Tag Archives: Craig Anderson

Habs Drop Another

The Canadiens were pounded 5-1 in game five at the Bell, and although they’re digging themselves a little hole, they still need just one win in the next two games, which is better than what the Sens need.

So all’s well. Except for the part about scoring one measly goal in two games, with that lone marker coming after more than five periods. Goals have dried up, and when the Sens grabbed an early 2-0 lead, we were screwed.

Guys can’t score anymore, and when you look at some of our forwards, you see Max, Gally, and Smith-Pelly with just one assist thus far.  Young de la Rose has zero points. And a bunch of others have a feeble two points.

The pathetic power play, again firing blanks, went 0/3, while the Sens scored twice on their four. One power play goal on 19 attempts over the five games.

Maybe the power play will come together on Sunday. Or Tuesday. Just kidding.

It was all Habs for the first ten minutes of the game, but when Bobby Ryan’s shot found its way through, which gave the Sens the lead on just their second shot of the game, everything changed. The Canadiens’ balloon was popped, while the Sens experienced a crystal meth-like rush.

Tomas Plekanec, one of many who needs to do more, found himself on a shorthanded breakaway when it was still 2-0, and if he could’ve buried it, things might have been different. But he didn’t. And it’s cheap hindsight anyway.

A third goal was scored soon after the Plekanec chance and the game was over, even though it was still only the second period.

A couple of other red lights flicked on as this nightmarish evening unfolded, including the fourth that came from a brutal turnover by the wily old vet Andrei Markov.

It was 3-1 until that point, still a chance to make it a thriller, but the turnover and ensuing goal was a party killer if there ever was one.

All night the Canadiens, for the most part, failed to crowd the net and make life difficult for Craig Anderson, even though they outshot Ottawa 46-25. I’m going out on a limb and saying the Sens, or any team who might have watching from afar, weren’t exactly mesmerized by any Montreal onslaught.

But I’m keeping the faith. They still remain in better shape than Ottawa, and if they have any character at all, they’ll rebound and rid themselves of these guys, whether it’s in Ottawa on Sunday or Montreal on Tuesday.

I can see it now. Sens fans on Sunday give their team a nice standing ovation after 60 minutes.

And the Habs skate off the ice and move on to round two.

 

 

 

 

Canadiens Fail To Sweep

Before I start, there’s something you might not have heard. Mark Stone has a sore wrist.

It’s back to Montreal for game five on Friday after the Canadiens were shut out 1-0 by the Sens and that’s fine. They’re still up 3 games to 1. And they didn’t deserve to win anyway.

Montreal just didn’t have it, pretty well right from the get-go. It was easy to sense that they were off, and they never managed to be on.

There was never any huge pressure on Craig Anderson. They were forced to defend way too much. Passes missed tape, they seemed disorganized, they had way too much trouble keeping pucks inside Ottawa’s blueline, and abundant scoring chances weren’t happening.

Ottawa was better than the Canadiens on this night, although they weren’t all that great either. They could’ve been had if Montreal showed more fire. But there was no fire.

Maybe when Brandon Prust came close to scoring on a shorthanded breakaway. Maybe a couple of other times. And Carey Price was good. But overall, no fire.

It took until the third period before a goal was scored, coming when Tom Gilbert was way too soft in trying to shoot the puck out of his end, which didn’t happen. Gilbert then scurried to the front of the net where he managed to help screen Carey Price as Mike Hoffman’s shot bulged the twine.

Gilbert’s wife is part of the seven Canadiens wives watching a period of hockey with a couple of lucky contest winners and I hope the winners remained nice to Mrs. Gilbert. I know I would have.

But regardless of Gilbert’s faux pas, the team was off for most of the sixty minutes. But I guess if they’re going to be bad, being it with a three-game lead is sort of okay.

The Sens and their fans are certainly happy the series goes back to Montreal. I’m assuming Geoff Molson doesn’t mind that much either.

Not a great night but the boys are still in the driver’s seat. That’s the main thing. Just close it off on Friday and be done with it.

Random Notes:

Did someone forget to freeze the pucks for this game? They were bouncing around all night. And did I mention that Mark Stone has a sore wrist?

Ottawa outshot Montreal 32-28.

The Canadiens went 0 for 3 on the power play. Of course.

 

Weise!

I was worried about a couple of things. And then I wasn’t.

Of course there was that 1-0 lead Ottawa had, and were wearing our guys down with some serious banging and new-found vim and vigour.

And I was worried that I’d have to endure Sens fans and media go on for the next two and a half days about how the gang from Kanata is back in it, and how Erik Karlsson took the bull by the horns and led his team to victory.

But Dale Weise had something to say about all that.

With the Sens holding on to a 1-0 lead well into the third frame after Clark MacArthur had beaten Carey Price midway through the first, it looked dismal for the boys, who were hit hard and often, and who simply couldn’t solve Craig Anderson any which way.

They also went 0/6 on the power play, which is basically the same old song and dance, and for all intents and purposes, they seemed quite done.

But Dale Weise, switched to the fourth line with Brandon Prust and Torrey Mitchell, tied things at 14:13 of the third, and in overtime it was Weise again, sending a shot from the left side that Craig Anderson, in nets in place of Andrew Hammond, should have snagged but didn’t.

Weise’s heroics puts his team up three games to none, and even the most optimistic of Sens fans might have to concede the fact that their team is probably done.

I say good riddance anyway.

Ottawa opened the scoring after PK Subban took a Patrick Wiercioch stick to the head with no call on the play, and later on, Erik Karlsson nailed Nathan Beaulieu at centre ice with a check to the head, also with no call.

The explanation from Don Cherry regarding the Subban stick to the head? Because he’s Subban. Which might be the case, but shouldn’t be. And Beaulieu sat on the bench for all of the third, plus the overtime, possibly because of the illegal hit which should have sent Karlsson to the showers.

Montreal’s power play was as pathetic as it’s been all season, all six chances including one in overtime when they had a chance to make amends. But it wasn’t to be of course.

All this after the PP looked fairly formidable in the previous two games.

But whatever. Because even though the Senators bashed and bruised, including the handing out of 27 hits to Montreal’s 16 in the first period alone, they still find themselves in the deepest of holes, and are now on life support.

Ain’t life grand!

Random Notes:

The Canadiens outshot Ottawa 49-34, but were outhit 61-36.

Now we wait until Wednesday for game four. But we wait while feeling high, and Sens fan feeling low.

 

 

 

Habs Spank Sens

It seems there are no normal games when the Canadiens and Senators play each other.

Friday night  in Kanata saw a wild 7-4 win by the Habs over the sinking Sens after spotting Ottawa an early 3-0 lead.

It had been a dismal beginning for the Canadiens to be sure, shockingly finding themselves in a deep hole in under six minutes of play, but soon enough, pucks started finding their way behind a shaky Craig Anderson.

And when the dust had settled, the Canadiens had scored seven straight goals before Ottawa would notch a late one.

This was the same Craig Anderson who stoned the Habs last year in the playoffs. On this night, the Sens might have had better luck with Pamela Anderson.

The DDs burned it up again, with Max getting three plus two assists. Thomas Vanek had three assists and DD two.

I heard recently that some who study advanced stats have decided that because the DD line isn’t great defensively, they could hurt the team and should be broken up.

Talk about throwing water on a beautiful thing.

Guy Lafleur and Steve Shutt weren’t exactly defensive specialists either, but no one was complaining when they were popping 50 or 60 goals a season.

The way this game started, with three goals in under six minutes by Ottawa, it was certainly cause to be concerned. Was it one of those nights for Peter Budaj?

Were the Senators determined to pay back in a big way for being embarrassed at the Bell on March 15th?

Instead, Budaj was great. Tremendously sharp. The DD line would soon catch fire. And it all started when Andrei Markov bounced one in off Anderson from behind the line, near the side of the net.

Then it was off to the races, although the Sens would hit some posts and Budaj had to be sharp as a razor from time to time.

After Markov, the goals just kept coming, almost every second shot went in, and it became Weaver, then Max, Eller, Max, Max and DD, and it’s two big points and the Sens are basically screwed.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – Ottawa 43, Montreal 23.

P.K. Subban rode the bench for most the first period after not being harder on checks during a couple of Sens goals. PK would see a very low 13:39 of ice time.

I truly disagree with Michel Therrien’s methods regarding P.K. A Norris trophy winner being treated like a raw rookie.

There were several scuffles throughout, including Galchenyuk and Karlsson, Tinordi and Gryba, and Gally and Neil, with a player scrum developing from it. But all in all, it could’ve been worse. It could’ve been a Canadiens-Nordiques type of affair.

George Parros played while Rene Bourque watched from the press box, and George not only almost had an assist on the night, but was also sent out to cool things down when characters like Zach Smith and Chris Neil were getting overly obnoxious.

Max scored his 36, 37th, and 38 goals of the season and when one looks at the top four goal scorers in the league, it’s Corey Perry with 41, Joe Pavelski with 39, Max with 38, and Sidney Crosby with 36.

How great is that?

Next up – Detroit at the Bell Saturday night. Should be a beauty, but more about that later.

 

 

 

Ottawa Goalie Beats Habs

And now we wait.

We wait to see how Lars Eller is after being being leveled by Eric Gryba. We wait until Friday night to see if the Canadiens can come out of this with a split before moving up the highway to Ottawa. We wait to see if Carey Price can step it up and be the goaltender he needs to be, as Craig Anderson was at the other end.

And we wait for guys in slumps to snap out of it and start helping out before it’s too late.

Anderson was peppered with 50 Montreal shots on this night, including 27 in the second period alone, and in the end, he and his Ottawa Senators withstood the onslaught, came from behind in the final frame, and won the thing 4-2.

What a sick feeling when enemy goals go in during playoff action. It cuts like a knife. This is why I need a new sport. I’ve looked at cricket but I can’t figure it out. And I sure miss the Expos.

And although it was a first-game home team loss, it was also tremendously exciting, one that featured serious thrills and spills, and overall, the Habs held the edge in play. But there was just one slight difference. The Ottawa guy wearing the pads stood on his head and played like Roger Crozier against the Habs in ’65, while the guy at the other end, who was far less busy, didn’t stand on his head and there will be no mention of Price’s performance on this night when great playoff magic is discussed in future years.

I’m not necessarily putting the blame on Price. I thought he was decent. All I’m saying is, he wasn’t as good as Anderson. And we need him to be.

In the first period, Ottawa jumped ahead 1-0, although Montreal was the better team throughout, and it was a fine time indeed when, in the second period, Rene Bourque tied it on a backhand that would’ve made the Rocket proud.

But just seconds later, Lars Eller took an obscene suicide pass from Raphael Diaz, was clocked at open ice by the much bigger Eric Gyrba, and it appeared that he might have broken his nose, maybe as he crashed down to the ice. Whatever the true outcome will be, the blood was flowing, the doc and stretcher were out there, and there can by no worse feeling than seeing someone in serious trouble, with the hushed crowd, the concerned players, and the rest of us watching from a distance and keeping our fingers crossed that it’s not serious..

It’s bad enough when something bad happens to any hockey player, but when it’s a Montreal Canadien, there’s a bigger bite to it. He’s one of our guys, an important piece of the puzzle, one of our best players. We follow him every game and it’s like we know him. Get well soon, Lars. We’re pulling for you.

What a night for emotions, because less than a minute later during the five minute major to Gryba, Brendan Gallagher converted a Tomas Plekanec pass in front of the net and suddenly it was 2-1 Habs. This was the time, this second period, when the boys needed to rack up the score with the five- minute man-advantage. Make it 3-1. Hopefully 4-1.

But they didn’t. They couldn’t tighten the noose. And the tide would eventually turn.

The Canadiens peppered Anderson, not only during the major but throughout the period, including a 5 on 3 power play,, but they couldn’t bury these Senators. They couldn’t get one more goal, and in the third, Ottawa tied it, went ahead, and ultimately scored the insurance marker.

The depression shouldn’t last long I hope, but for now, I really wish the Expos were playing to take my mind off it for awhile. How I wanted that first game and be off to the races. Now the pressure is on for a serious rebound in game two. They can’t let Anderson get into their heads, which could happen. If he stones them again tomorrow, and then it’s off to Ottawa for the next two, I might decide to hunt for some good, relaxing opium.

Random Notes:

P.K. Subban was unreal on this night. He did it all, at both ends, and his thunderous bodycheck on Chris Neil was a thing of beauty. P.K. was Montreal’s best player, and showed more pizzazz than his counterpart Erik Karlsson, even though the Swedish dandy had a goal and an assist.

I also thought Brandon Prust and Rene Bourque played important roles in this game. Prust added some good old-fashioned jam, and Bourque could have had at least three goals if Anderson was more human. Max Pacioretty also enjoyed several good chances, and I know it’s easy to say, but Max has to start scoring more.

Michael Ryder was invisible.

Total shots on goal – Montreal 50, Ottawa 31. A real playoff barn burner. A barn burning bummer.

Right away, Friday night, they go again. A split is now the new plan.

 

 

 

Ottawa’s A Fine City

I really like the city of Ottawa. I lived there for 17 years, all over the place, and I became a real Ottawan. There was that apartment on Carling near Britannia and the one downtown on Gloucester St. There was the high rise on Alta Vista, the place on Morrisette, that other place on Meadowlands, the brand new $39,000 townhouse in Barrhaven, that nice little brick house on Browning, and there might be more once I think harder about it.

I arrived with nothing and gradually built a nice life there. I have fond memories.

People joke about Ottawa. How boring it is. How the the sidewalks are rolled up at 6 pm every night. How it’s the town that fun forgot. I never found it boring. I got married there and my kids were born there. I had great friends, excellent parties, a job I enjoyed, went to a pile of concerts at the NAC and Civic Centre, and could get in the car and easily drive to Montreal or Toronto or to the old hometown Orillia four hours away.

It was all nice and comfortable, and I look back and often think that I should never have left.

But having said all this, I dislike their hockey team. A lot. I had left by the time the Senators franchise kicked off, but an old friend of mine in Ottawa (not J.W.), who was my Habs buddy, suddenly and inexplicably became a Sens fan and promptly rubbed it in my face when his new team beat the Canadiens. He thought it was great, and he’d been a lifetime Montreal fan up until then. We used to make treks to the Forum together. And he dropped them like a hot potato.

This might be the biggest reason of all that I love seeing the Sens lose.

The Senators are without some key guys, which I don’t feel bad about. Erik Karlsson, Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, Jared Cowen, and goalie Craig Anderson are all on the sidelines, and somehow this team has still managed to win their last four games. The nonsense has to stop. It’s smoke and mirrors right now. If the Senators carry on in some sort of winning mode with basically an American Hockey League team filling in, I’m going to be really pissed.

The mandate now is to see Habs kick some ass tonight.

 

 

 

 

Canadiens Should Have Won This

The Canadiens lose 3-2 to the Ottawa Senators in a shootout, and the depressing beat is starting to wear on my mental state. How much more of this can a good Habs fan take?

Montreal should’ve had it won in regulation time. Tomas Plekanec on a failed breakaway in the first, Andrei Kostitsyn, Erik Cole and Josh Gorges came within a whisker in the second. All kinds of guys had good chances and if they knew how to score like normal hockey players, this one would have been in the bag and we’d be shouting and rejoicing in the street.

But the guy in the Ottawa net, Craig Anderson, came up big. I hate it when enemy goalies come up big. It makes me sick.

So instead of shouting loud and clear, and rejoicing like crazy and lighting up cigars and high-fiving the cat, I’m sitting here mumbling to myself and keeping one eye on Mike Cammalleri as he skates for the Calgary Flames in CBC’s second game after our guys headed off to the dressing room to make sure their wallets were intact.

Plekanec finally lit the lamp just seconds into the third, on yet another breakaway, as it seems he gets about three per game, to make it an exciting 1-0 lead for the home team, but not long after Ottawa rebounded to tie the score after banking one in off Tomas Kaberle. Get the f**k out of the way, Kaberle.

Late in the game it all went crazy. Plekanec took a four-minute high sticking penalty, and of course the Sens scored. But with just 39 seconds remaining, Max Pacioretty tied it up and for a brief moment in time we had reason to perk up and ask ourselves if the team can actually win this one.

But then, with just 28 seconds to go, Josh Gorges fired the puck into the crowd for a delay-of-game penalty which kind of took the shine off things, and killing the thing took almost two full minutes out of the overtime period, thus eliminating any kind of offence for almost half the extra time.

They did kill it, overtime ran out, and after Lars Eller, Kaberle, and Pacioretty failed to score on the shootout, the Sens managed to beat Price, and it becomes another loss on another night, and if this keeps up, I’m not even sure I want to be stick boy anymore.

Tomorrow it’s the Rangers. I don’t see a problem there. Do you?

 

Canadiens Sock It To Sens

The Canadiens may have gotten multiple points from several players in their big 6-2 win over the home team Ottawa Senators, but it was the difference in goaltending that gave Randy Cunneyworth his first head coach win.

Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson allowed four goals on just seven shots before he was yanked for Alex Auld, which became a nice Montreal cushion after giving up the game’s first goal to Ottawa just 1:42 in, while at the other end, Carey Price came through a dozen times in a big way by stoning the Sens to keep his team in control.

It was a hot goalie versus a cold one, and the hot one was wearing the CH.

And of course it wasn’t just Price who had a big night. So many chipped in, and this is how games get won, by having a bunch of guys get it done and not having to rely on just one or two every night, or only Price. Raphael Diaz assisted on Montreal’s three first period goals. Mathieu Darche had two assists. Mike Cammalleri, playing a stronger game than what we’ve seen lately, had a goal and an assist. Louis Leblanc had a goal and an assist. So did P.K. Subban, Tomas Plekanec, and Erik Cole.

Lars Eller also scored and played well, but unfortunately it wasn’t a multiple-point night for the Dane so I mention him almost last. (just kidding). And Hal Gill had just one assist so he gets mentioned even later than Eller.

It was just so nice to see things spread around like that, with guys earning their keep, helping the team grab two big points, and probably feeling pretty darn good as they shower, dress, and prepare for a Florida jaunt to take on the Lightning on Thursday and Panthers Saturday.

A big win like this has to help in so many ways. Randy Cunneyworth finally gets that giant piano off his back. The boys snap a five-game losing streak. Mike Cammalleri woke from his slumber. Guys all over the place had big nights, and Carey Price was as strong as strong can be.

Random Notes:

Ottawa outshot the Habs 35-28.

On to Florida. Let’s hope the team can make those tanned snowbirds delirously happy.

Alexei Emelin had another handful of big hits, and PK Subban played a lively game, although he gave up the puck a few times, which he does almost every night it seems. But this is PK – wild and wacky.

The Habs have had me so jittery lately that it wasn’t until they made it 6-2 that I felt confident they would win.