Tag Archives: Tom Gilbert

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 Drenched By Hurricanes

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I think it takes a special talent for a team sitting at the top of the heap to lose to a team at the very bottom and look tremendously mediocre while doing so.

Yes, those wild and crazy Montreal Canadiens, bowing to the lowly Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in Raleigh, a team 20-some points behind them.

They can’t be feeling good about this. If Jean Beliveau was captaining this team, he’d politely and respectfully give them all a mighty fine and gentlemanly dressing room tune up.

But the Canadiens have that special talent to play down, having also lost to the 28th place Oilers, the 25th place Avs, and the 22nd place Canucks (and were bombed 6-1 by the Avs and 5-1 by the Oilers in the process).

The only good that came from this night was Daniel Carr, called up from St. John’s in place of Devante Smith-Pelly, who notched a wraparound goal in his very first shift of his first NHL game. That’s the kind of thing I’ve dreamed about doing off and on for about five decades or more.

It’s with great pride to announce that Carr played the 2009-10 season here in Powell River, at the barn not far from my house. However, I didn’t go to one game in 2009-10, so that’s the end of this feel-good story.

But I would like to say one thing. The BCHL is an underrated league, with lots of talent like Carr winding up in the NHL. You’d be surprised by some of the names, like Brett Hull, Paul Kariya, and even Carey Price for a season before heading to the WHL.

There’s been a whack of them. Even Scott Gomez for those three Gomez fans out there.

Carr’s goal in the first period got things rolling, but the Canes would even it up on the power play on a smooth finish by Jeff Skinner who simply flipped it over a sprawling Mike Condon.

In the second, Sven Andrighetto would give Montreal the lead after converting a nice pass by Jeff Petry, but two minutes later Joakim Nordstrom tied things up again, and into the third we went.

Carolina would take the lead briefly, but Michel Therrien’s coach’s challenge saw the goal ruled no-goal because of goalie interference. Whew, we thought. But it made no difference, because the Canes would score another anyway.

Later on, with Tom Gilbert in the box for tripping, Skinner, with his second of the night, won it for the home team.

It’s not the first time Gilbert watched a nightmare unfold from the sinbin. There was that fathers trip recently when he did the same sort of thing. Now, whenever Gilbert goes home during the off season, he’s grounded.

The Canadiens lose their second straight, or 3 of 4 if you want to go that route. And they sleek off into the night, hoping they don’t get beer pored on them by drunken and disgruntled Habs fans because they couldn’t play well enough to beat the team tied with Calgary and Edmonton as league’s worst.

Random Notes:

Eric Staal hit several posts, missed several open nets, and scored the goal that was called back. This is the guy who’s the subject of trade rumours, with Montreal being a possible destination.

Staal would be a nice addition, although we already have plenty of guys who can’t hit wide open nets.

And speaking of Staal. he was sent to the box with just over three minutes remaining for flipping the puck over the glass, but the Canadiens, with Condon pulled and enjoying a two-man advantage, still couldn’t get it done.

And because of that very thing, they didn’t deserve to win this thing.

Shots on goal – Habs 38, Canes 29. The previous game against Washington, which was also a 3-2 loss, they had 35 shots to the Caps 19.

Next up – Wednesday, when the Bruins show up at the Bell.

 

 

 

A Shootout Loss In Pittsburgh

The Canadiens fall 4-3 in the shootout against the Penguins in Pittsburgh, but that’s fine. They were skating and had their chances, they got a point out of the deal, and their dads, on the father/son road trip, probably still love them anyway.

It was just 13 seconds into the first period when Pittsburgh’s Pascal Dupuis beat Mike Condon, and it goes without saying that a goal right off the bat like that isn’t a good thing. Especially for Condon’s dad, who was seeing his son in the bigs for the very first time.

But Andrei Markov would even things up with blast while on the power play (ranked third overall), and hopefully Markov’s dad was there too to see it.

Sadly though, the Pens would bulge the twine with just 44 seconds left to play in the frame, and the Canadiens went to the room a goal behind.

Tough when you’re scored against in the first and last minutes of the period.

In the second, Max Pacioretty sent Brendan Gallagher into the clear and Gally’s great shot evened things, while later on Brian Flynn fired the puck through Marc-Andre Fleury’s armpits to put the team in front.

Montreal owned things in that middle frame. They had it going, they were skating like the wind, passing the puck around like a first-place team would, and they outshot the home team 13-1 as proof.

All they needed was another goal. But it never came.

Pittsburgh would find their game in the third, eventually tie it, and after no scoring in the 3-on-3 overtime, the Pens, with the help of Sidney Crosby, wrapped it up in the shootout after Galchenyuk and DD didn’t come through.

Looking back, the Canadiens were going good in overtime. They came close several times, and they circled with confidence and moved the puck around in fine style, especially when Galchenyuk, Gallagher, and Markov were on the ice..

Then Tom Gilbert stepped on the ice too soon and the team was called for too many men. Which of course killed any built momentum, and any chance to nail it shut.

Gilbert was also called for holding with 2:17 left in the third period, which wasn’t good either.

An inexcusable penalty to take on a 3-on-3. But like I said, the dads probably still love all of them anyway. Possibly even Gilbert’s dad.

Random Notes:

Montreal outshot Pittsburgh 38-34 and went 1/4 on the power play.

P.K. Subban recorded two assists, which hurdles him past John Klingberg of the Dallas Stars for most points (16) by a d-man.

Next up – Saturday, when Patrick Roy and his Colorado Avalanche visit the Bell Centre.

And finally, this great artwork done by Wade Alexander (Darth), of Brendan Gallagher. Gally played a fine game and also took a shot in the foot which saw him leave the game, only to return. (Dale Weise also left after being hit by Ben Lovejoy, but also returned.)

Whew, on both counts.

Gally

 

 

 

 

Unimpressive Habs

What’s the opposite of smart? The Canadiens in game two.

Blown out 6-2 by the Tampa Bay Lightning, due to a plethora of penalties on a night when the penalty killers couldn’t get the job done and the team as a whole enjoying a nice little Bell Centre sleepover.

The team wasn’t good enough, not by a long shot. 6-2. What the %#*&^ is that?

Penalties killed them, with the boys, led by Brandon Prust, in the box for 53 minutes compared to Tampa’s 13. The Lightning went  4 for 8 with the extra man, while the Canadiens offered up their usual 0 for 3.

And of course, good old Chris Lee was one of the zebras, chosen by the league to work the game (along with Brad Watson). When a referee has a reputation for being a dickhead when working Habs games, why isn’t he assigned another series instead? Wouldn’t it be the thing to do?

I’ll bet Lee’s dad hated the Habs. But regardless, it was mostly Montreal players shooting themselves in the foot all night and not so much anything else.

It had started out well, though, with Jeff Petry sending a wrist shot from the point that beat Ben Bishop and which gave the Habs something as rare as a power play goal – the first goal of the game and an early lead.

Later on, Torrey Mitchell had a great shorthanded chance that might have boosted momentum and made us giddy now instead of the opposite, but it didn’t happen of course. Nothing really happened.

Everything just caved in, beginning when Brandon Prust was given two minutes for roughing and then two for unsportsmanlike conduct for trying, unsuccessfully, to goad Braydon Coburn.

And although the Canadiens killed off the four minutes in impressive style, just seconds later, PK Subban felt the need to do some mindless crosschecking and was promptly sent off, and during PK’s stay in the sinbin, the Lightning quieted the Bell Centre and sent us scurrying to the liquor cabinet by taking the lead with just 24 seconds remaining in the period.

Fast forward to the second period and Steven Stamkos in alone and deking out Carey Price with the greatest of ease, a couple of Lightning power play goals with Gilbert in the box and then Petry, and move on to the third where the Lightning scored once again on the PP to make it 5-1.

Wedged in was a Tom Gilbert goal from the blueline to make it 5-2 before the Lightning added another.

Two goals for the Habs, both from blueliners not known for their goal scoring, while the marksmen up front accomplished nothing. In fact, only Max, in game one, has been able to bulge the twine other than Petry and Gilbert.

It’s tremendously pathetic and discouraging. How do you win playoff games when the boys are on an extended coffee break?

It was also only Habs in the penalty box in the third period to add to the misery, when discipline was needed the most and what obviously didn’t happen. But it was a 4-1 game when the puck was dropped for the third period, so I suppose the game was basically over anyway.

Mitchell for interference on the goalie, Weise a 10 minute misconduct, Mitchell for face-off violation when he grabbed the puck, and Prust for a whack of things including ten minute and game misconducts after tussling with Coburn and throwing an elbow pad into the Lightning bench.

Nutty stuff. Undisciplined and unacceptable, and not the way to be successful in the playoffs. Everybody knows this. But somehow, the Canadiens, in this game two, forgot.

I’ve always loved a feisty team. I’m just not crazy about a dumb team.

Game three on Wednesday night. Another showing like this and we’re screwed. But unless we go down three games to none I’m staying positive. It’s in my blood. Sort of.

 

 

Canadiens Fail To Sweep

Before I start, there’s something you might not have heard. Mark Stone has a sore wrist.

It’s back to Montreal for game five on Friday after the Canadiens were shut out 1-0 by the Sens and that’s fine. They’re still up 3 games to 1. And they didn’t deserve to win anyway.

Montreal just didn’t have it, pretty well right from the get-go. It was easy to sense that they were off, and they never managed to be on.

There was never any huge pressure on Craig Anderson. They were forced to defend way too much. Passes missed tape, they seemed disorganized, they had way too much trouble keeping pucks inside Ottawa’s blueline, and abundant scoring chances weren’t happening.

Ottawa was better than the Canadiens on this night, although they weren’t all that great either. They could’ve been had if Montreal showed more fire. But there was no fire.

Maybe when Brandon Prust came close to scoring on a shorthanded breakaway. Maybe a couple of other times. And Carey Price was good. But overall, no fire.

It took until the third period before a goal was scored, coming when Tom Gilbert was way too soft in trying to shoot the puck out of his end, which didn’t happen. Gilbert then scurried to the front of the net where he managed to help screen Carey Price as Mike Hoffman’s shot bulged the twine.

Gilbert’s wife is part of the seven Canadiens wives watching a period of hockey with a couple of lucky contest winners and I hope the winners remained nice to Mrs. Gilbert. I know I would have.

But regardless of Gilbert’s faux pas, the team was off for most of the sixty minutes. But I guess if they’re going to be bad, being it with a three-game lead is sort of okay.

The Sens and their fans are certainly happy the series goes back to Montreal. I’m assuming Geoff Molson doesn’t mind that much either.

Not a great night but the boys are still in the driver’s seat. That’s the main thing. Just close it off on Friday and be done with it.

Random Notes:

Did someone forget to freeze the pucks for this game? They were bouncing around all night. And did I mention that Mark Stone has a sore wrist?

Ottawa outshot Montreal 32-28.

The Canadiens went 0 for 3 on the power play. Of course.

 

The Contest

I move out of Montreal and not long after they come up with this contest – Watch a game with the Canadiens wives. Talk about lousy timing.

The wives of Carey Price, Lars Eller, Torrey Mitchell, Tom Gilbert, Dustin Tokarski, and Mike Weaver, plus the lovely and talented Maripier Morin, girlfriend of Brandon Prust, will show up in a limo at a couple of winners’ homes to watch a period of tonight’s game four vs the Sens.

But I’m in BC, shut out from any chance of doing something very high on my list.  Although one lousy period with the ladies isn’t exactly what was on the list.

It’s not right that because I’m so far away I can’t win this and I’m wondering if the Canadiens will hold another such contest down the road, for out-of-towners like me. But only for those in Powell River. And whose name is Dennis Kane.

 

 

Habs Fall Short Against Caps

The Canadiens gain just a point in losing 5-4 to the the visiting Washington Capitals after the seesaw battle went to a shootout where our guys shot blanks while one of their guys, Troy Brouwer, didn’t.

A good but not great game by the Canadiens, although they allowed just two shots by the Caps in the first period and had the fine art of throwing a blanket over the opposition down pat.

They looked good in the beginning and showed solid spurts throughout 60 minutes. But stopping big number 8 didn’t happen, which is always the key to handling Washington, and Carey Price allowed 4 goals on his first 16 shots, which isn’t exactly normal.

And although Washington could only manage two shots in that first period, the boys could only dredge up six shots themselves, so it wasn’t exactly a moment in time that they can brag to friends and family about either.

Back and forth the scoring went, beginning in the second period when Jeff Petry kicked things off, but the game soon became tied when the Caps found themselves on a two-on-one after P.K. was out of the play after being held and interfered with. (No penalty of course, because sadly, P.K. has made his bed).

Alex Ovechkin would put his team in the lead with Max in the box for holding, but just 39 seconds later, Tom Gilbert would take a nice pass from Parenteau and even things up.

Nice to see a couple of Habs blueliners, Petry and Gilbert, light the lamp.

Not quite four minutes after Gilbert’s goal, Lars Eller would convert a nice pass from Dale Weise, who had taken a rebounding puck off the backboards, and fed it back in slick fashion.

Eller, it seems, is now getting nice and primed for another big postseason. Hopefully Weise too.

In the third period, a couple of Caps’ power play goals put the Canadiens in a mess of trouble, but P.K. Subban, on a power play, blasted a blueline bomb and sent the game to overtime, which remained scoreless.

In the end, not the greatest shootout display from Les Glorieux, with Galchenyuk, Desharnais, Parenteau, and Max failing miserably, while Brower didn’t.

Now it’s down to four Habs games left in the 2014-15 regular season. A long season. But one that’s shown the Montreal Canadiens way up there, all the way through. Even though they often disappoint us.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot the Caps 27-19.

Ovechkin, now with 52 goals, is poised to win his third straight Rocket Richard Trophy. Now there’s some hardware that could use a Montreal Canadiens name on it for a change.

Montreal went 1/4 on the power play, which is better than most nights, while Washington was 3/4.

P.K. Subban collected a goal and 2 assists, while Galchenyuk had 2 assists as well.

Next Up – Friday night in New Jersey.

 

Another Fine Blanking!

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The Canadiens looked like they were coming off a Demerol party when they lost 4-0 to the Sharks on March 2nd in San Jose, and which kicked off the 3-game hard-to-swallow California crushing.

It had us all in a dither.

But Saturday at the Bell, the boys played hard-hitting, slick passing big time hockey as they slayed the Sharks 2-0, making it three straight wins, four of their last five, coming not long after the aforementioned California slide had us searching for the key to the liquor cabinet.

Great game by the Habs, regardless of the fact the shirtless Joe Thornton told Sportsnet’s Christine Simpson between periods that his line had been in Montreal’s end all game.

Not what I saw, Joe. And really, for the sake of us guys watching, could you please put a shirt on.

Carey Price saved the day when called upon, which could be said for just about every time he’s manned the nets this season, with this being his 9th shutout (tying M.A. Fleury for the lead), and second in a row after beating Carolina 4-0 on Thursday.

The win is also Price 40th of the season, just two back of the Habs all-time leaders Jacques Plante and Ken Dryden, which is absolutely exciting. Price has entered the Land of the Giants.

Tomas Plekanec got his team on the board in the first period, his 22nd of the year, on a great play that gave him most of a wide-open net to shoot at. The goal also came at a great time, with just 1:14 remaining in the period, and we could see that with the way they were playing, taking the lead late like that could very well spell serious trouble for The Shirtless One and his fish.

Brendan Gallagher would notch the insurance marker, his 21st, in the third with the Sharks’ net empty, and with just seconds left and the boys up 2-0, the Ole, Ole song began, with props to the singers. You sang it at the proper time for a change. When the game wasn’t in doubt.

And man, were the last few minutes tense with the goalie pulled and the score still 1-0, and with the game, and a shutout, on the line.

But the Canadiens came through, as they did all night, standing their ground, checking hard, passing well, and all in all, unless you’re a Sharks fan, a mighty fine night at the not-so-old Bell Centre.

A nice, impressive hometown win by the gang, and a tremendous thing to see, considering there’s only nine games to go and maybe, just maybe, they’re rounding into playoff form.

Random Notes:

Tom Gilbert took a puck in the mouth area during the second period and was gone for the night. Hopefully it’s only a chiclet or two and nothing more.

Props to Brandon Prust for playing a fine game, including a nice piece of business on the penalty kill late in the game.

The Canadiens have reached 99 points, tied with Anaheim for top of the heap.

Alex Galchenyuk needs just one more to reach 20 goals.

Next up – Tuesday, when the team hits Music City, U.S.A. to shut out the Predators.

 

Habs Halt Hurricanes

Slightly condensed tonight. Sorry.

Carey Price nailed down his 8th shutout at the Bell on Thursday soir as the boys win 4-0 over the Carolina Hurricanes and look decent while doing so.

Decent except for the second period when they let Carolina have their way a bit too much, and of course had to rely on Price to come up big. (Although a couple of pucks slithered through him and across the crease).

This team is spoiled rotten, having a goalie like Price to save their bacon when they slack off.

Dale Weise opened the scoring in the first by banging home a rebound after Brandon Prust had done much of the legwork, and Brendan Gallagher increased the lead to two after Tomas Plekanec stormed in and Gally finished it off.

In the second frame DD took a nice pass from Tom Gilbert while the boys had the extra man out on a delayed penalty, and in the third, Max, while trying to set up Pleks, had the puck bounce off Hurricanes goaltender and proud Ust-Kamenogorkier (pop. 322,000), Anton Khudobin, for Max’s 35th of the season.

C’mon Max. Five more.

A fine 4-0 win over a team that’s not that great, but a not-that-great of a team that the Canadiens can beat. Unlike others.

It makes my heart soar like the Birdman of Alcatraz’s buddies.

Next up – Saturday, when the Sharks swim into town.

Shots on goal – Canes 31, Habs 22.

Eller’s Penalty Didn’t Help

Lars

Lars Eller got his stick up into the face of Drew Doughty with just 1:35 left in the third period, with his team winning 3-2 after being down 2-0 to the hometown L.A. Kings, and having stormed back from the dead.

The Kings, of course, with just 45 seconds left in the game, would tie it with Lars in the sinbin, and ultimately take it to a shootout where the Canadiens didn’t get the job done and lose 4-3.

I wish I’d kept track of all the ill-timed, momentum-killing, game-ruining penalties Eller has managed over the past few years. Penalties late in periods, penalties that cancel out power plays, penalties when it’s definitely time to not get penalties. It seems like he’s the king of this &$%#@% category.

I know what the Maharishi would tell me (if I knew him and he was still alive). Take deep breaths. Concentrate on trees and streams. Focus on the good that happened before Lars slipped up.

It’s a shootout loss that yes, gets the team a point, but it should’ve been two, and it should’ve been a cool halt to the California creamin’.

It stings, Maharishi. Just like it probably did when the Beatles dumped you. Eller owes us all a dinner.

The first period was as dreadful as the showings in San Jose and Anaheim. Outshot 13-2 and outscored 2-0. Heck, it was only a few games ago when the boys had shutout the Leafs and won their fourth straight, and we were feeling high and mighty and thinking magnificent thoughts.

But seven periods in California changed all that.

The second frame saw the Canadiens come to life though, and Tom Gilbert, looking like a forward, closed the gap to 2-1 when he swooped in and around Jonathan Quick and lit the lamp. And it became a tie game not long after when Gally took a nice pass from Plekanec and backhanded it home.

In the third frame, Max would notch his 31st on a nice pass from DD, and all was swell in Habsville until Eller’s brain froze like a tray of ice cubes, and with the clock winding down and the Kings on the power play, along with Quick on the bench and the extra man out, the bullet was fired to tie it.

Overtime would solve nothing, and in the shootout, the Canadiens shooters were Chucky (nope), DD and Max (yes), and Eller (post), while Kings skaters buried 3 of 4 on Dustin Tokarski, who overall played a decent game between the pipes.

This mostly lousy four-game road trip comes to an end on Saturday in Phoenix, but things don’t exactly let up. The following four games see the boys tackle the Lightning and Sens at home, and the Islanders and Lightning on the road.

Upcoming strategy? Keep Eller on the bench in crucial situations.