Category Archives: Buffalo Sabres

Buffaloed

It was a game the Canadiens should’ve won. But they didn’t

One of those bad bounces off the glass that we see from time to time killed the mood, the tie, and the legs Montreal had finally found after being off all week. Halted quicker than a Brian Gionta head into an Alexei Emelin shoulder pad.

There was just 1:18 left in the third period, with the score tied 1-1, when a puck shot in from outside the blueline took one of those crazy caroms off the glass and headed out front where Matt Moulson was.

That was it. Buffaloed by a bad bounce. All Carey Price could do was look from afar, having left the premises to corral what should’ve been a puck around the back.

The breaks of the game, a game which had come alive only in the third, and which ended 2-1 for a team fighting it out with Edmonton and Columbus for best basement dweller.

Random Notes:

Buffalo’s Tyler Ennis opened the scoring with a beauty of a goal, a second effort that he’d eventually backhand behind Price, and which you’ll probably see on the highlights any second now.

I thought Eric Tangradi, playing his first game as a Hab, was impressive. He’s a huge 6’4″, 221 lb. left winger with 136 previous games in the NHL with Pittsburgh and Winnipeg, is a good skater for a big man, seems like he could create serious havoc when riled, and he seemed to fit in nicely on the fourth line.

Love the big guys who can play. Love the idea of what he might add as a bonafide power forward. But we’ll see. It’s just one game. I thought Rene Bourque was going to be a good power forward too.

Emelin clocked Gionta near the boards with a shoulder to the head and was given two minutes for it, at which time shortly after, Moulson scored the winner.

Gionta was pissed, but if he was a few inches taller, it would’ve been a great check. Gionta’s just a tiny bugger who collided with a hard shoulder pad. All’s fair in love and war.

Brandon Prust said something out there that got him a minor, a misconduct, and a game. We may or may not hear what he said, and if it comes out, I hope his mother doesn’t see it.

Jiri Sekac continues to look great.

P.A. Parenteau scored his team’s lone goal from a mad scramble in the crease.

Shots on goal – Montreal 31, Buffalo 25.

Next up – Buffalo at the Bell in a few hours.

 

Blitzed In Big Apple

Times-square-manhattan-new-york-nyc-crossroads-world

It was like watching a sampling of last year’s Eastern Conference Final between the Habs and Rangers. Habs couldn’t do much, the Rangers could.

The Canadiens just didn’t seem to have their legs, losing 5-0 to a Rangers team that was in control from start to finish. Basically every guy throughout the Canadiens lineup had an off night and need a good solid scolding from their mothers.

Serious pressure on Henrik Lundqvist was basically non-existent. Loosey goosey defence. Glaring mistakes that led to goals, from Alex Galchenyuk swatting the puck towards Dustin Tokarski instead of away from him and which landed on a Ranger stick, to Alexei Emelin getting stripped of the puck by Martin S. Louis, to Tom Gilbert being soft with his man in front of the net, to the forwards and defence letting Rick Nash waltz in alone.

But it’s fine because the nasty stretch has ended, a stretch that began on November 5th and ended on November23rd, 10 games in 19 days, and because the schedule maker has some sort of twisted sense of humour, the boys don’t play again until next Friday, 5 days from now.

But this thing definitely smelled of last year’s playoffs. The Rangers outskated the Habs by a country mile. And last year’s Rangers heros Lundqvist, St. Louis, and Moore were heros on this night too.

Montreal showed almost no attack and it was a fairly easy night for Lundqvist. Except for that fun time when Brandon Prust collided with him and which led to Kevin Klein dropping the gloves with Prust, which led to Prust pounding Klein with a flurry of knuckle sandwiches.

Random Notes:

Rangers outshot Canadiens 34-21, and now the Habs moms are free to party in Manhattan. Look out New York.

Next game – Habs in Buffalo on Friday, and then the two teams are back at it in Montreal on Saturday.

 

 

Habs Win In Buffalo

buffaloCan the Canadiens win against Josh Gorges, Brian Gionta, and the lowly Buffalonians? My confidence is shattered.

Jiri Sekac and Jarred Tinordi are in, Rene Bourque’s a healthy scratch, and Mike Weaver has come down with the flu.

Is it only a coincidence that both Weaver and Lucy are sick at the same time? Is Weaver having an affair with my wife?

Dustin Tokarski is starting in nets for the Canadiens, and I want to get this out right now. Tokarski’s teammates call him Ticker and not Toker, probably because word has come down from above that there will be no marijuana connotation.

The Canadiens organization is all about image and I’m guessing they aren’t crazy about the nickname Toker. But it’s what I prefer, so here at least, it’s Toker.

The boys have also been playing like they’ve been toking between periods.

First Period:

0-0.

Habs – slightly boring. Period in general – more than slightly boring.

Michael Bournival got crunched and it looks like a shoulder problem.

Neat play of the period – Sekac showed some fine moves when he did some dangling on one particular shift.

On the plus side, Toker’s working on a shutout. On the minus side, so’s the Buffalo goalie.

Second Period:

0-0. The shutout is still in effect. Boring is also still in effect.

Neat play of the period – um….Pleky and Max coming close when shorthanded?

Disappointing play of the period – Canadiens came in on a 3 on 1 and Manny Malhotra shot it over the net.

Third Period:

ET LE BUT!!! 1-0 Habs when P.A. Parenteau converts a P.K. rebound. It’s hard to believe and I don’t know what to say.

But…hold on. After Jiri Sekac crushed Zadorov into the end boards, the Sabres tied it up on the power play.

1-1.

Better period but it still sucked.

Neat play of the period – I forgot to write it down if there was one.

Overtime:

Two great chances by Max, both foiled by Neuvirth.

Shootout:

Them – yep
Galchenyuk – yep
Them – nope
DD – nope
Them – nope
Parenteau – yep

Canadiens win 2-1. Not great by a long shot, but it’s two points and maybe they can become motivated by this.

Next up – Saturday, when gambling kingpin Thomas Vanek and the Minnesota Wild visit the Bell.

Habs Hear The Boos

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They were doing so well too. A whack of wins in October. Then…….

First Period:

In spite of the fact the Canadiens looked swell and outshot the visiting Chicago Blackhawks 11-5, they of course fell behind 1-0 because that’s what they do. Fall behind. Or at least in 11 of the 13 games they’ve been in.

They had some fine chances too. Parenteau. DD. I’m sure there were others too. It’s all too hazy. But no one scored because that’s what they do. They wait for the other team to score first.

I like what they’re doing. They’re so good they’ve decided to spot other teams a goal, just like we did when we were kids and we had a ringer on our team.

Neat play of the period? Carey Price lunging by the crossbar to push a floating puck away.

Second Period:

Unlike the first period, the Canadiens were a bit of a mess as Chicago outshot the boys 17-8.

2-0 Hawks on a weird bounce. My dedicated Habs fan wife is now reading Facebook.

Neat play of the period – Price sticking his paddle out to stop a Marian Hossa shot.

Not-so-neat play of the period – P.K. Subban nullifying (screwing) his team’s power play by taking a dumb holding penalty.

Not-so-neat play of the period, part two – Tom Gilbert letting his stick fly around into a Hawk player’s face and getting a double minor with just under 4 minutes left in the period.

That sinking feeling is giving me indigestion.

Third Period:

P.K. Subban covered his man in front of the net the way Tomas Kaberle would and presto, his man, Brad Richards, made it 3-0 visitors.

4-0.

Neat play of the period – boos from the crowd.

5-0.

Random Notes:

Tonight (Wednesday) in Buffalo. The Sabres are way down in the basement. Which doesn’t mean a thing of course.

Will the Canadiens score first? Will they score on the power play? Will they score? The answers, my friends, are blowing in the wind.

Summer Notes From Habsville

A number of things happened Habs-wise this summer, the most surprising being I was able to decipher the notes I’d made regarding the things that happened Habs-wise this summer.

Gone are Daniel Briere, Josh Gorges, Brian Gionta, Tomas Vanek, Ryan White, Douglas Murray, George Parros, and anthem singer Charles Prevost Linton.

Francis Bouillon, at this writing, remains stranded on the desert island named Limbo. Douglas Murray’s island is slowly sinking. George Parros’ island is somewhere near the lost continent of  Atlantis.

White now finds himself in Philadelphia where one of his jobs will be to protect captain Claude Giroux from grabbing police officers’ buttocks, and Bouillon’s future seems secure. If he doesn’t find a hockey job, the City of Montreal is ready to step in and make him a fire hydrant.

Auditions are now in process for the anthem singing gig. Unfortunately, management, with a somewhat prickly attitude, has informed me that I’m not allowed to be singer AND stick boy.

Forward P.A. Parenteau, from Colorado in exchange for Briere, is now part of the family, and Gorges and Gionta aren’t, as the two UFAs were picked up by Buffalo, a place Gionta is probably happy about being. Gorges, maybe not as much, considering it’s Buffalo.

Parenteau is 31 and hopefully more effective than Briere, who is on the verge (Oct. 7th) of becoming 37. Gorges’ passion and shot blocking will be missed. Gionta’s captaincy will be replaced in a year or two, and until then, Max, Markov, Pleks and P.K. will serve as assistant captains.

In the spirit of fairness, Markov, with the most seniority, should be the one to accept the Stanley Cup from Mr. Bettman next spring.

Signings this summer involved free  agents Manny Malhotra (1-year, from Carolina), Tom Gilbert (2-years, from Florida), and goaltender Joey MacDonald (1-year, from Calgary). And Jiri Sekac from the KHL Lev Praha squad signed a two-year entry level deal.

Those with new contracts include P.K. Subban, at 9 million a year for 8 years. Apparently there is no truth to the rumour that P.K. has bought the Sun Life Building in downtown Montreal to use as his winter residence, so you can stop thinking about that.

Regulars Andrei Markov (3 years), Dale Weise (2-year extension), Mike Weaver (1 year), Lars Eller (4 years), and coach Michel Therrien (4-year extension), also penned their names on paper.

Chosen in the 2014 Entry draft, 26th overall, was Moscow-born Nikita Scherbak, who looks, speaks, and plays like a young Alex Galchenyuk, who’s a grizzled old guy now.

Assistant coach Gerard Gallant is now the head guy in Florida and replaced by Montreal native Dan Lacroix.

Lacroix helped out behind the Rangers bench last year, and if it was he who advised the despicable Chris Kreider to run Carey Price and then Dustin Tokarski, he should be hung by the thumbs outside a Bell Centre window for several hours, and then be forced to teach our guys (aside from Brendan Gallagher) how to run goalies too.

Player Development guru Patrice Brisebois leaves and replaced by former NHLer Rob Ramage. And Trevor Timmins has had the title “Vice President of Player Personnel” added to his “Director of Amateur Scouting” handle.

Timmins is widely respected, particularly in Northern Ontario where they named a small city after him.

Former Canadiens captain Saku Koivu, an ultra-talented battler if there ever was one, retired after 1124 regular season games played, with his last 5 seasons in Anaheim and 13 years and one lockout season with Montreal before that. Thank you Saku, for all you did for the Montreal Canadiens and the city. Which was plenty.

And finally, Mensa member Brad Marchand mentioned that he dislikes Tomas Plekanec quite a bit. “Anybody who spells “Thomas” without  an “H” is a rotten bastard”, said Brad.

Other things could happen in the days and weeks too. If so, just mentally paste them to this.

The Controversial Brett Hull Goal

During the third overtime period of game six of the 1999 Cup Finals between the Dallas Stars and Buffalo Sabres, the Stars’ Brett Hull scored the winning goal that gave his team the Stanley Cup.

The Sabres and much of the hockey world screamed blue murder over this, as Hull’s foot was in the crease.

Below is the video of the play and explanation from Supervisor of Officials Bryan Lewis, and below the video are a couple of pucks (both sides), produced afterwards, that kinda show that the lovin’ feeling was lost with Sabres fans.

puck 1

puck 2

puck 3

puck 4

Canadiens Blank Buffalonians

Habs win 2-0 against Buffalo at the Bell and the beauty of a game like this is that because not much happened, I don’t have to babble on and on and I can go to bed.

The Canadiens just didn’t have much in the way of fire, coming off big games in Toronto and Boston, and it’s understandable. These guys aren’t machines. The emotion was spent.

Two big games and then a third one in four days against a team lower than J.J. Daigneault’s hairline. It was like watching a violin recital after a Little Richard concert.

But they got the win, Carey Price played well and nailed down a shutout, and the boys have now won six of the last seven. It makes my heart soar like a Red Footed Booby.

It took two and a half periods before the Canadiens’ first goal was scored against Matt Hackett, Jeff’s nephew playing in only in his second NHL game, when Max converted a nice passing play involving linemates Vanek and DD.

Six minutes later the team struck again when Daniel Briere beat Hackett, and that’s how it ended up.

Oh, there was a brief disagreement near Price when the game ended, but it was quickly snuffed and two points are in the bag. Now it’s Detroit on Thursday to start thinking about.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – Habs 35, Sabres 24

The Leafs lost their sixth straight, 5-3 to St. Louis.

 

Two Big Points In Buffalo

Dustin Tokarski and company blank the Buffalo Sabres 2-0 on Sunday night, and although it wasn’t a classic, the Canadiens were in control for the most part and they have to feel good about that.

Score four goals in less than five minutes on Saturday, and have their third-string netminder pull off a shutout on Sunday. That’s Habs magic to me.

Just a mighty successful weekend that sees the gang remaining nicely lodged in playoff shape instead of slipping and sliding and having us all wondering if the post season is in the cards or not.

The Canadiens, with this win, jump ahead of Toronto into second place in the Atlantic Division, bump Tampa Bay down to a wild card spot, and are a lofty third overall in the east.

Third overall. It’s amazing.

But there can be no serious faltering. That’s when we get mad at them and we hate that.

Both goals In Buffalo came midway through the first, with Dale Weise scoring his first as a Hab and Brendan Gallagher notching his seventeenth. And for Toker between the pipes, it was his first NHL shutout.

Now the task at hand is to prepare for Patrick and the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night. How sweet it would be to win this and there’s no reason why they can’t.

The boys have picked it up, and although some fans are getting impatient with Thomas Vanek, I don’t think it should be the case.

Vanek’s getting solid chances, he and linemates DD and Max have been dangerous often, and whether or not he’s scored, a new and important dimension has been added with him in the lineup even though it’s not always obvious.

Random Notes:

Habs outshot the Sabres 32-28.

Lars Eller skated well and showed confidence. Same with Weise.

And speaking of confidence, PK certainly had his moments. Fine moments. In particular, one play late in the game when he dazzled with the puck on his feet and stick. If only he would’ve scored.

Sabres For The Third Time

Canadiens face the Sabres in Buffalo tonight (7:00 pm), and after the drama of last night, the boys should play with big time passion.

One would think anyways.

Unless they were so pumped from last night none of them could sleep and tonight they play like it.

Carey Price is staying behind to get some added rest for his knee before Patrick Roy’s gang arrives on Tuesday, and why not? A few extra days to get the knee shipshape is smart.

And beating Patrick and his pupils would be incredibly satisfying for all concerned. Including us of course.

I just hope Price didn’t damage it slightly more last night.

The Habs and Sabres have squared off twice before in this year, beginning on November 27 in Buffalo when the Canadiens won 3-1, which was their fourth straight win at the time.

It was also the night Douglas Murray and behemoth John Scott went toe to toe and although Murray fared well, his face ended up a bloodied mess.

The second time these two teams met was on December 7th, a game Luci and I were at, and which ended in a 3-2 win for the Canadiens, although they played poorly.

At that point the boys had won 9 of 10 games and had caught Pittsburgh for first place in the east, but it was the beginning of some mediocre outings for the team which had been going so well up until then.

The Canadiens would lose their next three of four, get into some maddening “win one, lose one” sequences, and even get to a point not long after when they lost six of eight games.

After that December 7th game against Buffalo and up until now, Montreal has won 17 of 37 games, which has kept them in the thick of things, but isn’t exactly overwhelming.

Hoping we can look back at the March 15th comeback win at the Bell as the beginning of great things for the Canadiens. Which means a big game  tonight in Buffalo to get the ball rolling.

 

 

 

Holy Mackerel, Habs Pull It Out!

Three goals by a down and out Habs team with just over three minutes left in the third, and then the winner in overtime.

I was getting set to rant and rave and now I won’t have to. Talk about going from upset to feelin’ good. Boom shakalacka!

The game at the Bell began in fine fashion for the Canadiens. Daniel Briere scored just 38 seconds in and the boys dominated the Sens, outshooting them 17-4 with Briere and Thomas Vanek getting several great chances, and others like DD having their moments too.

But aside from Briere’s marker, no one could score as usual, Ottawa got one, and we’ve seen this before. Burst out of the gate and slowly but surely the other team picks up steam when the game should’ve been out of reach.

It became the same old thing. Scoring dried up. Tiring to say the least.

No surprise when it became 2-1 in the second for Ottawa, who outplayed Montreal in the frame.

In the third, it was soon a depressing 3-1 and then 4-1. I was ready with my thoughts. Again they can’t score. They blew their chances. It was going to be four straight losses. The power play was a dismal 0-6. The EGG line at this point was -11.

And then it began. Like Pit Lepine, Sprague Cleghorn, the Rocket and all the gang pulling strings from above.

Lars Eller made it 4-2 at 16:38 of the third, and the team was still so far from a comeback that Eller didn’t dare crack a smile.

At the 17:56 mark, Brian Gionta bulged the twine and it was 4-3, and a small glimmer of hope became a large wheelbarrow full.

Finally, with a Senator in the box for misbehaving and Carey Price pulled to make it a 6 on 4 advantage, David Desharnais shot one over the hot-headed Robin Lehner with less than a second left and the game, miraculously, was tied.

And just 1:26 into overtime, Francis Bouillon won it for his team and us.

It’s hard to believe what we just witnessed. The Canadiens needed these two points badly, and they did it in such heart stopping fashion.

A great win, and have you ever seen such crying to the refs as the Sens did after the last couple of goals? You blew it, Ottawans. Suck it up.

Random Notes:

Marjo and her son were at this game, fifteen rows behind the Canadiens bench. Talk about a game to get tickets for, and I’m happy for them that they saw a mind blower.

Canadiens outshot Ottawa 48-34 on the night, but until the last three minutes, could only score one measly goal. But that’s all forgotten now. Sort of.

Carey Price had no chance on a couple at least, and it was reassuring to see him finally back on the job.

Healthy scratches included Parros, White, Bourque and Tinordi.

Onwards to Buffalo for a Sunday 7 pm game against the Sabres. Can’t wait to see how the Canadiens play after this whopper.