Tag Archives: Lars Eller

Habs In Shootout

bench

It was a win, and wins are good I suppose.

The Canadiens edged Carolina 2-1, but it took a shootout to do it, and without Ben Scrivens flapping around like a fish on a line, it would’ve been just another loss in this long, heartbreaking season.

Because the team in front of him, as usual, lacked fire.

I suppose I shouldn’t complain. It’s two straight for the boys, which is something we haven’t seen since late November when they put together four in a row, and which seems as miraculous as can be now.

But two wins still doesn’t sit right. Not for me, anyway. Not the way they won today.

I’ve tried to stay upbeat and as positive as possible throughout this ridiculous campaign. But this is a team that on most nights disappoints, even with a rare win, and I’m tired of being disappointed.

Real life can be disappointing enough. I don’t need more from my friggin’ hockey team. But maybe I’m selfish. I’ve been alive for 18 Montreal Canadien Stanley Cup wins, so I shouldn’t be greedy.

And reality tells me I probably won’t see 19.

And this year, not even playoff action.

Although the 3-on-3 overtime gave us good old fire wagon hockey that had fans oohing and aahing, we saw the Canadiens be the second best team for the three regular periods. Like they’ve been so often.

It’s a win, but whatever. They didn’t play well.

Random Notes:

Carolina outshot Montreal 35-34.

Max, with his 20th, tied thing at one apiece in the second period.

Galchenyuk, Flynn, Max, and Eller failed miserably in the shootout, but Andrighetto came through.

Next up – Tuesday, when it’s the Tampa Bay Lightning in town.

 

 

Canadiens Come Up Big

celebrate

I’ll try to contain myself. But it was the Habs’ finest game since they pasted the Boston Bruins 5-1 at the Winter Classic on January 1st.

On this day, it was a 5-1 blasting of the Edmonton Oilers at the Bell Centre!I almost felt like singing the obnoxious Olé song, but not quite.

The win gives me quivers down my backbone. I’m not shakin’ all over, but I feel faint hope. I feel like deep in the innards of the slump beast sits a good team.

And all we can do is wait until tomorrow (2:30 ET) to see if the boys can keep it going, or if they come up flat once again like they’ve been so good at doing. But for now, Go Habs Go!

Their losing has always been a matter of players relied upon not being relied upon. If key guys were on their game more often, they wouldn’t be in this pickle.

Today, Tomas Plekanec stepped out of his season-long slumber (although he does have the team’s second highest point tally – 39, which isn’t saying much), and supplied a goal and three assists.

The Czech enigma displayed some serious life, and maybe the rust and dust has been shaken free and we’ll see more from this key guy.

The team has needed Pleks during dark days and he hasn’t been there, but today he was the Plekanec of old. Maybe he remembered the tips I gave him last year in Montreal at an autograph signing.

Now it’s time for Max Pacioretty to shake his hangover and come through for us on more of a regular basis. And Galchenyuk and Weise and DD and on and on.

Guys need to show up like Pleks did today. Four-point nights might be asking too much, but regardless.

Fine goaltending from Ben Scrivens, who recorded his first win as a Hab in five starts, and goals from Gallagher, Eller, Pleks, PK, and Tom Gilbert of all people (his first of the season), and the boys were too much for Connor McDavid and the Oilers.

A beautiful sight. A clobbering of the team that had rolled over Ottawa 7-2 the night before, by a team in the midst of a struggle to recover from the most gruesome of slumps.

Today, it was the team we’ve been looking for after two months of pure mediocrity. They showed fire, but like I said, I need to contain myself. Tomorrow’s another day, but if they look good against Carolina, I just might be whoopin’ and hollerin’.

Random Notes:

Montreal outshot Edmonton 35-24.

It’ll be interesting to see if Scrivens plays on Sunday after his fine showing today.

Connor McDavid is some kind of young player. Imagine if he wore the CH?

Below –  Prust, me, and Plekanec, last year in Montreal. Gallagher and Max were there too. Sadly, their wives and girlfriends weren’t.

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Bombed By Bottom Feeders

sinking

I’m assuming the Canadiens wandered into Columbus feeling renewed and re-energized after beating the Leafs last Saturday.

The start of something better. Good times are here again!

And then they get trounced 5-2 by the worst team in the league.

Downward they go. Where they stop, nobody knows.

They’re playing with my head, these people. Stop the season, I wanna get off. Pathetic, soft, unorganized bunch of multi-millionaires, playing with my emotions.

A friend today told me about a game he used to play when he lived in New Guinea. Darts, using a real dart gun. Sounds excellent.

This is going to be my new favourite sport, because I can’t handle what the Habs are doing to me. And maybe I’ll put a picture of the team on the dartboard.

I thought, before tonight, that they could finally win two in a row after not doing so since November. After all, it was only the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets.

And the Canadiens play these same BJs in Montreal on Tuesday, so it was probably going to be three in a row.

A beautiful winning streak to make us happy. And then they’re blasted 5-2 and a dagger gets rammed into my already battered heart.

Can it get any sadder?

Can life be any better for Habs haters?

Random Notes:

Habs outshot Columbus 34-25 and were 1/3 on the power play.

Montreal’s goals came from Gally and PK, with PK’s a big blast from outside the blueline.

Two posts were hit, by Eller and Petry. I’m grasping at straws here.

 

 

Canadiens Begin Their Win Streak!

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It took Max and Lars Eller to come through in the shootout as the Canadiens down the Leafs 3-2 in Toronto, thus avoiding suicides, bricks through TVs, and serious hairpulling throughout Habsland.

Not really a fantastic win, or even a great win. Maybe only a decent win. But it was a big one as they snap a five-game losing streak in the midst of a gigantic slump, and it has to feel good.

Now the boys can relax and maybe take in a late show with Rompin’ Ronnie and the Hawks at Le Coq d’Or on Yonge Street before calling it a night.

It began in splendid fashion as the team dominated the Leafs, outshooting them 14-3, and jumping out to a 2-0 lead on goals by David Desharnais and Tomas Fleischmann, although Fleischmann’s goal appeared to go in off Daniel Carr.

But as we’ve seen before, a quick start can mean little as Toronto slowly found their game and scored in the second and third periods to send the game into overtime.

It would take the shootout to decide things, and now the challenge is for the team to win two in a row, something that hasn’t happened since November 20th to the 27th when they nailed down four straight.

After that, as we all know and need to forget, the roof fell in and continued until tonight, when they grabbed two big points against a team that boasts the despicable Dion Phaneuf.

Random Notes:

I feel good about this, mainly because it wasn’t a loss. But not good enough to put on my dancing shoes and head down to the Westview Hotel, though. They’d think the grim reaper just walked through the door.

A loss would continue the nightmarish slide into Satan’s basement. But it wasn’t a loss, mainly because Max and Eller got it done in the shootout, when Galchenyuk, Flynn, and DD didn’t.

Canadiens outshot the Leafs 29-19, and were 0/4 on the power play.

Next up – Monday, when the boys travel to Columbus to take on the BJs.

Extra Random Notes:

Before the game began, Leaf greats Turk Broda, Tim Horton, and Dave Keon were honoured with inclusion on Toronto’s Legends Row, and it was emotional fifteen or twenty minutes.

Broda retired when I was two, but I saw Horton and Keon in their prime, on those great old Leafs teams.

I sat behind Keon and his wife in church in Orillia when I was young. Keon and most of the Leafs had attended Leaf trainer Bobby Haggart’s wedding in Orillia the day before, and the next day in church there was the great centreman, standing and kneeling and sitting and crossing himself, just like the rest of us.

I also have a personal story about Tim Horton. I’ve been to his doughnut shop many times.

Broda was on hand for the opening ceremonies of the arena in Orillia in 1950.

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Habs Surprise Bruins

There were times throughout when they were far from sharp. Dozey in fact.  Definitely brain-dead in places.

But enough about the referees.

Canadiens double up the visiting Bruins 4-2 in a game that should turn more than a few Bruins fans into babbling glue sniffers. Their team had the Habs on the ropes. And then they didn’t.

Funny how that happens sometimes.

Somehow, although outplayed for much of the game, this first place team hung in against a surprisingly tough Boston squad. Tougher than I thought, considering the Bs sit in 19th spot overall with just 13 points, while the Canadiens, from the highest perch, can barely see them with binoculars.

But in the end, when the score was tied and just over a minute left in the third period, David Krejci decided to crosscheck Tomas Plekanec, several times in fact, and while he was cooling his blades in the sinbin after his numbing stupidity, David Desharnais buried the puck and the knife.

Soon after, Max found the empty net, and fans exhaled.

A fine ending to a tense game, and Bruins fans scurry to the local Army Surplus to buy knives to slit their throats.

Boston jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period after the Canadiens were called for a tremendously dubious ‘too many men’ infraction, which was one of several weird refereeing decisions. But because of the final score, I won’t bitch. Except for the first paragraph of course.

The team was stifled constantly. They were bottled up, scrambling, all out of whack. I couldn’t wait for the period to end.

The only fun I had in this 20 minutes was seeing Andrei Markov blast a slapshot into the Bruins bench after taking a tripping call when Colin Miller embellished in fine Brad Marchand style.

No one was hurt on the Bruins bench, which is good I suppose. But it was a great moment. An excellent Markov moment.

Just as the Bruins had scored early in the first on the power play, the Canadiens did the same in the second, when Tomas Plekanec finished off a feed from Brendan Gallagher at 1:09 into the frame.

The Canadiens power play is clicking now. They promised, and I believed.

The Bruins took the lead in the second when Frank Vatrano, from the legendary Vatrano/Gambino mob family and playing in just his first NHL game after the family made the Bruins an offer they couldn’t refuse, notched his first big league goal.

Now we wait for news of a horse’s head found in David Krejci’s hotel bed after he gets home from Crescent St.

A Bruins lead going into the third period, with Boston stifling the boys and simply being the better team, ready to collect two big road points.

The Canadiens were in trouble, and possibly let down emotionally  after a Plekanec goal in the the third, which would have tied things up, was ruled no goal because of Gally causing havoc in the crease.

It was a sad time at the old Bell barn. The team getting whupped by the rival Bostonians. Things just weren’t going the right way on this Saturday night.

And then………

At 8:58, Lars Eller slipped one through Jonas Gustavsson’s legs and the score was tied in dramatic and surprising fashion.

At 17:57, David Kejci lost his mind and not quite a minute later, DD put his team in front.

And with 17 seconds left, Max found the empty net.

The Bruins and their fans once again hate the Habs more than anyone they’ve ever hated.

Random Notes:

Montreal outshot Boston 33-31.

Canadiens went 2/3 on the power play, while Boston was 1/5.

Too many turnovers, loose play, a plethora of icings, too many penalties, and the boys still won.

Next up – Canadiens take on the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

A little humour to close with. The Leafs allowed a goal with just a second left in Washington, and then lost in the shootout.

 

 

 

 

Habs Senatized

Sens

I downloaded a free app called Fresh Paint and the picture above is my first stab at it after being confused for several days.

I painted the cross, not the Sens logo of course, plus that little red blob over on the right which was an accident.

I feel the red blob somehow represents Mark Stone, on the outside looking in, currently sitting out a two-game suspension for a hit to the head of Detroit’s Landon Ferraro, and who is probably still recovering from his near-death experience when the evil PK Subban tapped him on the wrist last year.

A trooper, that’s what he is.

I’ll bet Landon’s pop Ray Ferraro  wouldn’t mind tapping this trooper.

Canadiens fell 2-1 in overtime to the visiting Ottawa Senators, although they carried most of the play and outshot the obnoxious pricks 37-27.

But it wasn’t to be as Max and Tomas Plekanec were caught during the newly installed three on three overtime, leaving Jeff Petry to fend off three oncoming Sens, and that was that. Bam. Kyle Turris ended it just 34 seconds in.

This loss is just the Canadiens third of the season, Michael Condon’s first in his five starts, and the first game to go beyond regulation time for the boys. It’s a loss but not something to lose sleep over. They played well, but Craig Anderson, between the pipes for the Sens, did too.

Now it’s time to focus on the N.Y. Islanders, who check into the Bell on Thursday.

In my world, a loss isn’t a disaster, but another after that is getting there, and another after that sucks to kingdom come.

So we need a win on Thursday to avoid all that.

Random Notes:

Dale Weise, with his seventh of the year, scored Montreal’s lone goal. Weise is now tied with Max for goals scored.

Montreal’s power play went 1/3. They also gave up a shorthanded goal to J-G Pageau in the second frame which opened the scoring.

Lars Eller, I felt, played a fine game.

A Habs goal was called back in the first period when referee (and Habs nemesis) Chris Lee ruled that Brendan Gallagher interfered with Anderson in the crease. It was looked at, and the call stood.

I, however, disagree.

Habs Blast Jets

biplane-crashv

Such a fine way to begin November, with a dominate 5-1 win over the visiting, and sometimes belligerent, Winnipeg Jets.

But Dustin Byfuglien and his pals can take solace in knowing they got hammered by the best team in the league, which should make them feel better when they’re out breaking curfew tonight.

Backup goalie Mike Condon, between the pipes for injured Carey Price, allowed just one goal, which means the big fellow has let in just six goals in his first four starts, all wins, which is impressive to say the least.

Also impressive is the Habs scoring a total of 21 goals during these four Condon games.

Adding to the impressiveness – the David Desharnais, Tomas Fleischmann, and Dale Weise line, which tallied seven points in all. This line was flying all game, Fleischmann was on fire, but the team as a whole had their legs moving in fine style.

It’s hard to imagine these guys in another 30 years when they’re fat and can hardly skate.

The Jets, meanwhile, sat quietly on the tarmac, not going anywhere.

And then there was Paul Byron, listed as 5’7″, 153 lbs, playing like the much bigger Henri Richard, listed as 5’7″, 160 lbs.

Byron opened the scoring in the first period when once again, as he had done in Calgary two nights prior, burst in on a shorthanded breakaway to light the lamp. A fine deja vu moment to be sure.

Two goals and an assist for Byron in his three games, while Alex Semin sits in the press box each night now, wondering, drinking coffee, eating hot dogs, and asking Marc Bergevin if he can get him anything.

The Canadiens opened the scoring in the first, which is always such a nice thing, when lefthanded shot David Desharnais burst down the right side the way the Rocket once did, and after being stopped, Tomas Fleischmann banged home his first of the night.

In the second period it would be Fleischmann doing the bursting down the right side, with his shot eluding Jets goaltender Michael Hutchison. The starting goalie would soon be replaced by Ondrej Pavelec after allowing a fourth goal, a DD marker when he barreled in with Fleischmann and Nathan Beaulieu on what was basically a 3 on 1.

Lars Eller would direct the puck off his skate on the power play to widen things to 5-1, and in the third, the lone goal past Condon came from Winnipeg’s Chris Thorburn, who looks like the Band’s Richard Manuel, who’s been dead for 29 years.

Random Notes:

The 7 points from the DD line included Fleischmann with 2 goals and 1 assist, DD a goal and 2 assists, and Weise 1 assist).

Canadiens outshot Winnipeg 26-19.

The team has now recorded 50 goals in 13 games, an average of 3.84 goals a game. Some serious fire wagon hockey going on with this league-leading team.

Next up – The dastardly Ottawa Senators pay a visit to the Bell on Tuesday.

 

A Mighty Fine Nine

Rocket's sweater

Yes, Leafs fan, I’ll give you this. Your team spent much of the second period in Montreal’s zone, played well, outshot the Habs 23-11, and for awhile made things dicey.

Heck, your team had lots of gas for most of the game, and peppered an incredible 52 shots at Carey Price.

But you can thank your captain, Dion Phaneuf, for being a baby after getting hit hard by Dale Weise late in this second frame and getting sent to the box, which must  have been a kick in the gut to Dion’s teammates.

Phaneuf, to our amusement, took a crosschecking penalty on Weise because he couldn’t handle being hit hard, and the Canadiens, who were in tough at the time, scored with 14 seconds left to make it a 5-2 game at that point, and the dagger was thrust.

So blame some of the loss on your captain. If you can’t take a heavy hit, you shouldn’t be in the game.

Canadiens win their ninth straight, with Vancouver on Tuesday to tie the league record, with the boys not allowing a single goal in any first period along the way.

Random Notes:

My friend Mel St. St. Onge in Orillia wants to start a movement to have hockey host George Stroumboulopoulos sent packing and Ron Maclean brought back. I think it’s a great idea. C’mon Rogers, toss this guy.

Shots on goal when all was said and done – Leafs 52, Habs 27.

Canadiens went 2/4 on the power play.

P.K. Subban, especially in the first period, fired several cannons at Jonathan Bernier, with one going in while the Habs were enjoying the man advantage.

Lars Eller, David Desharnais, Max, and Gally tallied in the second, while in the third, after Morgan Rielly had made it 5-3, the Canadiens held the fort and skated away with their win.

Alexander Semin showed tonight why previous coaches and managers just weren’t thrilled with him. He floated, looked uninterested, and provided a blatant turnover which led to James Van Riemsdyk narrowing the gap to 3-2 at the time.

But Max would notch a shorthanded marker soon after, and Brendan Gallagher deflected a PK blast on the power play with Phaneuf serving his time, and the gap widened even further.

Have a great night and excellent Sunday. I’m on my way to a birthday party where there’s gonna be live music and a keg of draught in the back yard.

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Condon’s First!

Condon

Massachusetts-born Mike Condon, in his first NHL start after grabbing the backup gig from good old prairie boy Dustin Tokarski, stood tall for the Canadiens as he and his team rolled to a 3-1 win over the Senators in Ottawa.

And even though Sens forward Mark Stone wasn’t injured at any time during this game, his wife was overheard saying from her seat with the other wives, “Mark, quit your friggin’ whining, it’s embarrassing.”

That’s three in a row for the Habs in their first three outings of the 2015-16 campaign, and if you’re interested, their record last year showed three wins to kick off the season, then a huge loss to Tampa Bay, then four more wins afterward.

So they went  7 and 1 to open last year, and something similar this season would be just fine, don’t you think?

I’m right on top of these tidbits because I pulled out last year’s S.H.I.T.S. (Scientific Habs Information Tracking System) and had a look. I’ll show you sometime.

Condon was excellent on this Saturday night, while the guy at the other end, Matt O’Connor, also playing in his first big league game, was good but not good enough. Especially when Tomas Plekanec was on the ice.

Pleks opened the scoring in the first period when he spun around from the side and sneaked one short side past the rookie, and later on in the period, it was Pleks again, bursting in alone after blocking an Erik Karlsson shot, outskating the newly coiffed Swede, and sending a seeing-eye puck through O’Connor’s legs.

Ottawa would close the gap to 2-1 in the second frame after P.K. gave up the puck at Ottawa’s blueline while his team was on the power play, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau, with all kinds of time, beat Condon.

But that was it for the hometowners, as Torrey Mitchell deflected a P.K. shot in the third for the insurance marker.

The power play? Along with giving up a shorthanded goal, Montreal went 0-7, which makes it 1 for 14 so far in the three games. But like I said yesterday, they promised us the PP would be good and I sort of believe them.

Random Notes:

The Galchenyuk, Semin, Eller line created occasional chances but weren’t quite on fire like they were in Boston, but the fourth line of Flynn, Smith-Pelly, and Mitchell picked up the slack and buzzed, with Mitchell notching that all-important third goal.

Canadiens outshot the Sens 34-21.

I checked in to the Jays game periodically and saw the final three innings, and one thing stands out in their 5-1 win in Texas. Somewhere along the line, Fox colour commentator Harold Reynolds mentioned that Canadian baseball fans have a hard time catching foul balls in the seats because there’s not much baseball played up there and they don’t catch well.

Harold, you’re giving your fellow Americans a bad name. You’re like an American version of PJ Stock.

Many of you already know about Harold’s silliness as it’s all over Facebook and Twitter, but did you know that his wife was heard to say from her living room, “Harold, shut the %^#* up, it’s embarrassing.”

Next up – Tuesday, where the boys end their road trip in Phil Kessel’s new home, Pittsburgh.

 

Habs Eat Bruins

bear

Nice work by the Galchenyuk, Eller, Semin line as the Habs doubled up the Bruins 4-2 in Boston, thus giving the boys two straight wins to start the season after taking out the Torontonians 3-1 on Wednesday.

Galchenyuk’s line oozed chemistry, with Chucky collecting three assists, Eller two goals, and Semin a pair of assists. A fine early season line that dominated often and enjoyed quality minutes in Boston’s end of the ice. Unlike their team’s power play.

David Desharnais lit the lamp in the first period on the team’s initial power play, but after that it was more of the pathetic, lackluster, confused man-advantage situations that we saw on most nights last year. When the ice chips had settled, it was another of those 1-6 PP outings we’ve gotten used to, and darn tired of.

But it is only game two with eighty more to go, so maybe I should just settle down and give it time. They promised better things and who am I not to believe them? A promise is a promise.

Regardless, two points in the standings, a big night for Galchenyuk and company, and I give big thanks on this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend for the two wins to kick off the season.

Things could be worse.  They could be the 0-3 Leafs.

Random Notes:

Montreal outshot Boston 38-21.

Brad Marchand was hurt in the third period and slowly made his way to the bench after milking it on the ice for a minute or two. Marchand told reporters later that he felt fuzzy and was worried he wouldn’t be able to finish the comic book he began reading last May.

Carey Price sent the puck towards Boston’s empty net but missed. A Price goal would be the coolest thing. It’d put him up in the Scott Gomez net-bulging stratosphere.

A Bruins marker was waved off because of goalie interference by Patrice Bergeron, and after Claude Julien’s coach’s challenge, it was ruled “no goal”. It was a no brainer to me and ten thousand others, and Julien, whose job is on thin ice, lost his time-out because of it.

Tomorrow, for those wild and crazy Montreal Canadiens, it’s Ottawa, the team that blew a three-goal lead to the Leafs on this night, but still won in the shootout.