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» 2006 » March

  • Lightning regain 7th spot

    The Canadiens failed to open up the lead on the Tampa Bay Lightning last night suffering a 2-1 loss at the Bell Centre. That means the Lightning return to 7th position in the East with a 1 point lead over the Canadiens. The Canadiens still hold one game in hand on the Lightning and the Thrashers who trail the Habs by only 3 points.

    The Canadiens were without Andrei Markov last night who is day to day with back spasms and like they usually do when without his services, they lost. The Canadiens looked confused at times during the beginning of the game and when they finally started getting some chances the recently absent Tampa defence decided to show up. The Canadiens had a lot of trouble getting the puck to the net as the Lightning players set up a wall and blocked something close to 30 shots. When the Canadiens managed to get on net Sean Burke proved himself coming up with big stops when he needed to.

    Cristobal Huet played well but this was the first game in awhile where he was outplayed by the opposing netminder. Huet slipped and lost his balance on the first Vincent Lecavalier goal and poor communication lead to a sloppy second goal by St-Louis. That’s all that was needed. The Canadiens managed a flukey rebound goal and nearly tied it up at the end but came up short.

    The Lightning won and despite their shot blocking they still didn’t look very convincing as a playoff team. Take away the flukey goals and they most likely don’t leave with 2 points. Atlanta and Tampa meet 3 times before the end of the season and It will probably take a miracle for the Lightning to hold on.

    The Canadiens play the Hurricanes next who they have not had much recent success against. Combined with the fact the Habs have no hope of catching Carolina and they they are not a divisional opponent – this is where we’ll probably see David Aebischer get his first start as a Canadien. Aebischer won’t sit on the bench forever and now that Huet posted a loss it’ll most likely be Aebischer’s introduction to Montreal Canadiens hockey.

    Good Luck.

  • Canadiens can open the gap on the Lightning

    In a rare Monday showdown at the Bell Centre the Canadiens are set to meet the Tampa Bay Lightning whom they have just passed in the standings and currently hold a 1 point lead over. Needless to say this is a huge game for both teams as the Canadiens try to continue their recent success and move higher in the standings while the Lightning try to avoid falling out of the playoffs altogether.

    The Lightning have never been playing poorer than they are now. Ok, maybe in 1992 but since the Cup Champs returned to the ice they’ve struggled considerably. The Lightning have allowed 40 goals in their last 6 games and have only won once in that period with an OT win against Pittsburgh. The Canadiens are coming off back to back shut outs and are playing probably the best hockey they’ve played all season. The last time these teams met the Canadiens scored 6 in a 6-2 road win. On paper this should be a wash out for the Habs.

    The Canadiens can open up a 3 point lead tonight and still hold a game in hand. The Canadiens have only 1 regulation loss in their last 10 games but probability says they’re bound to give one up eventually. There seems to be no sense of urgency and no confidence in the Lightning’s game right now but they must surely realize the importance of this game. Goaltending continues to be their biggest problem and will likely continue to be after not picking up a better goaltender at the deadline.

    Andrei Markov’s status is unknown after leaving the Rangers game with back spasms. Without Markov the Canadiens are a much weaker team and everyone is hoping this isn’t serious or lengthy. There is no hotter player in the game right now than Cristobal Huet who’ll look for a 3rd straight shutout and his 6th in 13 games. Jose who?

    Winning tonight will also put the Habs 1 only point shy of the New Jersey Devils and 6th place in the East.