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Do not mess with Don Koharski

  • In a possible playoff preview the Canadiens topped the struggling Ottawa Senators for the 2nd time in the same week. The game was similar to last week’s where the Canadiens were badly outplayed in the first period and kept alive by David Aebischer’s goaltending.

    Luckily for the Canadiens Ray Emery is not a great goaltender and they fought their way back. Chris Higgins added to his very impressive goal total as did Sheldon Souray. Then probably after reading this site Richard Zednik DID decide to wake up and put some effort in his game which resulted in his game winning goal. For a reward he got a face full of crossbar and that’s what he’ll have to be willing to eat in order to be effective in the playoffs.

    Zednik is strange indeed. Maybe he only really cares near playoff time.Hopefully he’ll play with the same effort and intensity the remainder of the year as underneath it all there is some offensive skill.

    What can you say? Other than sleepwalking through the first period that game was highly entertaining and definitely had a playoff feel despite Daniel Alfredsson’s denial. After dropping 2 straight games including one at home to the 7th place seed and the Senators probable 1st round matchup, it must be all too familiar to him to hear questions about playoff intensity and losing.

    Don Koharski was in fine form last night calling wild penalties on both teams and even giving Sens coach Brian Murray the ‘throat slasher’ gesture. What was that about? That gesture is banned in the NFL and heavily fined and it’s always a player doing it to another player. Not an Official doing it to a coach.

    The Senators have dropped 4 straight which is their longest losing streak of the year. We should keep in mind this Senator team is not the real Senator team that has 50 wins. Zdeno Chara, Chris Phillips and Wade Redden all missing in action will be returning shortly. That makes quite a different team. But perhaps the Senators biggest hope is the health of Dominik Hasek as time and time again Ray Emery doesn’t look like an NHL goalie.

    I’d still take the Senators over the Canes in the first round. Even the healthy version. Should Hasek not be fully recovered or re-injure himself and they are banking on Emery, the Sens are definitely beatable. The last two games showed signs of a potentially great rivalry forming.

    Chris Neil is a guy you can easily hate. At the same time he’s a guy you’d want on your own team. Neil and Komisarek were at each other all night and looked like they were ready to go a few times. Should they meet in the first round that animosity would escalate game after game. Although he might not play once the Sens get healthy, Brad Norton is another guy you want to hate. Where did that tall, lanky Lurch on skates come from anyway? Garth Murray gave up 6 inches to him but didn’t back down and even landed a couple. Well considering his face is about 2 KM long it’s pretty hard to miss. Brian Smolinski also proved to be an angry agitating bald man capable of some cheap shots.

    All signs are pointing to a first round Habs and Senators playoff series and if it happens it looks to be a great one.

  1. #1 Dimitri says:
    April 11, 2006 at 11:08 am

    Habs vs Ottawa in playoffs. That should be amazing if it happens …

    Three more points, either Atlanta loses or we gain, and we start resting our top players.

  2. Hasek may be their man in goal but he is beatable, especially on the outside up and away on his stick side …video’s replays will prove me right. More floper which comfounds a lot of players that score low and inside. If he comes back cold I am willing to bet he is not completely healed.Sorry for the ottawa fans but Emery is not the best thay have. Oh and Chris Neil is poor playing scum sucking pig.I was hoping someone would clean his lights.Speaking of floppers …how about the ottawa players.Jeez just a touch and a dive.And the tactic of taking a guy out with a 4 0n 4 hoping that they could pull a man for the extra attacker…was low life. Zednik retaliated which is something you cannot do againt this team.

  3. #3 Gumper says:
    April 11, 2006 at 12:56 pm

    HB’s absolutely right when comparing the tempo of both games. They were near identical in its scope with respect to period-by-period intensity. Aebischer seems slow out of the blocks in the first. He “does” pick it up more in the second and third. It doesn’t help the situation when the “D” breaks down.. coupled with Ottawa’s superior forecheck down low, it was pure luck the score wasn’t lopsided.
    I think the Habs can be even better if; DEFENSE (1)they worked on their transition game, particularly the defensive zone break-out and showed more confidence in passing when they should. OFFENSIVE (2)shoot at the net more frequently and forget the pretty plays.
    Yeah, that Koharski throat thing was pretty surprising. Coach Murray should send him a dozen donuts.

  4. Keys to Habs defeating Ottawa in a seven-game series:
    - Huet stays red hot!
    - Huet stays red hot!
    - Huet stays red hot!
    - Both Kovalev and Koivu do what they do best.
    - Habs continue to get balanced scoring.
    - Finish all checks against Ottawa players. (They really hate this.)

    Keys to defeating Carolina in a seven-game series:
    - Pray for half of Carolina’s team to come down with influenza the night before game one. ;-)

    And, in the event that it happens (because it still could)…

    Keys to beating New York in a seven-game series:
    - Contain Jaromir Jagr.

  5. Gumper, I agree. The transition game was awful last night, especially during the first period. If it weren’t for Abby and some darn good luck… As for the offence, they really need to work on finishing their plays to capitalise on the opportunities (Emery was very lucky the Habs got so few quality shots on him).

    Heard some good news for the playoffs on Team990. Begin is expected to be back — no torn ligaments only a sprain. Bouillon is having trouble healing but should make it back in time as well.

    A healthy Ottawa will be tough to beat, but with the top checkers back, the Habs will also be improved compared to their (winning!!) performances the last 2 head-to-head games. It will be a great series should it come to pass.

  6. If it weren’t for the goaltending…

    And if it weren’t for Mikka Kiprusoff, the Flames would be battling for their playoff lives rather than threatening to repeat their trip to the Finals (which is a very likely scenario I think).

    Don’t get me wrong. I agree that the Habs can certainly play better. But I also think that they certainly will in the weeks to come. And with Huet, and now Aebischer, playing the way they are, they’ll be a very tough team to beat.

    Also, don’t forget that the Senators have made many teams look bad in their own end this season. And the first period has been their best. So it’s nothing new.

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