with this first-year fellow. Sit him in the press box every so often. Do it again with a few games left before the playoffs start and have him raring to go when it really counts.

P.K. Subban was a bit of a P.K. Most of us have whined at times about our guy not being able to freewheel like he can, and tonight he was full steam ahead. But he also lost the puck on occasion, made some poor decisions, and kept things slightly uneasy and unorganized as he did his dancing and zipping around.

I don’t know what I want from the poor guy. He’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. All I can say is, I’ll take clever over cute, and PK was a bit too cute on this night.

Canadiens outshot the Floridians 39-21, which should’ve translated to a convincing win don’t you think?

Random Notes:

Brendan Gallagher’s first goal of the night marked his 100th NHL point.

Alex Galchenyuk was out with the flu.

Jarred Tinordi found himself in a scrap with Alex Petrovic after Tinordi had sideswiped Tomas Fleischmann.

Word is Alexei Emelin is gone for six weeks or so. I know some Habs fans won’t miss him at all. But I will.

Former Hab Eric Desjardins was inducted into the Philadelphia Flyers Hall of Fame tonight. Fine player, Desjardins. Traded, along with John Leclair and Gilbert Dionne, to Philly in 1995 for Mark Recchi and a draft pick. Not GM Serge Savard’s finest moment.

Are Mad Dog Kelly, Dave Schultz, and Don Saleski in the Flyers HOF?

Next game for the Canadiens – Saturday, when Columbus pays a visit. Once again, time to right the ship.

And one last thing. Even though I mentioned that I might explain my ongoing personal situation, after thinking about it all day, I realize I’m not able to. It’s too sensitive and could affect others, and there’s just no way to write it properly.