Not a great start for the Montreal Canadiens in Washington, outshot in the first period 15-2, and maybe looking only slightly less lethargic in the second.
But with Dustin Tokarski holding the fort and the team playing slightly better as the night wore on, all it took was one goal in regulation and several in the shootout and the first two games are in the bag with four points collected.
Flat they were, for the first half at least. They played like Monica Lewinsky had woke them up from their afternoon naps at the hotel. But you could see their legs moving well in the third while down just a goal, and soon enough, Canada’s team, those Montreal Canadiens, found a way to get it done.
Did the Brandon Prust fight with Liam O’Brien in the second period liven up the bench? Was it the no-goal by P.A. Parenteau, called back because of Rene Bourque clipping Braden Holtby’s pad, that got them thinking they should probably pull up their socks?
Maybe a small bush fire got lit, because soon after, Tomas Plekanec took a great pass from Alex Galchenyuk and wired it, and game was even at one after three periods.
All the way through, Toker came up big and gave his team a fine chance to win, and when the game went to a shootout, he finally got some help from Chucky, Desharnais, and in the end, Gallagher, and the team skated off with a win that had to have the Caps and their fans shaking their heads at the unfairness of the universe.
Now it’s onwards to Philadelphia to meet the Flyers on Saturday night. It’s a tough early part of the schedule for Montreal. After Philly it’s the Lightning on Monday, then home to face the Bruins on Thursday.
But the 2014-15 Montreal Canadiens can do it, because they’re the 2014-15 Montreal Canadiens.
Total shots on goal after that dismal 15-2 first period – Washington 30, Montreal 24.
Alexei Emelin went to the room in the third and if he returned I didn’t notice. Hopefully all’s well.
I watched the game on Sportsnet 360 and I have to say what a breath of fresh air it was listening to John Bartlett, Jason York, and from time to time Chantal Desjardins, after the three hour announcer/Leafs love-in on Wednesday.
Bartlett and York actually discussed the merits of the Habs often. How unique is that? And Chantal Desjardins has such a classy and professional delivery, just a wonderful way of speaking. I have a crush on Chantal’s voice.
Tomas Plekanec’s second goal of the game with just 43 seconds remaining in the third period gave the Canadiens a nice 4-3 win in Toronto and put to bed that opening game jinx they’ve experienced over the past four years.
Almost as good, it sends the rich Leaf fan bastards in the expensive seats sadly scrambling to their limos, possibly depressed by the fact that for the few minutes they were actually in their seats, it didn’t end properly for them.
Forget the sometimes weak play by a few Canadiens players on a few Leafs goals. It’s not that important because it’s only game one and they won it anyway.
What pisses me off more than a few costly mistakes by my team was seeing a whole bunch of $900 seats or whatever they were at the ACC, vacant more than five minutes into the second period, and for almost the first half of the third.
Jaded and spoiled silly by free tickets and ultra fat wallets, these people mingled in the lobbies or wherever else and missed probably a third of the game. I’d hate to be sitting high in the cheap seats and seeing these people casually strolling back to their perfect seats midway through the third with the scored tied at two. No wonder it’s the worst sports franchise in North America.
Rich Leaf fan bastards, you should be ashamed of yourself.
Max Pacioretty opened the scoring for Montreal on the team’s first shot of the game when he, as a lefthanded shot, swooped in from the right side and his wrist shot somehow went between the post and Jonathan Bernier’s skate.
Shades of Rocket Richard, a lefthanded shot swooping in from the right side. The big difference was, Max’s eyes probably didn’t burn like coals. Other than that, similar.
The Leafs would tie it and then take the lead with Alexei Emelin in the box, but in the second frame, Emelin would right things by sending Tomas Plekanec in free with a beauty pass, and the score was tied.
Many Leaf fans would have missed that goal because it was only at the 4:34 mark of the period.
At 8:41 of the third period, with rich fans still talking about business and mistresses somewhere else, P.K. Subban blasted one home after a great pass from DD.
A lovely sight, the PK celebration. Hope we see plenty of it over the next eight months.
With 2:19 left in the third, Toronto would tie it when a puck bounced in off Lars Eller, but, in keeping with the weirdness, Tomas Plekanec scored the winner with 43 seconds remaining when his shot bounced in off a Toronto guy.
It wasn’t a perfect win. Maybe Tom Gilbert could’ve been stronger. Maybe a few guys need to pull up their socks. But tonight is not the night to find fault. It’s only game one and they got it done.
Canadiens outshot the Leafs 32-27. It was 11-6 for the Leafs after the first period but the boys picked up steam as the game wore on.
Next Habs game – In just a few short hours when they visit the Caps in Washington.
May you play like the wind is at your back, your skates have wings, your shots have eyes, and from time to time, your punches hit faces and your pucks sometimes land extremely close to opposing goalies’ nether regions.
It could be a sensational season for the Montreal Canadiens and of course their fans, without question the smartest and best looking fans in hockey.
Start if off right boys, tonight against those wild and crazy Laffs.
Artwork from the young and talented Wade (Darth) Alexander (Twitter @DarthAlexander9).
Gally and Chucky are a tad older now (although, on the downside, Andrei Markov and Mike Weaver are too), the Canadiens are coming off some postseason deepness and liking it, and sixteen skaters (counting newcomer Eric Tangradi), are at least six feet tall.
The size factor has zoomed up considerably with Brian Gionta, Daniel Briere, and most recently Francis Bouillon, no longer in the picture. In fact, the roster, as it stands now, lists 11 guys all at 6’2″, which in my eyes is darn close to the perfect hockey player size.
It’s not that small guys can’t be key contributors. They certainly can be and it would be nonsense to say otherwise. But when there’s an abundance of small guys on one team, the team will often get bounced around like Brad Marchand’s three brain cells when the going gets rough.
It seems the Canadiens also have a nice balance of guys of young and not-quite-so-young. In fact, unless something changes, it’s only Gallagher, Galchenyuk, Bournival, Beaulieu, Tinordi, and Jiri Sekac under 25 years old, and it’s only Weaver, 36, Markov, 35, and Manny Malhotra, 34, as the overly-wrinkled veterans.
Tweaks have been made (- http://dennis-kane.com/summer-notes-from-habsville/), and the Canadiens should be labeled a legitimate contender, which is a sensational feeling. Unless you hate them of course.
It begins on Wednesday when they play the worst sports franchise in North America.
Yes, against those wacky Leafs.
It was ESPN who named the Leafs the worst, with the decision based on affordability, coaching, fan relations, ownership (honesty and loyalty), players (effort and likability), stadium experience, bang for the buck (wins per fan dollars) and title track (championships won or expected).
Pretty sure it costs an arm and a leg to see the Laffs at the ACC. They’ve increased their ticket prices by 53% this year, with the average price being $423.65.
But at ticket outlet “Vivid Seats”, one can grab a pair to see them and the Habs battle from down low, centre ice for slightly more. Just $1213 a seat.
However, if you want to wait until, say January, when the Columbus Blue Jackets visit the ACC, you can get a great seat through Vivid for just $385.00!
Likeable players? Probably not on this year’s team. But Johnny Bower has always seemed likeable. King Clancy. Some of the usherettes. I’m sure there’s more.
Stadium experience? I dunno. Are the hot dogs good?
Wins per fan dollar? The team hasn’t won much of anything in four and a half decades, which makes the fan dollar so low that when I do the math, the team should be paying the fans.
You can lump “wins per fan dollars and championships won or expected” together if you want. However which way you slice it, with these two categories being part of the criteria, ESPN should just hand the award to the Leafs permanently and come up with something new.
“Championships expected”? Yes, any year now, the Leafs will win the Cup. Said Don Rickles.
I don’t pay attention to the coaching and ownership so I can’t comment. I suppose they’re trying, but it’s the Maple Leafs they own or coach. How much trying can one do?
Habs and Laffs finally set to go. A big night for sure, even if one team is the worst franchise in North America.
Coming Montreal’s way is Eric Tangradi, a fellow I definitely had to look up, considering I’d never heard of him.
Who knows if this left winger will crack the squad, but if he doesn’t it would be a shame, considering he’s a 6’4″ power forward. Just what the doctor ordered, except he seems to have hands of stone.
In 136 NHL games with Pittsburgh and Winnipeg, Tangradi scored a total of five goals, and in a perfect world, a 6’4″ power forward can bulge the twine more than five times. So we’ll see.
Tokarski, as we all know, was tremendous in playoff action last year after Price went down, so the decision is fine with me. He proved he can come up big in relief, which is what we ask for. In fact, anything less is unacceptable.
Toker is also cheaper than Budaj, so management, as is the name of the game, got their payroll down and some extra bucks are now there for when it comes time to land someone like a big guy who can also put the puck in the net.
Unfortunately, Budaj probably remains a backup with his new team, as Winnipeg has Ondrej Pavelec as their main man. Regardless, it’s a great job. Better than yours and mine.
When the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” hit the stores in 1967, I of course owned a copy soon after, and when I’d listen to “When I’m 64″, I’d think that although 64 was a long way away, it would be weird to listen to it when I actually did become 64.
Which is today. And it is weird.
So please indulge me as I do this for myself. Age meeting the song only happens once.
Or, if you like, there’s this other Fab Four.
Couldn’t see the game, I’ve been incapacitated. I know that the Canadiens lost 4-3 in overtime but Lucy and I are in Kingston with my brother and his wife Kelly, painting the town red.
Maybe not painting the town red. But as red as you can get it when you’re an old bastard like me, dragging the other three down.
Also went to the OHL Major Junior A game between the hometown Frontenacs and visiting Belleville Bulls which saw Jordan Subban and the Bulls skate off with a convincing 4-2 win.
We sat right behind the Bulls bench, which was a fascinating experience for sure, and after Subban took a late-game penalty, his coach sent him to the dressing room like a kid to his room..
So I’ve been incapacitated. What a word. Sounds a bit like decapitated and constipated. Whatever way – incapacitated, decapitated, constipated – it’s tough to watch a game when you’re one of them.
In the meantime, because I’m incapacitated, here’s what I think is a cool photo.
It came up on eBay awhile back and I bid on it but didn’t win. Originally from the Richard family, it’s a picture of Maurice Richard at a Christmas party, looking like he’s having a fine time.
Boom Boom Geoffrion is on the far right, and although I don’t recognize the fellow in the middle, you can be assured that if he actually went through with the pouring of his drink on Rocket’s head, somebody in the house would be quickly calling for an ambulance.
It’s a little odd attempting a game recap the morning after. My brain’s taking a while. It feels like a bowl of steel cut oats. Sort of a glue-based, chewy mush.
But the United Center clash ended late last night, and I couldn’t wait until later on today. You might think I was a slacker.
It was Toews and Kane, Keith and Seabrook, Sharp, Richards, Versteeg, and on down the line. All the usual suspects. A strong, solid lineup, playing at home against Dumont and De La Rose. Andrighetti, Dowell and Bowman and just a sprinkling of household names like Bourque, Weise and Eller.
That’s not fair.
Except the underdogs had Carey Price in nets, and as the night progressed, the red, blue, and white legs found jump, the chances began, and in the end, the little engine that could skated off with a surprising and impressive 3-1 win, even though they were handily outshot. But not outworked.
It was 0-0 through two periods with Mr. Price coming up big a bunch of times, including getting his mitt on a clear-cut Duncan Keith blast from about twelve feet out. A sensational stop from Price, and it was the Canadiens who would finally break the ice in the third, not Kane or Toews or Sharp, when Rene Bourque, after almost scoring, came up with a nice second effort and banked one off Hawks goalkeeper Antti Raanta.
And when Nathan Beaulieu converted a swell Drayson Bowman pass to make it 2-0, it truly did start to feel like good things might happen on this night for what was technically a bolstered Hamilton Bulldogs squad.
A slight hiccup when Greg Pateryn, looking to impress and win himself a job, whiffed on the puck at the blueline which sent Andrew Shaw in alone, and suddenly it was 2-1 and the Hawks thought they had a life.
But they didn’t, because five minutes later Michael Bournival hit the empty net, and the Canadiens are now four wins and a loss in preseason, and looking mighty fine.
Shots on goal – Chicago 32, Montreal 19.
Alexei Emelin thumped on several occasions, which is always a beautiful thing. I love the thumps, whether it’s Emelin or anyone else wearing the CH doing it. It keeps other teams from getting too high and mighty.
Next up, Friday night in Ottawa and then the Sens visit the Bell on Saturday.
Canadiens win 3-1 in Chicago.
Good night. I’ll continue tomorrow.