Category Archives: Ottawa Senators

Tonight In Nashville

The Canadiens are in Nashville on this late March day, hoping to keep the ball rolling with a fourth straight win.

They also want to stay firmly planted at the top, as opposed to the Boston Bruins, who have fallen out of a playoff spot and which makes Habs fans everywhere feel tremendous sympathy for bummed-out Bruins supporters.

As a side note, isn’t it funny how Max Pacioretty put Ex-Lax in those “Max 67″ burgers he fed Bruins fans the other day in Boston. What a crazy jokester Max is.

The Canadiens and Preds clashed just one other time this season, on January 20th when a PK Subban blast in overtime gave the good guys a 2-1 win.

In reading my notes on this game, it seems that Carey Price was responsible for the Canadiens win, as the boys were thoroughly outplayed for two periods.

Imagine that. Price saving the day. Has this ever happened before?

Our man Price will be working on a third straight shutout tonight in Music City, which is a long way from the NHL record held by Ottawa’s Alex Connell back in 1927-28 when the Sens goaltender shut the door for 461:29 minutes, adding up to six shutouts in all.

But that was then and this is now. In 1928-29, players’ shots were far from the 90 mph missiles let loose now. No curves, sticks that didn’t bend, pucks shot by men standing 5’6″ and weighing 150 pounds.

Of course, equipment worn by goaltenders back then didn’t come close to what Price and the rest wear now, but no matter. Different worlds. And 6 blankings is certainly nothing to sneeze at. It’s a tremendous feat accomplished by Mr. Connell, who was ultimately inducted into the HHOF in 1958.

I’ve got nothing against the old Ottawa Senators. It’s the new version I can’t stomach.

With nine games remaining for the Habs, Max needs 5 goals to hit 40, so we’re hoping he’ll pop at least one tonight. Alex Galchenyuk has 19 and looking to reach 20. Manny Malhotra, if he plays, will continue to win faceoffs and remain at 1 goal.

Below, Alex Connell. And below Alex are the ingredients for the Max 67, minus the Ex-Lax of course.

Ottawa Senators Goalie Alex Connell in Uniform --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Max

 

 

 

 

Canadiens Wound Panthers

Montreal survived a 21-4 shots on goal attack in the third period and 43-25 overall as they edged the Florida Panthers 3-2 in Sunrise and now head back to the friendly confines of the Bell Centre for a Thursday night battle with the Carolina Hurricanes.

All five goals in this game came in the second period, with Canadiens markers by Alexei Emelin shooting from the blueline, Jacob de la Rose converting a nice feed from Brandon Prust while killing a penalty, and a long shot from P.K. Subban, which proved to be the winner.

And best of all, aside the from the two points, was Dustin Tokarski’s work between the pipes. Toker was solid like we knew he could be but hadn’t seen much of lately. A fine night for the backup, who had lost his last four and five of six.

But tonight he was confident and steady, and his mom, who was my favourite in the 24CH segment showing the mothers on a two-city road with their sons, will be proud and happy. She was sure proud and happy (and emotional) during that trip.

We need this fellow at the top of his game with the very real possibility of Carey Price being run by some thug as the playoffs approach, or sometime during the postseason. Just like last year.

Memos should sent to all playoff-bound teams that the league knows teams are thinking about doing this, and if it happens, they’ll have the player’s balls for bookends. The coach’s too.

Tonight shows that Toker can get the job done, and that’s great, because we were starting to wonder.

The win puts the Habs at 95 points, tied with the Rangers for beasts of the East, while the Panthers’ hopes of grabbing the final wild card berth took a serious hit, especially with red-hot Ottawa, also trying to nail down a spot, sitting ahead of them.

The only complaint I can muster is seeing the boys sit back in the third, with most of the play in their end, and holding on for dear life. But they got the win so it’s forgotten already.

 

 

Habs In A Rut

The Canadiens moved out into a mighty fine 2-0 lead in the first period against the Ottawa Senators after a power play marker by P.K. Subban and a nice shorthanded effort by Max.

Then the roof collapsed.

The Sens tied it in the second and scored three more in the third, and aside from the obvious disappointment felt by the masses in losing 5-2 to these miserable bastards, it means the Canadiens have dropped 5 of 6 games in March.

This worrisome slump can’t be blamed on bad luck either. The team has been outmatched lately, and what they have now to look forward to are the Islanders on Saturday and the Lightning on Monday. Two great teams just itching to keep the misery going.

It’s entirely possible this depressing slump isn’t about to end soon.  The Canadiens aren’t racking up goals, whether it’s regular strength or on the power play (although P.K. blasted one home in the dying seconds of a first period 4-minute man-advantage), and unless they break on through to the other side in the next month or so, it won’t look pretty when things turn serious.

The team is in the middle of trying times, late in the season, which seems far from perfect timing. It’s a reason to be concerned, but not quite panic time. Several important guys, like Galchenyuk, Plekanec, and even Weise, are asleep at the wheel, but if they and a couple of others few pick it up a bit, these doldrums might quickly become a thing of the past.

We’re not seeing flair or colour or consistent banging or giving opposing goalies any kind of a night to work up a decent sweat. They haven’t been all that fun to watch, they’re often boring, and my kind of Montreal Canadiens team is practically the opposite of what we’ve been exposed to recently.

This team needs all four lines and defence pairings going good in their own particular ways to be considered a legitimate contender. And right now, some guys aren’t pulling their weight, the team is naturally faltering because of this, and I think many of us are less confident in them now taking a serious playoff run, which we thought could happen.

The horrible California experience and now two lousy home games have left many wondering. And the answers? Don’t look at me. I’m just a fan like everyone else, and one who’s disregarding the last half of the old adage “write drunk and edit sober.”

Next up –

Long Island on Saturday to face the very strong N.Y. Islanders.

 

 

 

Canadiens Greet Sens Tonight

It’s the incredibly unlikeable Ottawa Senators in Montreal this evening for a clash with the boys, and if you’d like to know how things went with these two teams previously this season, I’m here to help.

Mainly because it’s cool, wet, and windy outside and I don’t want to go out.

The Canadiens turned in a solid effort back on December 21st, winning 4-1 at the Bell Centre, although it began poorly when Habs forward Sven Andrighetto stumbled, the puck made its way back to Carey Price and dropped at his feet, and was promptly banged home by the enemy.

But they rebounded in fine fashion and destroyed the buggers.

On January 15th in Ottawa, Montreal fell 4-1 with Dustin Tokarski in goal, although my notes say that Toker was solid. The notes also mention that the rest of the team stunk.

And on February 18th, again in Ottawa and again with Toker in net, the boys lost 4-2, and this was the night Alexei Emelin fell awkwardly into the boards and hasn’t been seen since.

It was also the night that Sens goalie Andrew Hammond made his very first NHL start and came up big. This is the same guy who, while playing for the Sens AHL affiliate Binghamton Senators last December, accomplished the impossible feat of allowing 3 goals on 3 shots in the first 21 seconds of the game.

So we know Hammond can be a bum.

We also know that the Canadiens need to start scoring a few more goals, considering they were only able to manage 6 over their last 5 games. And sitting 24th or 25th on the power play is feebleness at its finest.

But all is sort of forgiven and forgotten if they can pop at least three and destroy those despicable creatures from up the line.

It would also throw a big wrench into Ottawa’s hopes of catching that last wild card spot, and how great that would be. Because for me, one of life’s pure and simple pleasures is seeing the Sens fall flat and their fans feeling low.

And this, sent from Danno.

Canadiens Nailed By Lightning

struck_by_lightning-2

Nice to see Carey Price stop everything in sight once again. If only his teammates in front of him could do……something.

The Canadiens dropped a 1-0 overtime decision to the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning, which meant Price went for more than six periods without allowing a goal. But jeez, he’s gotta get some support from his buddies.

The team scored just a pair in their win against the lowly Coyotes on Saturday (one into an empty net), and none tonight. Price is doing everything he can to help his team win.  If he could score he would (and someday he might). But that particular aspect of the game is left up to the other guys, and they’re not holding up their end of the bargain.

Tampa owned the puck for much of the night, outshooting Montreal 36-19, and it has to be said – without the best goalie in the world back there, the Canadiens might be sitting in a world inhabited by Leafs and  Devils and Flyers and other mediocre squads with mediocre points.

It’s tremendously depressing. Not to mention that these two teams could meet in the postseason.

I thought, when it was scoreless in the third period and Price robbed Ryan Callahan, that the boys would finally say enough’s enough, they have to give their backstopper a helping hand once and for all.

But nope. They were outshot 10-2 in that final frame, and ultimately they deserved to lose. Price didn’t, but the rest did.

Now it’s Ottawa paying a visit to the Bell on Thursday, and once again, Price will stand on his head, do his job in Price-like fashion, and it’ll be up to the rest of them to do their share for a change. We’ll see. I know it’s asking a lot.

March so far? One win and four losses.

Eller’s Penalty Didn’t Help

Lars

Lars Eller got his stick up into the face of Drew Doughty with just 1:35 left in the third period, with his team winning 3-2 after being down 2-0 to the hometown L.A. Kings, and having stormed back from the dead.

The Kings, of course, with just 45 seconds left in the game, would tie it with Lars in the sinbin, and ultimately take it to a shootout where the Canadiens didn’t get the job done and lose 4-3.

I wish I’d kept track of all the ill-timed, momentum-killing, game-ruining penalties Eller has managed over the past few years. Penalties late in periods, penalties that cancel out power plays, penalties when it’s definitely time to not get penalties. It seems like he’s the king of this &$%#@% category.

I know what the Maharishi would tell me (if I knew him and he was still alive). Take deep breaths. Concentrate on trees and streams. Focus on the good that happened before Lars slipped up.

It’s a shootout loss that yes, gets the team a point, but it should’ve been two, and it should’ve been a cool halt to the California creamin’.

It stings, Maharishi. Just like it probably did when the Beatles dumped you. Eller owes us all a dinner.

The first period was as dreadful as the showings in San Jose and Anaheim. Outshot 13-2 and outscored 2-0. Heck, it was only a few games ago when the boys had shutout the Leafs and won their fourth straight, and we were feeling high and mighty and thinking magnificent thoughts.

But seven periods in California changed all that.

The second frame saw the Canadiens come to life though, and Tom Gilbert, looking like a forward, closed the gap to 2-1 when he swooped in and around Jonathan Quick and lit the lamp. And it became a tie game not long after when Gally took a nice pass from Plekanec and backhanded it home.

In the third frame, Max would notch his 31st on a nice pass from DD, and all was swell in Habsville until Eller’s brain froze like a tray of ice cubes, and with the clock winding down and the Kings on the power play, along with Quick on the bench and the extra man out, the bullet was fired to tie it.

Overtime would solve nothing, and in the shootout, the Canadiens shooters were Chucky (nope), DD and Max (yes), and Eller (post), while Kings skaters buried 3 of 4 on Dustin Tokarski, who overall played a decent game between the pipes.

This mostly lousy four-game road trip comes to an end on Saturday in Phoenix, but things don’t exactly let up. The following four games see the boys tackle the Lightning and Sens at home, and the Islanders and Lightning on the road.

Upcoming strategy? Keep Eller on the bench in crucial situations.

 

 

 

Canadiens Lose Game And Emelin

Alexei Emelin crashed awkwardly into the boards just 20 seconds into the game, he never returned, and to add to the glumness, the Canadiens fell 4-2 to the normally shitty Ottawa Senators.

Maybe Emelin’s injury is serious, maybe not. Maybe Sergei Gonchar’s injury, after being nailed into the boards by Toronto’s David Clarkson on Saturday, is serious too. Maybe when P.K. Subban, after blocking a shot, took his skate off after the game and his foot ballooned to a size 18.

P.K. returned for the third period but was definitely hurting. Of course, Bruins fans in particular will say he was embellishing.

Marc Bergevin has said many times that you can’t have too many defencemen, and of course he’s right. You start losing regular d-men, you’d better have solid replacements. And imagine if P.K. had broken his foot and was gone for two months? Seeing him take that shot was a real reminder that fortunes can change in the blink of a slapshot.

We probably need a major blueline recruit before the trade deadline, but for now, Greg Pateryn played in Ottawa, and Jarred Tinordi is on his way from Hamilton. If only Bryan Allen hadn’t been so incredibly underwhelming in his five games before being shipped down. We could’ve used his 6’05” hugeness.

And the game? An exciting affair, with Montreal firing 44 shots at Sens goalie Andrew Hammond, in his very first NHL start, and Ottawa shooting 39 pucks at Dustin Tokarski, who has lost four of last five starts.

Max scored his 27th marker, and Nathan Beaulieu finally notched his first.

Next up – Tonight, when the Panthers visit the Bell.

I was very late seeing the game after coming back from Sooke/Victoria. I’m still going though a very weird personal time, one which forced Lucy and I move back from Montreal to deal with, and which has us going back and forth from Powell River and Victoria way too many times.

Maybe at some point I can explain it to you. It’s very complicated and very serious, and I need to figure out how to say it. One thing I can say now – I’m not in any kind of trouble, and my marriage is as solid as a rock.

 

 

Habs In Motown, Via Sooke

welcometosooke

Lucy and I saw the Habs and Red Wings clash from a corner table at Buffy’s Pub in Sooke, BC, pop. 11,000, home of nearby Potholes Provincial Park, where, apparently, some great big holes are.

It was a fine experience. A classic West Coast workingman`s pub – chicken wings, cheap beer, loggers, fishermen, a few women scattered about. About as far away from La Cage Aux Sports as you can get.

We watched it online, because, as you can well imagine, there probably aren`t that many bars in BC that subscribe to RDS or pick up Sportsnet East. The quality was pretty darn good, aside from some slight jerkiness, and geez, I could do this more often!

A fine and solid 2-0 win by the boys. Carey Price’s 30th career shutout, which passes Patrick Roy for fifth best in Canadiens history. A much better performance than what we’ve seen lately by those in front of the world`s greatest goalie, which shows us that those bummers against lesser teams are probably some sort of sick team humour thought up by that wild and crazy P.K. Subban, and we just have to play along with the joke, that`s all.

A goal by Tomas Plekanec with 2:30 left in the third to break the scoreless tie, an empty netter from Max, his 26th of the season, to seal it, and a big two points to put some distance on Hotown, er, Motown, and stay just ahead of the pesky Tampa Bay Lightning who lost 4-3 to LA. (Boston lost too!)

The gang stays best in the East. They’re feeling good, I’m feeling good. Buffy’s has cold beer.

Hic. Wish I was still there.

Next up – Canadiens in Ottawa on Wednesday and the Florida Panthers visit the Bell on Thursday. Four big points isn’t too much to ask. And Ottawa and Florida aren’t complete basement dwellers so there’s no reason to lose.

 

A View From Above

Here it is, the latest look at the Scientific Habs Information Tracking System, showing nice amounts of yellow spread out over what amounts to more than half the season completed (45 games played, eighth best overall).

As you can see, the only real slump was back in the latter part of November and into early December when the boys lost six of seven games. And January shows a bit of a dip but nothing serious.

All in all, a fine season so far, with a big test coming up in early March when they hit the big three in California and shortly after tackle the Lightning, Sens, Islanders, and then Lightning again.

Isn’t this more fun than watching the All-Star Game?

tracker

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Sliced By Sens

Reasonably lousy effort from the Canadiens in Ottawa Thursday night as they drop a 4-1 decision to the Sens after being outchecked, outhit, and outshot, and outplayed.

And of course, after a Habs power play that had come alive the previous night and scored three times, on this night it was back to reality as the team went 0 for 4, which is what we’re more accustomed to. Can’t expect a fine power play two games in a row, can we?

The Sens were the better team, which sucks to say considering my utter disdain for them. They had the Habs bottled up throughout, lined up like a wall when play was coming toward them, and Bobby Ryan and company must have had their fans wondering all evening why they’re not able to perform like this on more of a regular basis.

But as well as Ottawa played, if the Canadiens hadn’t been so soft around Dustin Tokarski, they might’ve been able to make a game of it. Soft and casual play in Montreal’s end led to the Sens first two goals, while an Erik Karlsson blast made it 3-1. Ottawa would also score on the empty net, while at the other end, Montreal’s guns were seized up.

For the Canadiens, Max would make it interesting early on when his 21st goal of the season (and 6th straight game with at least a goal) would tie it at one apiece. Jiri Sekac has a couple of great chances, including dinging one off the post. And Lars Eller skated miles all night and found himself with several great chances (although on one of Lars’ chances, he should’ve tried burying it instead of passing it across into traffic, which made me yell at the TV and scare the cat who already has health issues).

Mostly though, as a whole the boys stunk. But we’ve seen this before, doses of mediocrity mixed with in with runs of solid play that continues to see them at or near the top of the class. We’re a greedy bunch, us fans, and watching Le Tricolore fall flat against some bums up the road definitely smells.

Random Notes:

Ottawa outshot the Canadiens 35-26.

Dustin Tokarski came up big several times and did his job. Now Toker might ride the pines until February 8th, the next back to back situation. But rust can never sleep.

Next up – Saturday, when the really good Islanders visit the Bell.