It has come to the point that despite a career high of 46 saves for Carey Price, with 25 more blocked in front of him, the Montreal Canadiens still end up losing a game by one goal. That is how weak and shaky they have been playing lately.
It has also come to the point that RDS’s journalist Renaud Lavoie confirms that the last time he saw Guy Carbonneau that angry was two years ago. That is how special the situation gets.
And it has finally come to the point that Guy Carbonneau has come back to his old habit of switching and mixing and moving his lineups like it is a whole new team every two games. That is how serious it gets in the room.
But hey, as Robert Lang said himself after playing the Blues, no matter how you look at it, it is a win. And we certainly do not want to contradict a 6’3, 220 pound man who knows how to direct a 6 oz piece of vulcanized rubber while down on his knees!
The game against the Senators was a much-needed win for the Montreal Canadiens.
If they had lost that one, we would have expected Youpii to be playing with Saku Koivu and Alex Tanguay, while Alexei Kovalev would replace Ryan O’Byrne on the blue line. And Jaroslav Halak would have taken his place with Tomas Plekanec.
Jokes aside, Guy Carbonneau seriously started to run out of speeches. Repeating that they need a leader and that someone needs to step up sounds more like an old disk than an inspiration. Moreover, it obviously didn’t inspire as expected.
But they won. If you allow me the expression: YAY!
The small things make up to the bigger ends
The transition defense/offence was working well last night. Seeing players like Andrei Markov and Francis Bouillon helping the attack was interesting. Andrei Markov scored the game-tying goal last in the third.
Saku Koivu won 11 of 16 face-offs.
Steve Begin led the team with five hits, and one nice hockey brawl against Senators Cody Bass.
Carey Price allowed two shaky goals, which resulted, I believe, more from misfortune than anything. But he has been tremendous facing Antoine Vermette, Jason Spezza and killing Guillaume Latendresse’s penalty during overtime.
However, my favourite was his save on Jarko Rutuu in the shootout. A last minute switch to the left, to finally make the glove save and ending on his back, skates in the air, was kind of funny and spectacular.
Stand by the number: the Statistics
So far in the season, the Habs are 7-1-1 when scoring the first goal. Robert Lang was the first to open the score in both losses.
They are 4-4-1 when giving up the first lead.
In the last nine, they have scored six power play goals out of 42 opportunities, and allowed eleven out of fifty to the opponents.
Alexei Kovalev leads the team with 52 shots on goal, and falls short of three points behind leading pointer Alex Tanguay.
Ryan O’Byrne has a rating of minus-3 in his last four games.
Two New Combinations in Two Games
Against the St Louis Blues and the Hurricanes, the coach tried new lineups:
Alex Tanguay – Saku Koivu – Alex Kovalev
Andrei Kostitsyn – Robert Lang – Sergei Kostitsyn
Chris Higgins – Tomas Plekanec – Tom Kostopoulos
Steve Begin – Guillaume Latendresse – Mathieu Dandenault
Against the Ottawa Senators:
Alex Tanguay – Saku Koivu – Guillaume Latendresse
Chris Higgins – Tomas Plekanec – Alex Kovalev
Andrei Kostitsyn – Robert Lang – Tom Kostopoulos
Sergei Kostitsyn – Steve Begin – Georges Laraque
About Mats Sundin…
Reports say that GM Bob Gainey traveled to Los Angeles to watch Mats Sundin practice. There is no development yet in this case, but it seems he hasn’t given up on the Swedish player despite the acquisition of Robert Lang.
Please note that the Montreal Canadiens are already close to the salary cap.
Who said the Montreal Canadiens didn’t need help?
Saint Patrick’s Day in Montreal
Smile, celebrate. It is Saint Patrick’s Day!
The Montreal Canadiens will be hosting Milan Lucic and the Boston Bruins on Saturday night. The team will hold a one-hour pre-game ceremony to honour the one and only Patrick Roy.
Roy’s former teammates should be present at the ceremony, as No. 33 will hang in the rafters of the Bell Center. Goaltending guru, Francois Allaire, is also in town. Some advice for Price, maybe?
The ceremony will start at 6 pm.
Speaking of Milan Lucic…
The fight he had against Mike Komisarek the last time the two teams met, has cost the defenseman about a month on the sideline, with a shoulder injury. His absence represents about three or four unblocked shots per game, and we won’t even talk about the hits.
“It has been two weeks that we are talking about the things we have to do. The time has come to act. It doesn’t matter if a player is on the second, the sixth, or the 82nd line, I want him to work.” – Guy Carbonneau
There is no need to explain the coach’s mood with his team’s poor play. One thing for sure, we wouldn’t want to hear what he must be saying in the room.
But it inspires a top three of coaches’ speeches:
“There are still two or three guys who aren't willing to pay the price to win a game. This is not Wal-Mart. There are no discounts in this league." – Ron Wilson
“We can’t play stupid hockey, dumb hockey, greedy hockey, selfish hockey. We have to put the team ahead of our personal feelings.” – Terry Crisp
“I think he let some goals in this year. His goals-against average was not 0.00." – Pat Burns
Pic: Carey Price, Habs Inside/Out