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Game 68: Islanders/Habs

  • Tonight the Habs welcome the league’s worst New York Islanders.

    Needless to say, anything less than a decisive win will be a huge disappointment and momentum killer.

    In the East, a team or teams will miss the playoffs by a single point. If the Habs want to be on the inside they cannot fail to bank these ‘easy’ points.

10 Comments
  1. #1 Mats Naslund says:
    March 12, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    It is dangerous to read too much into one win, but I think the Habs will come out firing tonight. It is always dangerous right after a big shake-up. The Flames won their first game easily after adding Leopold and Jokinen, but struggled once the high wore off. Hopefully we do not share their experience.

    Max Pacioretti will be in the lineup tonight, which I am excited to see because after a game watching from above, he now knows exactly what he needs to do to make Kovy and Plex happy. Speaking of Kovy, he is a game-time decision tonight. He didn’t skate this morning because he was sick. If he can’t go D’Agostini will be in the lineup. If that is the case, we may see some changes in the rest of the lineup unless Bob skates Pax with PLex and D’Ags.

    Apparently it is now Price’s job to lose as he gets the start once again. Do I feel bad for Jaro? Sure. But ask Scott Clemmonson what being a backup is like. Jaro played four good games, Clemmonson had his Devils in 3rd place in the conference after 3/4 of a season and hasn’t seen the light of day since. If you had told Jaro at the beginning of the season that he would play in 28 games to Carey Price’s 42, he would probably be pleased. It is about perspective. Gainey has it, and he knows as well as anyone that Carey Price has the ability to have the kind of impact on a team that changes the entire dynamic of a game IF he is on a role. For me, Carey knows what it is like to lose in the playoffs. That is a dangerous weapon, which I think Gainey is right to exploit.

    Anyways, we play the last place team tonight, but one with a lot of pride and local connections in Danis and Streit among others, so the Habs should expect those guys to come out motivated. Hopefully by the last horn we are hearing “Les Canadiiiiieeeeens sooont la!

  2. #2 Joseph says:
    March 12, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    A blowout tonight would go a long way in continuing to build this team’s confidence. I believe that they desperately need one to remind themselves of just how much better they should be than the league’s worst team.

    ESPN still lists Guerin as the Isles leading goal scorer. Oops.

  3. #3 nico-666 says:
    March 12, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    Well done bob,what a joke this team is, seem’s to me carbo was a scape goat for what gainey cannot do himself very well.OOOPP’s i mean not at all,looked like shit on tue’s and looked the same tonight, seem’s to me gainey and company have turned thing’s around eh!15 game’s to get used to gainey’s style great decision bob we got the cup now can’t wait to see you unemployed in the near future.Hab fan’s if you think we are going to make the playoff’s give you’r head a shake and realize this bunch of clown’s are going nowhere faster than the leaf’s.TIME TO FIRE BOB GAINEY AND MOVE FORWARD,ALL WE’VE DONE IS SWEET NOTHING IN 5 YEAR’S BUT BE A JOKE OF CANADIAN HOCKEY.M.r Julien was the problem last time and were is he;OH YA AT THE TOP.MY STUFF IS PACKED UP FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR TIME TO FOLLOW DIE HARD’S.

  4. #4 Mats Naslund says:
    March 13, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Accidentally posted in the wrong game section:

    Carey Price has had a season-long lesson on how to effectively score goals. If you’ve watched even a few Habs games this year you’ve watched as pucks get thrown on net, get redirected or bounce off of a leg, only to be swept into an open net by an opponent looking for a fortuitous rebound. I don’t have the numbers, but I would bet at least 50% of all goals let in by Carey happen this way. But my post is not about Carey Price. Lately he has been fantastic. Last night he single-handedly earned the Canadiens a single point with fantastic play over the final 5 minutes of regulation time.

    This post is about the Montreal Canadiens offensive players who never look to score anything but highlight reel goals. Its sad. Two nights ago Alex Tanguay jumped on a rebound to score on a wide open net. Metropolit followed that up with a rebound goal of his own. Saku Koivu’s game winner in overtime was a deflection in front of the net that found its way in. And yet for about 50 minutes of hockey Montreal ignored conventional wisdom by refusing to shoot the puck and hunt for rebounds. We’ve watched in frustration time and time again while our Canadiens try to mount comebacks, and are often unable to solve the opposing goaltender. When the chips are down, it seems like the Canadiens believe only the perfect shot will score a goal.

    Last night the Canadiens faced the last place Islanders and former Canadiens prospect Yann Danis (who in all fairness has been playing stellar hockey as of late). For what feels like the 200th time this season the Canadiens have faced a goaltender who stood on his head to beat the Canadiens. Is this because goalies “get up” to play the Canadiens? That is how the commentators rationalize the situation in-game. But that is not the reason. Lalime is still Lalime. Danis is still Danis. The Montreal Canadiens make EVERY goalie look like Martin Brodeur because they are entirely predictable in their offensive attack. Everyone in the league knows that Montreal will gain possession of the puck, cycle, and throw a pass back to the blueline hoping for a blast or incredible pass. Yes it works some times. But Mainly the Canadiens allow the opposing goaltender to get square to the puck and make the save. Nothing is hard when you face the Canadiens, because they rarely get to the crease (and this is the more important factor): they are rarely ready to bang in a rebound.

    Game after game we watch Jaro and Carey flop all over the place trying to stop shots. While it seems that the goaltender at the other end coolly handles every offensive opportunity. That is not a knock on our goaltenders – it is a testament to how the Canadiens rely on a very low percentage offensive strategy. We live and die on the perimeter, which is why so often we have amazing offensive chances that don’t go in, while other teams are able to beat us on “soft” goals. We all watched as Philadelphia demoralized Carey Price last season while we hit post after post on brilliant chances with the opposition executing simple, high percentage plays that found the back of the net. You don’t need to watch a lot of hockey to realize how goals are scored. I only hope that sooner than later, the squad can learn to do things the easy way, instead of always winning on the highlight of the night. A team needs to have an answer when the well runs dry. Last post-season we were taught a lesson on how to play playoff hockey by the Bruins and Flyers. There is less room for dangling, and brilliant passes are intercepted. The most effective way to score goals in the NHL is to put the puck on net and wait for the opportunity to shoot on a net with a goalie out of position. The task does not get any easier on Saturday as the Canadiens will face the real Martin Brodeur. If they think the Devils will let them dangle and dipsy-doodle on Brodeur’s big night, we’re in for a long and frustrating 60 minutes.

  5. #5 Senet1 says:
    March 13, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Matts it seems like we had this same converation last year in the playoff when the most of us said after the philly series that we need a power forward who would stand in front of the net and screen the goalier. The islanders 2nd goal last night was a prime example of whata you are talking about. Price had no chance on it but if you actually watch the shot from the blue line he would have had it had it not be deflected. The key point is that the forward had him totally screened and the only way he was going to stop the puck was if it hit him. A few years ago many teams would put to very good offensive players on a line and then the third guy was a big strong winger who mucked it up in the corners and stood in front of the net. I think maybe we have to suffel the lines a little and do the same thing.

  6. #6 Senet1 says:
    March 13, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    So here is my take if we followed that principle.

    Koivu with Tanguay and Stewart Stewart because he has the speed to keep up.

    Plekanec A Kostityn amd Kovalev

    Lapierre Higgins Kostopoulos
    Metropolif Pacioretty Dandenault

    Peronally I would send D’Agostini back to Hamilton I can’t remember the last time he got a goal, he has had his time. If Sergi is ready to come back then bring him back for a five game trial. Gainey has to make his point to him that he either works or he goes back to Hamilton, no funny stuff. He likes to play it agressive so he would fit in on any line.

  7. #7 PACTUM SERVA says:
    March 14, 2009 at 10:56 am

    I dont think you can send anybody back to the farm after trade deadline but you can call them up.

  8. #8 Senet1 says:
    March 14, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Oh I was not aware of that, if that is the case then Sergie is probably there for the rest of the regular season.

  9. #9 Senet1 says:
    March 15, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    Nico-666, now is not the time to fire anyone, you may be right and you may be wrong, but if we can make the playoffs it will give us more money to spend on some better players next year. I am not convince firing Carbo was the right move, especially if Gainey can’t get these guys playing better either? I have been saying for two years now the Koivu needs to be trade while there is still a market for him now it is too late, Kovalev leave us too because he cannot play with so much pressure on him especally when he floats around 2 of 3 games.

  10. #10 Senet1 says:
    March 15, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    Here are the players I would keep or try to resign.
    Tanguay, Lang, Plekanic, Lappiere, A. Kostitsyn, S.Kostitsyn, D’Agostini, Pacoretti, Stewart,Latendresse. The rest of the forwards I would either trade or not sign as FA. For defence I would keep Schneider until mid season and then trade him, Actually I like our defence overall but if I could trade Markov for a top notch superstar forward he would be gone. I would try to sign Komisarek but higher than 3.5M. Bouillon, Brisebois, would be gone. I would trade Halak if we can get something substantial for him and sign a experience back up goalie that could help tutor Price on the ice. Actually I think I would attempt to get a new goaltender coach.

    I would bring up all our prospects especially the young defenceman and live by their mistakes, that is why we need Schneider, and possibly Hamrlik. These young defenceman will need some on ice tudors. I would go out and get a coach that is a teaching coach and good with young players. One of the priorities I would be going after would be one or two star players of Canadian background and players in the mold of Stewart, who can skate and play it tough when needed.We have developed a European style of hockey that is not suited for the NHL game because the ice surface is not large enough. That is my take anyway.

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