Tag Archives: Henrik Lundqvist

Habs Show Some Moxie In Loss To Rangers

It was a 6-3 loss for the Canadiens in New York, but that’s only part of the story. Because I’ll bet the Rangers breathed a sigh of relief when their sixth goal went in during a late-game power play.

This was one loss that doesn’t sting. After all, Montreal was down 5-1 after the first period, with Carey Price pulled in favour of seldom-used Alex Auld, and instead of the boys giving up, it became au contraire. Auld played probably his finest game this season and made several outstanding saves. And slowly but surely, with Auld doing his part, the Habs began to make a game of it. This, after playing the night before against Tampa with the Rangers waiting cosily at home.

The team began to scratch out a fine performance. James Wisniewski blasted one home in the second period to make it 5-2. Then Brian Gionta tipped in a Wiz shot and it was 5-3. And they kept coming. Without question the boys had their chances to get within one, and at that point the game would have been absolutely up for grabs.

It could have been a great night. It wasn’t, but it could’ve been.

Unfortunately, a referee put the whole thing to bed. At the 16:21 mark of the third period, Benoit Pouliot came close to netting one of those aforementioned huge markers but in the process was hurled into Henrik Lundqvist by a Ranger defender. Pouliot had no say in the matter, it wasn’t his choice, and was wrongly penalized. It was a call that iced it for the home team.

At this point Jacques Martin almost showed emotion. 

The Rangers then proceeded to score their sixth with Pouliot in the box, and that was all she wrote.

I’m not upset with this loss. Not at all. Some games I want to throw a brick at the TV, but in this one, I sat back and watched a seriously depleted lineup play with guts and heart. We just need some guys back, that’s all.

Random Notes – no Hal Gill, Tomas Plekanec and Jeff Halpern, along with all the usual cast of characters. 

TSN kept going on about Brandon Prust answering the bell in a big way against Travis Moen with only one second played in the game, but no one said one word about Travis Moen answering the bell in a big way against Brandon Prust.

Prust and Subban also sort-of-tangled after the Ranger took out Price in the crease.

Subban also opened the scoring in the first period with a big shot from the blueline.

Shots on goal – 31-25 Rangers

Next up – Sunday in Minnesota.

Habs Hold On For Dear Life

I’d first like to address any Habs fans who happened to be at the Bell Centre to see the Canadiens’ 3-2 win over the New York Rangers.

You lucky bastards and bastardettes.

You saw it all in living colour, and you got your money’s worth. You saw a big win in a deafening barn. You watched Andrei Kostitsyn fire one home in dramatic fashion. You cheered as Travis Moen got his licks in against Kris Newbury. You laughed to see NY coach John Tortorella jaw it out with a spectator behind the bench. You yelled and booed as Henrik Lundqvist jumped Max Pacioretty. You were there for two big power play goals and you witnessed a dominant Habs team.

Yep, you saw real good stuff. FOR TWO FREAKIN’ PERIODS ONLY.

Montreal owned the Rangers after forty minutes, outshooting them 29-12, blasting away at a fatigued Lundqvist who barely had time to catch his breath before another onslaught would arise. It was beautiful, passionate, a big relief over what we’ve seen lately.

Then it all fell apart. Almost.

As been the case lately with the boys making it way too hard on themselves, I’ll bet we almost expected what would happen next. The Canadiens let the other team back in, and early domination evaporated as the Rangers controlled, scored again, hit the post, were all over the Habs, outshot them 21-12 in the final frame, and almost came all the way back to shock those lucky folks who happened to be at the Bell Centre, not to mention the rest of us.

A game we had in our back pocket.

That was way too close for comfort. Whew! With my wife in Vancouver and just me and the cat hanging out, maybe I should walk down to the corner pub.  I need something to calm the nerves.

Random Notes:

There was one delicious little incident that made me glow all over. Brandon Dubinsky was speaking yesterday about the apparent PK Subban slew foot, and he said that he hoped Subban might do something in tonight’s game so they could take advantage of it and score. But in fine and poetic fashion, Dubinsky let things get the best of him, went after Subban for no real reason, took a penalty of his own, and voila, Habs scored!

It was just one of those things that makes my day. It also must have been tough to take for Dubinsky.

Shots on goal – 41-33 Habs.

Wiz had assists on the Roman Hamrlik and Tomas Plekanec power play goals.

Next up – Calgary in town Monday.

Habs Win A Big One In Manhattan

Sometimes those plain and simple no-frills road games can be so important in the scheme of things.

Montreal, in beating the Rangers 2-1 at Madison Square Garden, earn a blue collar road win, collect two points, and they do it with Alex Auld getting it done in nets and coming through when we needed him to.

Auld was sometimes good, sometimes average, and sometimes lucky, and this successful outing can only help his game and give his coaches and fans the confidence that all is not lost when Carey Price has a well-deserved night off.

It was a road game the Canadiens wanted to win, which is another of those understatements I seem to come with every so often. They edge just two points closer to New York in the Eastern Conference. They stay neck and neck with the Bruins for first in the Northeast. And Carolina, chasing the Habs for the final playoff spot, beat Calgary tonight 6-5 in a shootout, but failed to gain ground with Auld and company winning this big game in the Big Apple, a city bracing itself as a frigid Mother Nature decides to be bitchy again..

Now Price gets his rest, the team gets the points, Auld gets his win, and even though the Habs continue to be a feeble scoring machine, a win is a win.

Now, all they have to do is fight the snow and winds to get back to Montreal to meet and greet the Penguins, who are already there all toasty and pampered.

Random Notes:

So far it’s still Jaroslav Spacek credited with Montreal’s first goal but it sure seemed that it went in off Mathieu Darche, who also thought so. Regardless, it tied it at one.

Benoit Pouliot fooled Henrik Lundqvist with a nice shot over the goalie’s shoulder to win it. Pouliot’s had his moments lately to be sure.

Penguins tomorrow. Let’s hope the plane back to Montreal ride isn’t too stressful.

Shots on goal – 38-26 Habs.

Dusting Off The Crystal Ball. Let The Games Begin.

The Hockey Barn asked me to write down my predictions for the opening round of the playoffs, and although predictions are for gypsies, as Toe Blake used to say, I’m giving it a shot.

Anything can happen come playoff time. Every team is just one small injury or one bouncing puck away from sinking like the Titanic. Surprises are the order of the day. Overwhelming favourites stink the joint out. Journeymen rise, at least for a few weeks, to stardom. Cheers and tears abound. Pencils are sharpened for playoff pools.

And in the end, after it’s all been sorted out, the team with the will, talent, luck, endurance, and great goaltending emerges from the pack and hoists the Stanley Cup while champagne is poured over interviewers’ heads, and there’s wild celebration and dancing in the street. It’s a beautiful thing. Trust me, non-hockey fans.

In the east, Montreal and Boston will lock horns for the 32nd time. Washington will play the Rangers. New Jersey meets Carolina, and Pittsburgh and Philadelphia fight it out.

Who will emerge?

This is the playoffs, not the regular season, so throw out the window Boston’s marvelous regular season record where they ended up first over-all. It wouldn’t be the first time the first place team fell to the eighth place squad. Montreal’s the solid underdog, no one with any sense at all gives them a chance. And for that reason alone, I’m picking Montreal in seven.

Washington’s too good, I think, for New York, with the great Alex Ovechkin to cause fits. But also add star defenceman Mike Green to the mix and it proves too much for the Rangers, who have the dubious honour of having Sean Avery on the team. So, who would you pick, a team with Ovechkin and Green, or a team with Avery? Washington in six. I’d say five but New York has one thing going for them, a solid goaltender named Henrik Lundqvist. And we know what goaltending can do in the playoffs.

New Jersey ended high in the eastern standings, but Carolina came on strong late in the year. This is a close one to pick, but I’m saying New Jersey in seven, only because they have a winner in goal named Martin Brodeur. Although he’s old. But so were Terry Sawchuk and Johnny Bower in 1967.

In the Battle of Pennsylvania, Sidney Crosby, Evgeny Malkin and company should outlast the Flyers. I’ve got a personal Habs-related grudge against the Flyers, and the Kate Smith magic vanished years ago. Penguins in six.

In the west, first place  San Jose takes on Anaheim, Detroit meets Columbus, Vancouver and St. Louis will battle, as will Chicago and Calgary.

San Jose should have no problem whatsoever with Anaheim. I think it’s going to be short and sweet. Sharks in five. Of course, I may be way out in left field about this one, but I’m sticking with short and sweet.

Same for Detroit over Columbus. Detroit, the defending champions, just have too much artillery, and although Columbus played well this year, they should prove no match for the Wings. Detroit in six.

You never know what you’re going to get from Vancouver. How many times can they disappoint their fans in the playoffs? They have possibly the best goaltender in the league, a good, solid defence, and some great forwards like Ryan Kessler and Alex Burrows. (Should I mention Mats Sundin, who scored nine goals in 41 games?) So, with Luongo and the Sedins and Burrows etc, my prediction is – St. Louis in seven.

I really want Calgary to beat Chicago, but I don’t think it’ll happen. The Flames are not going into the playoffs in playoff form, they’re injured, and Chicago has had Calgary’s number this year. Although it would be fun to see, there should be no upset here. Chicago in six. Sorry Calgary. I hope I’m wrong.

Time To Sink Their Teeth Into The NY Rangers. That Means Kovy Of Course.

  With the New York Rangers in town Thursday to lose to the Habs, I thought I’d show you this nice picture of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

Oh, sorry, that’s Gump Worsley, who joined the Canadiens in 1963 when he part of a major deal involving him, Dave Balon, Leon Rochefort, and Len Ronson going to Montreal, for Jacques Plante, Phil Goyette, and Don Marshall.

 

When the Gumper was with the Rangers, he was asked by a reporter which team gave him the most trouble. He answered, “the Rangers.” 

 

Other important things to note about the Rangers:

 

Alex Kovalev was one once. He was drafted in the first round by them (15th overall) in 1991 and played until early into the 1998 season. How great would it be if he broke out of his massive slump against his old team?

 

Sean Avery was also a Ranger. He joined them after playing for both the Detroit Red Wings and the LA Kings. The Rangers were a sloppy third.

 

They’ve got two guys from Anchorage, Alaska – Scott Gomez and Brandon Dubinsky, for what it’s worth.

 

They have 36 points to the Habs 32, but have played three more games than Montreal.

 

Their lineup consists of 8 Canadians, 6 Americans, and 8 Euros. Many of them like women.