Category Archives: Tampa Bay Lightning

Stuck By Sabres

The Canadiens scored just once (Tomas Plekanec), while the Buffalo Sabres netted two, which means, um…..the Sabres’ win ends the Canadiens five-game winning streak.

It was a meaningless tilt for the Habs standings-wise, although continuing along their red-hot path would’ve been nice. Momentum is always good.

But it was also meaningful because Carey Price was almost hurt after getting bowled over (and who knows, maybe he is hurt), and Alexei Emelin went off late in the second and never returned.

Please Mr. Cleghorn and the rest of the Habs hockey gods, no injuries now with just two games left before the postseason. Is it asking too much?

And gods, please have the Canadiens hit the net sometimes. Is that also asking too much? Hit the net for ***** sakes. High, wide, just missed, close, high again, wide again.

Damn.

Friday at home against Tampa Bay, and Saturday in Detroit before we get down to the nitty gritty next week. Once again, Sprague and gang, no injuries and better aim please.

Habs Continue To Rock

The Tampa Bay Lightning have been fighting for their playoff lives, trying to catch Toronto for the final wildcard spot, and were winners of their last four games.

Then they met the Montreal Canadiens.

Unfortunately for the Lightning, they ran into a team that’s looking mighty fine these days, and for the Florida-based team, their plans of postseason action just took a major hit after Alexander Radulov bulged the twine in overtime, and the Canadiens skated away with a 2-1 win, their fourth straight.

Rock and rolling at the exact time we want them to be. My chest swells with pride.

Montreal has done serious damage to Tampa’s hopes of catching Toronto (who edged Detroit on this night), but that’s what happens when the Lightning come up against a team now firing on all cylinders, with Carey Price doing his thing and the boys as a whole looking sharp.

Like a playoff team ready to make a large dent.

It’s a fine feeling to see the team play well when it counts. They give us hope, something that was lacking when MT was behind the bench. And after last season in particular, we deserve it.

Four more games for the Canadiens, and then the real fun begins. We’ll be looking for them to shoot down postseason enemies the way scary warriors shoot down monkeys on giraffes.

Just a tight, goaltender’s duel in Tampa, with Price at one end and Andrei Vasilevskiy at the other coming up big time after time. A sensational back and forth game, with wondrous play in overtime that finally saw Max find Radu, and Lightning fans filed out of the rink, got in their cars, and drove palm tree-lined streets to get home and drown their sorrows.

At least I’m assuming that’s what they did.

Random Notes:

The game was scoreless in the first, but the middle frame saw Phillip Danault stuff it home to make it 1-0 Habs. Tampa would tie it in the third by someone named Yanni Gourde, but then Max and Radu went to work in the three-on-three overtime.

Shots on goal – Canadiens 36, Lightning 22.

The Canadiens’ final four games will be within the next week, with the boys bombing over to Sunrise on Monday to throttle the Panthers, then to Buffalo on Wednesday to embarrass the Sabres, then home on Friday to meet these same downcast Lightning, and end it all in Detroit next Saturday.

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.

 

 

Weber And Gang Win Another

blastA blast from the point from Shea Weber with just 2:57 left in the third period, and the visiting Montreal Canadiens leave town with a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders.

The major roll continues to roll.

Speedy Paul Byron, elevated to the first line with Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk, opened the scoring in the second period, and this middle frame had belonged completely to the Habs, right up until John Tavares evened things on the power play. But it all worked out in the end so it doesn’t matter.

In the third, after Galchenyuk rang one off the crossbar, Phillip Danault banged home a Weber shot after great fourth line forechecking, and the Habs took the lead, but not for long.

Almost three minutes later, ex-Bruin Dennis Seidenberg (which makes him a natural enemy), tied it after serious Islanders pressure, but it was all for naught, because the guy who came over for PK Subban, which caused some to consider jumping off a bridge or slitting their throat, scored the winner, his third of the season and nine points, which leads his team.

He also scares the daylights out of opposing players near the boards, which may or may not be factored into analytics.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot the Islanders 29-28, and were 1/1 on the power play (Weber).

Al Montoya, playing in his fourth game, was solid as usual and has allowed just 7 goals overall.

Years ago Henri Richard and Ralph Backstrom would be timed doing circles around the Forum, with both skaters fighting to be the fastest. Pretty sure Paul Byron would have given both fellows a run for their money, and I think they’d agree.

Next up –

Thursday night at the Bell when the Tampa Bay Lightning show up to get their arses kicked.

Soft and gentle rant – Alex Galchenyuk still isn’t that superstar we’d hoped for, even though he did score 30 goals last season. I thought by now, after 3 1/2 seasons, we’d see him blossom into one of the league’s elite, but we still wait. Maybe it won’t happen, at least the way I wanted it to.

Just want another Guy Lafleur, that’s all.

 

 

Habs In Shootout

bench

It was a win, and wins are good I suppose.

The Canadiens edged Carolina 2-1, but it took a shootout to do it, and without Ben Scrivens flapping around like a fish on a line, it would’ve been just another loss in this long, heartbreaking season.

Because the team in front of him, as usual, lacked fire.

I suppose I shouldn’t complain. It’s two straight for the boys, which is something we haven’t seen since late November when they put together four in a row, and which seems as miraculous as can be now.

But two wins still doesn’t sit right. Not for me, anyway. Not the way they won today.

I’ve tried to stay upbeat and as positive as possible throughout this ridiculous campaign. But this is a team that on most nights disappoints, even with a rare win, and I’m tired of being disappointed.

Real life can be disappointing enough. I don’t need more from my friggin’ hockey team. But maybe I’m selfish. I’ve been alive for 18 Montreal Canadien Stanley Cup wins, so I shouldn’t be greedy.

And reality tells me I probably won’t see 19.

And this year, not even playoff action.

Although the 3-on-3 overtime gave us good old fire wagon hockey that had fans oohing and aahing, we saw the Canadiens be the second best team for the three regular periods. Like they’ve been so often.

It’s a win, but whatever. They didn’t play well.

Random Notes:

Carolina outshot Montreal 35-34.

Max, with his 20th, tied thing at one apiece in the second period.

Galchenyuk, Flynn, Max, and Eller failed miserably in the shootout, but Andrighetto came through.

Next up – Tuesday, when it’s the Tampa Bay Lightning in town.

 

 

Max Gets The Job Done

sailor

In storybook fashion, Max Pacioretty, with the captain’s C meaning more than just about any game this season, buried the puck in the shootout to give the Habs a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the curtain closes, at least for one night, on a tremendously dismal time in Habsland.

But it’s the kind of thing that can right a ship, this clutch goal, and when it happened, Max’s teammates piled on him like teenagers celebrating at the World Junior Championship.

A beauty of winner it was too, with Max putting a couple of cool little dekes on netminder Ben Bishop, who’s still unraveling his jock strap from his testicles, and with that the Canadiens put an end to something called a six-game losing streak.

Max has been on the hot seat lately as folks haven`t been happy with his play. They say he looks lazy, floats, and isn’t trying like he should, which is all the same thing I guess. But as I mentioned on Twitter, it’s exactly what people said about Frank Mahovlich when he was with the Leafs.

For a few hours at least, fans can start planning the parade once again. I personally feel the Trans Canada Highway from Montreal to the West Coast would be a terrific route.

One win doesn’t guarantee anything except two points, we know that, but how it would’ve sucked to see yet another loss in this December to end all Decembers.

Now we see light, and it will shine even brighter if the boys handle the Florida Panthers in a few hours time. Big game, that one. Imagine a two-game winning streak?

The Canadiens opened the scoring in the first period when PK Subban fed Tomas Plekanec in close, and Pleks made no mistake.

How big was this goal? The Habs took the lead, which hasn’t happened much lately, and Pleks finally scored, which hadn’t happened since that night in ’36 when he beat Montreal Maroons backstopper Alec Connell.

Maybe not 1936, but it’s been a while. Twenty-one games in fact since Plekanec lit the lamp, which is completely unacceptable and one of several huge reasons why the team has spiraled out of control.

Scorers haven’t been scoring, and tonight, the nasty little monkey was wrenched from Plekanec’s back. It has to feel good.

Tampa would even it at one apiece in the second, but four minutes later, Alex Galchenyuk would wrist a puck from 20 feet out, and the boys took the lead once again.

In the third period, after the Lightning had shocked everyone with two quick goals to jump ahead, Dale Weise sent the puck over the line, and although Tampa called a Coach’s Challenge, the goal stood and the game was tied.

The Canadiens were less than great on the 3-on-3, aside from some flurries as the clock ticked down, but held on regardless. And onto the shootout we and they went, with Max getting it done in style.

Random Notes:

A fine enough evening, and best of all, the team looked like they wanted to win. Mike Condon was sensational, especially in the middle frame when he made several sprawling saves.

The team as a whole showed more energy than lately, they were alive and gunning for a win, and although it took a shootout, the sigh of relief is one big honkin’ beautiful sigh.

Tampa outshot Montreal 39-34.

Next up – across the state to Sunrise to take on the Panthers Tuesday evening. If ever another win is needed, it’s now.

There’s only one way to drive a stake into a pathetic, unending slump, and that’s to win a handful of games in a row.

One down, a handful to go.

 

 

 

Canadiens In The Zone…The Twilight Zone

twilight-zone

I was watching one of my favourite TV  shows today, The Twilight Zone.

Have you seen any of this classic series? Ventriloquist dummies coming to life, weird things at bus stations, freaky little aliens on airplane wings.  George Stroumboulopoulos wearing shoes the length of a canoe.

Anyway, today’s episode was about a hockey team that one minute was one of the best in the world and a possible favourite to go all the way, and almost at the snap of a finger froze up like they were freaky aliens on an airplane wing over the North Atlantic.

Even the Toronto Bleeding Scabs thought they might be able to leap over them in the standings. It was that bad.

Sports writers were ruthless. Fans considered jumping off bridges. Little kids cried. Bloggers tried to think about what to write.

Why did Rod Serling screw with our minds like that?

Canadiens fall 3-1 to the Washington Capitals, their sixth straight loss, their tenth in eleven games, eleven in thirteen etc. No one’s scoring except Daniel Carr. The team has just six goals in these latest six losses. Marc Bergevin is making calls about Mike Bossy.

It’s enough to send me to the fridge where the brandy is, like a thirsty zombie in The Twilight Zone.

Next – Monday in Tampa Bay, where the boys can drop televisions and drive cars into the hotel pool if they so desire. They’re rich, pampered athletes. They can do whatever they want.

And frankly, dropping TVs and drowning cars to let off steam might be exactly what they need. Christmas at home didn’t help.

Dallas Does Debbies

clobbered

The impressive Dallas Stars rolled over the Montreal Liberaces 6-2 Saturday in the Lone Star State, and it was a night when most Liberace players probably should’ve just stayed in the hotel lounge and tickled the ivories and drank Pink Ladies instead.

Eight losses in ten games. Now it’s on to Nashville, Minnesota, Washington, Tampa Bay, Florida, Boston, and Philadelphia.

All good teams.

I’m starting to bite my nails again after quitting 20 years ago.

And although Paul Byron (shorthanded) and Daniel Carr would bulge the twine, once again the big guns stayed silent. Pee Wee Herman, Richard Simmons, Don Knox, Bill Nye – none of them were noticeable in this fiasco.

Mike Condon was replaced by Dustin Tokarski early in the third after the sixth goal.

Jeff Petry was hit by Jamie Benn and left the game.

P.K. Subban shot the puck over the glass and was penalized. Twice.

Andrei Markov only did it once.

Random Notes:

For breakfast I had two poached eggs on toast, with extra toast and coffee.

At this moment, P.K. Subban is thinking a little about his two delay of games penalties, and a lot about his new suit at the tailors and his ability to get Justin Trudeau to sing a Christmas carol.

Next up – Monday in Music City.

How are things in the world of cricket?

Habs Gone With The Wind

Call me crazy, but I thought the Canadiens would play like gangbusters in game six. I guess I’ve never been more wrong.

The team that had stormed back from being down three games to none to make it a 3-2 series played like lethargic bums on Tuesday night and are now forced to sit at the cottage and clubhouse all summer and dwell on how they fizzled out instead of fighting with all their might to carry on down the trail to Lord Stanley’s old mug.

A dismal 4-1 spanking at the hands of the Lightning. Not in it from the first minute to the last.  Checked into the ground, with absolutely no pressure on Ben Bishop who had plenty of time to scan the crowd for lovely ladies.

It’s difficult to understand. Maybe the Canadiens were just too spent. Out of gas as they scrambled to come back from a 3-0 series deficit. There’s a reason why most teams don’t come back. Because the hole’s a deep bastard.

But talk about going out with a whimper. A surprising display of ………not much at all. A measly 6 shots in the first, 7 in the second, 6 in the third, from a team fighting for their life. From a team that was supposed to have character, but ultimately didn’t have firepower, or a half-decent power play.

It’s never easy when the team bows out. We hope and expect and cheer heartily and then hope some more. But in the end, they were completely outmatched for some reason, and now we have to hope about next year instead.

I remain proud of my team.

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I’ll be off and on this site all summer if you feel like stopping by. Unlike previous summers when I posted every day throughout, I have serious things to attend to this time around, which will take much of my time. But I think a few hours here and there on the computer will be good for me.

I’ll be around. You and I have to figure out how to make the 2015-16 team better than this one.

And I suppose now’s as good a time as any to post my golf picture.

From my old scrapbook – The Rocket and Arnold Palmer shoot the breeze when they were in New York in 1961. The two legends were honored by the S. Rae Hickok Co. as Athletes of the Decade in their respective sports.

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Hey Ghosts, Break’s Over

Sent over by Mike McKim, this article in Grantland.com – Battling the Ghosts by Sean McIndoe, talks about the Habs/ Lightning series, the old Forum and it’s replacement the Bell Centre, along with the distance between the two barns in different ways.

McIndoe also notes the apparent absence of Forum ghosts who were suppose to pack up and move over when the old cathedral closed its doors, but seem to be taking their time. If they came at all.

Contrary to what many think, I believe the Forum ghosts did make their way over to the Bell Centre in 1996, but they’ve had so much fun reminiscing, with the hangovers never ending and good times just rolling along, and they simply haven’t gotten around to modern day Habs teams yet, except for some fine times against Boston.

And they were on the job in the 2010 playoffs, at least for a few magical rounds. But all in all, they’ve really slacked off.

I can’t blame the ghosts. They welcome old buddies almost non-stop, so they party hard and tell tall tales, and lately, with Jean and Gilles and Elmer and Dollard and coach Ruel moving upstairs, there’s way too much to do in just a short amount of time.

Guys have to come from all corners of heaven to meet at the rebuilt Toe Blake’s Tavern. Fedora’s have to be dusted off. Someone has to be in charge of cigars at the corner tobacco store. It’s been tradition to have music greet the new guys, so Benny Goodman or Sinatra or Elvis have to be rounded up and sent to Toe’s.

So much to do, and we expect them to do more? Yes we do, because we believe in a serious work ethic from our ghosts,

It’s time to get off your behinds, ghosts. The boys down below need some guidance. Morenz only took 7 years after passing before lending a helping hand. What’s going on, Rocket? What’s the holdup?

And surely Toe and Dick Sr. can get the power play in sync, although it appears they might already be working on it.

All of you. Coffee break’s over. Up and at ’em.

Toe's