Category Archives: Nathan Beaulieu

Once Again – Big Game, Big Win!

Wins on Saturday in Ottawa and Sunday in Montreal, and the Canadiens sizzle while the Senators fizzle.

Sunday it was 4-1 Canadiens, with the boys dominating often throughout, forcing turnovers that led to several partial breakaways, playing tough along the boards and in the crease, taking no shit in scrums late in the game, and making Sens goalie Craig Anderson look ordinary while Carey Price looked his brilliant self.

Price, with an amazing toe save on Kyle Turris in the second period when it was still a 2-1 game, demonstrated exactly how unreal goaltending can win games or change momentum.

A key stop at a key time. Just another day at the office for our main man.

Ten games left for the bleu, blanc et rouge before the real stuff begins. And to me at least, they’re rounding into form at the perfect time.

I’m feeling sad for Ottawa fans. They were pumped for the back-to-back series that would see their team catapult over Montreal and into first place in the Atlantic Division.

But it didn’t happen. And how sad do I feel?

To see the Canadiens win both, the second one handily, makes my heart soar like a bird flying high in the Chinese sky!

But I’m not one to gloat or be biased.  No way. It’s not polite and I don’t want that reputation. It’s not my fault that the Sens suck.

Random Notes:

Tomas Plekanec, scoreless in twenty games or so, got his team rolling at the 28-second mark of the first period, and after Ottawa evened things, Jordie Benn put the gang in front after his long shot deflected off a Senator D-man’s stick.

No lamps lit through the second, but the Canadiens broke it open in the third when Paul Byron, with his 20th, and Nathan Beaulieu on the power play, put the game out of reach.

Ain’t hockey great when your favourite team deflates a rival that’s trying to catch them? It’s good for the soul. It makes hockey fun again. It makes me forget the negatives, like another possible lockout down the road for example.

It makes it all good. At the expense of the Ottawa Senators and their fans!

Random Notes:

Montreal outshot Ottawa 37-30.

Montreal sits at 6 wins and 2 losses so far in March. Or if you want to go back further, they’ve lost just three times in their last thirteen games.

Next up – Tuesday, when it’s Detroit paying a visit.

Thursday they host Carolina, and then it’s the Ottawa Senators once again. But I shouldn’t get ahead of myself. For now, I’m just going to sit here and feel bad for Sens fans.

 

 

The Dismal Beat Goes On

Late-’80s Claude Julien.

The wild and crazy Montreal Canadiens were rusty and sloppy in Claude Julien’s 2017 coaching debut, and their 3-1 loss to the visiting Winnipeg Jets ruined what could have been a fun breakout party for the new Blind River bench boss.

Probably rusty because they had five days off. And sloppy, regardless of who’s behind the bench. Nothing new about their sloppiness. They’d probably be a mess if Toe Blake was behind them.

Was any part of this loss Julien’s fault?

If he was Kreskin, he might have plunked Nathan Beaulieu into the press box pre-game, before this mediocre defenceman could think he was Bobby Orr during a second period power play, and which quickly showed he’s no Bobby Orr.

Or Gaston Gingras for that matter.

Beaulieu decided to do some fancy stickhanding and was promptly stripped of the puck by Joel Armia, who walked in and tied it.

And because Julien didn’t have his skates on, he couldn’t be on the ice at 1:16 of the third when Emelin, Weber, Plekanec, Danault and Max decided to show their soft and tender side as Big Buff muscled his way in from the right side and found Mathieu Perreault, who notched the winner easy as pie.

Winnipeg’s third goal was an empty-netter, so I guess Julien can’t be blamed for that one either.

Wasn’t Carey Price’s fault either, as the big fellow snagged shots left and right, including lightning-quick glove hand robbery on rookie star Patrick Laine’s laser in the first period and then again in the third, plus coming up big a plethora of other times throughout.

Price was his old self, which is a good thing. So were his teammates, which is a bad thing.

Gump Worsley, manning the pipes for the New York Rangers in the late-’50s, was asked what team gave him the most trouble. Gump answered, “the Rangers”.

Price can say exactly the same thing about his teammates. Coverage means more than just car and house insurance, boys.

Random Notes:

Jets outshot the Habs 33-20.

Either the Sens or Leafs will win tonight, considering they play each other. Which means if the Sens win they’ll be within two points of Montreal, and if the Leafs pull it out, they’ll be just five back. Both teams also have games in hand on the Canadiens.

 

Price Shuts Down Canucks

roll-along

The Vancouver Canucks showed up at the Bell Centre on Wednesday night with fire in their eyes.

They’d lost their five previous games, and were in no mood for screwing around. You don’t mess with a wounded animal.

The Canucks dominated much of the game, especially the first half of the contest, and ended up peppering Carey Price and forcing the Canadiens into 19 giveaways. They were an impressive bunch, these West Coasters.

That’s the good news for Canucks fans.

The bad news is, their team lost 3-0.

Montreal was lousy on this night, and without Carey Price being Carey Price, the Canucks might have ended their drought. But they didn’t, and Les Glorieux’s record now stands at eight straight wins and a 9-0-1 record overall.

It makes my heart swell like Sean Avery’s head.

Sean Avery. The last we heard of him, he was having all kinds of fun in L.A. tormenting homeless people for some reason. Boredom maybe. Personality defect probably.

It was the first period in particular that the Canadiens and fans would like to forget. Outshot 13-3, the team was scrambling, they resorted to numerous icings, and the two power plays they had ended with zero shots on Vancouver’s goal.

Just a poor effort. A discombobulated bunch.

Sometimes I feel the right thing to do is send the wives to Powell River for a week or two, probably several times throughout the season, so the guys can refocus. They need it sometimes.

Midway in the second frame however, Nathan Beaulieu converted a Brendan Gallagher rebound to put the boys on the board, and then with just 49 seconds remaining, Phillip Danault burst down the right side and linemate Torrey Mitchell finished it off.

In the third period, as time wound down, Alexander Radulov swooped in with the Canucks’ net empty, and although the puck didn’t go in, Radulov was given the goal because he’d been slashed during the play.

A 3-0 win when they were lousier than lousy. I guess it’s a good thing.

Random Notes:

Last year at the ten-game mark, the Canucks beat the Canadiens in Vancouver to end the Habs’ nine-game winning streak. This year, at the ten-game mark, the boys made sure the Canucks five-game losing streak became six.

Final shots on goal – Canucks 42, Habs 22.

Next up for the Canadiens – Friday in Columbus.

Now, back to the World Series. Top of the seventh.

 

Habs Stick Lightning In A Jar

lightning

Three goals in the third period for the hometown heroes, and the Lightning are stuffed in a mason jar and the lid shut tight.

The beat goes on for the wild and crazy Montreal Canadiens as they win their sixth straight and remain almost undefeated (a shootout loss to Ottawa) thus far this season.

And they did it by taking out a talented Tampa squad after falling behind 1-0 late in the second, but in surprising fashion finding a second wind in the third.

Surprising because they played in Brooklyn the night before and should’ve had their tongues hanging out as the game wore down.

But they kept it going , they win 3-1, and all that’s left between them and a near-perfect October are the smelly and disease-ridden Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, a team that no matter how pathetic they are season after season, somehow play like champs against the Habs.

Thursday against the Lightning was a tight checking, cautious affair for the most part, and not even close to perfect, as Max Pacioretty admitted in his post-game interview.

In fact, until Tampa scored at the 16:08 mark of the middle frame, the only things worth mentioning was Nathan Beaulieu pummeling Cedric Paquette, along with a lovely two-on-one between Alex Galchenyuk and Alex Radulov that came up short, and Pacioretty bouncing the puck off the crossbar with his skate.

But it was the third period that got the joint jumping, with several whoops and hollers from my living room.

Galchenyuk tied things on the power play after a great pass from Andre Markov. Then Max put his team ahead with a nice wrist shot at the top of the circle. And Torrey Mitchell notched the insurance marker with an empty netter.

They scratched out a fine win against a good team, and they had some serious help from Carey Price, who was once again as solid as some of the steaks I try to barbeque.

Price has allowed just six goals in his four games played, while backup Al Montoya has given up just seven in his four games. Stingy, beautiful bastards.

It was another set of heroes (Max, Mitchell, Galchenyuk, Pateryn, Markov, Shaw), who stepped up on this fine night, and team continues to spread the wealth. All four lines are firing on all cylinders, which translates into wins, baby!

And speaking of Andrew Shaw, he played what might have been his best game so far for the CH by skating miles, getting his nose dirty, and even being a scoring threat at times.

It’s all fine and dandy, but like I said, it’s time to throttle the Leafs on Saturday.

Random Notes:

Tampa outshot Montreal 31-26.

Habs were 1/3 on the power play (Galchenyuk).

Shea Weber was pointless, which is unusual at this point, and young Mikhail Sergachev once again sat in the press box, which isn’t unusual.

 

 

Habs Muzzle Coyotes

muzzle

Beautiful. Tremendous. Hardworking. Almost flawless.

But enough about me. We’re talkin’ Habs here.

The Canadiens, with Carey Price finally back in the nets after 11 long months, took out the visiting Arizona Coyotes with a convincing 5-2 win at the Bell Centre.

Price faced 29 shots while his buddies fired 43 at Arizona’s net, and with the win the boys now see themselves with a mighty fine three wins and a shootout/point in their first four starts.

Who could ask for more? Especially when the entire team put together a rockin’, sockin’, red light-lighting night that will see the bars in Montreal being some of the happiest places on earth this Thursday night.

Maybe because of his World Cup experience, but Alexei Emelin seems a confident and improved player this year, and the hardrock d-man even bulged the twine with a massive blast from the blueline to open the scoring.

Emelin also crushed several unfortunate Coyotes who crossed his path, he hurts when he hits, always has, and this year with Shea Weber on board, he’s not the only one anymore who can turn bones into powder.

Torrey Mitchell in the second period gave his team a nice 2-0 lead after converting a great pass from Nathan Beaulieu, and at this point I thought to myself how cool it would be if Price could shut the door for the entire night.

But I never said it out loud so don’t blame me that it didn’t happen.

Shea Weber scored his first goal in a Montreal uniform, a missile from the blueline on the power play, and also smashed guys on several occasions, especially in the first two frames. A perfect example of why Jonathan Toews said after The Big Trade that it was great that Shea wasn’t in his Conference anymore.

Alex Galchenyuk finally scored his first of the season to make it 4-0, and which sent Coyotes’ goalie Louis Domingue to the bench and replaced by Justin Peters. Peters would see his team begin to fight back and narrow things to 4-2, but in the third, Artturi Lehkonen’s wrist shot lit the lamp, the score became a tidy 5-2, and the clock struck midnight for the visitors.

Random Notes:

We can complain about the weather and high taxes and hospital food and the price of cheese, but we can’t complain about the number of goals allowed by the Habs. Al Montoya and now Price, along with the boys out front, have allowed just seven goals in the four games to start the season.

And the gang has scored 16 in these four games to boot.

Alexander Radulov continues to be a major threat and is a great addition.

David Desharnais assisted on Emelin’s goal and is one of six guys who now have four points in four games (DD, Weber, Petry, Pacioretty, Gallagher, and Galchenyuk).

Next up – Saturday in Boston. Hopefully they can keep this going.

 

 

 

Three Straight!

three

Six points from a line on fire, and the Canadiens rack up their third straight win by beating a solid Tampa Bay Lightning squad 4-2.

Tomas Plekanec, who came to life last Saturday against Edmonton when he notched a four-point night, once again rocked and rolled against Tampa, and ended the evening with a pair of goals and a helper.

Linemates Brendan Gallagher collected a goal and an assist and Alex Galchenyuk an assist, and it doesn’t take a brilliant rocket scientist like P.J. Stock to know that when the guns come alive, the team will thrive.

Just a bit more from a few others would be nice. But this a big breakthrough regardless. Three wins in a row beats three wins in a whole month, as they managed in sad fashion in both December and January.

But that was then, this is now. And it just feels a whole lot better. I’m so alive I find myself with a little extra bounce in my step during those dozen or so trips to the bathroom to pee.

Maybe it’s too late to play playoff spot catch-up, or maybe not. It’d be nice to see Boston, Pittsburgh, and New Jersey, the teams in front of the Canadiens, do the nosedive shuffle. (Boston was bombed 9-2 tonight by L.A., which is downright hilarious, don’t you think?).

To see the team put together a handful of wins makes my heart soar. Really soar. You’d be surprised how much it’s soaring.

I like to think that Nathan Beaulieu’s pounding of Cedric Paquette early in the first period put things on track, as a fight will do sometimes.

They’re rare to see now, but really, what’s wrong with a good old fist to face with blood sprayed all over the place? It’s another thing that makes my heart soar.

Brendan Gallagher would soon after open the scoring, while in the second, after Tampa had scored just 40 seconds in, Pleks would weave his magic the first of two times.

And with only 8 seconds remaining in the middle frame, PK Subban twisted and turned and sent the puck in off Devante Smith-Pelly to give the Habs a solid 3-1 lead.

In the third, Pleks faked out a confused d-man and Ben Bishop to widen the gap to 4-1, and although Tampa would score another, that was it. A big win to keep hopes and dreams alive.

And it all started with Nathan Beaulieu delivering a couple of nasty rights to the face of Cedric Paquette.

Random Notes:

Ben Scrivens, in net for all three wins, was once again excellent.

Both Beaulieu and Brian Flynn left the game in the second period, never to return. Beaulieu was hurt blocking a shot, while Flynn appeared to do major damage to his leg.

Tampa outshot Montreal 39-27.

Next up – Friday, when the boys visit beautiful downtown Buffalo.

 

 

Late PP Goal Wins It

winning-md

All it took was an idiotic penalty by the always obnoxious Scott Hartnell to give the Canadiens a late 2-1 win on home ice.

The veteran Hartnell (15 years and more than 1000 games) decided to take out P.K. Subban’s legs with the scored tied and just 2:34 left on the clock, and now he owes his teammates some serious Buttery Nipples.

Such a perfect penalty, because just 25 seconds later, Max Pacioretty sent home a Dale Weise feed to end things.

Canadiens 2, Blue Jackets 1. And the air is thin up there in the standings.

Montreal opened the scoring early in the first period when Paul Byron converted a perfect pass from Christian Thomas, but with just over two minutes left in the frame, Nick Foligno was too quick for Mike Condon on a wraparound and the score was tied.

And it remained so until Scott Hartnell’s brain went into some sort of deep freeze. Or maybe it’s always been in some sort of deep freeze. Don’t forget, he made his mark in Philly.

Fans at the Bell sat through some serious minutes of nothingness, but they saw the boys come alive from time to time and ultimately win their first December game, with only another 20 or so before Carey Price possibly returns.

But in the meantime, Mike Condon, win or lose, just isn’t letting all that many pucks get by him. The guy’s allowed just 30 goals in15 games, and how can you ask for anything more?

Random Notes:

Montreal had three mediocre power plays, but their fourth won the game.

Alexei Emelin was given five minutes and a game misconduct for interference, which seemed harsh.

Nathan Beaulieu and Foligno battled after the Jackets forward took out Tomas Fleischmann’s legs in dangerous fashion. Beaulieu got a couple of early ones in, but Foligno nailed our guy with a late one. But the point is, Beaulieu fought for his teammate, and it’s not the first time he’s done that.

Shots on goal – Habs 26, BJs 23.

Next up – the very dangerous Washington Capitals pay a visit on Thursday.

 

 

 

 

 

Habs Blast Jets

biplane-crashv

Such a fine way to begin November, with a dominate 5-1 win over the visiting, and sometimes belligerent, Winnipeg Jets.

But Dustin Byfuglien and his pals can take solace in knowing they got hammered by the best team in the league, which should make them feel better when they’re out breaking curfew tonight.

Backup goalie Mike Condon, between the pipes for injured Carey Price, allowed just one goal, which means the big fellow has let in just six goals in his first four starts, all wins, which is impressive to say the least.

Also impressive is the Habs scoring a total of 21 goals during these four Condon games.

Adding to the impressiveness – the David Desharnais, Tomas Fleischmann, and Dale Weise line, which tallied seven points in all. This line was flying all game, Fleischmann was on fire, but the team as a whole had their legs moving in fine style.

It’s hard to imagine these guys in another 30 years when they’re fat and can hardly skate.

The Jets, meanwhile, sat quietly on the tarmac, not going anywhere.

And then there was Paul Byron, listed as 5’7″, 153 lbs, playing like the much bigger Henri Richard, listed as 5’7″, 160 lbs.

Byron opened the scoring in the first period when once again, as he had done in Calgary two nights prior, burst in on a shorthanded breakaway to light the lamp. A fine deja vu moment to be sure.

Two goals and an assist for Byron in his three games, while Alex Semin sits in the press box each night now, wondering, drinking coffee, eating hot dogs, and asking Marc Bergevin if he can get him anything.

The Canadiens opened the scoring in the first, which is always such a nice thing, when lefthanded shot David Desharnais burst down the right side the way the Rocket once did, and after being stopped, Tomas Fleischmann banged home his first of the night.

In the second period it would be Fleischmann doing the bursting down the right side, with his shot eluding Jets goaltender Michael Hutchison. The starting goalie would soon be replaced by Ondrej Pavelec after allowing a fourth goal, a DD marker when he barreled in with Fleischmann and Nathan Beaulieu on what was basically a 3 on 1.

Lars Eller would direct the puck off his skate on the power play to widen things to 5-1, and in the third, the lone goal past Condon came from Winnipeg’s Chris Thorburn, who looks like the Band’s Richard Manuel, who’s been dead for 29 years.

Random Notes:

The 7 points from the DD line included Fleischmann with 2 goals and 1 assist, DD a goal and 2 assists, and Weise 1 assist).

Canadiens outshot Winnipeg 26-19.

The team has now recorded 50 goals in 13 games, an average of 3.84 goals a game. Some serious fire wagon hockey going on with this league-leading team.

Next up – The dastardly Ottawa Senators pay a visit to the Bell on Tuesday.

 

Rebounding In Fine Fashion

A white dry erase board with shiny metal frame and the words To Do List - Win on it

Much better when the boys win. And on this Halloween Eve, a 6-2 trouncing of the Flames in Calgary makes things right again.

A character win after a couple of embarrassing losses.

A big night for Dale Weise, who netted three in his team’s 6-2 win in Calgary. A fine night for backup goalie Mike Condon, winning his third in three starts this season. And an emotional night for ex-Flame Paul Byron, who inflicted serious damage on the team who said they didn’t love him anymore.

A Habs team back on track, going home without losing that lovin’ feeling. Taking it to the Flames, with a big win to close out October. Ten wins and two losses. Losses we don’t want to talk about.

I’m feeling so good about this rebound win, I can’t decide if my heart soars more like a flock of Fan-Tailed Berrypeckers, or a single Crested Shrike-Tit.

Fifteen minutes in, Weise struck first, with a long shot that Flames goalie Joni Ortiz, who showed absolutely no resemblance to Mike Vernon or Miikka Kiprusoff, let go through his legs.

Joni Ortiz. There’s always Google.

An early lead, but we know how leads can sometimes work out.

In the second frame, the Flames tied it just 27 seconds in, but a couple of minutes later, while on the power play, Nathan Beaulieu’s blast put his team in front once again.

Love those power play goals, and little by little, the team is gaining in power play respectability, sitting tenth or so overall. Much better than 20th or 25th or whatever it was not so long ago.

After the Flames had once again evened things up, the Weise and Byron Show cranked it up.

First with Weise firing a fine wrist shot past Ortiz. Then Bryon, in his second game replacing healthy scratch Alex Semin, sending the puck across in beautiful fashion to set up Devante Smith-Pelly for S-P’s first goal of the season.

And in the third period, Byron breaking free while shorthanded to make it 5-2 before Weise notched his third after some stylish play from linemate Tomas Fleischmann, who’s proving to be a key guy.

A solid 6-2 thumping of the Calgary Flames, although this is a team with just two wins so far this season. Which means if the Habs lost on this night, things would’ve sucked after an already suckified Western Canada jamboree.

But they didn’t suck, they looked just fine, and they remain best of all 30 teams. Already I’ve forgotten about Vancouver and Edmonton.

Random Notes:

Flames outshot Montreal 32-31.

Next up – Sunday, when the Winnipeg Jets visit the Bell Centre.

 

 

Canadiens Zing The Blues

seven

Not much to report here.

Only that Canadiens beat the 5-1 (now 5-2) St. Louis Blues 3-0 to win their seventh straight out of the gate, with Carey Price recording his second shutout of this early season.

Seven wins and no losses, with Price as stingy as Scrooge McDuck, and everyone chipping in and doing their fare share of the housework.

On TV today it seemed like I heard nothing except how good the Blues are. And tonight I tuned into Montreal’s TSN 690 radio during the first intermission and the on-air guys simply gushed, and I mean gushed, about how fantastic the Blues are.

All that gushing, and the Habs were leading 1-0 at the time.

The first period showed the Blues on top of their game, outplaying and outmuscling the home team, and outshooting them 17-10. It was a concern. But like I say, we were leading.

Blues assistant coach Kirk Muller, interviewed midway through the frame, said there were good chances at both ends, but Kirk was just being polite because he’s a polite kind of guy. A good old Kingston boy.

Montreal was going nowhere, but Max Pacioretty deflected Tomas Plekanec’s shot with a minute and a half left, and outplayed or not, the home team took the lead.

Shortly before Alex Semin bulged the net in the second period with a fine wrist shot, Price made a huge glove save on Vlad Tarasenko, which prompted Scott Gomez to pat Price on the head.

Yes, that Scott Gomez. The face I hoped never to see again. Congratulating the opposing goalie like he used to when he played for the Habs. That Mr. Nice Guy thing to the enemy. The congratulations I never wanted to see again.

And there it was and there he was.

If the Blues are so good, how come they need Gomez?

Torrey Mitchell would make it 3-0 in the third frame after firing home a Subban rebound, and the Canadiens roll along like a train chugging across the prairies, with a bar car filled with us whoopin’ and hollerin’.

Random Notes:

It’s an amazing 7 goals against in 7 games for the team.

Although the Habs were outshot 17-10 in the first period, the Blues only slightly edged them in overall shots – 38 to 36.

There was slight nastiness. Nathan Beaulieu and Steve Ott squared off in the second period, and Beaulieu held his own against this guy who was playing like he wiped his ass with fibreglass insulation.

Ott was at it all night, that’s his game, that’s why he’s in the league, and he eventually got tossed with a couple of minutes left.

When I was a smallish yet shifty right winger for Orillia’s Byers Bulldozers bantams and midgets, I was a bit of an asshole like Ott. But he gets in there and gives and takes blows, whereas I relied on bigger teammates to come to my rescue.

Next up – Friday in Buffalo, and it would be nice to make this thing eight straight. Buffalo might be better than last year, I don’t know. They’ve got this 18-year old phenom Jack Eichel, which must help.

Eighteen years old. Imagine.

The Sabres last year managed only 23 wins all season.

And we have seven already!