Tag Archives: Jonathan Bernier

Good Team Blanks Bad Team

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With Carey Price posting his 6th shutout of the season, the Canadiens drop the visiting Toronto Maple Laffs 4-0, and all remains swell in Habs universe.

That’s four straight wins for the good guys, they remain tops of the pops, and it makes my heart soar like a Prigogine’s Double-Collared Sunbird.

Certainly a satisfying night, except for the part about going 0 for 4 on the powerplay and being outshot 30-23. It was a confident bunch, playing behind an always confident and usually perfect Price, and it culminated with a Leafs jersey being thrown on the ice.

I’d hate to see a Canadiens jersey tossed on the ice and if I was at a game when it happened, I’d hunt the person down and pour my twelve-dollar beer on his head. But somehow, seeing a Leafs jersey crumpled up like a dead blue and white varmint makes me snicker just a tad. Am I a bad person?

The boys were in fine form, except for those times when it was left to Price to come to the rescue. Several times they would pass back to the world’s greatest goalie, which is a nice enough play, as long as the puck doesn’t hop over Price’s stick.

And on Coach’s Corner, Don Cherry would whine and bitch that the Canadiens were seen smiling and enjoying themselves way too much. In my mind, smiling means things are going good. Which is what we want. Much better than seeing them shake their heads in disgust and smash their sticks.

I remember when Scott Gomez would smile when things were going bad.

Manny Malhotra scored his first of the season after Dale Weise stole the puck and dropped it back to him in fine style.

Tomas Plekanec bulged the twine when the team had the extra attacker on during a delayed penalty call.

And David Desharnais, targeted by far too many critics, mostly Habs fans, made it 3-0 in the third period after several players banged away (and Jonathan Bernier cried foul for goalie interference), and then scored his second of the night into an empty net after receiving a nice and generous pass from Max.

The boys are rolling, they’re a serious contender for all the marbles, and now we wait and see if Marc Bergevin deals to strengthen an already solid club.

Once again feelin’ good. It’s been a long time since we had a team that has a great chance to go all the way, and all we can do is hope no one crashes into Price the way Chris Kreider did last spring. Imagine.

Now it’s a four-game road trip to where the weather is slightly better than in Eastern Canada and the U.S. It’s Monday in San Jose, Wednesday in Anaheim, Thursday in L.A., and Saturday in Arizona.

No problem.

Random Note:

P.K. Subban’s assist on Plek’s goal ties him with Calgary’s Mark Giordano for most points (48) by a defenceman.

Sergei Gonchar was back in the lineup after missing the last six games after getting nailed by then-Leaf, now-Blue Jacket, David Clarkson.

P.A. Parenteau is healthy now but was scratched, as was Mike Weaver.

 

 

Saturday Night Fever

Leafs

It the Habs and Leafs at the Toronto barn, and of course the Habs need to clean the Buds’ clocks.

I shouldn’t even have to mention it.

As it stands, just six points separate the Canadiens from playoffs and no playoffs, and for the Leafs, it’s three points between them and being gone.

But it’s not about the Leafs, it’s about the Canadiens. The Leafs losing is only a bonus.

The Leafs are having goaltending issues. Their best guy, Jonathan Bernier, is on the sidelines with a groin injury, and backup James Reimer, who feels he isn’t a backup but is (just ask coach Randy Carlyle), will probably be between the pipes and the Habs have to pound away.

Toronto’s also lost their last three – to Tampa Bay, Detroit, and Washington, so hopefully they’re in the midst of a big time implosion. It’s up to the Habs to keep this Leafs free fall going.

You just never know with this Leafs team, especially when they play the Canadiens.

The bottom line is, it’s a game the Habs must win.

At Friday’s practice, Alex Galchenyuk centered a line with Brian Gionta and Rene Bourque.

Brandon Prust is gone for the remaining 11 games with an upper body injury.

PK Subban Should Rack Up The Points, Says LeBrun

Pierre LeBrun, writing for ESPN.com, has listed who he thinks will be the rookies making the biggest impact in this 2010/11 season. Of course, PK Subban is there.

John Carlson, 20, Washington Capitals: The world junior hero for Team USA looked right at home after the Caps called him up last season, collecting six points (1-5) and a plus-11 rating in 22 regular-season games. The defenseman has the potential to be this season’s Tyler Myers, a complete player at both ends of the ice. 

P.K. Subban, 21, Montreal Canadiens: If there’s an award for exuberance, then it’s not even close. Subban would win in a landslide. The infectious young blueliner won over Habs fans last spring by stepping into the frying pan and putting up eight points (1-7) in 14 postseason games following his late-season call-up. He didn’t fold at all under the immense pressure. He’ll see serious power-play time this season and could rack up the points.  

Jonathan Bernier, 22, Los Angeles Kings: It’s hard to believe Bernier could contend for the Calder three years after his NHL debut in London, England. But the goalie’s short, four-game stint in October 2007 was followed up by more time in junior and then the AHL as he developed his craft. He went 3-0-0 in a late-season call-up last season, sending a message to the Kings that he is ready. Jonathan Quick, look over your shoulder; you’ve got serious company in the Kings’ net.  

Jordan Eberle, 20, Edmonton Oilers: The Canadian world junior phenom got a taste of AHL postseason hockey two seasons in a row and in between dominated the Western Hockey League. He’s ready. The forward may also rack up the most points of any first-year NHL player.  

Magnus Paajarvi, 19, Edmonton Oilers: This kid won’t be intimidated, having played pro hockey in his native Sweden for three years before coming over. The forward has serious offensive skill, and it will be fun to watch him compete with teammates Hall and Eberle. The only concern is whether Paajarvi will hit the wall since the NHL season is longer compared to what he is used to in Sweden.  

Tyler Seguin, 18, Boston Bruins: The alter ego to Hall from the June draft, Seguin may begin the season playing alongside Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi. Talk about two linemates a rookie forward can learn from. The Bruins have no reason to rush Seguin along, so they won’t put too much on his plate.

 Tyler Ennis, 20 (turns 21 on Oct. 6), Buffalo Sabres: You might be looking at a dark-horse candidate here. The forward put up nine points (3-6) in 10 NHL games with the Sabres last season. Dynamite skills. Could put up some real nice numbers this season.

Mikael Backlund, 21, Calgary Flames: With the injuries to centers Matt Stajan and Daymond Langkow, the Swedish prospect has a real chance to establish himself early this fall. He put up 10 points (1-9) in 22 games in a late-season look in 2009-10.  

Jamie McBain, 22, Carolina Hurricanes: Subban and Carlson are getting most of the hype among rookie blueliners, but this kid put up 10 points (3-7) in 14 games with the Hurricanes last season and 40 points (7-33) in 68 AHL contests. That’s 50 points at the AHL/NHL level combined. Remember the name.  

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, 19, Phoenix Coyotes: There are two jobs available on the Coyotes’ blue line, and the Swedish prospect is trying to nail one down. He’s going to be a big-time offensive blueliner for the Coyotes, no one’s denying that, but the question is whether it happens this season or next. He had 33 points (11-22) in 52 games for his Swedish second-division club Leksands last season.  

Jeff Skinner, 18, Carolina Hurricanes: Last June’s seventh overall pick has turned heads in the preseason and it’s no wonder why. He scored 20 goals in 20 playoff games last spring in the Ontario Hockey League, giving him 70 in 74 games combined. He’s only 18, but he could be a keeper this year.  

There are three more goalies we want to leave you with:  

Michal Neuvirth, 22, Washington Capitals: The Czech product put up some dazzling performances in the last two AHL playoff runs for Hershey. It’s telling that the Caps aren’t just handing over the No. 1 job to Semyon Varlamov. They are seriously high on Neuvirth.

 Robin Lehner, 19, Ottawa Senators: The Swedish goalie is destined to begin the season in the AHL, but don’t forget his name. The Sens’ front office is drooling over this kid, and if Pascal Leclaire or Brian Elliott falters at the NHL level, you could see Lehner back in Canada’s capital before the season is over.

Jacob Markstrom, 20, Florida Panthers: Like Lehner, it would appear the Swedish netminder will begin the season in the AHL since star Tomas Vokoun and veteran backup Scott Clemmensen are ahead of him. But Vokoun will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and you can bet if the Panthers fall out of it, they’ll look to move him before the trade deadline to get assets in return. Once Vokoun is gone, this is Markstrom’s team.

Pierre LeBrun covers the NHL for ESPN.com.