Category Archives: Tampa Bay Lightning

Topped By Tampa

The Canadiens fell 4-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night, although they gave it the old college try after falling behind 3-0 before three minutes had been played in the second period.

Unfortunately, old college tries are never good enough because they mean losing. And this was to a growing rival who had already won the first three encounters.

It began poorly, that’s for sure. Brenden Morrow got his stick up into the face of Brian Flynn (who didn’t return) and on the four-minute penalty handed down, the Canadiens, and I know you’ll be shocked by this, failed to score.

Following that, a puck was deflected off Andrei Markov and past Carey Price to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead, and then, not even 24 hours after Max Pacioretty was anointed with a new McDonald’s hamburger (the Max 67), he grabbed the puck along the boards near centre ice, turned, and passed it back to none other than a free as a bird Steven Stamkos, who waltzed in and beat Price.

But because I appreciate Max so much, I’m won’t say anything more about this. Or bring up that pass to an Islanders player the other night that killed Price’s shutout. Because Max has 34 goals on a team that you and I complain about because they can’t score. And he had 39 last year.

He also came close several times after, obviously intent on making up for his faux pas. And if you don’t think any of the greats of the game – Howe, Richard, Hull, Orr, Beliveau, Gretzky, Lemieux etc, pulled a boner once in awhile, you’d be wrong.

Later in the second period, Pleks would finally get his team on the scoreboard while on the powerplay (yes, the powerplay), and in the third frame, P.A. Parenteau banged one home after Tampa goaltender Ben Bishop got crossed up behind the net.

But that was it, because Lars Eller was called for holding with just 2:22 left in the game, and with Carey Price pulled to at least keep things even, Steven Stamkos hit the empty net.

Now it’s across the state to take on the Panthers and hopefully better their record in March to three wins in nine games. Which, of course, is still nasty.

Random Notes:

There were a number of questionable decisions by the officials, including the call not made when Brandon Prust and Mike Angelidis fought and which was clearly started by Angelidis. But the instigator penalty wasn’t called.

And Lars Eller’s holding call in the dying minutes wasn’t flagrant by a country mile, and which of course, killed any chance of the Canadiens  squaring things up.

Shots were even at 34 apiece.

 

 

 

Canadiens Better Against Islanders

They still had to rely on Carey Price to come up big, but the Canadiens on Long Island would get the job done, winning 3-1 and looking better than they have in their other six games in March, and keeping me from putting %$#&* in the title.

Yes there were a few bad penalties taken by the boys, including a hot-headed Dale Weise boarding call that could’ve been smarter, and an Andrei Markov tripping penalty with just 4:11 left in the game and his team up-2-0, and which lead to an Islanders’ power play goal to make things tense for all concerned.

Not to mention that the Isles goal was scored after Max had sent an absolutely soft and ill-advised puck to the enemy in the slot.

But a Lars Eller empty-netter sealed it and the Canadiens, at least until Monday, stop the acid rain that has been coming down for about two weeks now, beginning in sunny California.

The win puts the Canadiens two big points ahead of the Lightning, who lost 2-1 to Winnipeg on Saturday, but most importantly, they looked like they’d finally slept off their stupor, shook out the cobwebs, and picked it up a notch.

That and Carey Price.

Montreal opened the scoring early in the second period on a Galchenyuk to Parenteau to Galchenyuk to Plekanec bang, bang, banger, and later, Max would fire one home with his team shorthanded, after Isles goaltender Michael Neuvirth left the puck behind his net, only to have it grabbed by Lars Eller who sent it out to Max.

It was also in this second frame that Carey Price swooped his glove behind him to rob Matt Martin, which you can see here at the bottom, and which is what plenty of folks will be talking about for the next day or two.

A fine effort in general by the visiting Canadiens, although they were outshot 36-30 and were saved by Price a bit more than should be expected.

They also went 0-4 on the power play but that’s not really news. They go 0-4 every game.

Next up – another important beauty as the Canadiens head to Tampa Bay for a Monday night meeting with Bolts. Time to shake these guys once and for all. They’re like leeches on the skin after swimming in local swamp.

Shoutout to both Lars Eller and P.A. Parenteau for contributing in a big way.

Canadiens Nailed By Lightning

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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.

Canadiens Shut Down Coyotes

Lars Eller spun around after taking a smart back pass from Devante Smith-Pelly, fired the puck past Arizona Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith, and the goal, which would prove to be the winner, salvages the Canadiens dreadful western U.S. trip as the boys finally end up in the win column by blanking the Coyotes 2-0.

Smith-Pelly played a better all-round game than what we’ve seen, Carey Price notched his 7th shutout of the season and was his usual spectacular self, and Lars Eller was flying most of the night and redeemed himself in impressive fashion after taking a late-game penalty in L.A. that led to the tying goal by the Kings and all kinds of pain and grief for us.

Brendan Gallagher, set up by Tomas Plekanec, iced the thing with an empty netter.

It was a decent showing by the Canadiens, although the Coyotes sit 28th of 30 teams in the overall feebleness category, so maybe it wasn’t truly impressive. But it was a win that stopped the losing streak at three games, and for now we can take off our hard hats because the sky has stopped falling.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot the Coyotes 35-29, including 15-5 in the first period and 12-8 in the second, but the third frame saw Arizona post 15 shots to the Habs’ 8. But of course, our man Price was there to stop the nonsense.

Max Pacioretty had more than a few great chances to add to his 31 goals, but couldn’t beat Smith. DD, except for one blatant instance when he should have shot and didn’t, played a solid game and handled the puck in deft fashion.

Jeff Petry is showing to be a great addition to the blueline corps. He’s big, smart, a greater skater, good with the puck, and can lay out some bone crushers. Nice to see him wearing the CH.

It’s a solid group of Habs d-men, and I’d match our guys against any team’s.

Next up – Tuesday, when the talented and cocky Tampa Bay Lightning pay a visit to the Bell.

Only 16 Habs games remain in the regular season.

Blasé in San Jose

smelly skunk

To the person or persons who slipped sedatives into the coffee of Canadiens players before the start of their game in San Jose last night, you should be rounded up and made to do a stretch of hard time. That or attend a Leafs practice.

The Canadiens were asleep at the wheel for most of two periods, came alive ever so slightly in the third, but when the ice chips had settled, the score was 4-0 Sharks, thus ending Montreal’s four-game winning streak and Carey Price’s consecutive roads wins at eleven.

They’ve probably played worse than this. The 7-1 shellacking at the hands of Tampa Bay on October 13th was as dismal as it gets (Price was chased after four goals in two periods, and Toker allowed three more.

But Monday night’s affair was such a disappointing affair. Things had been going so swimmingly. Price had been practically unbeatable, the team was rolling and could have caught Nashville overall, and then it’s into Northern California where they stink out the joint.

Maybe guys had the pedal to the metal prior to trade deadline in the hopes of not being dealt, and when they escaped unscathed, they breathed a sigh of relief and gave a good and dishonest 50%.

Random Notes:

The Sharks outshot the Canadiens 37-20.

One of the team’s better players in this 4-0 bummer was newcomer Jeff Petry, who had met up with the team in California after making his way from Edmonton and was probably having a more hectic and confusing day than you and I. But his poise and playmaking were terrific, if somewhat conservative, and he seems a terrific addition.

The boys actually came close to scoring, when the puck did or didn’t fully cross the goal line, as has happened a few other times this season. Millions of dollars in cameras placed throughout NHL rinks, but they can’t find one that shows beyong a shadow of a doubt that the puck is in or not.

Next up – Wednesday in Anaheim to face Jiri Sekac and his Ducks. I’m betting the mortgage that the Canadiens play better than they did in San Jose. Could they play worse?

 

 

Habs In Motown, Via Sooke

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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?

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Canadiens Drop Preds In OT

They were outplayed in the first period and for much of the second. But it doesn’t mean the Canadiens had to lose.

Because they didn’t.

Outshot 14-4 by the visiting Nashville Predators in the first period, with Carey Price doing what he does best – keeping his team in it.  And shots late in the second frame were in the 14-5 range for the Preds before the boys finally began to shake the cobwebs.

With Price doing his uncanny impersonation of a brick wall, the Canadiens eventually lit the lamp when Alex Galchenyuk deflected a Subbinator blast during a third period power play, and then PK would end it in overtime, again a missile from far out, and again, on the power play.

Preds’ coach Peter Laviolette wasn’t happy that his player (Craig Smith) was called for tripping Lars Eller in overtime, and had plenty to say to the referee as the teams skated off the ice. I hope his mother wasn’t watching.

Unlock a Nashville studio, a sad country song is calling. Your dog dies, your wife leaves you, and you lose in overtime with a man in the sinbin.

Did you ever notice that Laviolette looks a bit like Reggie Mantle from Archie comics? Maybe it’s just me.

Great comeback win against one of the league’s elite squads, and a big two points that gives Montreal a healthy 7 points up on 4th place Boston in the Atlantic Division. It also sees them just 3 points behind Tampa Bay for tops in the East, with the boys having three games in hand.

Great way to head into the All-Star break. Rolling along, feelin’ good, us feelin’ good, Peter Laviolette and Craig Smith feelin’ bad.

Now we wait a full week until the train fires up again, with Dallas at the Bell next Tuesday.

Shots on goal – Preds 37, Canadiens 27. But Pricer was his usual self, and PK enjoyed one of the those games that causes plenty of oohs and aahs from folks at the rink and on couches from Victoria to Vladivostok.

Reggie

 

 

 

 

Struck By Lightning

A few of my personal 2015 wishes: health, a big lottery win, and no Habs-Lightning playoff matchup.

The Canadiens are definitely in tough when they face this team, losing 4-2 in clear cut fashion on Tuesday, three months after being bombed by this speedy bunch 7-1 in Tampa.

Now, after just  a couple of heady days in the Eastern penthouse, Montreal gets bumped to the next floor by these Floridians who deserved the win and the Habs didn’t.

The Canadiens scored first, which usually means a fine evening to follow, but four Lightning goals in the second period sunk the ship. Max would narrow it to 4-2 in the third, but because of overall feebleness by the guys in red, a miraculous comeback would have been just that – a miraculous comeback.

PK Subban needed to go back to bed. A lackadaisical giveaway that sent a Tampa player in alone, which didn’t result in a  goal but no matter. Later on, a fancy move to dazzle the enemy, but it all fell apart and no dazzling was to be. And his second penalty of the game, a brain fart type of infraction, came from jabbing his stick at Brett Connelly while PK was still on the bench, which led to a slashing penalty and TB’s second goal which basically got the ball rolling.

Lousy night overall, and now the boys don’t play until Saturday when the Pens visit the Bell. Upon examining the Scientific Habs Information Tracking System (S.H.I.T.S.) closely, I’m now fully convinced the schedule maker has a drug and alcohol problem.

Random Notes:

Lightning outshot the Canadiens 36-22.

RDS went with their nosebleed camera for most of the game, which pissed me off to no end. Why so high? It’s bad enough when one gets stuck in the cheap seats at a live game, but to be just as high up from the living room is so wrong.

Habs Top Of The Heap

The Pittsburgh Penguins may have had their way with the Canadiens back on November 18th when they blanked the boys 4-0, but Saturday night in Pittsburgh was a different story.

4-1 Habs. A well-deserved win.

Montreal punched the clock and played a solid, hardworking, hard checking, all round fine game as they bottled up the Pens in impressive fashion, found themselves with meaningful scoring chances sprinkled throughout, and now sit in the Eastern Conference penthouse with 54 points, one ahead of both the Pens and Islanders, and two in front of Tampa Bay, the team they face on Tuesday evening in Montreal.

Max would slam one home in the first period to open the scoring, then a Desharnais slapshot made it 2-0, Tom Gilbert was wide open in the second frame and it was 3-1, and Alexei Emelin blasted a laser through a crowd in the third to put the thing out of reach.

A nice little run Les Glorieux have going now, winning 6 straight and 9 of their last 10. No wonder they’re king of the hill.

I’m back watching and typing in our little house in Powell River, after a year and a half of living in Montreal. It feels unusual, with the game coming on a 4 pm instead of 7, and in a completely different place than the one I was in just over a week ago.

I also hadn’t seen the team play the previous three games because we were in the process of driving across the country.

It’s great to be back, but I also loved Montreal. It was a grand adventure, and now returning to PR is strange and also fresh and  comfortable. The old couch, the  bigger TV, the kitchen table where I am now. The fence in the back yard that blew over during a recent storm.

And the Canadiens ruling the roost. All they gotta do now is take out the Lightning at the Bell on Tuesday. Widen the gap a touch.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot Pittsburgh 33-31.

They also went 0-4 on the power play,  which puts them in 27th place in the man-advantage category. But they’re on a serious run so now’s not the time to complain.

Carey Price was in the nets for back to back games, only the second time this year that Toker didn’t play in one of them. Price was between the pipes on Dec. 5th against the Hawks and the 6th against the Stars, losing both. But that was then, this is now.