Category Archives: Ottawa Senators

Whupped By Wild

The Canadiens fell 6-3 to the Wild in Minnesota on Thursday evening, thus ending any thoughts of a modest yet dandy three-game winning streak, or in fact, four wins in five games. It was too much to ask, three wins in a row, and we’re now forced to settle for a lousy two-game streak instead.

The 8-3 explosion over Ottawa on Monday is a distant memory, a one-night oddity, a solid destruction of the Sens. A night when the boys were on fire.

Monday was so long ago.

Fans will be upset with Carey Price again, after a mediocre night against the Wild which saw the home team jump into a first period 3-0 stranglehold, and Don Cherry will once again call Habs fans ‘frontrunners’.

Frontrunners. For me the word means ‘leading the pack’. But I guess it also describes fair-weathered fans, which is what Cherry meant. Is that what we are? I don’t see the problem.

Thursday’s game in Minny was also a boring bastard, save for late in the third frame when, after the Wild had jumped out to a ridiculous 5-1 lead, Andrew Shaw and then Brendan Gallagher (with his second of the night), narrowed things to 5-3. A quick flurry shortly after saw the gang come close, and it almost seemed that a miraculous comeback could be in the works.

And then….fizz.

An empty netter by the Wild killed that silly comeback notion.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot Minnesota 31-27 and were 0/1 on the power play.

Andrew Shaw netted his first of the season.

The Wild’s first two goals came 10 seconds apart in the first period, at 4:46 and again at 4:56. And at the risk of sounding like a frontrunner, Carey Price looked awkward on the first, and in giving the puck away seconds later, wasn’t able to completely regroup and just like that, it was 2-0.

If Price was on his game, both goals would never had happened.

Next up for the Habs is a visit to Winnipeg on Saturday. Then it’s Sunday in Chicago.

 

 

Canadiens Smoke Stars

Ready? Take a deep breath:

The Dallas Stars scored just 1:47 into the game, but that was it for the visitors as Max Pacioretty’s 34th of the season tied it in the second, while in the third, Gally, Lehkonen, and Radulov broke it open and the big win gives the team 95 points on the season, four better than Ottawa which got a loser point in their SO loss to Philly, and now the Canadiens hope to make it three straight on Thursday when the Florida Panthers, another team like Dallas that has no hope for the postseason, pay a visit to the Bell Centre, home of $12 beer even though the team is owned by Molsons, which I don’t think is right but I can’t buy beer at the Bell anyway because I’m 5000 km. from there and I can drink pints right here in Powell River for $4.50, and if you’re still with me, the Canadiens outshot Dallas 36-28 and Carey Price was as solid as can be throughout.

Whew, a one sentence recap. Maybe I’ll just move on to something less tiring now.

I wish I had one of these early-1960s bobbleheads.

Oh wait. I do!

Habs Strangle Sens

A Shea Weber blast in the first period, two rockets  from Andrei Markov in the second, and the Canadiens, with their 3-1 win, down the Ottawa Senators for the third time in a week.

Montreal’s pathetic showings against Detroit and Carolina earlier this week is now ancient history. The Canadiens win a big one, they once again widen the gap to three points in the Atlantic Division fight for first, and they looked decent doing it.

They’re back in our good books, thanks to Markov with his pair of goals and a helper, Carey Price coming up big when called upon, and a clock-punching, hardworking, hard-skating  effort by everyone.

They make me proud when they play well and win when it really counts. This is a team we can’t always predict. Sometimes they play like fat reefers were handed around at the morning meeting.

But when they’re angry, focused, and determined, they play as a team. Like a contender. Like tonight.

And through it all, through both good and bad, even when I’m mad at them for sometimes playing like they’re still trying to remember the grocery list, I love them.

I love them like me and my buddy loved hula dancers.

Random Notes:

Ottawa outshot the Canadiens 32-24 and were 2/4 on the power play.

A fine example of looking good: In the first period, Ottawa’s feisty Alex Burrows high-sticked Alex Galchenyuk in the face, and a few seconds later, Andrew Shaw tuned Burrows up. I thought it was a fine moment. Teammate helping teammate. Far too often in the past this wouldn’t happen, and it was always embarrassing. Seeing a tougher team is pure joy.

Next up – Tuesday, when the Dallas Stars pay a visit to beautiful downtown Montreal.

 

 

 

Habs Clipped By Wings

It’s a loser point so it’s still okay I suppose, but definitely not something to do handstands over.

Not that I could do a handstand. But whatever. Maybe a pushup.

The Canadiens, in falling 2-1 to the visiting Detroit Red Wings, reminded us of too many times this season when they looked flat throughout.

Boring, confused, out of sorts. Weird and a bit baffling. The season’s winding down and they played like they were on tour in northern Saskatchewan.

And in overtime, when they had a chance to win it, Detroit had the puck most of the time.

Oh well. Not that big a deal. Unless they play like that on Thursday against Carolina. Would two lousy games be a hiccup, or the beginning of the end?

I’m remaining optimistic. Not a good night for the Habs and fans, but it was a point and I suppose they can’t always play like gangbusters.

I just think that management needs to get the wives out of town until June. How many times do I have to say this? It’s obvious.

I can take about five of them at my house in Powell River, and I’ll cash in an RRSP to put the rest up at the hotel down the street.

Random Notes:

Al Montoya was in nets, and the last time he was, on March 9th in Calgary, he and the boys lost 5-0. Tonight, it took most of another full game before his team would score for him, thanks to Artturi Lehkonen with 2:29 left in the third.

Do they play a different, more hesitant game when Al is in the nets? If they do, they shouldn’t.

Anthony Mantha’s overtime goal came with just 50 seconds left, with Alex Galchenyuk being walked around like he was Dion Phaneuf or Mike Komisarek.

Chucky isn’t a complete player yet. Maybe next year. Maybe not. Maybe never.

Shots on goal were even at 36.

The Canadiens are still 3 big points ahead of Ottawa, who beat the Bruins 3-2 tonight in Boston.

 

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.

 

 

Big Game, Big Win

The Ottawa Senators and their fans could almost taste first place in the Atlantic Division, and indeed, it almost happened.

Almost.

Settled in overtime on goals from Paul Byron and Alex Radulov, the Canadiens stretch their lead slightly over Ottawa to two points, and if Montreal can do it  again on Sunday against those same Sens, it’ll be a fine four-point lead, with the best part being the mind game part.

The part that says the Habs know perfectly well that they can handle this red-hot bunch from . And for the Sens, it’s the sobering thought that maybe they can’t beat the Canadiens when the going gets tough.

Back and forth the two teams went in a game that was much less boring than most this season, with Andrew Shaw giving his team the lead in the second period before Ottawa would score a couple to take the lead into the third.

The final frame saw Philip Danault tie it up, and 31 seconds later, Brendan Gallagher would fire one from a bad angle to give the boys the lead again.

But with just 4:57 left, Ottawa tied it to the cheers of the four thousand Sens fans at the Canadian Tire Centre, and after a scoreless overtime, the Byron/Radu combo stole the show to the cheers of the fifteen thousand Habs fans.

A fine outing for Montreal, aside from a whack of giveaways and blunders mostly early on. And if Alexei Emelin, who was a healthy scratch on this night, has become your favourite whipping boy, maybe you could share some of your wrath now for Jeff Petry, who wasn’t any better on this night than Emelin was the previous game. Why should Emelin take all the blame?

But I really don’t want you to have a favourite whipping boy. We’re all in this together, management, players, and fans. It’s time to support our team and everyone on it, with the playoffs just around the corner.

And that includes pulling for guys who have off nights.

The Canadiens won a huge game, and makes my heart soar like birds at the fishing hole.

Random Notes:

Carey Price held the fort for the most part, and although Sunday’s game means back-to-back, we need him between the pipes for that one too.

Rest in Peace, Chuck Berry.

On this day in 1892, Lord Stanley announced that he was donating his cup to hockey. Here it is here.

Habs Vs Hawks – Close But No Cigar

Dick Irvin Sr, who played for the Hawks in the late-’20s before his coaching career, which included Montreal, began. Dick would be 124 if he was still around (125 in July).

The Canadiens couldn’t quite get it done, falling 4-2 to the visiting Chicago Blackhawks, and if you like your glass half-full you could say Montreal sits at 8-3 in their last 11 games.

But if you’re a half-empty type of person, you might say they’ve lost two of their last three.

And the kind of person I am? Mostly a half-full kind of guy except when I’m not. And as I’ve said many times, the regular season will be long forgotten when pucks are dropped to begin the postseason.

Tuesday night in snowy Montreal, the home team fell behind 3-0 in the third frame, but red-hot Paul Byron banged home a rebound to ruin Corey Crawford’s shutout, and soon after, Shea Weber blasted one from the blueline to narrow it to 3-2.

A great comeback by the Habs. Exciting. Tense. Stressful. Stirring. And then Jonathan Toews found the empty net to salt it away for Chicago and ruin all that’s pure and good.

It was an ‘almost’ type of thing. Corey Crawford stood on his head throughout, as the Canadiens outshot the Hawks 39-24, but try as they may, Montreal skaters as a whole are snakebitten. They have a tough time scoring. But again, the playoffs are a different ball of wax completely. The scoring will probably start then!

There’s the half-full thing again.

I’d say that the boys miss the net way too much but they probably know that.  But the fierce rally late in the game that would sadly fall short for Montreal made my heart soar like a clown or a duck or something, flying around with an umbrella.

Random Notes:

A couple of big games coming up the Habs, as they meet the Sens in Ottawa on Saturday and then host those same Ottawans on Sunday. Yes, as much as the regular season will be forgotten come playoff time, these are huge games for both teams. Time to kick some sand in the faces of Sens players and their fans.

And one last thing. I’m guessing that Alexei Emelin will be an easy target now, considering how he was out of position on a couple of Chicago’s goals.

But I’m sticking up for him because I think the pros outweigh the cons for Mr. Emelin. He lets loose thunderous hits, he’s a bone-crunching bummer for players racing down the side with him waiting, and he has a good shot from the point. I like his old-time hockey style and I appreciate anyone on the Canadiens, including him, who plays a rugged game.

He reminds me of Gilles Marotte, who dished out Emelin-like checks for Boston, Chicago, L.A., New York, and St. Louis in the 1960s and ’70s,

The problem is, quite often the lights are on but nobody’s home for the Russian rearguard.

 

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.

 

Habs Trim Leafs

image1Back in the saddle again, as the Canadiens edge the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 and put a stop to the lousy three-game losing streak that had us all in a kerfuffle.

At least I was in one. I’m anti-slump. So winning, and against those Leafs, is basically a win-win situation. Does that sound right?

The good news – Alexander Radulov is back from sick bay and along with collecting two assists, banged and set up plays and skated miles and was all-round terrific.

The bad news – Toronto’s Nazem Kadri didn’t lose any teeth or get his nose plastered over his face. Not even one stick to the gonads. Really bad.

Red-hot Paul Byron scored his seventh of the season to open the scoring in the first period, while in the second, Alex Galchenyuk, also with his seventh, bulged the twine on the power play in what ultimately became the winner.

Shea Weber also racked up assists on both goals, and was much more of a force than he was on Friday in Carolina, when he looked fairly ordinary. But even then, not once did I pine for PK Subban.

As it stands now, Galchenyuk leads the team with 19 points in 19 games, while Radulov has 16 pts in 17 games, and Weber follows with 15 in 19 games.

New guys like Radulov and Weber are getting it done, but team vets like Max and Pleks and DD and Gallagher need to step it up. Although Gally continues to play his game and the points just aren’t happening for him right now. So he gets a pass. The other three don’t.

The Leafs played a decent game,  swarmed Montreal’s net far too often, and ended up outshooting the good guys 32-29.

But Carey Price was in nets, so swarming was the best they could do.

The boys now wait until Tuesday when the Ottawa Senators come a calling, and of course it’s a must win for the Habs. Another win gets the wheels rolling. A loss and we can say the gang sits at one win and four losses, which would be a bummer.

As for you folk, I hope the rest of your Saturday and all of Sunday is full of merriment. Just don’t get busted.

Canadiens Drop Another

slump

And suddenly, hockey sucks.

The Canadiens fall 3-2 in Raleigh, it becomes a three-game winless streak, and the plan now is to nip this thing in the bud before it morphs into something truly ugly.

And something truly ugly means losing to Toronto Saturday night on Hockey Night in Canada and turning this adult slump into a grandpa one. Because four losses in a row is a nasty thought indeed.

Al Montoya has been between the pipes three times in November. He’s lost all three. We now have no idea if he’s an upgrade over Mike Condon or not.

The team was winning 1-0 in the second period with Jeff Petry banging home a rebound, but in the third, Carolina would score three consecutive goals while the Habs stood around scratching their asses and surveying the stands for cleavage.

A fine collapse. If you’re into collapses.

They almost redeemed themselves, though, when Andrew Shaw redirected Andrei Markov’s pass late in the game. But a bit later, like with a minute to go, no less, Shaw took a hooking penalty and the late-game comeback went down the proverbial toilet.

It’s now time to stop the madness, which means handling the Leafs. And then stomping on Mike Condon’s new team, Ottawa, next Tuesday,

Down with slumps.

Random Notes:

If you’re considering a comparison between this year and last, when they started like wildfire and then tumbled into the depths of hell, forget about it. Carey Price is healthy this year.

Habs outshot Carolina 33-18, with a couple of posts hit, including one by Brendan Gallagher that might have changed things considerably if it went in. But posts happen, so it’s not really worth mentioning.

Big game on the horizon.