Tag Archives: Brandon Prust

Another Fine Blanking!

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The Canadiens looked like they were coming off a Demerol party when they lost 4-0 to the Sharks on March 2nd in San Jose, and which kicked off the 3-game hard-to-swallow California crushing.

It had us all in a dither.

But Saturday at the Bell, the boys played hard-hitting, slick passing big time hockey as they slayed the Sharks 2-0, making it three straight wins, four of their last five, coming not long after the aforementioned California slide had us searching for the key to the liquor cabinet.

Great game by the Habs, regardless of the fact the shirtless Joe Thornton told Sportsnet’s Christine Simpson between periods that his line had been in Montreal’s end all game.

Not what I saw, Joe. And really, for the sake of us guys watching, could you please put a shirt on.

Carey Price saved the day when called upon, which could be said for just about every time he’s manned the nets this season, with this being his 9th shutout (tying M.A. Fleury for the lead), and second in a row after beating Carolina 4-0 on Thursday.

The win is also Price 40th of the season, just two back of the Habs all-time leaders Jacques Plante and Ken Dryden, which is absolutely exciting. Price has entered the Land of the Giants.

Tomas Plekanec got his team on the board in the first period, his 22nd of the year, on a great play that gave him most of a wide-open net to shoot at. The goal also came at a great time, with just 1:14 remaining in the period, and we could see that with the way they were playing, taking the lead late like that could very well spell serious trouble for The Shirtless One and his fish.

Brendan Gallagher would notch the insurance marker, his 21st, in the third with the Sharks’ net empty, and with just seconds left and the boys up 2-0, the Ole, Ole song began, with props to the singers. You sang it at the proper time for a change. When the game wasn’t in doubt.

And man, were the last few minutes tense with the goalie pulled and the score still 1-0, and with the game, and a shutout, on the line.

But the Canadiens came through, as they did all night, standing their ground, checking hard, passing well, and all in all, unless you’re a Sharks fan, a mighty fine night at the not-so-old Bell Centre.

A nice, impressive hometown win by the gang, and a tremendous thing to see, considering there’s only nine games to go and maybe, just maybe, they’re rounding into playoff form.

Random Notes:

Tom Gilbert took a puck in the mouth area during the second period and was gone for the night. Hopefully it’s only a chiclet or two and nothing more.

Props to Brandon Prust for playing a fine game, including a nice piece of business on the penalty kill late in the game.

The Canadiens have reached 99 points, tied with Anaheim for top of the heap.

Alex Galchenyuk needs just one more to reach 20 goals.

Next up – Tuesday, when the team hits Music City, U.S.A. to shut out the Predators.

 

Habs Halt Hurricanes

Slightly condensed tonight. Sorry.

Carey Price nailed down his 8th shutout at the Bell on Thursday soir as the boys win 4-0 over the Carolina Hurricanes and look decent while doing so.

Decent except for the second period when they let Carolina have their way a bit too much, and of course had to rely on Price to come up big. (Although a couple of pucks slithered through him and across the crease).

This team is spoiled rotten, having a goalie like Price to save their bacon when they slack off.

Dale Weise opened the scoring in the first by banging home a rebound after Brandon Prust had done much of the legwork, and Brendan Gallagher increased the lead to two after Tomas Plekanec stormed in and Gally finished it off.

In the second frame DD took a nice pass from Tom Gilbert while the boys had the extra man out on a delayed penalty, and in the third, Max, while trying to set up Pleks, had the puck bounce off Hurricanes goaltender and proud Ust-Kamenogorkier (pop. 322,000), Anton Khudobin, for Max’s 35th of the season.

C’mon Max. Five more.

A fine 4-0 win over a team that’s not that great, but a not-that-great of a team that the Canadiens can beat. Unlike others.

It makes my heart soar like the Birdman of Alcatraz’s buddies.

Next up – Saturday, when the Sharks swim into town.

Shots on goal – Canes 31, Habs 22.

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.

 

 

Canadiens Wear Out Jackets

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For a team that has had trouble scoring a lot of goals, 10 in the last two games is a beautiful thing.

The Canadiens, like they did on Tuesday in St. Louis, win another 5-2 game, and their two-game road trip comes to a successful close with the gang playing solid if not spectacular hockey. For example, their power play continues to fire blanks and….well….continues to suck.

Now it’s a rumble with the Leafs on Saturday at the Bell to close out February. The March schedule is a bit of a bitch but that’s for another time.

P.K. Subban opened the scoring just 1:49 into the game with a big blast after Manny Malhotra won the faceoff cleanly and got it back to our man. One slightly disturbing thing to note – Manny doesn’t seem to be winning just about every faceoff like he did up until recently. If he’s not doing that, should he be in the lineup?

And without mentioning Columbus goals because it’s not important, the scoring continued with a Markov shot from the top of the circle, Max would notch his 30th, and in the third frame, Jacob De La Rose bagged his first NHL goal and then added another with the net empty.

P.K. would collect a couple of assists to go with his goal, and his 47 points is good for second best behind Max’s 53.  Max needs 10 more goals in 21 games to hit 40. Can he do it?

Devante Smith-Pelly had a couple of decent shots on goal, and although he didn’t overwhelm, he’s probably still in a bit of a stunned mode considering he was an Anaheim Duck just a few days ago and has had just one practice with his new team. I was hoping we’d see more physical play from him, but I’m a patient man.

Smith-Pelly worked the right side, usually with De La Rose and Brandon Prust, but at times things were juggled around because he has a coach named Michel Therrien, and he also saw a small amount of time on the power play.

The new guy wore number 21, and I don’t know if you’ll find this interesting or not, but Toe Blake, in his first season with the Canadiens in 1935-36 after coming over from the Maroons, wore number 21. But from 1937 until the end of his career in 1948, number 6 was Toe’s.

One question lingered as I watched the game unfold. How did that whole row of fans wearing Habs jerseys get tickets right behind the Canadiens bench?

Random Notes:

Shots on goal were 27 apiece.

The photo at the top is one of my vintage popcorn boxes. Here’s some more. Very proud of my mint boxes, which date back to the early and mid-20th century.

Just what you wanted to see on a hockey blog, right?

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Habs Lucky To Lick Laffs

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It would’ve absolutely sucked to lose to the lowly Laffs on Hockey Night in Canada, coast to coast on a Valentine’s Day Saturday night, when Hab fans far and wide took their dates to romantic bars that also happened to have televisions.

But Montreal didn’t lose. They won 2-1.  Although it took a shootout to make it happen.

No use talking about how the Canadiens play their lousiest when it’s a basement dwellar they face. They can lose to the lowly Oilers and Sabres and Coyotes. It’s almost something we have to accept because they can be assholes that way.

But to lose to the Laffs would have been the last straw. It’d be like Gary Lewis and the Playboys winning a Battle of the Bands showdown with the Beatles. The Washington Generals clobbering the Harlem Globetrotters. Wile E. Coyote outsmarting the roadrunner.

But the Canadiens got it done in the shootout when both Alex Galchenyuk and David Desharnais showed some sweet moves, and the Leafs didn’t. (One of their guys scored in the SO but it wasn’t sweet like our guys :-) ).

All in all it was a fairly tight and slightly rough affair, with Toronto’s David Clarkson doing battle with Brandon Prust early in the first and then with Nathan Beaulieu later on after Clarkson had nailed Sergei Gonchar into the end boards and Beaulieu came a callin’.

An excellent “fight for your teammate” moment for Beaulieu, and an excellent removal from the game for Clarkson. And Beaulieu’s actions certainly go a long way in him becoming a true and respected regular on the team, something he’s been working on for several seasons, little by little. It appears his time has come and it must feel good.

Gonchar was gone for the night after that check, and hopefully he’s fine.

Not a pretty affair for the CH, not passionate, far from perfect. But we take the two points, retain fine bragging rights (Montreal edged Toronto 4-3 in the season opener), and the good guys get a chance to make it three in a row on February 28th when the Laffs once again return to the Bell to experience another heartbreaking disappointment. :-)

Random Notes:

Brendan Gallagher tied things in the first period, a power play marker after some nifty passing from Pleks and P.K.

P.K. racked up more than 35 minutes on the ice, including a stretch of four straight in the second frame. I played a game last winter at a rink near Montreal and was ready for a defibrillator after four seconds.

Canadiens outshot Toronto 32-29, and Carey Price was his usual self. We expect no less and we get no less.

Next up – Monday, when the boys are in Detroit. I’m hoping like hell I’ll be near a television so I can see and then babble about. If I’m not near a TV, maybe I can bullshit my way through.

Nice little tribute to Danny Gallivan before the game, with much of the commentary from his buddy Dick Irvin.

Hearing Danny’s voice gives me goosebumps.

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Max’s Non-Blast Wins It

It warms my heart like a made-for-humans block heater. The big guns for the Rangers – St. Louis, Nash, Brossard etc, had all kinds of chances to score, all sorts of close calls left and right, and didn’t get the job done.

But Max Pacioretty did at the other end, with just over four minutes to play in a 0-0 game, with a long wrist shot that Harry Lumley would stop. And Harry’s dead.

Max’s less-than-hard shot somehow eluded Henrik Lundqvist and the Canadiens skate off with a lovely 1-0 win over a Rangers team that was not only feisty but also world-class whiny. Especially a guy named Kreider.

Highlights? Subban pissing off Kreider. Several times. Prust getting the slight edge in a fight with Glass. Eller and Stepan not being nice to each other. Lundqvist shooting his glove out to stop Max (something he wouldn’t do later :-) ). Price coming up with an amazing game saver on St. Louis in the 3rd.

And Dale Weise scoring or not scoring in the first period. The puck seemed to cross the line, but like Gally’s none-goal back on January 14 against Columbus, it was ruled inconclusive and once again I’ll mention that in a business that earns quite a few gazillions, they still haven’t figured out how to know 100% whether a puck crosses the line completely or not.

Regardless, the boys win their 4th straight, continue to roll along in fine fashion, and now it’s Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals at the Bell on Saturday (1:00 ET) to try and stop them.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot the Rangers 26-24.

Price’s shutout was his 3rd of the season, blanking Winnipeg 3-0 back on November 11th, and Boston 2-0 on November 22nd.

 

PP Springs Into Action

Down 2-0 in the third period and 0 for 5 on the power play. But that was then.

The Canadiens’ tremendously lousy power play (28th overall) finally came to life in the final frame and not once, not twice, but three times the boys on the man-advantage got the job done and ended up sinking the home town Blue Jackets with a deserving come-from-behind 3-2 win.

Deserving because they outplayed Columbus throughout, with the final shots-on-goal tally reading Habs 31, Jackets 16. Tons of Habs chances but great goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky. Often frustrating, and the Canadiens were almost shut out.

But they weren’t shut out, and they also didn’t lose. An excellent example of how important the power play is, and how the Canadiens would kick it up a huge notch if they could get the thing under control. Three straight PP goals is a fine step in the right direction.

A decent road win and two big points. But I don’t understand Michel Therrien’s newest pre-game decisions/stategy.

Prior to this contest, Montreal had lost their last two games, but before that had posted a very fine 9 wins in 10 games. So was a complete juggling of lines called for?

Two losses wasn’t a freefall into the depths of hell. Why break up linemates accustomed to each other? Lines that had posted that incredible run.

Why would Galchenyuk find himself centering Prust and Parenteau and then Sekac and Bournival, instead of being between Max and Gally where he’s found a nice home? Why demote Sekac to the fourth line when he’s slowly but surely becoming one of the team’s most dangerous forwards?

Two losses shouldn’t bring about a complete shakeup. Of course, those with advanced stats might hang me out to dry with clear and reasonable answers that had never occurred to me, but I couldn’t care less. In my eyes, it was an unnecessary pulling of strings that reeked of desperation.

Random Notes:

Two of the Canadiens’ power play goals came from Max, with the other a blast from PK.

Speaking of PK, several turnovers and a penalty which led to a Jackets goal didn’t exactly make for a stellar game from our man who should be on the All-Star team but isn’t because the NHL continues their long-existing habit of being supremely stupid.

Brendan Gallagher might have put the puck behind the line, although it was called back because there was no clear closeup of whether it did or not. So in 2015, with all the money spent to have a plethora of cameras from different angles, the technology still isn’t perfect. Several years of future GM winter meetings should fix that. Possibly.

Next up – Thursday night in Ottawa.

 

Habs Crush Sens

Canadiens dump the Sens 4-1 at the Bell, although it didn’t begin well. Sven Andrighetto stumbled and lost the puck on a Canadiens power play, which led to a puck sent gently at Carey Price who let it drop by his feet and promptly banged in by the bad guys.

But it ended well.

Still in the first, Brandon Prust tied it with a shot from a difficult angle.
Max to Chucky to Gally, bang, bang, bang, and it was 2-1 in the second.
And then in  the third, Plekanec on the power play and later Max to Emelin to Chucky, another bang, bang, banger, and what began in dubious fashion ended as a nice 4-1 win for the good guys.

I don’t have any fancy advanced stats to throw out. Frankly, I’m not interested. But I can tell you that whenever announcer Paul Romanuk called Cody Ceci’s name, I thought of what Lucy had told me – that Ceci in Russian is slang for women’s breasts.

A fine game, and how great it was (a) to see Max Pacioretty play after getting nailed by Anaheim’s Clayton Stoner the other night and taken to the hospital, and (b) seeing Max click so well once again with Gallagher and Galchenyuk.

Gally had a goal, Max collected two assists, and Galchenyuk notched a goal and an assist.

Also clicking well were the trio of Plekanec, Sekac, and Prust, who generated several good chances and showed nice chemistry. Is chemistry an advanced stat?

Next up – Habs on Long Island on Tuesday.

And speaking of Tuesday, my boss Marc Juteau is giving all of us at Classic Auctions a Christmas present to end all Christmas presents. He’s rented a box at the Bell Centre, with food and drinks, for the World Junior pre-tournament tilt between Canada and Switzerland.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot Ottawa 29-25.

Leafs got bombed 7-4 by Philadelphia.

Buffaloed

It was a game the Canadiens should’ve won. But they didn’t

One of those bad bounces off the glass that we see from time to time killed the mood, the tie, and the legs Montreal had finally found after being off all week. Halted quicker than a Brian Gionta head into an Alexei Emelin shoulder pad.

There was just 1:18 left in the third period, with the score tied 1-1, when a puck shot in from outside the blueline took one of those crazy caroms off the glass and headed out front where Matt Moulson was.

That was it. Buffaloed by a bad bounce. All Carey Price could do was look from afar, having left the premises to corral what should’ve been a puck around the back.

The breaks of the game, a game which had come alive only in the third, and which ended 2-1 for a team fighting it out with Edmonton and Columbus for best basement dweller.

Random Notes:

Buffalo’s Tyler Ennis opened the scoring with a beauty of a goal, a second effort that he’d eventually backhand behind Price, and which you’ll probably see on the highlights any second now.

I thought Eric Tangradi, playing his first game as a Hab, was impressive. He’s a huge 6’4″, 221 lb. left winger with 136 previous games in the NHL with Pittsburgh and Winnipeg, is a good skater for a big man, seems like he could create serious havoc when riled, and he seemed to fit in nicely on the fourth line.

Love the big guys who can play. Love the idea of what he might add as a bonafide power forward. But we’ll see. It’s just one game. I thought Rene Bourque was going to be a good power forward too.

Emelin clocked Gionta near the boards with a shoulder to the head and was given two minutes for it, at which time shortly after, Moulson scored the winner.

Gionta was pissed, but if he was a few inches taller, it would’ve been a great check. Gionta’s just a tiny bugger who collided with a hard shoulder pad. All’s fair in love and war.

Brandon Prust said something out there that got him a minor, a misconduct, and a game. We may or may not hear what he said, and if it comes out, I hope his mother doesn’t see it.

Jiri Sekac continues to look great.

P.A. Parenteau scored his team’s lone goal from a mad scramble in the crease.

Shots on goal – Montreal 31, Buffalo 25.

Next up – Buffalo at the Bell in a few hours.

 

Blitzed In Big Apple

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It was like watching a sampling of last year’s Eastern Conference Final between the Habs and Rangers. Habs couldn’t do much, the Rangers could.

The Canadiens just didn’t seem to have their legs, losing 5-0 to a Rangers team that was in control from start to finish. Basically every guy throughout the Canadiens lineup had an off night and need a good solid scolding from their mothers.

Serious pressure on Henrik Lundqvist was basically non-existent. Loosey goosey defence. Glaring mistakes that led to goals, from Alex Galchenyuk swatting the puck towards Dustin Tokarski instead of away from him and which landed on a Ranger stick, to Alexei Emelin getting stripped of the puck by Martin S. Louis, to Tom Gilbert being soft with his man in front of the net, to the forwards and defence letting Rick Nash waltz in alone.

But it’s fine because the nasty stretch has ended, a stretch that began on November 5th and ended on November23rd, 10 games in 19 days, and because the schedule maker has some sort of twisted sense of humour, the boys don’t play again until next Friday, 5 days from now.

But this thing definitely smelled of last year’s playoffs. The Rangers outskated the Habs by a country mile. And last year’s Rangers heros Lundqvist, St. Louis, and Moore were heros on this night too.

Montreal showed almost no attack and it was a fairly easy night for Lundqvist. Except for that fun time when Brandon Prust collided with him and which led to Kevin Klein dropping the gloves with Prust, which led to Prust pounding Klein with a flurry of knuckle sandwiches.

Random Notes:

Rangers outshot Canadiens 34-21, and now the Habs moms are free to party in Manhattan. Look out New York.

Next game – Habs in Buffalo on Friday, and then the two teams are back at it in Montreal on Saturday.