Tag Archives: Max Pacioretty

Sliced By Sens

Reasonably lousy effort from the Canadiens in Ottawa Thursday night as they drop a 4-1 decision to the Sens after being outchecked, outhit, and outshot, and outplayed.

And of course, after a Habs power play that had come alive the previous night and scored three times, on this night it was back to reality as the team went 0 for 4, which is what we’re more accustomed to. Can’t expect a fine power play two games in a row, can we?

The Sens were the better team, which sucks to say considering my utter disdain for them. They had the Habs bottled up throughout, lined up like a wall when play was coming toward them, and Bobby Ryan and company must have had their fans wondering all evening why they’re not able to perform like this on more of a regular basis.

But as well as Ottawa played, if the Canadiens hadn’t been so soft around Dustin Tokarski, they might’ve been able to make a game of it. Soft and casual play in Montreal’s end led to the Sens first two goals, while an Erik Karlsson blast made it 3-1. Ottawa would also score on the empty net, while at the other end, Montreal’s guns were seized up.

For the Canadiens, Max would make it interesting early on when his 21st goal of the season (and 6th straight game with at least a goal) would tie it at one apiece. Jiri Sekac has a couple of great chances, including dinging one off the post. And Lars Eller skated miles all night and found himself with several great chances (although on one of Lars’ chances, he should’ve tried burying it instead of passing it across into traffic, which made me yell at the TV and scare the cat who already has health issues).

Mostly though, as a whole the boys stunk. But we’ve seen this before, doses of mediocrity mixed with in with runs of solid play that continues to see them at or near the top of the class. We’re a greedy bunch, us fans, and watching Le Tricolore fall flat against some bums up the road definitely smells.

Random Notes:

Ottawa outshot the Canadiens 35-26.

Dustin Tokarski came up big several times and did his job. Now Toker might ride the pines until February 8th, the next back to back situation. But rust can never sleep.

Next up – Saturday, when the really good Islanders visit the Bell.

 

 

PP Springs Into Action

Down 2-0 in the third period and 0 for 5 on the power play. But that was then.

The Canadiens’ tremendously lousy power play (28th overall) finally came to life in the final frame and not once, not twice, but three times the boys on the man-advantage got the job done and ended up sinking the home town Blue Jackets with a deserving come-from-behind 3-2 win.

Deserving because they outplayed Columbus throughout, with the final shots-on-goal tally reading Habs 31, Jackets 16. Tons of Habs chances but great goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky. Often frustrating, and the Canadiens were almost shut out.

But they weren’t shut out, and they also didn’t lose. An excellent example of how important the power play is, and how the Canadiens would kick it up a huge notch if they could get the thing under control. Three straight PP goals is a fine step in the right direction.

A decent road win and two big points. But I don’t understand Michel Therrien’s newest pre-game decisions/stategy.

Prior to this contest, Montreal had lost their last two games, but before that had posted a very fine 9 wins in 10 games. So was a complete juggling of lines called for?

Two losses wasn’t a freefall into the depths of hell. Why break up linemates accustomed to each other? Lines that had posted that incredible run.

Why would Galchenyuk find himself centering Prust and Parenteau and then Sekac and Bournival, instead of being between Max and Gally where he’s found a nice home? Why demote Sekac to the fourth line when he’s slowly but surely becoming one of the team’s most dangerous forwards?

Two losses shouldn’t bring about a complete shakeup. Of course, those with advanced stats might hang me out to dry with clear and reasonable answers that had never occurred to me, but I couldn’t care less. In my eyes, it was an unnecessary pulling of strings that reeked of desperation.

Random Notes:

Two of the Canadiens’ power play goals came from Max, with the other a blast from PK.

Speaking of PK, several turnovers and a penalty which led to a Jackets goal didn’t exactly make for a stellar game from our man who should be on the All-Star team but isn’t because the NHL continues their long-existing habit of being supremely stupid.

Brendan Gallagher might have put the puck behind the line, although it was called back because there was no clear closeup of whether it did or not. So in 2015, with all the money spent to have a plethora of cameras from different angles, the technology still isn’t perfect. Several years of future GM winter meetings should fix that. Possibly.

Next up – Thursday night in Ottawa.

 

Outnumbered In Overtime

It was a hard-fought, tight affair that was sent into overtime, with the Canadiens in tough after being given a too-many-men penalty.

Throw in a Tomas Plekanec broken stick that made it basically 4 Pens to 2 Habs, and an overdue Sidney Crosby swarming around like a man possessed, and it all coming to crashing halt when Crosby bulged the twine to give the visitors a 2-1 win.

Just no chance when Sid and the boys have what amounted to a two-man advantage in OT. I’m gonna blame the stick maker.

Nice goal by Max in the first though. A 2 on 1 with Gally, with Max sending a missile past Marc-Andre Fleury.

Now we wait until Wednesday before the Habs play again, when they travel to Columbus to meet the Blue Jackets.

In the meantime, I think I’ll have some………

020

 

 

Habs Top Of The Heap

The Pittsburgh Penguins may have had their way with the Canadiens back on November 18th when they blanked the boys 4-0, but Saturday night in Pittsburgh was a different story.

4-1 Habs. A well-deserved win.

Montreal punched the clock and played a solid, hardworking, hard checking, all round fine game as they bottled up the Pens in impressive fashion, found themselves with meaningful scoring chances sprinkled throughout, and now sit in the Eastern Conference penthouse with 54 points, one ahead of both the Pens and Islanders, and two in front of Tampa Bay, the team they face on Tuesday evening in Montreal.

Max would slam one home in the first period to open the scoring, then a Desharnais slapshot made it 2-0, Tom Gilbert was wide open in the second frame and it was 3-1, and Alexei Emelin blasted a laser through a crowd in the third to put the thing out of reach.

A nice little run Les Glorieux have going now, winning 6 straight and 9 of their last 10. No wonder they’re king of the hill.

I’m back watching and typing in our little house in Powell River, after a year and a half of living in Montreal. It feels unusual, with the game coming on a 4 pm instead of 7, and in a completely different place than the one I was in just over a week ago.

I also hadn’t seen the team play the previous three games because we were in the process of driving across the country.

It’s great to be back, but I also loved Montreal. It was a grand adventure, and now returning to PR is strange and also fresh and  comfortable. The old couch, the  bigger TV, the kitchen table where I am now. The fence in the back yard that blew over during a recent storm.

And the Canadiens ruling the roost. All they gotta do now is take out the Lightning at the Bell on Tuesday. Widen the gap a touch.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot Pittsburgh 33-31.

They also went 0-4 on the power play,  which puts them in 27th place in the man-advantage category. But they’re on a serious run so now’s not the time to complain.

Carey Price was in the nets for back to back games, only the second time this year that Toker didn’t play in one of them. Price was between the pipes on Dec. 5th against the Hawks and the 6th against the Stars, losing both. But that was then, this is now.

 

Pure Prairie Sailing

Canadiens won 3-1 in Carolina on Monday night, with goals from Jiri Sekac, Lars Eller, and Max Pacioretty. Max now has 14 in 36 games, which, over 82 games, would amount to……………….quite a bit. More than 30. (You thought I was going to do the math?)

A few things to note:

Lucy, Teesha, and I went from Kenora to Moose Jaw today (860 km), and it’s a tad chilly. Down around minus-25 all day, and -35 or -40 during the night. The car windows never truly cleared all day.

But the roads are dry, which is all I care about. And the price of gas is around 90 cents a litre right now, which is also cool.

I know it’s not nearly over, but so far this drive. that began in Montreal, has been, aside from the three hour snowstorm from the Soo to Wawa, dry roads and smooth sailing. But Calgary tomorrow, then through the Rockies the next day, and who knows what’s in store? Maybe we’ll see a sasquatch.

Moose Jaw TV showed the Winnipeg-Minnesota game and the Canada-Finland World Junior game, but no Habs, which brings to me to the big question. When I reach the coast and am phoning around about getting cable connected, what’s the best option for seeing the Canadiens?

This paragraph is about Teesha the Wonder Cat. Two weeks ago she was near death. She couldn’t walk, couldn’t eat, couldn’t move. Now I feel she’s at about 70% overall. Her walking isn’t great and she won’t drink water voluntarily, but other than that, she’s doing great and we’re mighty proud of her.

Tomorrow we stay with my son Rory in Calgary. Then it’s Banff, Lake Louise, Golden, Rogers Pass, and Kamloops, but only if the weather cooperates. After that, Vancouver, then up coast.

But I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. Right now I’m only concerned about the car starting in the morning.

sask

010

Habs Crush Sens

Canadiens dump the Sens 4-1 at the Bell, although it didn’t begin well. Sven Andrighetto stumbled and lost the puck on a Canadiens power play, which led to a puck sent gently at Carey Price who let it drop by his feet and promptly banged in by the bad guys.

But it ended well.

Still in the first, Brandon Prust tied it with a shot from a difficult angle.
Max to Chucky to Gally, bang, bang, bang, and it was 2-1 in the second.
And then in  the third, Plekanec on the power play and later Max to Emelin to Chucky, another bang, bang, banger, and what began in dubious fashion ended as a nice 4-1 win for the good guys.

I don’t have any fancy advanced stats to throw out. Frankly, I’m not interested. But I can tell you that whenever announcer Paul Romanuk called Cody Ceci’s name, I thought of what Lucy had told me – that Ceci in Russian is slang for women’s breasts.

A fine game, and how great it was (a) to see Max Pacioretty play after getting nailed by Anaheim’s Clayton Stoner the other night and taken to the hospital, and (b) seeing Max click so well once again with Gallagher and Galchenyuk.

Gally had a goal, Max collected two assists, and Galchenyuk notched a goal and an assist.

Also clicking well were the trio of Plekanec, Sekac, and Prust, who generated several good chances and showed nice chemistry. Is chemistry an advanced stat?

Next up – Habs on Long Island on Tuesday.

And speaking of Tuesday, my boss Marc Juteau is giving all of us at Classic Auctions a Christmas present to end all Christmas presents. He’s rented a box at the Bell Centre, with food and drinks, for the World Junior pre-tournament tilt between Canada and Switzerland.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot Ottawa 29-25.

Leafs got bombed 7-4 by Philadelphia.

An Excellent Price (Again)

sick cat

A little late getting this done. I’ve been preoccupied with my little cat who’s in the hospital with a mystery illness that has left her weak and unable to walk. No one can figure it out and it’s heartbreaking. She may or may not pull through.

I suppose it should be old hat now to see Carey Price stop lots of pucks. But for me anyway, it’s always cool, including last night when the big guy came up huge as the Canadiens posted a fine 6-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings, even though they were outshot 46-20.

Naysayers will say a team can’t always rely on the goaltender to win, but I think it’s fine, as long as other guys do the job too, and aside from Price’s heroics, some big moments were in store for us.

Jiri Sekac scored twice and showed again that he’s here to stay. Sven Andrighetto lit the lamp, his second in three games, and might be here to stay. David Desharnais scored an even-strength goal, which lately has been rarer than a Florida Panthers home rink sellout. PK notched a goal and assist, and with his three points sees him tied with Plekanec and Max for tops on the team with 22 points.

And last but not least, the power play came to life and was 2/3 on goals by Sekac and Markov, which makes me think that Jean had that chat with Toe.

So although Kings goaltender Martin Jones was no Carey Price (or Jonathan Quick), I’m chalking this up to a fine, all-round Habs win. Lots of contributors. Lots of guys not named here who also had fine evenings.

Now it’s time for breakfast and soon back to the animal hospital.

 

Back In The Saddle Again

saddle

The day began with Marc Bergevin dealing Hamilton Bulldogs multimillionaire Rene Bourque to Anaheim in exchange for 6’5″, 225 lb. defenceman Bryan Allen, and it ended with the Canadiens looking solid in their 4-1 win over the visiting St. Louis Blues.

The Bourque trade seems a fine move by the GM. Clear out what needed to be cleared out and shore up a less-than-rugged blueline corps while doing so. (Not to mention that Bourque still has another year left on his contract and big Allen doesn’t).

Maybe it’s also symbolic. The players know the fat is being trimmed, it’s a gradual tightening up a quarter way through the season, holes are being filled on defence (with Gonchar and Allen), Jiri Sekac is truly finding his place and giving Eller new life, and it’s onwards and upwards.

And as the important tweaks are made, the Canadiens, on a cold friggin night in Montreal, buried some beauties, while at the other end, Carey Price once again came up huge and allowed his team to get the job done.

After Vlad Tarasenko opened the scoring in the first period when he batted the floating puck past Price, Dale Weise in the second frame, again showing colour and character, intercepted a Kevin Shattenkirk clearing pass from behind the net, hesitated and calmly fired the puck over a sprawling Jake Allen.

Shortly after, P.A. Parenteau sprung Max with a beauty of a pass which Max buried, while in the third frame, Price shone, kept his team in front when called upon, and Max would notch his second of the game on a nice pass from DD, and Lars Eller would light the lamp after some great work from linemates Prust and Sekac.

A tremendous rebound game after being shutout 4-0 on Tuesday by Pittsburgh, with all four lines playing well and the defence, (with the help of Price) holding the fort.

It puts them back on track and looking impressive while doing so, and as Sportsnet’s Jason York said when the game ended, the Canadiens are showing that they are definitely for real and a force to be reckoned with (or words to that affect).

Now it’s a short jaunt down to Boston to meet the Bruins on Saturday night. The Canadiens have won seven of eight, and making it eight of nine in Boston would be a beautiful thing.

Canadiens Stomp Bruins

weise

Imagine that. The Bruins thumped 6-1 in Toronto and 24 hours later smoked 5-1 by the Canadiens.

Take that, Bruins fans.

The Canadiens looked just fine on this night, a solid three periods led by the guy whose name was mentioned beforehand not for what he might accomplish, but for what Milan Lucic might accomplish.

Dale Weise was a ball of fire, a guy who came to play, and with his fight in the first period with Gregory Campbell, then seeing him tie the score in the second on a penalty shot and setting up Max later on, it all added up to a sensational Gordie Howe hat trick.

But I’ll take it one step further, because after all that, he later on crashed the Bruins net in serious fashion, so I’m gonna call it a Rocket Richard home run.

Very impressive, those crazy Habs, even though, as sure as Bob Dylan won’t be singing opera and not one winning number will be on my lottery ticket, the Canadiens wouldn’t hit the back of the net in the first period and once again fell behind.

They didn’t get down on themselves though. They were dominant for the most part, and the worrisome power play was sharp all night and would eventually click on the fifth try when Jiri Sekac made it 5-1. But I’m  ahead of myself here. Tons of stuff went down.

Max Pacioretty was flying all night, and after not scoring on a last minute, clear cut breakaway in the first period, would light the lamp in the second and again in the third.

Nathan Beaulieu found himself in a fight with Matt Fraser and clocked the Bruin with a right that sent the fellow to the room with a sore face, leaving Beaulieu to add ice to the hand. Fraser had goaded Beaulieu to drop ‘em, and such a mistake it was.

40-year old Sergei Gonchar, after just one practice and playing in his first game with the Habs after coming over from Dallas in the Moen trade, was solid and effective all evening, including on the power play where he showed poise and smarts, otherwise known as experience.

Tomas Plekanec pulled off the coolest little between-the-legs pass to Gally in the crease, but unfortunately it couldn’t be finished off. Looked great though.

Lars Eller notched his third goal in three games with a nifty backhand after great work by Gally. Eller’s a new man.

Pleks had a wide open net on a power play and hit the crossbar. But I think at that point we could all feel a power play goal was only a matter of time and it was.

PK stood up to Lucic after the big thug had levelled Sekac. Luckily nothing developed, but good on PK anyway.

Weise looked like Mike Bossy on the penalty shot goal.

Alexei Emelin bumped and thumped as he likes to do against the Bruins. It’s a beautiful thing when he’s rattling bones. Especially Beantown bones.

Alex Galchenyuk pulled off several very cool moves to once again give us a more hints of what’s in store for years to come.

And Carey Price continues to stop most everything and show once again that when he’s doing his thing, the team always has a chance to win.

Great game, tremendous result. And if you turn your TV or radio down and open the window, that sound you hear are Bruins fans everywhere grinding their teeth and pushing down little old ladies..

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot Boston 34-22 and dominated much of the time.

The power play had a new feel to it. Therrien had two left handed blueliners, Markov and Gonchar, paired up, and two righties, Subban and Gilbert, for most of the five man-advantages.

Near the end, Nathan Beaulieu was rewarded for his fine play over the evening by getting some time on the power play as well. And it wasn’t just the d-men changing the environment. The power play units up front stormed the net, played like they were on a mission, and finally…..finally….Sekac scored after the team’s 28 previous attempts had proved futile.

Next up – Saturday when Philadelphia pays a visit.