Category Archives: New York Islanders

Habs Crush Sens

Canadiens dump the Sens 4-1 at the Bell, although it didn’t begin well. Sven Andrighetto stumbled and lost the puck on a Canadiens power play, which led to a puck sent gently at Carey Price who let it drop by his feet and promptly banged in by the bad guys.

But it ended well.

Still in the first, Brandon Prust tied it with a shot from a difficult angle.
Max to Chucky to Gally, bang, bang, bang, and it was 2-1 in the second.
And then in  the third, Plekanec on the power play and later Max to Emelin to Chucky, another bang, bang, banger, and what began in dubious fashion ended as a nice 4-1 win for the good guys.

I don’t have any fancy advanced stats to throw out. Frankly, I’m not interested. But I can tell you that whenever announcer Paul Romanuk called Cody Ceci’s name, I remembered that Lucy told me that Ceci in Russian is slang for “women’s breasts”.

A fine game, and how great it was (a) to see Max Pacioretty play after getting nailed by Anaheim’s Clayton Stoner the other night and taken to the hospital, and (b) seeing Max click so well once again with Gallagher and Galchenyuk.

Gally had a goal, Max collected two assists, and Galchenyuk notched a goal and an assist.

Also clicking well were the trio of Plekanec, Sekac, and Prust, who generated several good chances and showed nice chemistry. Is chemistry an advanced stat?

Next up – Habs on Long Island on Tuesday.

And speaking of Tuesday, my boss Marc Juteau is giving all of us at Classic Auctions a Christmas present to end all Christmas presents. He’s rented a box at the Bell Centre, with food and drinks, for the World Junior pre-tournament tilt between Canada and Switzerland.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot Ottawa 29-25.

Leafs got bombed 7-4 by Philadelphia.

So Close And Now So Far

The Canadiens fall 3-2 in overtime when Martin St. Louis beat Dustin Tokarski, but the Montrealers absolutely made it a game, although it took two and a half periods before it clicked in.

Imagine if the Habs’ non-contributors were contributing? But when a team gets by with just a handful playing well and still takes it into overtime, it says a lot.

The Rangers aren’t that good. We’re playing without half the team.

Too many periods in these 2014 playoffs when the Canadiens have been outplayed. And yet, another game that was so close, that could’ve gone in their favour.

How close? A puck rang off the inside of the post and out again from Alex Galchenyuk with three minutes left in the third that would’ve won it.

The series only a fraction of an inch from being tied, and now it’s a 3-1 lead for New York going back to Montreal. But many good things happened in that third to give us hope, because finally the boys in general came alive and pushed.

Not everyone, but many.

Just so disheartening. Losing in overtime. And seeing guys still not showing up.

One thing’s for sure. This isn’t the same P.K. Subban we saw in the Boston series, although he tied the game in the third on a shot from the point that appeared to deflect off Brendan Gallagher.

But he doesn’t have that swagger, that dangerous flamboyance that causes fans in other buildings to boo him. The MSG folks have had no reason to let him have it.

Maybe at some point we’ll hear why PK has slowed down. Maybe he’s burned out.

Again Thomas Vanek did very little and there’s no sense dwelling on this. He is what he is.

But having said that, if you haven’t yet come close to showing up and you’re in the third round of the playoffs, it’s a serious problem. And Vanek hasn’t shown up. We need him, and that’s why it’s so maddening.

DD showed up. Gally showed up. Francis Bouillon, inserted into the lineup in place of Nathan Beaulieu, tied the game at one in the second period with a nice shot. Weaver sacrificed his body for the team.

Lots of guys showed up, although for many, not until the third. But lots haven’t yet. The clock’s ticking, and if we don’t see all hands on deck on Tuesday, with everyone giving their all, then we know for sure this team has a ways to go yet before we start thinking about the big prize.

There are no passengers on teams that go all the way. That’s not how it works. It takes blood, sweat and more sweat from every guy. The young Edmonton Oilers found that out when they lost to the New York Islanders in 1983 after the Islanders, banged, bruised, and exhausted, had just won their fourth straight title.

The Oilers learned from the Islanders that it takes supreme sacrifice, ridiculous amounts of hard work, and the willingness to do whatever it takes, even if it hurts like hell.

We’re not seeing that from a number of Canadiens. Although there’s still time. Not much though.

All we can do now is hope we see every single guy give his all from here on in. If we don’t see that, then the time definitely isn’t yet here to even think about Lord Stanley.

 

 

 

Finish It Tonight Please

Bury them tonight and be done with it.

Because even though Tampa’s chances of winning this series are slim to none, coming back from being down 3 games has been done before – Toronto over Detroit in 1942 to win the Cup, the Islanders in 1975 over Pittsburgh in the quarterfinals, and Philadelphia over Boston in the Eastern semifinals.

But I like our chances in so many ways. And a nice rest while other teams pound each other means healing wounds, working on the power play, and not getting injured.

As they say, why wait for Christmas, do it now.

Christmas

 

 

Habs Unreal (In A Bad Way)

Not much to chat about here.

Not after the Habs sucked more than the septic truck that used to come on the Island Sky ferry and suck the gook out of the tanks.

They don’t want home ice advantage and I don’t blame them. It’s an extra night of not having to endure the blaring techno music the Bell Centre pipes out.

The Canadiens played what was basically an AHL team on Thursday night, the New York Islanders with 11 or 12 raw rookies in the lineup, including 3 AHL defensemen. But it didn’t look like it.

The home team couldn’t score even once. They were bottled up all night. They were confused and uninspired and hopefully the wives make them sleep on the couch tonight.

Blanked 2-0 by the Islanders, who played a great game. The Habs played like the septic truck on the ferry.

But I’m not concerned. They were skating well just 24 hours prior in Chicago. And we’ve seen them flat like this before. Not even Didier Pitre knows why.

Random Notes:

Tampa Bay beat the Flyers 4-2, so they’re doing the right things on the verge of the playoffs, as opposed to what the Canadiens are doing.

They’re saving their motivation for next week.

Douglas Murray slammed Johan Sundstrom head first into the boards, got tossed, and a suspension is a distinct possibility, coming just after he sat for three games for an elbow to the head of Tampa’s Michael Kostka on April 1st.

George Parros was in another scrap, and once again it was nothing to write home about. When we got this guy, I thought we were getting a brute. Instead, we got a paler-skinned Georges Laraque with a mustache.

Both Islanders goals came on the power play.

Shots on goal – Islanders 30, Habs 19.

Luci and I are heading to Quebec City for the weekend. Hopefully there’s a good sports bar near our hotel on the edge of the Plains of Abraham to watch the Canadiens smash the Rangers and Max notch his 40th.

 

 

Good Game, Single Point

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Fine game Wednesday night in Chicago, and although the Canadiens grabbed a point, they could’ve had two. But it slipped away in the dying seconds.

Hawks win 3-2 in overtime.

After two periods of play it was a see-saw battle with no goals and just one penalty, a hooking call to Daniel Briere, but in the third, the puck started to find its way.

Dale Weise, in his first game back after injury, banged one home after a fine rush by Rene Bourque. But the Hawks, who held the edge in play many times on the night, tied it soon after.

Just 22 seconds later, Francis Bouillon blasted one home and it became a Habs lead once again.

And then, the one-goal lead almost a two-goal lead when our almost 40-goal scorer came oh so close..

How great it would’ve been to see Max score his 40th when he was set up fifteen feet out but stopped point blank by Corey Crawford. Great play, great shot, great stop.

It was also the beginning of the end, because after some serious Hawks pressure, the home team would tie it with 48 seconds left in the third, and in overtime, Peter Budaj accidentally backhanded the puck into his own net and that was that.

A point on the road but it could’ve been two. But that’s fine, because the Canadiens played a solid skating game, took just two penalties (the only two of the night), and in my book they continue to impress.

They’ve won 10 of 13 games. I feel I’d be a greedy bastard if I complained.

Random Notes:

Montreal outshot Chicago 30-28.

Thomas Vanek and DD assisted on Bouillon’s marker, and the big line continues to roll.

Alex Galchenyuk left the game in the first period after taking a hit from Andrew Shaw and now we wait to hear the damage.

Injuries just before playoff time. Imagine how Tampa must have felt when Ben Bishop went down.

Other guys were hurt too, Bouillon and Ryan White in particular, but both would return. Thank goodness Carey Price, Andrei Markov, and Alexei Emelin were left at home where less injuries could happen.

Much safer at home. Maybe tripping on a roller skate or taking a rolling pin to the head from an upset wife.  But no hits into the boards or hard pucks to the ankles.

In a few short hours (sort of), the boys host the Islanders at the Bell. Then game number 82 on Saturday against the Rangers.

Grab that opening round home ice and please, no more injuries.

 

 

Vanek To Canadiens

Thomas Vanek has been traded from the Islanders to Montreal for a second-rounder and Swedish prospect Sebastian Collberg.

Vanek, 30, is a right winger with 271 goals and 270 assists (541 pts) in 645 games which isn’t chicken feed. This is a bonafide NHL star with great hands who will help our team.

The one knock seems to be that Vanek doesn’t always play with passion. Hopefully when he’s in the great Montreal Canadiens environment and wearing the CH, the passion will come flowing out.

I’m very excited about this.

Along with Vanek, Montreal’s right wingers  include Gallagher, Gionta, Bourque, Weise, and Parros.

Annually Disappointed

Interesting story in The Hockey News sent over from Ian Sirota about fans in 10 cities who are completely long-suffering.

Always teased, always disappointed, their team always falling short.

And no, the Habs aren’t on the list. They’re not even on the honorable mention list. I’m not sure why. We’re annually disappointed.

It’s right here. Thank you Ian for the link.

Ready For Tonight

All set to go with no lingering beer effects, the TV will be nicely warmed-up, and I’m ready to say all kinds of nice things about the Canadiens after they wallop the Florida Panthers tonight at the Bell Centre.

It might prove tough for the gang though, considering they flew back from New York in a snowstorm in the wee hours of Sunday, with the Panthers not having played in a few days and winning their last two games in shootouts against good teams – the Caps on Friday and Wings last Tuesday.

With the Canadiens, all we’re asking for is a win and more scoring from different guys. Two goals in three games isn’t exactly fire-wagon hockey.

But they’ll turn it around because that’s what they do.

The question on everyone’s lips – Will Scott Gomez be in the Florida lineup? It’s a concern. The sniper, who has scored one goal this year and was on track for possibly a two-goal season, hasn’t dressed since Nov. 30 when he was a minus-2.

Fans pay big money for tickets and when Pittsburgh comes to town, they want to see Sidney Crosby. Same with Washington and Ovechkin.

Same with Florida and Gomez.

 

 

Max’s OT Goal Wins It

Nice work by David Desharnais in overtime to grab the puck, change direction, feed Max Pacioretty who scored the game’s only goal, and end the misery of sitting through any more when I’m in the middle of an excellent puzzle I could’ve been working on.

The team isn’t playing well, scoring has gone south for the winter, and the boys were lucky to win against the second-worst team in the east.

It’s not something to jump for joy about. They easily could’ve lost, and we might as well accept the fact that sometimes we’ll be incredibly happy with the gang and other times not so much.

Right now, that sensational 9-0-1 feeling is long gone, replaced by a lot of grrrs and tabernacs.

I hate Habs roller coaster rides. I don’t even mind them losing sometimes. I just prefer they play decent hockey while losing from time to time, and score goals while doing it.

It was 0-0 through three periods, and the only time there was reason to cheer was when Lars Eller laid out John Tavares with a good old fashioned, old-time hockey bodycheck when Tavares wasn’t paying attention.

Of course Eller got two minutes for it. Good, clean, hard hitting is an infraction it seems. And contrary to popular opinion, superstars can be hit hard, as long as the hits are clean.

But back to the main problem. Two goals in three games. Unacceptable. I’m going back to my puzzle.

Random Notes:

Because I’d never really paid much attention to George Parros until this year, I had in my mind he was a bit of a mad man. A good fighter. A feared fighter. A bad-tempered rotten bastard.

Instead we got a calm looking guy who scraps only in staged fights and never outright wins.

He got clocked tonight by Isles tough guy Eric Boulton, was wobbly getting up, and left the game, never to return. Now it’s up to George’s wife and family to convince him to retire.

George isn’t what any of us had in mind when the Canadiens signed him. An experiment that began to fizzle in the first game of the season.

Back to the drawing board in regards to the intimidation factor. Has Knuckles Nilan kept in decent shape?

Canadiens outshot the Islanders 25-21.

Next up – Sunday night – 6:00 ET against the Panthers.

Not expecting much.

Fans have been on Desharnais and Daniel Briere over the course of the season, and now I think it’s time for Brian Gionta to feel the wrath. In my eyes, he’s been a bum. He’s too small, his shot is lousy, and he’s old. In my opinion, three darn good reasons.

 

 

Kids Inspire In Habs Win

It was one of those nights to smile. Not only because the Canadiens ended their four game slump by beating the New York Islanders 4-2, but also the way the kids, the EGG line, created and dazzled and were rewarded with eight points on the night.

Alex Galchenyuk, chosen first star, nailed down a goal and two assists. Brendan Gallagher, chosen as second star, added a goal and an assist. And the centre on this line, Lars Eller, contributed a goal and an assist and was given third star.

Leave it to the kids to inspire and bring the team back to life, out of the doldrums, and stop the bleeding that was beginning to flow instead of trickle. When these three are clicking, it can be poetry in motion. The way they work, pass, shoot, finish, it makes my heart soar like Timothy Leary’s mind in 1967.

Just imagine what we have to look forward to as they mature and gain experience.

Tonight was a feel-good story for a change. A big win, led by the youngsters. Love the feel-good stories.

Brendan Gallagher opened the scoring in the second period, but the Islanders tied it soon after with Francis Bouillon in the box for holding. But two Habs power play markers, one by Lars Eller and another by Michael Bournival, and it was 3-1 after two.

In the third period, New York edged closer with a power play goal, but the Canadiens iced it with a lovely Gallagher to Eller to Galchenyuk display, and folks at the Bell went home happy and Michel Therrien went home with his 250th NHL win.

Random Notes:

Tomas Plekanec was sent to the box in the second period for face-off violation. Maybe it was explained on RDS and I just don’t understand French well enough, but I didn’t get it. It seemed to me that Pleks stepped on a stick and went down. And as far as face-off violation goes, I thought it only meant players cheating in the circle and such. I’m hoping someone will clear this up for me. I’m not afraid to admit this is something new to me.

Travis Moen left in the second period, apparently with a virus. Maybe he has to cook his hamburgers a little longer.

PK Subban was motoring all evening and playing like we know and love.

Shots on goal – Montreal 31, Isles 26.

Love these 6 pm games. Not too early, not too late.

Next up – Thursday when the Lightning come to town. Hopefully the kids and their inspirational play will set things in motion and the Canadiens come out breathing fire.

Alexei Emelin might finally be back in action on Tuesday. Here’s hoping.