Tag Archives: Tampa Bay Lightning

Habs Hit A Niittymaki Wall

It wasn’t like Montreal didn’t have its chances in this depressing 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Canadiens had long, extended chunks of each period where they stormed the net and swatted away all around Tampa goaltender Antero Niittymaki. But Niittymaki, like so many goalies who come in to Montreal, played like he’s the greatest backstopper on the face of the earth and 15 years from now will absolutely be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Other nights I’m sure he’s quite average. Just not tonight.

Canadiens’ Little Big Three zoomed all over the place, but only Brian Gionta could find the twine. Scott Gomez and Mike Cammalleri should have had one or two themselves but just couldn’t get it done. On this night, Niittymaki was the boss.

Carey Price wasn’t the boss. He was decent but not great, and we need great. There were several times when he was caught way out of position but Tampa couldn’t finish. But in the end, they finished three times which was too much for a Habs squad who couldn’t solve the other guy.

Random Notes:

I felt Tomas Plekanec skated well, as did Glen Metropolit at times. But maybe it’s just me.

Canadiens host the Flames on Tuesday.

Plus – Can we start over? 

Habs On A Slippery Slope Losing To The Tampa Bay Lightning.

I had a real bad feeling after the Canadiens lost to Atlanta and then to New Jersey just before the All-Star break. Because then they’d  have to avoid losing to Tampa Bay not to become officially mired in a three-game losing slump.

But they did lose to the Tampa Bay Lightning, 5-3, and so, just like that, in a blink of an eye, the team that was winning, is now losing.

And imagine now if they stink out the joint against Florida Thursday night? Then it becomes a full-fledged slump.

 And if that happened, they’d better beat Los Angeles on Saturday or the wheels would then have fallen off and certain Habs fans would emerge from the cracks, screaming for a trade and saying Bob Gainey stinks as a general manager, Guy Carbonneau should get fired, and the radio talk shows would be chattering, and on and on and on.

All because they couldn’t beat the lousy Atlanta Thrashers a week ago.

And now it’s come to this. The Habs can’t handle Tampa Bay, a team that sits way back in the pack, somewhere around 26th of a 30 team league.

Yikes!!

Vinny Lecavalier was a force for the Bolts, and has possibly convinced Bob Gainey that the centreman is worth giving up a lot for. And maybe Vinnie played extra hard to convince the Canadiens’ brass to do just that.

Carey Price was mediocre in goal and hasn’t looked right since he returned from his ankle injury. I suppose he’s not 100%, even though he says he is.

The thing is, Montreal looked just fine in the first half of the game and even led 2-1 in the first period. But Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis, being the good French-Canadian boys that they are, made sure their team wouldn’t be denied. Both were very impressive.

Hopefully there’s no party planned at a Tampa restaurant after the game for Habs. That sort of thing hasn’t gone well in the past. Just ask Ryan O’Byrne. And with Super Bowl partying now under way in Tampa, maybe it’s best the boys abide by their curfew tonight.

GAME NOTES:

Big enemies Boston, the Rangers, and New Jersey all won tonight, which makes it even worse.

Montreal better win on Thursday.

Filling Up A Spare Room With Stuff Moths Want To Get At.

 

There’s probably a real good reason why I like and collect this old stuff. Probably has something to do with my inner child.

I’ve got a room full. I especially like finding old Habs sweaters from the 40’s and ’50’s, I’ve got about 12 of them, and I continue the hunt for ones from before that, from the 20’s and ’30’s. They’re out there, I know that. I just can’t find them.

 Habs in Tampa Bay Tuesday to play Vinny Lecavalier and his Tampa Bay Lightning, (or is he a Montreal Canadien now?)  finally, after this long break, and then down the road and across to the other side to play the Panthers.

Four big points. I’m pretty sure about this.

Latendresse Continues His Fine Play As He And His Team Bonk The Preds

It wasn’t exactly a barnburner, this 3-2 win by the Canadiens over the visitng Nashville Predators. It was a tight, mostly non-eventful mid-week game in the middle of winter in a time that is often referred to as the dog days. 

 

In fact, the most excitement came in the last minute when the Habs tried a dozen different ways to score on the empty net. To no avail, but it was frenzy-packed.

 

But they got their two points, they didn’t take a lot of silly penalties, and all’s well in the land of Habdom.

 

Guillaume Latendresse, who has proven that he’s a solid, if not a star player who punches in and out and earns his paycheck, opened the scoring for Montreal. He’s come a long way, from the World Juniors when he was basically the 13th forward, throughout his time in the big leagues where he’s struggled, been the subject of trade talks, been a healthy scratch at times, and he’s stuck with it, obviously worked hard, and showed that he belongs as a regular, even though it’s often as a fourth-liner.

 

Latendresse, along with the other grinders Tom Kostopoulos, Steve Begin, and Maxim Lapierre, have all been major cogs and big reasons why the team is rolling.

 

And one little thing about Kostopoulos and Begin. These guys stick up for their teammates, play with an edge, and get into their fair share of scraps where, sadly, they often lose, as Begin tonight did against Jordin Tootoo.

 

But the point is, they get in there and get dirty, bless their hearts. And God bless ice packs.

 

Too bad Geoges Laraque has been such a letdown and injury-ridden. He could be out there pounding heads instead of poor and bruised-up Kostopoulos and Begin. 

 

MAJOR OBSERVATION

 

Radek Bonk was in the lineup for the Preds. This ex-Hab from 2005 to 2007 has the best name as far as I’m concerned. I wouldn’t mind having the name ‘Bonk.’  Dennis Bonk. Maybe Denny Bonk. The Bonker.

Reminds me of the name of a guy I went to high school with. His name was Johnny Coull, and of course with that name he was president of the student council.

 

Imagine having a name like Johnny Coull? How cool is that?

 

The two Andrei’s, Kostitsyn and Markov, rounded out the scoring for Montreal. Alex Kovalev came close. Although you’re right, close doesn’t count.

 

ENEMY WATCH

 

Boston beat the Islanders 2-1. Grrrrr. I don’t even want to go there.

Tampa Bay defeated Philadelphia. Hah!

I’m Not Speculating On Speculation

I refuse to be brought in to the speculation game, about who Montreal might trade and trade for. I’m not Bob Gainey and I’m not Kreskin. So I don’t know, and you don’t either. None of us know what the Habs have in mind.

 

I don’t know if you’ve ever read Bleacher Report, which is a sports site that lets regular people become sports writers. It’s a site that covers all sports, written by dozens of staffers, so if you can’t get hired by a newspaper, you can always write for Bleacher Report.

 

Anyway, someone from Bleacher Report is now saying that Montreal is interested In Vincent Lecavalier, and Tampa Bay is interested in trading him. And the writer goes on to suggest that all the Canadiens have to do is part with Mike Komisarek, PK Subban, Tomas Plekanec, and Chris Higgins, or some combination thereof.

 

Maybe it’ll happen, maybe not. It’s only speculation.

 

They even started a poll which asked, “Will Lecavalier go to Montreal?” with 52.4% saying yes and 47.6% saying no.

 

Rumours abound, and not just at Bleacher Report. We hear everywhere about Toronto’s Tomas Kaberle heading to Montreal, about Alex Kovalev and Saku Koivu heading out, about Jaroslav Halak being part of a package, and about young quality Habsters like Sergei Kostitsyn being eyed by others.

 

I’m not going to get sucked into this. Whatever happens happens. If anything will happen at all. And I’m not crazy about the thought of losing PK Subban.

 

All I know is I don’t want the team disrupted. They’re doing fine. 

 

And yes, Vincent Lecavalier would look good in a Habs uniform.

 

 

Late, Great Enemy Watch News. Thank You Sabres and Panthers!

The Buffalo Sabres beat Boston 4-2 in Boston today. This ends the Bruins’ ten-game winning streak. It’s so nice to see this over-achieving band of Beantown gangsters lose, and hopefully it’s the beginning of many more losses to come.

 

Also….Florida took it to Pittsburgh, winning 6-1 in Pittsburgh. Sidney Crosby was in a couple of fights, the goon.

Thank you Florida. I’ll try to be nicer to you in the future. 

 

Later on, two Habs enemies clash with each other when the Rangers play Washington. It’s a no-win situation here. We need both to lose somehow. Also, hopefully Tampa Bay can beat Carolina and LA destroys Philadelphia.

 

It’s all for the good of the Habs, people.

Max Does It Again! This Time In The Shootout

First, to give credit where credit’s due. The Tampa Bay Lightning, although sitting well out of a playoff spot in 13th place in the east with only 29 points, played a solid game, had their chances, and could have very well pulled it off.

 

But the Canadiens, in another impressive road win, ended 2008 with six points out of six points on the road, taking out Pittsburgh and Florida beforehand, and now Tampa Bay, with a terribly exciting 2-1 shootout win.

 

And again, two less-heralded players, Guillaume Latendresse, who tied the game at one, and Maxim Lapierre, coming off a three-goal night in Florida, notched a shootout goal along with Alex Kovalev to win it.

 

Everything looks good right now for Montreal. The team has won five of their last six games, Carey Price is on top of his game, and everyone is playing well. The only negative right now is Alex Tanguay looks to have some health issues, and Saku Koivu, Chris Higgins, Georges Laraque, and Mathieu Dandenault still need to be fit and ready to go.

 

Other than that, all’s well in Habland. Watch your back, Boston.

 

ENEMY WATCH

 

Boston won again, this time against Pittsburgh. And Washington also beat Buffalo.

Enjoy it, you two. You’ll come crashing down soon.

 

Philadelphia is in Vancouver tonight and it’s just begun. Go Vancouver. (I never thought I’d say that.)