Habs: Stupid Penalties Sink Canadiens

Dominic Pampalon@d0mynycAnalyst IDecember 15, 2009

Montreal - After dropping the last two decisions against Pittsburgh and Atlanta, Jacques Martin's troops did everything but the right things to give themselves a chance to win against the North East division's top seed Sabres.

Andrei Kostitsyn, who seems to have found his game back, opened the score with about 3 minutes left to play in the first period to give Montreal the lead. Tomas Plekanec and Marc-André Bergeron got the assists, This goal was scored on the power play with Craig Rivet serving a two-minute minor for roughing.

During that first frame, Ryan O'Byrne took a bad penalty for hooking with not even 4 minutes played. After Rivet's Penalty it was Metropolit's time to sit in the cubicle of shame with a holding penalty.

Then the whole thing fell apart for Montreal. In the entire game, Montreal took nine penalties. Three of those by Ryan O'Byrne and three more by Metropolit who took the initial slashing penalty and was assessed a roughing call for punching Derek Roy in the face after the call in the third period.

Ryan O'Byrne may want to revisit game videos from before he was injured. He was playing very well then but since his return, he is struggling in his decision making.

Halak in nets

After Gainey offered Jaroslav Halak to the Philadelphia Flyers in return of one of Philly's top six forwards, It was predictable to see Halak in nets last night. Although he got kicked by the same Sabres eleven days ago, giving up six goals, it was more to provide a window to Halak. It was rumored that Philadelphia may have considered to move Giroux for Halak but it was not confirmed by either parties.

Needy Habs

The Canadiens need to see Brian Gionta and Andrei Markov return to the lineup ASAP. Gionta's return is likely to jump start Gomez who's been inconsistent, not to say invisible, since Gionta got sidelined with a foot injury. The good news is Markov is now practicing and is traveling with the team. It is a possibility to see him in the lineup this week or early next week. He still has to participate in a few practices with contact for the doctors to better evaluate his condition. Even if he only returns in January, it'll be better than the initial prognostic of "Sometime in February".

The Canadiens is playing New Jersey on Wednesday and Minnesota on Thursday. Starting Saturday the Habs will be on a seven-game stretch on the road before returning to the Bell Centre for the first game of 2010 as they will host, again, the Sabres.