Tag Archives: Brendan Gallagher

Toppled In Tampa Bay

Not great this one. Blatant giveaways, a rash of penalties, a Lightning shorthanded goal.

3-1 Tampa Bay, ending the Canadiens five game winning streak. A solid game by them and far from solid from the visitors.

Except for one guy, Carey Price, who was unreal all night, diving and sprawling and throwing his glove and pads out and taking sure goals from the likes of Steven Stamkos and Teddy Purcell and a host of others.

Price kept it close and made it deceiving. The Canadiens were out of sorts and the score could’ve been embarrassing. So maybe we should close the book on this one and throw it in the fireplace.

More than anything it was the parade to the penalty box, with some deserved and some not, which is what you get when Chris Lee is working and the Habs are involved.

Lee’s dad is or must’ve been a hardcore Bruins or Leafs fan. Can there be any other explanation?

And those giveaways. Every period we saw loosey goosey puck handling that ended up with Price coming to the rescue. Except the time when David Deshanais gave the puck away on a power play, which ultimately was the winning goal for the Bolts.

Now we’re faced with a suspension, compliments of Douglas Murray landing a vicious elbow into the face of Michael Kostka, which brought the stretcher out but thankfully wasn’t needed.

Just one of those games where the Canadiens were often outplayed, they shot themselves in the foot a bunch of times, and the one saving grace from this is that the Lightning are probably slightly spooked by Price and he’ll be in their heads come playoff time.

The Habs are now officially in the playoffs, thanks to Washington and New Jersey losing, but it was only a matter of time anyway so no need to shout or sing ole.

Random Notes:

Habs lone goal was scored by Brendan Gallagher, his 19th of the season. Sure wish he would’ve slipped the puck over to Galchenyuk on that two-on-one late in the game though.

Tampa outshot the Canadiens 33-26, but it didn’t seem like a 33-26 game to me. Ben Bishop could’ve read The Hockey News for long stretches when his team was peppering Price.

Andrei Markov was hurt in the third and went to the room.

Next up – Friday in Ottawa to meet a team that still has a faint chance of making the postseason. So they’ll be hungry and the gang can’t let up because home ice advantage against the Lightning is still in question.

 

Price And Big Line Just Too Much

A period and a half of magic from the Desharnais, Max, Vanek line and solid netminding throughout from Carey Price added up to a 4-1 win over the Panthers in Florida, and the team just keeps rolling along.

A five-game game winning streak to end the month of March. Eight wins in nine games.

Just amazing what’s transpired. And in my book, more than anything it’s been Thomas Vanek who’s lit the fire.

The DD, Vanek, Max line combined for all four goals and seven points on the night, and so important is the fact that the team is finally getting serious close-in chances now, led mostly by Vanek.

Until he showed up, play seemed far too often on the perimeter, except for most nights when Brendan Gallagher crashed the net two or three times.

Now things are different. Play is down low on a more regular basis. And the power play, which often had been so feeble, has become much more of threat even when the lamp isn’t always lit.

Vanek knows what to do with the puck, the chemistry with his linemates is a sight to behold, and a dangerous line like that, combined with solid work and contributions from the other three lines, gives us a team transformed.

And yes, it was mostly all Panthers in the second half, outshooting the Canadiens 15-3 in the third period, but no matter, the Habs held a 3-1 lead before the empty netter, and they played to protect the lead, not pad it.

According to all sorts of folks, the Canadiens were supposed to fade in the stretch. And the opposite happened.

Random Notes:

Max’s two goals gives him 35 on the season, which is a tremendous season to be sure. Would love to see him reach 40, but with just six games to go, it’ll be tough but not impossible.

Plenty of high sticks to the face from the Panthers. More than what we’d normally see on most nights.

Panthers outshot Montreal 37-19.

The Eggs played well in the early going, but like most of the team, weren’t exactly burning things up later on. But that’s fine. The end justifies the means.

Scott Gomez played tonight for the Panthers. Hard to watch the guy. He triggers so many bad memories.

HNIC three stars went to Price, Max, and Vanek.

Tuesday, the guys head across state to visit the Tampa Bay Lightning, and it goes without saying that this is a big one. The team Montreal will meet in the opening round. The team they’re fighting it out with for home ice advantage in that round. And a win would make a solid statement for things to come.

Toronto lost to Detroit Saturday night, their eighth straight. Just an amazing meltdown by Toronto at the most important time in the season.  So glad I didn’t grow up a Leafs fan.

 

 

 

Bash Those Bruins

Huge game tonight in Boston with the Canadiens looking to end the Bruins 12-game win streak, grab a nice couple of points in the process, and show the Bruins and their fans that if they happen to meet the Habs in the post season, it might not be all that much fun.

The Canadiens beat the Bruins 2-1 in Montreal on December 5th with Carey Price in goal. It was also near the end of a red-hot stretch that saw the team take nine of ten games.

The gang also beat the Bruins in Boston on January 30th, this time with Peter Budaj in goal, and it was a night when they put it all together in impressive fashion. The DD, Patches, Gally trio skated miles, Michael Bournival was flying, Alexei Emelin and Milan Lucic were like two big bulls pounding each other in a ring, Rene Bourque had a ton of shots like on Saturday night in Toronto, Tuukka Rask was yanked midway through, and at the end, Bruins announcer Jack Edwards couldn’t stop crying.

Things would change on March 12 when the Bruins won 4-1 in Montreal, again with Budaj in goal. I distinctly recall that night being quite a bummer. Jack Edwards had an accident in the booth and had to borrow pants from an usher.

Now it’s the fourth and final meeting of the two, and I’m not crazy about this 12-game Bruins winning streak those rascals are enjoying. I like it so much better when Bruins fans are miserable.

Big game and as you can see, if you plan on going it’ll cost you an arm and a leg.

Garden

Habs Wrapped By Jackets

It just wasn’t enough on this night for the Montreal Canadiens as they fall 3-2 to the visiting Blue Jackets.

But spending half the third period in the penalty box didn’t help. Either did the shorthanded goal the Canadiens allowed in the first period.

But it’s over now and we move on and concentrate on Saturday’s meet and greet with the Leafs at the ACC.

The guys were good on the penalty kill though as the Blue Jackets went 0/8 on the power play and the Canadiens also killed a big 5 on 3 and a four minute high sticking infraction to Tomas Plekanec.

But too many penalties. Six to Columbus’ two in the last two periods, including a too-many-men, which always sucks.

They still managed to make a game o f it, even though the fine-looking Blue Jackets team had lots of chances which caused Carey Price to sprawl desperately all over the place far too often.

It was 1-0 Habs on the power play in the first period after Brendan Gallagher’s rebound hit a Columbus player and went in, and it became tied at two in the third period when Thomas Vanek once again got the crowd roaring after a nice one-timer set up by Max.

But Columbus would take the lead, hold it, and Montreal’s winning streak, which sat at three games, comes to an abrupt end.

Can’t win ‘em all.

Random Notes:

Columbus had lots of shots – 40 to 27, and the Canadiens kept it close anyway.

Lars Eller was awarded a penalty shot but failed to score. It would’ve tied it at that point, but Vanek would get it done not long after.

Max was in a fight with Ryan Johansen, Max’s fourth career fight and his first in 790 days. He also got the better of Johansen, who was dangerous all evening it seemed. This is a great young player, a B.C. boy from Port Moody, which is just east of Vancouver..

Next up – Toronto on Saturday. It goes without saying that the Canadiens need to grab two points and help drive another nail into the Leafs’ coffin.

 

Two Big Points In Buffalo

Dustin Tokarski and company blank the Buffalo Sabres 2-0 on Sunday night, and although it wasn’t a classic, the Canadiens were in control for the most part and they have to feel good about that.

Score four goals in less than five minutes on Saturday, and have their third-string netminder pull off a shutout on Sunday. That’s Habs magic to me.

Just a mighty successful weekend that sees the gang remaining nicely lodged in playoff shape instead of slipping and sliding and having us all wondering if the post season is in the cards or not.

The Canadiens, with this win, jump ahead of Toronto into second place in the Atlantic Division, bump Tampa Bay down to a wild card spot, and are a lofty third overall in the east.

Third overall. It’s amazing.

But there can be no serious faltering. That’s when we get mad at them and we hate that.

Both goals In Buffalo came midway through the first, with Dale Weise scoring his first as a Hab and Brendan Gallagher notching his seventeenth. And for Toker between the pipes, it was his first NHL shutout.

Now the task at hand is to prepare for Patrick and the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night. How sweet it would be to win this and there’s no reason why they can’t.

The boys have picked it up, and although some fans are getting impatient with Thomas Vanek, I don’t think it should be the case.

Vanek’s getting solid chances, he and linemates DD and Max have been dangerous often, and whether or not he’s scored, a new and important dimension has been added with him in the lineup even though it’s not always obvious.

Random Notes:

Habs outshot the Sabres 32-28.

Lars Eller skated well and showed confidence. Same with Weise.

And speaking of confidence, PK certainly had his moments. Fine moments. In particular, one play late in the game when he dazzled with the puck on his feet and stick. If only he would’ve scored.

Toker Stones Ducks

Dustin Tokarski, in nets for the Canadiens for his very first time, came up big in stopping 39 of 42 shots as the boys beat the quackers 4-3 in a shootout and grab a massive two points and a ton of confidence.

Tokarski had previously seen big time duty in the NHL when he was between the pipes for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2009-10  for two games and then another five in 2011-12, but he played like a seasoned pro in what must have been a nerve-wracking experience last night.

How great is it when your gold-medalist goes down, backup Budaj, fills in nicely, and then Budaj’s backup, Tokarski, also does his job in fine fashion.

It’s very satisfying for all concerned. Except for other teams and people who hate the Habs of course.

Montreal came out flying and took a big 2-0 lead on goals by Brian Gionta and Max with his 30th of the season (which is a fine season indeed).

Max has been playing on another level since returning from the Olympics. More fire, more jump, more confidence. At the perfect time of the year.

Things got slightly dismal in the second frame when a puck got behind a screened Tokarski, another hit a glass support and caromed in while Toker was preparing to corral it around the boards, and then after a terrible and confused Habs power play, the Ducks took the lead.

At this point, it all could have fallen apart like a great party raided by the cops, but credit to the Canadiens, they never gave up, and in the last minute of the second period, Brendan Gallagher banged it home and game was tied.

The game was scoreless in the third period and overtime, but in the shootout, Desharnais, Briere, and finally Andrei Markov beat Jonas Hiller and it made my heart soar like a Himalayan Snowcock.

This was a Habs team with good legs, with jump (aside from their zero for five power play attempts), and the many Habs fans at Anaheim’s Honda Center certainly must have enjoyed themselves.

I know I did, from the friendly confines of my apartment the morning after. I tried to stay up last night but my eyelids felt like they had pucks stapled to them.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – Ducks 42, Habs 31

Lars Eller was a healthy scratch, and George Parros was given a small tribute on the screen, in which he gave a heartfelt response. George spent six seasons as a Duck.

A huge win. A road trip like this, against some of the league’s elite, seemed daunting, and although they lost a tight one (2-1) the other night in L.A., they came out with jump against the league leading Ducks, played well, and won the thing.

This has to be great for their confidence, and with Weaver and Vanek poised to join their new team, who knows? Maybe a great march onwards and upwards is in the making.

Coyotes on the agenda tonight (9:00 pm ET), and we’re expecting the same jump and character as we just saw. So c’mon boys, keep it up.

 

Canadiens Win In A Shootout

Surprisingly, the Habs downed the Pens 6-5 in a shootout at the flightless bird barn, thanks to David Desharnais solving Marc-Andre Fleury and Peter Budaj stopping James Neal, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeny Malkin.

That’s what it came down to after an odd game that saw Montreal win even though Budaj, before the shootout, was often shaky and visions of Carey Price danced through my head.

Lots of scoring from both sides, the boys replied whenever the Pens took the lead, and I’ll take these two points in a New York minute, even though once again, it wasn’t the most impressive display.

Weird and mildly entertaining, but not overly impressive.

Brendan Gallagher broke the ice in the first period following early pressure by the Canadiens, but James Neal tied it when the puck trickled by Mr. Budaj.

Then, when a shot sailed over Budaj’s shoulder for a 2-1 Pens lead, the future didn’t look bright. In fact, I was wondering if backup Dustin Tokarski would be up to the task.

But Budaj stayed in and the game unfolded.

In the second frame, Daniel Briere, playing on the fourth line with Moen and Parros, tied things at two, but the seesaw battle would continue.

Pittsburgh went ahead with Lars Eller was in the box, but Max on the power play evened it again. It was going good. Then P.K. found himself in Michel Therrien’s bad books for about the tenth time this year it seems.

Of course, P.K. screwed up magnificently.
A Habs power play.
P.K. dangling with the puck.
P.K. getting stripped of said puck by Brandon Sutter..
Sutter scoring a shorthanded breakaway goal to put his team ahead 4-3 and PK in the doghouse.

Fodder for Michel Therrien to sit P.K. down for the rest of the game.

But all was not lose. Alexei Emelin, with his second goal of the year, sent a wrist shot from the blueline to tie the thing at four apiece.

And the weirdness kept on coming.

With Emelin in the box on a truly borderline call, the Pens went ahead 5-4, but then Tanner Glass was sent off for five minutes for elbowing Emelin, and Daniel Briere, with his second goal of the night, tied it at five.

After a scoreless overtime, it took DD to end it and give his team two big points.

Was it a good game? It had more stuff, the scoring was there, and they pulled it out. So I suppose, after my whining about lack of effort and no shots or goals, this was a stunning success.

Only seven more tough games in a row to go.

Random Notes.

The Pens outshot the Habs 32-29.

Throughout the five minute overtime, P.K. watched from the sidelines. I think Galchenyuk and Briere too. Galchenyuk was hustling and Briere had two goals and an assist, so the coach’s reasoning is a head-scratcher.

I hate all the freaking so-called lessons Therrien likes to teach different players. In fact, I’m sick of it. Especially when they’re trying to win a big game and these guys have the tools to do it.

In other news, Lars Eller was not Jean Beliveau on this night.

Jarred Tinordi hasn’t made the impact so far that Nathan Beaulieu did in his pre-Olympic stint.

Leafs in town on Saturday. No predictions here. Predictions are for gypsies.

 

 

Dumped By Detroit

The Canadiens showed life for five minutes in a sixty-five minute game, fall 2-1 to Detroit in overtime, and they grab a point whether they deserve one or not.

And how important that point might be.

This is the first of nine tough games in a row for the Habs, it’s make or break time, and if they don’t play better in most of the next eight, they just may find themselves outside looking in at a playoff spot.

It’s going to be a tough stretch, points will be tougher than John Ferguson to come by, and although they were flatter than a pancake in this first game after the Olympics, Brian Gionta gave his team a point when he netted one with 29 seconds left in the third and fans got at least a little bit of their money’s worth.

Detroit wasn’t great, but the Canadiens, at least until they woke up after the Gionta goal, were worse.

But it’s a point nonetheless. And now it’s Pittsburgh in a few hours.

We’ll see how this whole thing plays out in the next two weeks. But one thing’s for sure – they have to show more life than they did tonight or the fall won’t be pretty.

The pre-game introduction of Olympians and the crowd singing the anthem was a high. After that, things got very low.

Random Notes:

Brendan Gallagher, PK, and Alex Galchenyuk had their moments for a few seconds here and there. All in all though, no one did a whole lot of dazzling.

P.K. found himself in the box a couple of times for questionable penalties – one for a little swat, one for was was deemed a dive, and Peter Budaj came up big from time to time as Detroit outshot the Canadiens 30-20.

Not an overly impressive night to say the least.

Pittsburgh coming up.

Max Leads The Charge

Canadiens whomp the hurting Vancouver Canucks 5-2 at the Bell, with three goals and two missed penalty shots by Max Pacioretty.

Two penalty shots, two minutes apart, by the same guy. I’m willing to bet that’s never happened before.

Max’s second attempt saw him almost come to a dead stop before he made any sort of move, but the puck was rolling and Luongo isn’t easily tricked anyway.

So that was that. But he got three anyway, so that’s fine.

Vancouver outshot the Canadiens 44-29 on this night, but Carey Price was there when called upon, and the gang was both fortunate and good going the other way.

Max’s first marker, which opened the scoring, was a PK shot from the blueline on the power play, and it hit Max on it’s way in.

Ryan White, selected third star for his second straight game after coming back from injury, fired a great backhand into the top shelf with new guy Dale Weise helping out.

And the boys went to the room after the first with a 2-0 lead, which was unusual considering they usually only score one or two in an entire game.

The second period saw the Canucks narrow it to 2-1, and not only did Max get his two penalty shots, but three guys were taken to room with injuries – Emelin, Murray, and Bournival, and only Emelin and Murray returned.

I couldn’t really grasp what exactly happened to Bournival, but he took some sort of hit or stick to the head or face, and after looking quite stunned on the bench, left and never returned.

It’s finger crossing time on that one.

In the third, a nice backhand from DD to Max for his second goal made it 3-1, then Pleks was the last to touch the puck before Canucks defenceman Alex Edler kicked it in bis own net to widen it to 4-1.

And after the Canucks scored another, this one on the power play, Max found the empty net and hats came down from the stands.

I don’t know about you, but as happy as I would be if one of our guys notched three, I’m sure I’d be unwilling to throw my thirty dollar hat on the ice.

But that’s just me.

A fine game, a great result, and these two points keeps the gap between them and ninth place at five big points.

Random Notes:

The Canucks have now lost six straight.

Dale Weise has been excellent in his two games with his new team. But just as he arrives and the fourth line makes great noises, one third of the trio, Michael Bournival, goes down.

Both Gally and Desharnais garnered a pair of assists, and the line, with Max, was a force to be reckoned with.

Rene Bourque laid on a couple of decent thumps, and if he could somehow find it within himself to step it up in the aggressive department, he could be truly valuable even when not scoring.

Imagine if Bourque was scoring and hitting? We wouldn’t recognize him.

Next up for the Habs – Saturday in Raleigh for a 6:00 pm ET puck drop. Or 6:10ish if you want to get technical.

 

 

 

Again, a 2-1Loss At Home

Two goals for the Habs in their two games played this weekend is a bit on the feeble side, wouldn’t you say?

A 2-1 overtime loss to Tampa Bay, and a 2-1 regulation time loss to the Winnipeg Jets.

And at the risk of stretching it a bit, before Montreal’s previous two games in beating Boston and Carolina, they had lost games by the scores of 5-0, 4-1, 5-1, and 5-3.

Yes, a bit on the feeble side. But that’s what this season is and will probably remain. Some fine games and a whack of lousy ones.

The problem is, they’re slowly inching closer to being out of the playoffs. So the whack of lousy ones needs to be less than a whack.

It’s imperative that they get their asses in gear.

We need to be patient, says Marc Bergevin. But Bergevin’s only been the GM for a short while. General managers before him told us in different ways that we needed to be patient too.

I hate the patient thing. I don’t know how to fix it quickly but I hate it anyway. Patience and bad moves isn’t supposed to mean two decades.

Being patient is for disciples of the Dali Lama. Bad moves is me on the dance floor.

And speaking of bad moves….. there was Bob Gainey, who once said “”We are extremely pleased to have acquired a player of the caliber of Scott Gomez.  Scott is an elite player who will certainly contribute to the success of our team for years to come.”

The beat goes on, on and off the ice. Don’t worry, front office. We fully expect to see a powerhouse in the next few years. Until we don’t, because we need to wait just a little bit longer than a few years.

And when a few years come and go, we’ll wait a few more.

The Canadiens started slow in the first period on Sunday, which not only happens often, but just seems to me to be inexcusable.

Start slow? How come? I prefer the rarely tested “starting fast” idea.

But they did pick up steam, and in the second period, after the Jets had made it 1-0, Brian Gionta first rang one off the post and shortly after, bulged the twine to give us all hope.

But lo and behold, in the third frame, Carey Price misplayed a puck near the crease and the Winnipeggers grabbed the lead and that was that.

PK scored on his own net yesterday, and Price fumbled the ball today.

Two days, two miscues, two 2-1 losses.

Just not a good time. And now is a chance to use a tremendously creative cliche I’ve just made up and one you’ve never heard before – “we’ll take it one game at a time”.

Because on Tuesday when it’s the Flames in town, the gang might be sensational.

In fact, they might be so good, they could even score three goals.

How great would that be?

Random Notes:

Brendan Gallagher played his heart out, worked like nobody’s business, and tussled often with Mark Stuart, who’s listed at 6’2, 213 lbs.

Some players have an abundance of heart like Gally. Others, like…….., don’t.

Flames on Tuesday, Canucks on Thursday, Carolina Saturday. Then it’s the Olympic break.