Tag Archives: Tomas Vanek

Habs Grab Series Lead

No comeback tonight for the Gooins. And now they’re down 2-1  in the series.

Ain’t it grand?

The Canadiens stepped it up, skated hard, forechecked and thumped and came away with a great 4-2 win on home ice. And yes, they had their lapses, but all in all were solid and scored some beauties in the process.

Beauties!

A Tomas Plekanec goal in the first period on a sensational pass from Thomas Vanek.

A PK Subban breakaway goal after he’d stepped out of the sinbin, was fed a gorgeous pass from Lars Eller, and broke in alone and beat Tuukka Rask.

A sharp pass from Daniel Briere that sprung Dale Weise who fired it through Rask.

An empty-netter from Lars Eller, also in alone.

Yes the game was tense. A late goal by the Bruins in the second frame made it 3-1, and with 2:16 left in the third they scored again to narrow it to 3-2.

But the boys held on, Eller hit the empty net, and with a fine and outstanding series lead, what more can a poor Habs fan ask?

Thursday they go at it again. We ‘re not asking for much. Just a severe tightening of the noose, that’s all.

PK was once again a force. Carey Price held the fort. Vanek, Max, Eller, Plekanec, Weise, Bournival, Bourque, Gallagher, Weaver and all the guys wearing red gave a serious display of pride, guts, and passion.

The Canadiens were on the Bruins quicker tonight than in the previous two games. They skated harder, used their speed, and took no bull from the greasers.

Dougie Hamilton and Torie Krug forgot to shoot high. Price was great, Rask wasn’t. Douglas Murray and Alexei Emelin flexed muscles, Zdeno Chara and Milan Luci didn’t.

Brad Marchand continues to get away with murder.

Claude Julien will probably whine for the next day and a half.

Random Notes:

PK’s goal and assist gives him 11 points in the playoffs, good enough for second place overall behind the King’s Anze Kopitar, who has 14.

Ginette Reno got the party underway, the joint was rockin’ all evening, and for me in my living room, sometimes I sat, sometimes I stood.

Lucy’s in Russia right now, and because it’s the middle of the night there, she has no idea that the boys won huge.

Boston outshot Montreal 28-26.

 

 

 

 

Thank You Carey!

An outstanding display from Carey Price. Brilliant from start to finish, stopping 48 of 51 shots, including a plethora of tough ones, and the Canadiens take the opener in Boston.

It was PK Subban, with his second power play goal of the game, hitting the back of the net in the second overtime to give his team a huge 4-3 win.

They were outplayed but they weren’t outscored, which is the basic rule of the game. The team that scores most, wins.

And they weren’t always outplayed, it just seemed like it. Tuukka Rask had to come up big often.

The Canadiens opened the scoring in the first with a blueline wrist shot from PK with the man-advantage, and the team, after weathering an early onslaught, settled down and picked it up a notch.

In the second, Rene Bourque made it 2-0 on a pass from Lars Eller, and Price was magnificent throughout, especially during a Bruins power play that was ridiculous in the fury seen around the net.

The Bruins took charge. They slammed bodies, stormed the net, kept coming, rang pucks off posts, came close far too often, kept the puck in the Canadiens end for several heart-stopping days and weeks  it seemed.

Often I couldn’t look.

Our man stood tall though, before, during, and after.  Price stole it for his team, but brilliant playoff goaltending is a time-honoured tradition, and legends are slowly carved from performances like this.

Not only did he help his team win, but he might have started the process of being in the Bruins’ heads. Maybe they’ll toss and turn all night, thinking of what might have been. Maybe they’ll think about storming the net on Saturday. Maybe they’ll start to question their ability to beat this guy.

And if they think they should be more forceful,  they’ll remind themselves that the Canadiens bulged the twine twice on the power play and they’ll have to think twice about being more physical.

Maybe they’ll blow their minds from thinking too much. Although Brad Marchand doesn’t have to worry about that.

For a hundred years, goalies have been saving the day on special nights, and on Thursday in Boston, it was Price’s turn. But he’ll need to do it again and again, although hopefully the players in front of him will decide to keep the puck in the other end more often than game one.

Another rule of the game. Keep the puck in the other end as much as possible.

The Bruins pushed hard in the third and would tie it at two, and the game became as intense as most seventh games. To win the first would be huge. Blowing a two-goal lead was already disappointing. Losing the opener would be a painful blow.

After regaining the lead on a shot by Francis Bouillon, the Bruins would tie it again with just 1:58 left in the third. A horrible turn of events. Sometimes I wonder if my old ticker can handle this sort of thing.

No scoring in the first overtime, Price continued to be sensational, and after Matt Bartkowski took a holding penalty at 4:10 of the second overtime, PK blasted it home just seven seconds later.

I’m sure Jack Edwards had lots to say about that.

And isn’t it lovely that the one player that Bruins players, fans and media consider the most despicable was the one who settled things. Has to be a hockey god thing. Thank you PK, for scoring the winner and wounding Bruins fans.

A huge game-one win. The Canadiens’ fifth straight playoff victory. Carey Price held the fort.

Random Notes:

The DD, Vanek, Max line was ineffective all evening but that should change. The Punch Line had off-nights too.

The Eller, Bourque, Gionta trio was Montreal’s best, and aside from Price and Subban’s heroics, my choice for best skater on the night for the good guys was Lars Eller. He skated well, made smart decisions, and had several fine chances. The same could be said for Rene Bourque. They picked up where they left off from the Tampa series. Many wondered if they could. And they did.

Brendan Gallagher came to play too. But many were quiet and we’re expecting a different story in game two.

Goal scoring recap – PK, Bourque, Bouillon, and PK.

Final shots on goal after four periods and four minutes – Boston 51, Montreal 33.

Next game – Saturday at 12:30 pm eastern. A lot of people hate afternoon games. I don’t mind them as much as many, but I’m not overly crazy about them either.

I suppose I’m used to early starts after living on the West Coast for so many years. For West Coasters, Saturday’s game is at 9:30 am, which truly sucks.

 

Canadiens Clip Wings

Maybe a tad too many giveaways and Carey Price has seen better nights, but no matter, the Canadiens win another, a 5-4 affair in Motown, and thus, the train keeps a rollin’.

Seven wins in eight games. Fighting it out in the standings with Tampa Bay for home ice advantage in the first round. A team more and more are thinking of as a bonafide contender in the east.

It makes my heart soar like a reawakened Avro Arrow.

They almost blew it though. Some inexcusable turnovers and some slightly off-kilter work by Price, but many of the guys showed up for work, like DD, Vanek, and Max line, and in the end, it’s two points deposited in the bank of Montreal.

Now we have a good sleep, make sure we wear our lucky socks for the next two days, and get ready for Saturday in Sunrise.

Tomas Plekanec scored two goals in the first period, his 19th and 20th, but beginning in the second and then into the third, Detroit would answer whenever the Canadiens lit the lamp, and the hometown team continued to keep it close.

The Wings made it 2-1 in the second before David Desharnais converted some nice work by Tomas Vanek in the corner and it became 3-1 for the good guys.

But in the third, P.K. Subban suddenly decided to do what no Norris Trophy winner should ever do – lob a softball up the middle, which of course was intercepted, and it became a 3-2 game at that point.

The Wings then took advantage of loose play in the corner, the puck skipped out, and the game was tied faster than you can say Alex Delvecchio.

The goal scoring onslaught didn’t finish there either. Max made it 4-3 on a slightly offside play, Thomas Vanek then deflected an Andrei Markov shot and it was 5-3, but just 21 seconds later, Detroit made it 5-4 and it was still anybody’s game.

Until it wasn’t.

The Canadiens held on and downed the Red Wings who are fighting for a wild card spot but these are the breaks. No one worries about the Habs, and we’re not about to worry about hurting others’ chances. At least I’m not. It’s dog eat dog out there.

And Detroit is still in the thick of it, although Washington, Columbus, and Toronto are really happy the Habs won and the Wings lost.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – Detroit 30, Montreal 29.

Habs multi-point getters on the night were Vanek with a goal and two assists, Pleks with two goals, DD with a goal and an assist, and PK with two assists.

Vanek has 5 goals and 4 assists in his 11 games with the Canadiens so far.

Max notched his 33rd.

Habs hit Florida for a Saturday night tilt against the Panthers. It’s always interesting to see how many down low, center ice, primo empty seats there will be at the BB&T Center. It must drive hockey fans in Quebec City crazy.

 

Shark Waters

Canadiens clash with the Sharks tonight in San Jose and wind up a tough four-game trip to California and Arizona.

Time to get back to Montreal where the weather’s much better.

The last time these two teams met it was at the Bell Centre on Oct. 26 when the Habs were blanked 2-0 by the Sharks.

It was a night when Travis Moen took a puck in the face and missed a couple of weeks due to a fractured orbital bone. I remember saying at the time that it was probably just a little cut and no big deal, which makes me no better than Dr. Recchi.

They were also losing just 1-0 that night when a puck hit a glass support on a shot from outside the blueline, and with Carey Price behind the net ready to corral it, it when directly in and suddenly it was 2-0.

Sound familiar? The same thing that happened to Dustin Tokarski a few nights ago in Anaheim. These California rinks have to fix their glass supports.

Big game, Peter Budaj’s in net, and how great it would be for the boys to come home after playing .500 hockey on this swing.

They should be rested now. Tomas Vanek and Mike Weaver should be feeling more comfortable, and seeing the Canadiens play great would make it much easier to stay up so late and watch.

 

 

Vanek To Canadiens

Thomas Vanek has been traded from the Islanders to Montreal for a second-rounder and Swedish prospect Sebastian Collberg.

Vanek, 30, is a right winger with 271 goals and 270 assists (541 pts) in 645 games which isn’t chicken feed. This is a bonafide NHL star with great hands who will help our team.

The one knock seems to be that Vanek doesn’t always play with passion. Hopefully when he’s in the great Montreal Canadiens environment and wearing the CH, the passion will come flowing out.

I’m very excited about this.

Along with Vanek, Montreal’s right wingers  include Gallagher, Gionta, Bourque, Weise, and Parros.

Habs Needing A Super Sunday

I distinctly recall the idea that if the Canadiens can get through the early stages of the season playing .500 hockey with all their injuries involved, then they’re doing fine.

They’re 8-8-1 right now. Not great but it could be worse. They could be the Buffalo Sabres.

Today it’s the Islanders (6 pm EST) with a backup goalie in nets, star left winger Tomas Vanek on the shelf, and star left winger Matt Moulson gone, traded for Vanek.

The Canadiens are now on the playoff spot bubble, in eighth spot in the East with 17 points, with the Islanders just behind with 15. Even someone like Gaston, who blew his brains out smoking gunpowder, should be able to figure out that this is a game the Habs need to win. But Montreal has to score more, has to have guys punch the clock and hit the net much more, and crash and bang and get the Bell Centre walls shaking.

Brian Gionta has four goals in sixteen games. Lars Eller and Rene Bourque five in seventeen, Max has two in eight, DD of course is stalled at zero in sixteen, and although Ryan White isn’t expected to light the lamp or do much offensively, the fact remains he’s zero points in fifteen games.

Alex Galchenyuk, someone we all expect huge things from in future years, is third in team points, but is showing just two goals to go along with his nine assists in seventeen games. But he’s only 19-years old so there’s not much I can say. I just want him to become a superstar as soon as possible, that’s all.

“We’re getting a lot of our shots blocked right now, so that’s a big factor,” says Bourque. Which I think is a feeble excuse. Find a way not to have them blocked. The Canadiens block a lot of shots and other teams manage.

Five straight losses would be dismal, and the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning are here on Tuesday. It could become six.

It’s an important game, this Islanders clash. Even Gaston knows that.

 

Habs Sliced By Sabres

Ryan Miller stopped 38 of the 39 shots the Habs sent his way, with the end result being a 2-1 Sabres win at the Bell Centre, and I suppose if the boys are going to lose, they might as well do it before they play the Penguins on Tuesday and Bruins on Wednesday.

I’m sure P.K. Subban would just as soon not see the Buffalo Sabres again this year, although he’ll have to once more, on April 11th. Again tonight he was in the box when the Sabres scored an important goal, this time after the puck had found its way over the glass for a delay of game penalty and which was the goal that broke the ice after a scoreless first frame.

P.K. was also sitting in the sin bin when the Sabres won it last Tuesday, and I think the best thing our guy can do now is offer to wash Michel Therrien’s car and maybe send Madam Therrien a nice flower arrangement.

But please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not blaming P.K. for anything. He’s The Man. He having a terrific season. I’m just saying that going for a few brownie points can often be a good thing.

P.K. reminds me of me. We both have a knack for getting into trouble without even trying. Oh, the stories I could tell about the times I’d sneak into the drive-in theater.

On Vanek’s goal, which came with just 38 seconds left in the second frame, Brendan Gallagher broke his stick outside the blueline which opened things up for the dangerous forward. Just one of those things. Buffalo took advantage of a couple of breaks, one literally, and Montreal – not so much.

All in all, the sky isn’t falling, and I know you might be getting sick of hearing this from me, but we really need our injured guys back. Imagine the difference with Brandon Prust shaking things up, the revitalized Rene Bourque being the power forward he’s proven he can be, and Raphael Diaz doing the job in a big way from the back end, especially in power play situations. But we’ve been an absolutely fine team through this adversity, and it’s positive vibrations all round, even with a low-scoring loss to dwell on.

Random Notes:

Montreal’s lone marker came from Michael Ryder when he converted an Andrei Markov shot, and if you’re interested in petty comparisons, Ryder has four goals and seven assists in 11 games with the Habs, while his trade counterpart Erik Cole in Dallas has managed just two goals and zero assists in ten games. Most everyone in hockey universe agreed at the time it went down that Montreal won this trade, and it’s appearing that everyone was right.

Canadiens outshot Buffalo 39-18.

Toronto beat the Bruins 3-2 tonight and are just a hair from being in a position to play Montreal in the opening round if the season ended now. I’m torn about this. I’d hate to see the Leafs make the playoffs, but I’d love to see the Habs kick their ass. It’s a real dilemma.

Yannick Weber and Ryan White are presently on the shelf too, and I feel bad for not including them with Bourque, Prust, and Diaz as guys we need back soon. Yes, we need everyone healthy. And I’m sure even Weber and White would freely admit that the above-mentioned trio are the most important in the scheme of things.

 

 

 

 

After Twelve

Our top guy, Tomas Plekanec, comes in at 36th overall in the league, with 11 points. Buffalo’s Tomas Vanek sits at number one with 23 points.

And as you can see, there’s not much happening with both Tomas Kaberle and Yannick Weber, who continue to twirl their thumbs on the sidelines. Ryan White, as you know, simply shot himself in the foot a few times too many.

Maybe one of these years, when the stars and planets are lined up a certain way, we might see a Hab in the top three. I hope I’m still alive when this happens.

Forwards & Defensemen
# Pos Player GP G A P +/- PIM PP SH GW S S%
14 C Tomas Plekanec 12 6 5 11 -3 8 3 0 1 38 15.8
79 D Andrei Markov 12 4 6 10 -2 6 4 0 3 16 25.0
61 D Raphael Diaz 12 0 9 9 0 4 0 0 0 20 0.0
17 R Rene Bourque 12 3 4 7 -1 22 2 0 0 34 8.8
27 C Alex Galchenyuk 12 1 6 7 6 4 0 0 0 18 5.6
21 R Brian Gionta 12 3 3 6 -1 2 2 0 0 31 9.7
76 D P.K. Subban 6 3 3 6 0 6 2 0 0 13 23.1
67 L Max Pacioretty 8 0 6 6 -2 12 0 0 0 25 0.0
73 R Brendan Gallagher 11 4 2 6 5 15 0 0 1 24 16.7
51 C David Desharnais 12 3 2 5 -6 12 1 0 0 13 23.1
81 C Lars Eller 10 1 4 5 0 6 0 0 0 22 4.5
55 D Francis Bouillon 12 0 4 4 1 4 0 0 0 12 0.0
72 L Erik Cole 12 2 2 4 -1 10 0 0 1 28 7.1
8 L Brandon Prust 12 1 2 3 4 69 0 0 0 11 9.1
32 L Travis Moen 11 1 1 2 0 14 0 0 0 8 12.5
74 D Alexei Emelin 12 0 2 2 0 6 0 0 0 6 0.0
22 D Tomas Kaberle 6 0 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 7 0.0
20 R Colby Armstrong 12 0 1 1 0 6 0 0 0 12 0.0
26 D Josh Gorges 12 1 0 1 -2 9 0 0 0 8 12.5
53 C Ryan White 7 1 0 1 1 46 0 0 0 9 11.1
68 D Yannick Weber 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0

White No Help Whatsoever

If there’s one thing we’ve learned so far this season, it’s that except for a lot of hair, Ryan White doesn’t have a whole lot underneath his helmet.

White helped his team lose in Ottawa four games ago by taking four minutes in penalties, and tonight he helped lose the game in Buffalo by taking four minutes again, this time by retaliating and flailing away after getting bumped on a solid hip check by Steve Ott.

Einstein then watched from the sin bin as Tomas Vanek closed the gap to 4-3, which ultimately led to the Sabres tying it with just two seconds remaining in the third.

Damn. It’s hard to re-live this.

The game then went to overtime, no one scored, but the Sabres ended it by finding the back of the net twice in the shootout.

Three games in the press box after the White display in Ottawa didn’t teach him a thing. How many should it be now, ten? Maybe more. The Canadiens don’t need this immature lack of discipline. For them to win, everything, in all areas, has to be going almost perfectly.

Tomas Plekanec opened the scoring, but the Sabres replied almost immediately. In fact, just 15 seconds later. In the second period, Brendan Gallagher gave his team the lead, which lasted all of 35 seconds before it was tied again. But P.K. Subban, on a 5 on 3 power play, gave the boys the lead once more, and then in the third, Tomas Plekanec buried one on a clear cut breakaway.

It was 4-2 at that point. Things were going swimmingly. Two big points coming up.

Then Ryan White stepped on the ice.

Random Notes:

Yes, Ryan White will sometimes come to the defense of a teammate. Yes, he adds an edge, which can be an important aspect at times. And yes, he can cost his team the game. Or games. This sort of thing can’t continue.

Shots on goal – Buffalo 40, Habs 32.

Peter Budaj was in goal tonight and although he stopped many difficult close-in encounters, he still makes me nervous. I can’t help it.

It’s two games in ten that Budaj has been called upon, and I don’t understand this. Maybe I’m wrong. Who am I to question an NHL coach? But does the number one guy have to rest every five games or so? It’s just my personal opinion, but it would be only around now that I’d even be considering putting the backup guy in for a night. Maybe even several more before I’d give him a start. These points are important. And Price might be the best on the planet right now.

Alex Galchenyuk was the lone Habs marksman in the shootout. Rene Bourque and Brian Gionta couldn’t get it done.

Next game – Leafs in Montreal on Saturday. I’m thinking we won’t be seeing Ryan White.

 

 

Habs Blast Buffalonians

I’m so proud of the Habs today. They brushed off their 5-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators like pigeon poop on a new fedora, came out alive and well for this Saturday matinee against against a normally fine Buffalo Sabres squad, and played with fire and drive, even outshooting the visitors 15-1 in the first period.

It was 1-0 after the first, when the new and improved Rene Bourque, with his first of two, converted on the power play with just eight seconds remaining, and it became 4-0 after two when all kinds of great things happened, unless you’re a Sabres fan. In that case, things sucked.

Brendan Gallagher, from Alex Galchenyuk, gave the Canadiens a 2-0 lead, then David Desharnais with his first, finally, and Lars Eller, also with his first, just 28 seconds later, and the Habs had things well under control. To see the kids sparkle, to see Bourque continue his merry ways, and to see a couple of guys finally get those Steinways off their backs, and it becomes a tremendous way to grab two points.

P.K. Subban, in his first game in eleven months, was effective, hitting the post with a big drive in the third, and assisting on Desharnais’s second goal of the night, a power play marker that made it 6-1. Subban is so flamboyant, even when he’s rusty.

Carey Price was once again as stellar as can be and although not overworked, was steady and showed both his club and the Sabres that not much was going to get by him. No player can be more important than a good goalie, and we’ve got one of the best.

The Ottawa game soured things for a few days, but rebounding like this makes my heart soar like a San Benedicto Rock Wren.

The third period got complicated, at least for me. Rene Bourque made it 5-0 before Buffalo finally got on the board when the red-hot Tomas Vanek broke in, and I had to begin watching the clock for a quick exit to leave for work. So at this point, there can be no random notes, no scoring summary, and no real wrap-up to this at all. All I’m doing is trying to see the end of it before bolting to the car.

Gotta run. 6-1 Habs. A great day. Tomorrow, the big Habs-Sens rematch. Same time, same place.