Tag Archives: Max Pacioretty

Habs Wax Leafs

iron 1

Two huge goals in the third period by the captain, and great work throughout by the new guy and the big young guy, and the Canadiens top the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1.

This gives the boys two straight wins, or three of their last four, and although their season still sucks, they’ve played better lately. It kind of makes my heart soar like a kite with holes in it.

And no, the team’s not tanking, it’s not the proud or right way of doing things. It’s management who would do the tanking anyway, not the players, and the Montreal Canadiens aren’t the 1919 Chicago White Sox.

The first period saw the Leafs strike first, but a great wrist shot from Alex Galchenyuk would even things, while the second period featured a couple of noteworthy events:

Brendan Gallagher batted the puck in, but it was decided his stick was too high, although maybe by just a whisker. Personally, I thought it was legal but I’m biased.

The goal that did count soon after was one that began with 6’6″ Michael McCarron ramming an enemy body into the end boards, with the puck nicely kept in for Devante Smith-Pelly to get his stick on.

This would mark big McCarron’s first point in his three games with the club, and with his size, if the veterans try to make this rookie buy the dinners, all he has to do is look down at them and say no.

In the third frame, when the score was tense at 2-1, Max Pacioretty finally came alive, scoring his 22nd of the year after taking a great cross-ice pass from Andrei Markov, and then notching his 23rd from a rebound off the back boards.

Maybe this will light a fire under Max’s arse. There’s 20 games left, and the team is clinging to life. If Max hasn’t exactly been great leadership material in the past, maybe as the season winds down he can show us some. A slew of goals would help.

Michael McCarron needs to win a regular spot in a big way. Imagine people calling the Habs a big team instead of what we’ve heard for years now?

A hulking forward like him, crashing the net, having his way with smaller opponents, contributing on the scoresheet, maybe winning most of his fights. Damn.

Twenty-three year old Quebecer Phillip Danault, over from Chicago in the Weise-Fleischmann trade, looked completely at home, winning his share of faceoffs, in on several scoring chances, and doing some bumping.

He might not a big point-getter, at least not yet, but Danault was impressive. And set to become UFAs anyway, Weise had come back to earth after his early season Dutch Gretzky act, and Fleischmann may have started the year in fine style, but sure wasn’t ending it like that.

Random Notes:

Habs outshot the Leafs 36-32.

Mike Condon, in his fourth straight start, once again played well.

That’s twelve games played in February, with one remaining, and the team has won 6 of these 12. Not fantastic, but better.

Next up – Canadiens begin their three-game series in California, beginning with the Sharks in San Jose on Monday night. (10:30 ET).

 

 

 

 

Tight Loss To Preds

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It was tight and it could’ve been. But in the end it wasn’t.

Canadiens lose 2-1 to the Nashville Predators, with the game going to a shootout before being decided, and although the Habs grab a point, it’s just another big nail in the Molson wallet.

Nashville scored 3:16 into the first, while Brendan Gallagher replied late in the same frame, at 18:43, and that was it until the shootout.

Tighter than my great-grandmother’s corset. Tighter than a camel’s arse in a sandstorm, as the lamps remained unlit until Nashville’s Craig Smith did his job in the shootout after Montreal’s Sven Andrighetto, Alex Galchenyuk, and Max Pacioretty didn’t.

And thus, the win streak stops at one game. And it’s only the number one team in the league, the Washington Capitals, sitting high and mighty with 92 points, (11 ahead of 2nd place Chicago), on deck Wednesday.

Canadiens have 61 points, so you see the problem.

Random Notes:

Canadiens were outshot 30-29 by the Preds, but midway through the first they were down 6-1 in shots, so they did manage to regroup and make a game of it. Which is better than being comatose throughout.

Dale Weise, who might be changing his address soon, was listed as having the flu.

Mike Condon was in nets again, after backstopping his team to a win on Friday against Philly.

After Wednesday in Washington, the team then plays host to those nutty Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

Two big games. Sort of.

 

 

 

Habs Do It!

kiss

The Canadiens came through in the shootout to edge the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 at the Bell Centre, and after the way things ended in Colorado on Wednesday, this two-pointer should have fans kissing strangers in the streets.

It’s always a fine thing when the Habs win a game of course, although it’s too late. But after what we’ve been through, we deserve a win.

It’s like the hockey gods got together and said “They deserve a win.”

And the heart-stopping overtime kind of made up for some of the Dead Men Skating we’ve seen too much of lately. Frantic three-on-three, and those who paid scalpers’ prices at least got a  nice five-minute return on their money.

PK turned the puck over a couple of times, but because of the sensitivity carried over from Wednesday, I don’t dare mention it.

I’d also like to apologize for not talking about Max Pacioretty’s role in my recap after the Wednesday debacle.

I was so blinded by PK losing the puck and the Avs scoring the go-ahead goal with two minutes left, that I didn’t notice how dazed and confused Max was at the other end when he went one way and the player he was covering went the other.

I was also writing the recap, with the TV turned off, when Michel Therrien threw PK under the bus.

Sorry for missing these key events. You can throw me under the bus if you want.

Tonight, Friday, everything’s good. It’s Good Friday! And I have no idea what the coach or players are saying, because my two fingers are tapping away as I bathe in the glory of this big win.

Which is too late. Unless the hockey gods say we deserve the playoffs.

Random Notes:

PK collected two assists.

Dale Weise opened the scoring when he banked the puck off a Flyers rearguard. Unfortunately,  just ten seconds later the Flyers tied it up when a long shot flew past Mike Condon, who must’ve been eyeing female ushers in the corridor at the time.

A Tomas Plekanec turnover in the third period gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead, and although I don’t know for sure, I’m thinking that Michel Therrien will probably tread lightly when asked about this.

Max would tie the game on the power play after letting go a great wrist shot from the right side, and in the shootout, Max, along with Paul Byron, would get it done to the cheers of the faithful.

On this night, kudos to Max. Folks have been hard on him, and he’s deserved much of the criticism, mainly because he’s been quite shitty.

But tonight Max came through and helped the cause in a big way.

The Flyers outshot Montreal 37-31.

Next up – Monday, when the Nashville Predators creep into town.

 

 

 

 

Beaten In Buffalo

kid smoking

The thing to do, if you’re a Habs fan, is sit back, have a smoke, pat the dog, fire up the record player, and when you’ve done all that, swallow a bunch more anti-depressants.

Habs lose 6-4 in Buffalo.

But it seemed fine in the beginning, after Max Pacioretty sent a nice pass over to Sven Andrighetto and bam, the boys had the all-important  1-0 lead.

Always good to get that first one. Except the Sabres got the next four.

David Legwand began by tying things, and soon after, Old Man Markov turned the puck over (yawn), and suddenly it was 2-1 Sabres.

Mark Barberio tried to boot the puck out of danger and couldn’t, and the Sabres finished the play to take a 3-1 lead. It also finished Ben Scrivens for the night, with Mike Condon taking over.

In horrific fashion it soon became a 4-1 game, and the Sabres rout was on.

Then it wasn’t.

Alex Galchenyuk scored on the power play, and it was 4-2.

Andrighetto, with his second of the night, narrowed things to 4-3.

Things were going good. But then Galchenyuk was called for hooking Marcus Foligno, who was promptly awarded a penalty shot, and who promptly beat Condon to make it 5-3.

But with 22 seconds left in the middle frame, Galchenyuk, who was great on this night, scored on the power play to put it at 5-4, and there was hope. Lots of hope.

Especially after the Canadiens swarmed Buffalo’s end time after time in the third period, going all out to even things.

It was tense for fans of both sides. At least I’m assuming this. It was tense for me, anyway.

Tense until the Canadiens pulled Condon, and with the puck being sent along the boards towards PK Subban, it suddenly hit the linesman, Evander Kane picked up the blocked puck, and he fired it into the empty net.

Subban was pissed.

Who knows what would have happened if the linesman wasn’t in the way? But that’s hockey. Pucks hit zebras.

The bottom line is, the CH took the early lead and then proceeded to fall behind 4-1 before playing catch up.

It’s not good to dig a hole like that. Especially when the team has a tough time scoring goals at the best of times, and especially when they’re trying to show that the slump has ended.

But at least they didn’t fold and they gave it the old college try. They came close to rebounding from being down 4-1 to actually winning. That’s good, right?

It’s tough being a Habs fan.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot the Sabres 30-22.

Montreal, sitting at 21st overall on the power play before the game, were 2/3 with the man advantage.

Next up – Monday in Arizona. Game time 9:00 pm ET.

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Habs In Shootout

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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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Habs Lose Of Course

dead fish

For the second straight night, the Canadiens fall 5-2 to the powerhouse Columbus Blue Jackets.

Send this team to fight ISIS or something. They’re useless here.

Maybe there’s some fine Syrian refugee hockey players who could fill the gap.

This ends the January part of the schedule, by the way. A month when they won three times in 11 games. Good stuff. It’s almost like December, when they won three times in 14 games.

And if things work out in magical fashion, February could give us three wins in 13 games!

How neat would that be! Three wins in each month. Here’s hoping!

They went 1/6 on the power play, and for the most part, it was a mighty fine mess with guys sort of improvising in halfhearted fashion because there doesn’t seem to be any set plays.

It was fun to see them sometimes run into each other, and in general do not much of anything.

This is the power play they promised us would be good this year, one they’ve been practicing since training camp, and one that looks like five drunks screwing around on rented ice.

Once again a turnover by Andrei Markov cost a goal. Andrei likes to do this every game now if possible, it’s become his signature thing, and I for one look forward to it.

To add to the merriment, Max Pacioretty left the ice after a puck hit him in the face after deflecting off his shoulder. And it was announced that Daniel Carr, one of the few guys who’s contributed lately, is gone for three months with a knee injury.

It’s amazing stuff. Sort of funny, really.

Now they get to sit and reflect until after the All-Star break, when they kick things into motion on February 2 in Philly.

Can’t wait.

I just hope the wives are okay.

Wives, if you need to talk, just call me collect at 604-555-1515. We can chat into the wee hours, when your husbands are tossing and turning about the possibility of being sent to Iraq..

Random Notes:

Devante Smith-Pelly narrowed the gap to 2-1 in the second period, converting a nice feed from Torrey Mitchell, and Alex Galchenyuk on the power play narrowed things to 3-2. Then it collapsed.

Again, wives – 604-555-1515.

 

 

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, Um, Win

triumphant

Dear Aunt Flo. Thanks for the Christmas gift of tickets for the Habs and Devils on Wednesday at the Bell Centre. The Habs won 2-1 and the seats were great.

Next Christmas, could I please just have socks?

On a night when the late great Dickie Moore was honoured, the boys held on to win before 21,000 fans who probably drank more than usual to ease the pain of shelling out a week’s pay for a pair. What’s another fifty bucks for three or four beer.

Dickie and the boys upstairs watched for a period and decided to play cards. At the rink, Youppi nodded off in the lunch room.

But it’s a win, and it’s created an illusion worthy of Las Vegas. Because even though the team is stuck in a slump to end all slumps, they’ve now racked up three wins in their last five games.

Weird.

My eyes glazed over while watching this big Habs win, only to be opened wide a few times. Like Max’s power play goal in the first, Paul Byron’s nifty toe drag and feed to Torrey Mitchell while shorthanded, and a DD penalty shot that saw the little bugger backhand it way over top of the net in the most feeble of fashion.

Other than these, my mind would drift back to a kinder, gentler time. October and November.

But that was then, and now they’re rolling with this big exciting win at home.  Tickets are too cheap to see this juggernaut. Raise the prices. Beer and parking and key chains and hot dogs need to cost more too, so raise away. It’s the CH for goodness sakes.

And because I saw the game on TV for free, I’ll send the club a hundred bucks because I feel I should. It was just that exciting!

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot the Devils 25-20 and scored once on three power play chances.

Next up – Saturday, when the Pittsburgh Penguins waddle in.

 

Canadiens Crush Bruins

Gally

Brendan Gallagher finally returned to the Habs lineup, notched a goal and an assist, and never missed a beat with his mind blowing work ethic while getting clobbered in and around the crease, usually by an aging skyscraper named Zdeno Chara.

Gally’s a huge difference maker, a leader by example with balls the size of a large planet, and we saw at this 2016 Winter Classic in Foxborough what we already knew. This guy has to be healthy in the playoffs.

Without Gallagher in the lineup, his coworkers lacked fire, but with him punching the clock they’re a different bunch. Today showed a team with character and confidence, as they did when they won nine straight in the beginning.

Not at all the boring and stagnant bunch we came to know and dislike in December.

The Canadiens bombed the Bruins 5-1 at Gillette Stadium with nearly 70,000 fans in the seats, and it was Gallagher leading the way after missing 17 games with a hand injury. He added passion, grit, and will, things lacking during the team’s big slump.

The rest of them should be ashamed of themselves. They can’t play well unless inspired by a smallish yet shifty and feisty right winger?

Why can’t Max or PK or anyone else pull off that sort of inspiration?

And every time he banged it out in the crease against guys like Chara, I was worried he’d get hurt again. Teams will surely go after him even more now, because it’s obvious he’s the straw that stirs the drink.

Do we have some protection for Gally? Not much at all, unfortunately. PK and Eller, both of whom dropped the gloves in the past couple of games, won’t exactly be relied upon, to say the least. And then there’s…….

And the Winter Classic? I’ve never been able to fully embrace these outdoor games. For whatever reason, it upsets me to see fans in seats so far from the ice. Even those in the first row need binoculars.

Often the games aren’t up to scratch, especially when it’s snowing or minus-30 or the ice begins to melt.

And who can be sure about anything that Gary Bettman loves?

But this game was good, the weather was fine, and the right team unleashed a throttling.

Random Notes:

Mike Condon was excellent throughout, including a lightning quick glove save on Ryan Spooner in the dying seconds of the second period.

The Canadiens jumped into the lead just 1:14 into the first period when David Desharnais scored his first in more than a month (which is what Tomas Plekanec did on Monday in Tampa Bay), while other marksmen included Paul Byron with a pair, Max, and of course Gally.

Dale Weise was injured in the third period and didn’t return.

Max’s arm hit a camera stuck through the glass, and if I had a say in things, I’d be telling camermen that when players are skating near you, pull your friggin camera in. How hard can it be?

Canadiens outshot the Bruins 30-28 overall, including a dominant 14-3 in the first period. But the Bruins would close the gap and outshoot Montreal 11-5 in the third frame.

Next up – Tuesday, the final game of this eight-game road trip, when the boys hit Philly. The Flyers know from this Habs-Bruins game  that the secret to success is to maim Brendan Gallagher. So zebras (and teammates), it’s up to you.

Gally artwork by Wade (Darth) Alexander. Thanks Wade.