Tag Archives: Max Pacioretty

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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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!

H L ad

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.

I Got Dem Old Habs Blues

bluesman

How come a blues playing Habs fan hasn’t written a scorching tune yet about the most wretched of all wretched Decembers?

Or maybe someone has.

If not, it’s time, bluesman. Because in the Montreal delta, folks are goin through some mighty hard times. Lord have mercy.

Surely old Sugar Kane, King of the Blues, can put something together if he’s not too busy howlin in a subway or in front of general store somewhere.

The Canadiens fell 3-1 to a big, young Florida Panthers team to end the month and the year on a downer. It’s the blues, baby.

Three wins and eleven losses in this month. A pathetic 22 goals scored in these 14 December games, which, if I did this right, amounts to 1.57 goals per game over the month.

How do you expect to win like that?

And those crazy dumb penalties. It hurts my head so much I can’t wear my fedora. And my shades are fogging up.

The sun gonna shine in the Montreal delta some day.
Sun gonna shine some day they say.
When the Habs do rise and blow my blues away.

(A wailing harmonica might be a nice touch here.)

Shor nuff, baby, I need some booze.
Cause till they rise, I got dem old Habs blues.

Random Notes:

New Hab netminder Ben Scrivens played really well and was definitely not responsible for the loss.

Florida outshot Montreal 29-28.

Max notched his second in two nights.

Next up – New Year’s Day at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass, when the Canadiens and Bruins clash in the  Winter Classic. Game time is apparently 1: PM ET. For those in the first few rows at Gillette wishing to get a close look at the ice surface before and after the game, taxis will be waiting.

 

 

 

Max Gets The Job Done

sailor

In storybook fashion, Max Pacioretty, with the captain’s C meaning more than just about any game this season, buried the puck in the shootout to give the Habs a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the curtain closes, at least for one night, on a tremendously dismal time in Habsland.

But it’s the kind of thing that can right a ship, this clutch goal, and when it happened, Max’s teammates piled on him like teenagers celebrating at the World Junior Championship.

A beauty of winner it was too, with Max putting a couple of cool little dekes on netminder Ben Bishop, who’s still unraveling his jock strap from his testicles, and with that the Canadiens put an end to something called a six-game losing streak.

Max has been on the hot seat lately as folks haven`t been happy with his play. They say he looks lazy, floats, and isn’t trying like he should, which is all the same thing I guess. But as I mentioned on Twitter, it’s exactly what people said about Frank Mahovlich when he was with the Leafs.

For a few hours at least, fans can start planning the parade once again. I personally feel the Trans Canada Highway from Montreal to the West Coast would be a terrific route.

One win doesn’t guarantee anything except two points, we know that, but how it would’ve sucked to see yet another loss in this December to end all Decembers.

Now we see light, and it will shine even brighter if the boys handle the Florida Panthers in a few hours time. Big game, that one. Imagine a two-game winning streak?

The Canadiens opened the scoring in the first period when PK Subban fed Tomas Plekanec in close, and Pleks made no mistake.

How big was this goal? The Habs took the lead, which hasn’t happened much lately, and Pleks finally scored, which hadn’t happened since that night in ’36 when he beat Montreal Maroons backstopper Alec Connell.

Maybe not 1936, but it’s been a while. Twenty-one games in fact since Plekanec lit the lamp, which is completely unacceptable and one of several huge reasons why the team has spiraled out of control.

Scorers haven’t been scoring, and tonight, the nasty little monkey was wrenched from Plekanec’s back. It has to feel good.

Tampa would even it at one apiece in the second, but four minutes later, Alex Galchenyuk would wrist a puck from 20 feet out, and the boys took the lead once again.

In the third period, after the Lightning had shocked everyone with two quick goals to jump ahead, Dale Weise sent the puck over the line, and although Tampa called a Coach’s Challenge, the goal stood and the game was tied.

The Canadiens were less than great on the 3-on-3, aside from some flurries as the clock ticked down, but held on regardless. And onto the shootout we and they went, with Max getting it done in style.

Random Notes:

A fine enough evening, and best of all, the team looked like they wanted to win. Mike Condon was sensational, especially in the middle frame when he made several sprawling saves.

The team as a whole showed more energy than lately, they were alive and gunning for a win, and although it took a shootout, the sigh of relief is one big honkin’ beautiful sigh.

Tampa outshot Montreal 39-34.

Next up – across the state to Sunrise to take on the Panthers Tuesday evening. If ever another win is needed, it’s now.

There’s only one way to drive a stake into a pathetic, unending slump, and that’s to win a handful of games in a row.

One down, a handful to go.

 

 

 

Habs Snuff Out Sens

Toker

The Canadiens snapped their four-game losing streak by besting the Ottawa Senators 3-1 at the Bell, and Sens forward Mark Stone only grimaced in unimaginable pain four or five times during the contest.

Goals by Brian Flynn and Max Pacioretty in the first period (Max’s came with just 33 seconds left), and a Jeff Petry marker in the second did in the obnoxious nation’s capital representatives, and reporters in the Sens room said afterward that Stone could barely put on his street leotards.

Montreal outshot Ottawa 27-8 in the first period, which ties a team record for shots in one frame, but Ottawa would regroup at some point in the second and make a game of it, including a slightly worrisome goal by J-G Pageau after the home team held a 3-0 lead.

But it ended as a 3-1 win by the boys in red, and as Confucius once said when he was coaching the Chinese National Team many years ago, “He who wins feels better than he who loses.”

Twenty-seven shots in one period is a lot, of course. And no one would expect them to put up that sort of shot total in the second and third because in that case, they would’ve had a ridiculous 81 shots in all.

But even 81 shots wouldn’t be a record. Boston fired 83 in a game against Chicago netminder Sam LoPresti in 1941, and barely winning 3-2.

Canadiens ended with a terrific 42 shots to Ottawa’s mediocre 26 on Dustin Tokarski, who started his second straight game.

Next up – Tuesday, when the San Jose Sharks swim in.

Habs Claw Back In Jersey

Just when we thought they wouldn’t, they did. Habs grab a couple of points in New Jersey after clawing their way back from a 2-0 deficit in the second period to win 3-2 in the shootout.

What a team.

A character win, Mike Condon held the fort, it’s now four straight wins, the gang sits at the top of the heap, and life is good if you cheer for the Habs.

If you don’t cheer for the Habs, you might be here by accident and may want to get out the barf bag.

The Canadiens were in tough through the first two frames, with New Jersey looking more than decent for a team stuck in 20th place, and were aided by sometimes good, sometimes lucky Cory Schneider between the pipes.

Particularly late in the first when the ex-Canuck backstopper robbed Max Pacioretty and shortly after, David Desharnais. Important stops late in the first period. Those pucks go in and the boys have the Devils by the private and sensitive areas.

They’re big catching gloves these goalies wear now. And Schneider’s save on Max showed just that, although to be fair, the goalie also had to stretch across, making it sort of a bonafide good save. And he got his pad on DD’s attempt, so full marks I suppose.

This guy was good in Vancouver but was basically shafted by the ongoing Luongo/contract/backup/starter confusion.

At the other end, Mike Condon got only part of his glove on a shot, it would have been almost a carbon copy of Schneider’s save if he had grabbed it, but he didn’t, the Devils took a 1-0 lead, and soon after went up 2-0 when they dominated on the power play.

Condon didn’t waver, though. And with less than five minutes remaining in the second, Sven Andrighetto narrowed the gap with his second in two nights, and we knew then that this thing might not be over because we’re Habs fans and we can sniff these things like rats at the local dump.

Over it wasn’t. Midway through the third, Alex Galchenyuk burst through two d-men, flew in on Schneider like Howie Morenz, and buried it to tie the game and send it first to overtime and then the shootout where Andrighetto would score the marker that solved things after Galchenyuk’s backhand on his attempt got the thing rolling.

A fine comeback win, their fourth straight, and now it’s these same Devils on Saturday night, only in Montreal this time.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal were 27 apiece.

Canadiens call-up Bud Holloway got his feet more than wet with 7:19 minutes of ice time.

Holloway, 27, is a Saskatchewan boy, hailing from Wapella (pop. 408), and home of Brett Clark, who played one season for the Habs back in 1997-98.

Below, one of the many interesting things to see and do while in Wapella.

Wapella