Habs Let It Slip Away

A two-goal lead squandered. A power play that went one for five. And a shootout loss to the visiting Buffalo Sabres to cap the whole thing off.

Such an important game, blown in the third period after the Habs had made it a nice 2-0 game with goals by Erik Cole on the power play (yes, you read it right – on the power play), and then Montreal’s most consistent player from the start of the year, Max Pacioretty, with his 7th of the season.

But in the third the tide was turned. Just 53 seconds in, Buffalo narrowed it to one. And after the Habs failed to capitalize on another power play, the Sabres tied it up.

Just like that, we knew this might not have a happy ending.

With all the buzz in the past 24 hours concerning Milan Lucic taking out the Sabres’ Ryan Miller, it was quite something to see Erik Cole come in contact with Miller’s replacement, Jhonas Enroth in overtime. Poor timing indeed. Not only was a penalty going to be called for sure on this, but it put the Habs in penalty trouble when they least needed it.

Cole, though, played a terrific game, and he came close often. It’s hard to believe that through preseason and well into the regular season, Jacques Martin kept Cole to minimal minutes, with very little power play ice time. How could Martin not recognize at that time the talent level of this guy?

But regardless of how well Cole did, he still took an extremely ill-timed penalty, and his team was lucky to get out of the period still alive.

My wife mentioned that it must not be easy to score in a shootout, and I told her that even Wayne Gretzky had problems with this aspect of his game. And not only that, I added, but Carey Price, as good as he is, seems to have trouble stopping  them. The Sabres then managed to score on both tries in the shootout, Max Pacioretty found the back of the net for the Habs, but Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta didn’t, and it became a depressing 3-2 win for the Sabres.

Random Notes:

Lars Eller, even though he’s played fairly well so far this year, has scored only once, with 3 assists, and it’s about time he started helping the team with some points, don’t you think?

Hal Gill was out with the flu, Mike Cammalleri and Andrei Kostitsyn didn’t dress, and now Jaraoslav Spacek is hurt and probably won’t play on Wednesday against Carolina. It’s gotten to point of almost laughable, in a sick and distorted sort of way. They can’t score and they can’t stay healthy. What’s a Habs fan to do?

Afterward, Jacques Martin hauled out the tried and true big-time sports cliché  – “The best defence is offence.” But Jacques, what about Buffalo outshooting Montreal 10-4 in the third period to even the score?

I think he just wanted to say it because it sounded good.

Total shots on goal – 32-27 in favour of Buffalo.

Oh geez, I almost forgot. Scott Gomez has an assist this year!


8 thoughts on “Habs Let It Slip Away”

  1. Dennis you forgot that Engqvist, who was called today up to replace Cammalleri, also got injured tonight. Not a major loss, but soon Hamilton’s going to refuse to send us more players if we continue to break the ones we have.
    I don’t understand what’s wrong with Price in these shoot-outs. He hasn’t made a save in either shoot-out.

  2. cole’s stach was not mature enough to warrant big minutes early on plus jm wanted cole to get experience watching how to play 40 minutes, sit on the lead and blow it and of course lose. cole still hasn’t mastered it yet, his head is in the game well over 40 min. perhaps with some more experience and now gomez is back he’ll learn it is not necessary to play a full 60 min. with les habs.

  3. A few things:

    Gomez had more time on the ice than Eller. Eller, who has looked pretty damn good lately and showing great potential, gets his time cut while Mr. Good For Nothing gets his time increased. He also played a lot on the power play. Yeah, I guess we all thought he’d score for sure eh?

    Martin blamed the youth for the loss instead of the vets. Nice way to toss them under the bus. His quote about Offence is insane coming from him. How did he say that with a straight face? Look at how many games we’ve played under him where we kick back in the third and then scramble to keep the lead? Is he insane? You go for the kill, you do not sit on leads. Hell, he should have learned that from game 3 and 4 in our series against Boston last year! DUH.

    Pleks needs to be taken off the point. He does not belong there.

    Price was livid after the game. He smashed his stick against the boards and in the dressing room he screamed out a “F you!” and was heard tossing stuff.

    If he can’t get it through his head that you don’t sit on a lead and become passive, Martin doesn’t need to be shown the door, he needs to be tossed out the nearest window. Good-bye, good-riddance, and bon voyage.

  4. I think Darth said it all.

    Yet, in spite of Jacques Martin’s stumblings and bumblings, the Habs are 6-3-1 for the last ten games and are only one point behind Tampa Bay for eighth place in the conference.

    They are steadily clawing their way back into contention one ugly game at a time.

    Looking ahead, I expect Erik Cole to will play like his hair is on fire when the Habs play his old team the Carolina Hurricanes at the Bell Centre tomorrow night.

  5. Very good points you bring to the table Darth, teams playing against us must be salivating going into the third period down a goal or two. They know the JM’s system is to sit back and try to play kitty bar the door. I guess with that phrase I’m showing my age!
    To Christopher Oski Wee Wee Osski Waa Waa Holy Macinaw Tigers Eat Um Raw !!!
    Cheers from the East!!!!

  6. Hey Mike, I’ve always wondered what an Oski Wee Wee is. Of course I know it’s the Ti-cat chant but does it have any particular meaning?

  7. Thanks Mike, boy was that was a great game, I hope you got a chance to see it. For a while I was having flashbacks of the disappointing ’89 Grey Cup. My biggest complaint was that I was forced to watch it online because CTV was broadcasting a boring NFL game.

    Since the memory of that game puts me in good mood, I think Martin was standing up for Subban and the defence when he says the best defence is a good offence. It was offensive give aways that led to the third period goals.

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