Tag Archives: Robin Lehner

Sabres Stab Habs

It’s three losses in the Canadiens’ last four games after falling 3-2 in overtime to the visiting Buffalo Sabres.  Or four losses in six if you’re interested.

Yep, the boys are far from smokin’.

They held on to a thin 2-1 lead going into the third period, they were playing well and were on their way to two big points, but they couldn’t nail down the all-important insurance marker.

They couldn’t muster any killer instinct, Buffalo would tie it at 8:07 of the third, and then the Canadiens simply decided to give about 50% instead of the required 110%. It makes my blood boil, considering I always gave at least 160% wherever I worked.

Sometimes 170%. But I digress.

Well, I’m kinda mad. But not at Carey Price, who was terrific throughout and came up with two astonishing saves in the last 20 seconds of the third period to get the boys into overtime and of course that important single point.

Price got them the point, not the guys in front of him. The Sabres were allowed to fire clear shots and move in close far too many times. It’s soft hockey. Doug Harvey would be rolling in his grave. And if Larry Robinson was dead, he would be too.

Sprague Cleghorn would’ve punched Lehner, a ref, Brian Gionta, and most of his own teammates for losing a game they should’ve won, against a much-inferior squad. Toe Blake would’ve torn a strip off them and taken away the beer on the next train trip. John Ferguson would’ve punched a hole in a cement block. But that was a different time of course.

Today’s players check their investments, go to dinner with friends from the other teams, and say “obviously” a lot when interviewed.

Full marks to Sabres goalie Robin Lehner, who absolutely robbed Alex Galchenyuk in overtime with a glove save on a hard shot while being screened. It’s marked for the highlight reels. His save, and Price’s glove on Rasmus Ristalainen, are two for the ages.

But alas, after Lehner’s big stop, Zach Bogosian would light the lamp and win the game and not that I’m the pessimistic type, but I’d say the Canadiens are in a bit of a mid-winter funk right now.

I’ll also say it again, it’s the wives fault and they should be rounded up and sent to Powell River until the season and playoffs come to a close. I’ll find something for them to do.

Random Notes:

Artturi Lehkonen and Philip Danault scored for Montreal, with both goals coming the middle frame.

Next up – Tuesday, when the Calgary Flames come a callin’.



March 15th Madness

The Canadiens were in the midst of a three-game losing streak, scoring just three total goals in losses to Phoenix, San Jose, and Boston.

The Senators would be up next, in a game at the Bell on March 15th, but from the first drop of the puck it seemed the Habs had turned over a new leaf, with Daniel Briere scoring just 38 seconds in and many others coming close on several chances not long after.

The Canadiens looked like they truly had put aside the three losses and were about to get back on course.

Slowly but surely though, Ottawa began to take it to the Montrealers who seemed confused and disorganized after that good opening frame. It quickly became Ottawa’s game, and as the third period wound down, the Senators held a comfortable 4-1 lead and the Canadiens slump would soon reach four.

Ottawa fans smiled. Trickles of fans at the Bell slowly made their way to the exits. Another loss and again no offense from the Canadiens, with just one goal scored.

But at the 16:38 mark of the third, Lars Eller would send the puck past Ottawa goalie Robin Lehner to make it 4-2, although it was too late for any thought of a real comeback. Just not enough time. And they’d been outplayed.

Just over a minute later, at 17:56, that Brian Gionta would suddenly make it a 4-3 game, and eyes and ears perked up. What’s this? Could they score again?

And when Ottawa took a last-minute penalty and Carey Price went to the bench for an extra attacker, the impossible suddenly seemed downright possible.

And it was, with David Desharnais tying it with less than a second to go. And just 1:26 into overtime, Francis Bouillon bulged the twine and sent Sens players and fans to bed cursing.

Tonight these teams play again, in Ottawa this time, and will the mood be ugly? Will the Sens be an ornery team looking for revenge after their collapse at the Bell?  Has a growing and heated rivalry been thrust into another gear, with bad blood now overflowing?

Can the Canadiens beat them and put what should be the final nail in the Sens playoff hopes?

Canadiens want home ice in the opening round of the playoffs. They also want no one getting hurt. Tonight’s an important game for all concerned.




Holy Mackerel, Habs Pull It Out!

Three goals by a down and out Habs team with just over three minutes left in the third, and then the winner in overtime.

I was getting set to rant and rave and now I won’t have to. Talk about going from upset to feelin’ good. Boom shakalacka!

The game at the Bell began in fine fashion for the Canadiens. Daniel Briere scored just 38 seconds in and the boys dominated the Sens, outshooting them 17-4 with Briere and Thomas Vanek getting several great chances, and others like DD having their moments too.

But aside from Briere’s marker, no one could score as usual, Ottawa got one, and we’ve seen this before. Burst out of the gate and slowly but surely the other team picks up steam when the game should’ve been out of reach.

It became the same old thing. Scoring dried up. Tiring to say the least.

No surprise when it became 2-1 in the second for Ottawa, who outplayed Montreal in the frame.

In the third, it was soon a depressing 3-1 and then 4-1. I was ready with my thoughts. Again they can’t score. They blew their chances. It was going to be four straight losses. The power play was a dismal 0-6. The EGG line at this point was -11.

And then it began. Like Pit Lepine, Sprague Cleghorn, the Rocket and all the gang pulling strings from above.

Lars Eller made it 4-2 at 16:38 of the third, and the team was still so far from a comeback that Eller didn’t dare crack a smile.

At the 17:56 mark, Brian Gionta bulged the twine and it was 4-3, and a small glimmer of hope became a large wheelbarrow full.

Finally, with a Senator in the box for misbehaving and Carey Price pulled to make it a 6 on 4 advantage, David Desharnais shot one over the hot-headed Robin Lehner with less than a second left and the game, miraculously, was tied.

And just 1:26 into overtime, Francis Bouillon won it for his team and us.

It’s hard to believe what we just witnessed. The Canadiens needed these two points badly, and they did it in such heart stopping fashion.

A great win, and have you ever seen such crying to the refs as the Sens did after the last couple of goals? You blew it, Ottawans. Suck it up.

Random Notes:

Marjo and her son were at this game, fifteen rows behind the Canadiens bench. Talk about a game to get tickets for, and I’m happy for them that they saw a mind blower.

Canadiens outshot Ottawa 48-34 on the night, but until the last three minutes, could only score one measly goal. But that’s all forgotten now. Sort of.

Carey Price had no chance on a couple at least, and it was reassuring to see him finally back on the job.

Healthy scratches included Parros, White, Bourque and Tinordi.

Onwards to Buffalo for a Sunday 7 pm game against the Sabres. Can’t wait to see how the Canadiens play after this whopper.



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.