Category Archives: Carey Price

Still Alive After Game Five!

The Montreal Canadiens are alive and well and clawing back after edging Tampa Bay 2-1 win in a game five thriller at a noisy and electric Bell Centre.

Now it’s back to the Sunshine State for a Tuesday night showdown, with the Habs feeling good and finding momentum, and the Lightning slightly on their heels and wondering how they squandered a 3-0 series lead and now could be screwed.

If you have to work Tuesday evening, quit. If you’re getting married that night, don’t. If your baby is due around game time, have it at home in front of the TV.

What a great game this Saturday night affair in Montreal was, wild and wooly, with the Habs grabbing the lead nine minutes into the first period when Devante Smith-Pelly’s wrist shot rang off the crossbar and in doing so, took the all-important lead and gave us big time hope.

Exciting and wondrous, and my pulse raced and my heart skipped several beats. Quivering sensations ran up and down my body. Just really nice camera shots of Angela Price.

The team had been a tad outmatched in the beginning, but Smith-Pelly’s goal reversed the flow. After that, the boys looked much better, their power play, although not scoring, was impressive as they moved the puck around, and the period also saw three pucks banged off posts behind and around Ben Bishop.

In final frame the Bolts pushed hard and were rewarded with a Steven Stamkos goal, and I’m assuming that Habs fans who bite their fingernails chewed hard. For me, because I don’t bite my nails, I gnawed on my arms.

As nerve-wracking as can be, but with the clock winding down, PA Parenteau took a PK Subban pass and just as Smith-Pelly had done in the first period, rang the puck off the crossbar and into the netting. The home team held on, we breathed a big and happy sigh of relief, and I wrapped my arms with towels to stop the bleeding.

Can they do it again and then again after that? Of course they can, because momentum has swung, the guys can taste and feel it, they’re playing well now and the power play seems on the verge. The Lightning also know they’ve been outmatched often in the series.

But the Canadiens have to play another beauty on Tuesday, and then again on Thursday. They can do it. Everybody knows it now.

Carey Price has been as cool as a cucumber of course, and was brilliant, especially when he robbed Val Flippula with a glove save when Tampa was pushing early in the third. Price did his job and the gang in front of him went about their business and got it done. And it was only just a few days ago that I decided that I hated hockey.

Ben Bishop was good too, although high shots seem to trouble him, he’s a bit of a complainer, and in heavy traffic he goes down more than Linda Lovelace. Maybe a few more high shots past him and we’ll see that lousy Russian guy between the pipes again!

Random Notes:

Montreal outshot the visitors 29-25, and although they once again went 0 for 3 on the power, they looked great with the man advantage, especially with Jeff Petry quarterbacking from the blueline. They controlled things in slick fashion and came within a whisker of scoring several times.

They also stayed out of the penalty box all evening.

Tuesday, and remember – don’t work that night, don’t get married, and if you have a baby, have it in the TV room.

 

 

Boys Bomb Bolts

Such a character win by the Canadiens. I’m prouder than a peacock.

They’ve could’ve folded the tent after that murderous last-second goal in game three, but instead, they game out flying, got that first goal early, then another and another, and the series now shifts back to Montreal after the gang that couldn’t shoot straight took out the cocky Lightning with a tremendous 6-2 shellacking.

It was interesting to see one of the Tampa players in the corridor minutes before the game, shown during the first intermission, singing and having a grand old time. Sing some more, buddy. Maybe the blues? Maybe a hurtin’ tune?

Finally the breaks went the Canadiens way. Pucks that stayed out before went in this time. Ben Bishop was chased after the third goal and his replacement, Andrei Vasilevsky, was fairly lousy. Fans left early to water their palm tress.

Heck, Montreal even managed a power play goal, which in itself, is a mind blower of epic proportions. And Max’s shorthanded marker left me hanging from the chandelier.

Two goals in the first period, beginning with Andrei Markov converting a PK setup from a slightly difficult angle.

Next was Max’s shorty, and in the second period, Bishop was yanked after gloving a DD slapshot but then losing it. Craig Simpson on HNIC disagreed with coach Jon Cooper’s decision to switch goalies, but it worked for me.

The score became a juicy 4-0 when Jeff Petry, on the power play, finished it off after PK and Chucky and the gang threw it around in fine style, and just 15 seconds later, Brendan Gallagher let go a blast from the right side that Vasilevsky is still looking for.

It was good, real good, although Tampa would beat Carey Price twice after the 5-0 score was built, with their second just 17 seconds into the third. The Lightning weren’t going to pot three more, no way, but I was nervous anyway.

Brandon Prust converted Lars Eller’s rebound in the third period, the Bolts were officially fried, and it’s back to the Bell for a rousing game five and another one shift, one game at a time deal.

Random Notes:

Canadiens once again handily outshot Tampa, this time 40-24. Last night it was 31-19. And people say the Lightning are the better team?

I saw the game in a somewhat different place with a bunch of distractions that included that call from producers telling me I’m a “World’s Most Handsome Man” finalist. Pissed me off. So did that photo shoot with the Playboy bunnies during the second intermission.

But I still saw the game. I just wish these people would leave me alone.

 

 

 

 

Not Much To Say

I’ll be a man of few words here. I need to get to the local drug dealer and stock up. Without him I’m not able to face reality.

It seemed like only yesterday when the Canadiens were making us excited and hopeful. And then the playoffs started.

They played a fine game and should’ve won the thing, but they couldn’t beat Ben Bishop (aside from Brendan Gallagher’s third period marker), there wasn’t a break to be had as pucks came oh so close, some hit posts, the big bastard stopped 30 shots, and all in all, Montreal could’ve racked up four or five goals if even a bit of luck was on their side.

Tampa even went 16 minutes in the second period without recording one measly shot on Carey Price. And they still won.

The home team made it 2-1 with just over a second remaining in the third period, and things are grimmer than grim for the team everyone hates except 10 million of us worldwide. And now they’re down 3-0 in the series.

Just over a second left. Where’s that drug dealer?

The Canadiens haven’t bested the Bolts even once this year (8 games), and it could all come to a crashing halt on Thursday night.

Unless they play like they did tonight and things go their way for a change.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot the Lightning 31-19 and were 0 for 2 on the power play.

Unimpressive Habs

What’s the opposite of smart? The Canadiens in game two.

Blown out 6-2 by the Tampa Bay Lightning, due to a plethora of penalties on a night when the penalty killers couldn’t get the job done and the team as a whole enjoying a nice little Bell Centre sleepover.

The team wasn’t good enough, not by a long shot. 6-2. What the %#*&^ is that?

Penalties killed them, with the boys, led by Brandon Prust, in the box for 53 minutes compared to Tampa’s 13. The Lightning went  4 for 8 with the extra man, while the Canadiens offered up their usual 0 for 3.

And of course, good old Chris Lee was one of the zebras, chosen by the league to work the game (along with Brad Watson). When a referee has a reputation for being a dickhead when working Habs games, why isn’t he assigned another series instead? Wouldn’t it be the thing to do?

I’ll bet Lee’s dad hated the Habs. But regardless, it was mostly Montreal players shooting themselves in the foot all night and not so much anything else.

It had started out well, though, with Jeff Petry sending a wrist shot from the point that beat Ben Bishop and which gave the Habs something as rare as a power play goal – the first goal of the game and an early lead.

Later on, Torrey Mitchell had a great shorthanded chance that might have boosted momentum and made us giddy now instead of the opposite, but it didn’t happen of course. Nothing really happened.

Everything just caved in, beginning when Brandon Prust was given two minutes for roughing and then two for unsportsmanlike conduct for trying, unsuccessfully, to goad Braydon Coburn.

And although the Canadiens killed off the four minutes in impressive style, just seconds later, PK Subban felt the need to do some mindless crosschecking and was promptly sent off, and during PK’s stay in the sinbin, the Lightning quieted the Bell Centre and sent us scurrying to the liquor cabinet by taking the lead with just 24 seconds remaining in the period.

Fast forward to the second period and Steven Stamkos in alone and deking out Carey Price with the greatest of ease, a couple of Lightning power play goals with Gilbert in the box and then Petry, and move on to the third where the Lightning scored once again on the PP to make it 5-1.

Wedged in was a Tom Gilbert goal from the blueline to make it 5-2 before the Lightning added another.

Two goals for the Habs, both from blueliners not known for their goal scoring, while the marksmen up front accomplished nothing. In fact, only Max, in game one, has been able to bulge the twine other than Petry and Gilbert.

It’s tremendously pathetic and discouraging. How do you win playoff games when the boys are on an extended coffee break?

It was also only Habs in the penalty box in the third period to add to the misery, when discipline was needed the most and what obviously didn’t happen. But it was a 4-1 game when the puck was dropped for the third period, so I suppose the game was basically over anyway.

Mitchell for interference on the goalie, Weise a 10 minute misconduct, Mitchell for face-off violation when he grabbed the puck, and Prust for a whack of things including ten minute and game misconducts after tussling with Coburn and throwing an elbow pad into the Lightning bench.

Nutty stuff. Undisciplined and unacceptable, and not the way to be successful in the playoffs. Everybody knows this. But somehow, the Canadiens, in this game two, forgot.

I’ve always loved a feisty team. I’m just not crazy about a dumb team.

Game three on Wednesday night. Another showing like this and we’re screwed. But unless we go down three games to none I’m staying positive. It’s in my blood. Sort of.

 

 

Opener Goes To Tampa

Hockey puck crossing red goal line. Close view

A game of thrills and spills, of hit posts and pucks near goal lines, of guys skating like the wind and bumping and creating fine chances  in a tough, hard-fought affair. All in all, a fine game one.

Except the Canadiens lost 2-1 in overtime to the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning.

It’s a heartbreaker but not disheartening, because Montreal, for the most part, looked just fine, and there’s no reason not to think that the series is for the taking.

For me, one of the better games the Habs have played all season, aside from the fact that most of the guys seem to have forgotten how to score.

My advice, from a guy who was a smallish-yet-shifty right winger for Orillia’s Byers Bulldozers midgets? Shoot the puck at the net. And sometimes ring one off Bishop’s face mask for good measure, like what happened tonight. More of that would be good.

I also liked seeing the game go into the second overtime period. The Lightning had just come off a hard-fought seven-game series against Detroit that ended just two days prior, and fatigue should begin to show as things wear on. Especially when these two teams play back-to-back games in Tampa next week.

If the Canadiens are in tip top condition, which they should be, they’ll soon wear these buggers down. I remain completely confident about the outcome of this series. But a few of the scorers need to score of course. Is it asking too much?

It took until the third period before the lamp was finally lit, when a tip from a point shot eluded Carey Price. That was it. A one-goal game. And the way Lightning backstopper Ben Bishop was holding the fort, odds were that not a single puck would find its way behind him.

Some of Bishop’s magic was pure luck though, as in the case of Tomas Plekanec while killing a penalty, having a wide-open net, and  what looked to be a spectacular save by Bishop. But I’m saying the puck was shot right into the goalie’s glove.

Patrick Roy would’ve raised his catching glove high into the air in dramatic fashion on a save like that, like he’d pulled off something just short of the greatest save ever made. In reality, if the glove is positioned properly, often pucks will zoom in and people will ooh and aah, even though the goalie was basically full of shit.

With just 5:13 remaining in that frame, Max Pacioretty, who looks 100% after recovery from his head-into-boards incident back on April 5th against the Panthers, sped in and sent a wrist shot that Bishop gloved and then let drop, with the momentum of the puck crossing  the line, and suddenly the game was tied.

A glorious moment for Habs fans from Powell River to Pacaraima. Playoffs baby!

Tied until 2:06 of the second overtime period. And then, just like that, it was over.

Looking good, though. Sunday night the boys even the series!  I’m pretty sure about this.

Random Notes:

Habs outshot the Lightning 44-35 and won 55 faceoffs to Tampa’s 34. They also went 0 for 3 on the power play. Can you imagine the day when Montreal might go 3 for 3 or 4 for 4 on the power play? The thought scrambles my remaining brain cells.

Although Tampa was 0 for 4 on their man-advantages, so both teams sucked equally in this regard.

Alex Galchenyuk took three penalties, played a semi-par game for the most part, but also came close to ending things with 40 seconds left in the first overtime frame. But he didn’t.

Dale Weise also came close to being the hero, in the second OT period, just before Nikita Kucherov sank the dagger.

 

 

 

 

 

Price & Co. Snuff Sens

Ye Olde Coffin Nail

It wasn’t easy, for the players and for us, but with Carey Price being Carey Price, the Canadiens move on and the Sens don’t.

A big 2-0 shutout win in game six to end the drama. As tense as can be with the Senators swarming the Canadiens goal, with shrieks and oohs and aahs filling Canadian Tire Centre as the Sens poured it on with the clock winding down.

But Price and company withstood those heart-stopping moments, and now wait patiently for the Detroit-Tampa to end, with the Red Wings currently up 3-2 in the series.

Of course, whenever one talks to a Sens fan anytime over the next eight months or so, the conversation will center around the play being  whistled dead when Price bobbled the puck and it was banged home. But from where referee Chris Lee was standing, Price had the puck and that was that.

A good and proper call. Sorry Sens fans.

For the first time in the series, Montreal opened the scoring when Brendan Gallagher batted home a bouncing puck, and overall, the Canadiens as a whole played a fine, hard-working first period.

It’s a beautiful thing when the team is in the lead instead of behind, and not having us wonder if Craig Anderson can be beaten and a game made of it. A much better feeling. Love those leads.

It was just a matter of getting a second goal, which ultimately didn’t happen until Max sent it down the ice into the open net in the dying seconds. We need the Habs to open the scoring more often. It’s much easier on the nervous system and several vital organs. A second goal soon after would be nice too.

The second period saw the Canadiens play their disturbing ‘sit back’ type of game, at one point being outshot 12-1 and totaling 16-3 overall, but Lars Eller rang one off the post and and Tomas Plekanec had an amazing chance to buried it but it sailed over the net instead.

So regardless of the fact the boys were outshot, they still showed slivers of danger. How the air would’ve left the building if Eller or Pleks had buried one of those. It would’ve been a beautiful thing.

In the third period, Canadiens found themselves with a plethora of great chances, including a Parenteau and Mitchell combo on one sequence, Weise on another, and at least two from Brandon Prust. Beautiful chances, and when no light was lit, dark clouds began to form. We knew how these things usually work. Great chances, no goals, and the other team scores shortly after.

That’s how it usually works. Just not tonight. Because Carey Price was Carey Price and his teammates for the most part, stood their ground. Good, grinding hockey while withstanding an Ottawa team that refused to let up.

So nice to be rid of the Ottawa Senators. I’ll spend a couple more seconds thinking about them, and then begin wondering about the Wings and Bolts.

Either will be tough, but nobody said winning the Stanley Cup would be easy. For the players or us.

Random Notes:

Ottawa outshot the Habs 43-20.

Andrei Markov was a bit of a disaster, coughing up pucks, looking slow, showing uncharacteristic sloppiness with the puck from start to finish. We need Markov to be the general and in strict control out there, not a Mike Komisarek or Dion Phaneuf clone.

Hard and effective workers included, among others,  PA Parenteau, who was inserted into the lineup for Brian Flynn; Brandon Prust, who played a feisty game and as mentioned, had a handful of good scoring chances; Brendan Gallagher, who scored what became the winner and was his usual Gallagher self; Lars Eller, who once again was excellent; and of course Price, who rose to the occasion after not exactly being on top of things the other night.

Maybe it was my ears, but I think I heard the wild and crazy Glenn Healy give us what he called a Beatles reference when he mentioned things being “A long day’s night.” It’s “A Hard Day’s Night” Glenn. Or maybe you were thinking of “A Long and Winding Road”. Regardless, leave the Beatles out of your mutterings.

Tampa and Detroit play game six on Monday. We watch and wait.

 

 

 

 

Canadiens Fail To Sweep

Before I start, there’s something you might not have heard. Mark Stone has a sore wrist.

It’s back to Montreal for game five on Friday after the Canadiens were shut out 1-0 by the Sens and that’s fine. They’re still up 3 games to 1. And they didn’t deserve to win anyway.

Montreal just didn’t have it, pretty well right from the get-go. It was easy to sense that they were off, and they never managed to be on.

There was never any huge pressure on Craig Anderson. They were forced to defend way too much. Passes missed tape, they seemed disorganized, they had way too much trouble keeping pucks inside Ottawa’s blueline, and abundant scoring chances weren’t happening.

Ottawa was better than the Canadiens on this night, although they weren’t all that great either. They could’ve been had if Montreal showed more fire. But there was no fire.

Maybe when Brandon Prust came close to scoring on a shorthanded breakaway. Maybe a couple of other times. And Carey Price was good. But overall, no fire.

It took until the third period before a goal was scored, coming when Tom Gilbert was way too soft in trying to shoot the puck out of his end, which didn’t happen. Gilbert then scurried to the front of the net where he managed to help screen Carey Price as Mike Hoffman’s shot bulged the twine.

Gilbert’s wife is part of the seven Canadiens wives watching a period of hockey with a couple of lucky contest winners and I hope the winners remained nice to Mrs. Gilbert. I know I would have.

But regardless of Gilbert’s faux pas, the team was off for most of the sixty minutes. But I guess if they’re going to be bad, being it with a three-game lead is sort of okay.

The Sens and their fans are certainly happy the series goes back to Montreal. I’m assuming Geoff Molson doesn’t mind that much either.

Not a great night but the boys are still in the driver’s seat. That’s the main thing. Just close it off on Friday and be done with it.

Random Notes:

Did someone forget to freeze the pucks for this game? They were bouncing around all night. And did I mention that Mark Stone has a sore wrist?

Ottawa outshot Montreal 32-28.

The Canadiens went 0 for 3 on the power play. Of course.

 

The Contest

I move out of Montreal and not long after they come up with this contest – Watch a game with the Canadiens wives. Talk about lousy timing.

The wives of Carey Price, Lars Eller, Torrey Mitchell, Tom Gilbert, Dustin Tokarski, and Mike Weaver, plus the lovely and talented Maripier Morin, girlfriend of Brandon Prust, will show up in a limo at a couple of winners’ homes to watch a period of tonight’s game four vs the Sens.

But I’m in BC, shut out from any chance of doing something very high on my list.  Although one lousy period with the ladies isn’t exactly what was on the list.

It’s not right that because I’m so far away I can’t win this and I’m wondering if the Canadiens will hold another such contest down the road, for out-of-towners like me. But only for those in Powell River. And whose name is Dennis Kane.

 

 

Weise!

I was worried about a couple of things. And then I wasn’t.

Of course there was that 1-0 lead Ottawa had, and were wearing our guys down with some serious banging and new-found vim and vigour.

And I was worried that I’d have to endure Sens fans and media go on for the next two and a half days about how the gang from Kanata is back in it, and how Erik Karlsson took the bull by the horns and led his team to victory.

But Dale Weise had something to say about all that.

With the Sens holding on to a 1-0 lead well into the third frame after Clark MacArthur had beaten Carey Price midway through the first, it looked dismal for the boys, who were hit hard and often, and who simply couldn’t solve Craig Anderson any which way.

They also went 0/6 on the power play, which is basically the same old song and dance, and for all intents and purposes, they seemed quite done.

But Dale Weise, switched to the fourth line with Brandon Prust and Torrey Mitchell, tied things at 14:13 of the third, and in overtime it was Weise again, sending a shot from the left side that Craig Anderson, in nets in place of Andrew Hammond, should have snagged but didn’t.

Weise’s heroics puts his team up three games to none, and even the most optimistic of Sens fans might have to concede the fact that their team is probably done.

I say good riddance anyway.

Ottawa opened the scoring after PK Subban took a Patrick Wiercioch stick to the head with no call on the play, and later on, Erik Karlsson nailed Nathan Beaulieu at centre ice with a check to the head, also with no call.

The explanation from Don Cherry regarding the Subban stick to the head? Because he’s Subban. Which might be the case, but shouldn’t be. And Beaulieu sat on the bench for all of the third, plus the overtime, possibly because of the illegal hit which should have sent Karlsson to the showers.

Montreal’s power play was as pathetic as it’s been all season, all six chances including one in overtime when they had a chance to make amends. But it wasn’t to be of course.

All this after the PP looked fairly formidable in the previous two games.

But whatever. Because even though the Senators bashed and bruised, including the handing out of 27 hits to Montreal’s 16 in the first period alone, they still find themselves in the deepest of holes, and are now on life support.

Ain’t life grand!

Random Notes:

The Canadiens outshot Ottawa 49-34, but were outhit 61-36.

Now we wait until Wednesday for game four. But we wait while feeling high, and Sens fan feeling low.

 

 

 

Beauty At The Bell

Have you forgotten completely about the regular season yet?

What a night at the Bell Centre as the hometown heroes edge the Ottawa Senators 4-3 in game one, with bangs and bruises and rapid fire goals the order of the day.

A hard-fought win by the good guys in an emotional and mostly bitter contest that has me chomping at the bit for game two on Friday. My back is sore from sitting on the edvge of the couch. And I can yell loudly now and not scare the cat because, and I say this with a heavy heart, she died recently.

Props to the Canadiens fourth line – Torrey Mitchell with a goal, Brandon Prust an assist, and Brian Flynn with two assists and a big goal which proved to be the winner.

The trio caused havoc all night, they skated miles and crashed and thumped while doing so, and ain’t life grand when the grinders step up and get it done with our 37-goal scorer on the shelf.

It didn’t begin well, as we saw Andrei Markov shovel the puck into his own net after P.K. misplayed things. It was a downer for sure but it was still early, and over that first frame, both teams hit hard and skated hard, and any good Habs fan knew that the game was far from over.

We also saw Brendan Gallagher blatantly mugged with no penalty called, and Devante Smith-Pelly rattle bones like we knew and hoped. Overall a fine first period, except for the mugging, but nothing like what was to come.

The second period was as wild and wooly as can be, and the goals came quickly. Torrey Mitchell would first tie things on a wraparound, and just 15 seconds later, Tomas Plekanec buried it after coming in from the left side, making it 2-1 Habs and life worth living.

That was good. But then P.K. got kicked out of the game with a 5-minute major and a game for slashing Mark Stone on the wrist, which sent Stone sprawling to the ice like he’d had acid thrown in his face.

Five minutes later, Stone was back. Soon after he left again. Then he was back. And to show how badly hurt he was, he also managed to get into a scuffle at the end of the game.

But no matter. Embellish. Sort of hurt. Maybe hurt. I don’t care, as long as the league does the right thing and not punish P.K.

Stone and his team lost the game, and it makes my heart soar like an Asian Ground Cuckoo bird.

Second period scoring didn’t end with Pleks’ marker either. The Sens would score on the power play to tie things. Then Lars Eller, our playoff weapon, put his team ahead with a delicious shorthanded goal. And shortly after that, Ottawa, still on the same power play, would tie things at 3.

Five goals in 4:43.  And soon after, Brian Flynn would score one of the biggest goals of his career.

No goals in the third frame, although, on a good Habs power play (their only one), Jeff Petry bounced one onto the top of the net and Smith-Pelly hit the post.

The team held on with the goalie pulled, and game one is in the books. With no Max and only half a game from P.K. And four goals on the saintly Andrew Hammond, who might need a hamburger to ease the pain.

Best of all, the team was alive and rugged and played a brand of hardworking, hard-driving hockey we rarely saw in that now-forgotten regular season.

Random Notes:

Carey Price came up with some huge saves, but this was a night when others stepped up for a change.

Watching Flynn, Mitchell, and Smith-Pelly on this night, and along with the always good Jeff Petry, makes me think that Marc Bergevin is an absolute hockey genius.

Shots on goals – Habs 39, Sens 33, with Montreal outshooting the other guys 19-17 in the second period alone.

C’mon Friday.