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Habs Ride Rollecoaster to Victory

  • What can you say about a game like that? Probably the best game all season long and the definition of playoff hockey. Extremely nerve racking for Canadiens fans who watched them squander a 3-0 first period lead and another lead late in the game.

    The Gerber factor definitely did matter as he did not shine on at least 2 goals and the Canadiens got that big lead they needed again early. You can almost guarantee that Gerber won’t start another game in this series. Trailing 2 games and heading out on the road somethings got to change for the Canes and the first thing will be the starting
    goalie.

    The Canadiens were unlucky on some of the penalties called on them late in the game. Particularly Craig Rivet’s and Perezhogin’s. The Canes were embarrassing the referees all game long by throwing up their arms and skating around whining and demanding penalties. Very unprofessional. You could sense the desperation and frustration in them.

    The Habs starting the 3rd period two men short allowed the tying goal and the Canes to take the lead only seconds later. It felt like the familiar story starting all over again. The Canadiens breaking down and about to fall to a better team. This might have been the most important time in the series because had the Canes erased the 3 goal lead and came back to win they would recapture all the momentum and confidence and be heading into Montreal tied 1-1.

    Montreal got the crucial goal from the playoff performer Kovalev burying a skill shot up under the bar. Moments later Zednik exposed the rookie goaltender with a rather weak shot that scored and gave the Canadiens the lead again. It didn’t end there however and in Peter Laviolette’s only smart coaching move to date he pulled the goalie early and with the extra attacker the Canes tied yet again.

    The Habs couldn’t seal it. In overtime the Canadiens were awarded 2 powerplays and again couldn’t find a way to bury it. With the next goal winning the game and the Canes on the powerplay this time it was almost too hard to watch. Both goalies made saves and kept their teams in it sending it to the second extra frame when Michael Ryder took a quick pass from Higgins in the slot and buried his typical quick release wrister into the back of the net.

    CANADIENS WIN! 2-0 SERIES LEAD!

    The bandwagon screeched to a halt as another few thousand Montrealers jumped on. New registrations on this site since the playoffs began have been up considerably.

    Sheldon Souray’s status is unknown as he left the game with a ‘lower body injury’. Which would be better described as what it really was – a puck in the nuts.
    Souray was bent over on the bench and almost looked like he was throwing up. Souray’s a tough player so it had to be fairly painful for him to stop. Hopefully it’ll just be that game he missed and not longer. The Canadiens defence picked up the slack for the most part but looked a little tired with everyone picking up more ice time.

    Bouillon looked like the warrior he is dishing out and receiving hits without blinking. He seems fully recovered from his injury and you can tell thrives on these type of games.

    So what happens now? The Canadiens are returning to Montreal with 2 games in their pocket and no doubt a wild reception at the Bell Center. If the Canes were any other team in this situation you’d almost guarantee a Canadiens series victory. The Canes showed their resilience and skill battling back against the Habs and at times looked too much for the Canadiens to handle. Although badly bruised they can still put up a fight. Remember the Canadiens last playoff victory against Boston when they started 0-2 before winning in 7. The key difference, they lost 2 on the road not at home.

    Cam Ward will most likely get the start and give the Canes a level playing field to start the game. The Canadiens will have to do more of the same and take advantage of a young inexperienced goalie while getting strong play from Huet. It’s tough not to pick the Canadiens right now and if they manage the 3rd win the sweep is almost a lock. That would be the story of the year in the NHL and propel the Habs into the next round as the biggest gun in the league.

19 Comments
  1. #1 SaskHab says:
    April 25, 2006 at 11:48 am

    I can’t wait to hear 21,273 crazy fans when the series restarts in Montreal tomorrow. It will be mayhem for sure. That last game was so intense it made the win that much more rewarding. Only winning on home ice could have made it better. We now get a chance to see that for the next couple of games. The important thing is to be unrelenting and prevent Carolina from gaining any momentum. I don’t know if we’d be the big gun in the league with a sweep of these ‘Canes, but we would certainly earn some respect.

  2. #2 USHabsFan says:
    April 25, 2006 at 12:05 pm

    What I really liked about last night’s win, now that my heart has slowed down:

    1. Habs came back after going down early – critical to get through adversity and have the confidence to ride out tough spots.

    2. Goaltending didn’t save us – the rest of the team picked up a lot of slack. We need Huet to play well, but if he’s not, we can still win big games.

    3. Took the second one on the road – goal for an away start is a split, the Habs took both and head back home. Winning the second one is so much tougher than winning the first.

    We all know the playoffs are like a whole different sport from the regular season, and that you want the guys who kick it up a notch instead of the guys who disappear, but this whole team has picked it up. They’ve done what they needed to do and more, let’s hope they keep it up. Same deal as before, don’t let the Canes run away with one, keep it close, wear them down.

  3. Did the Habs kill their spirit with a 6-1 win and this one in OVERTIME. Almost but you can bet Carolina is in panic mode to the extreme …wondering what just ran over them:=) As I said befor the Habs in 6….. I hope I am wrong …sweep would taste so nice.

  4. PENALTY – PENALTY – PENALTY – PENALTY – PENALTY – PENALTY – PENALTY –

    Yeah, the Habs won it. But damn can someone explain me what the Referee are doing ?

    Sometimes they call the penalties sometimes they don’t. Why can’t they just call all of them or none of them ? I tought they were suppose to call them for BOTH teams.

    The canes were winning all the games and the referees gave lot of penalties to the habs, yeah they deserved them but, to let the canes come back. Yes, there should have been a penalty to Komisarek for his cross-check, but there should have been plenty of penalties to the canes that weren’t called.

    In the first match too, in the first and second period, a lot of penalities to the canes weren’t called. I hope the Habs get the same help from the referee in montreal.

    Btw : Aren’t we happy to have a guy like Komisarek at montreal. I was happy when the habs drafted him has his first pick few years ago, they needed a guy like him and with coach Bob Gainey, he is playing well.

    What about Bonk, in the first two games in the playoff he is playing soo well. He is probably not tired at all from not playing much in the season but now he is playing incredible, hope he continu that way. But then, what we do with him next year ? Same for Zednik…

    Ribeiro is playing well with Kovalev too.

    And what can we say about Koivu ? He didn’t play his best game, hope he get some points in the home games.

    Go Habs Go !!! Go Habs Go !!! Go Habs Go !!! Go Habs Go !!! Go Habs Go !!!

  5. #5 aurel says:
    April 25, 2006 at 1:41 pm

    Souray was missed during the power plays, especially in overtime where Rivet could not find the net. However, did anyone else notice that there were a lot less turnovers in the Habs end with Souray out. In any event the next game is crucial. The Habs cannot let the Canes back into the series as they are too good a team. Also, the Canes all out offence system looked suspect last night as they seem to be able to go one way only. When they don’t have the puck they don’t seem to know what to do. Go Habs.

  6. I recall reading quite a bit of negative comments with regard to Kovalev in the media, occasionally on this blog, etc. I don’t know why though. What more could you want from a hockey player? This guy is extremely gifted, makes remarkable passes (most of the time), has a wrist shot from hell, is a proven playoff performer, AND can play a very physical game. Who WOULDN’T want this guy on their team? I mean seriously. Even after that ‘Ow, my wrist hurts’ boner in last season’s playoffs against Boston–at which time I claimed that he owed the Habs two victories–he came back and almost single-handedly won the next two games for Montreal. So, all was forgotten on that one.

    Anyway…

    Koivu has been a complete non-factor in this series so far. Man, if he ever got it going as well…

    Anyway.

    ‘Why can’t they just call all of them or none of them ? I tought they were suppose to call them for BOTH teams.’

    There, you’ve gone and identified every hockey fan’s misery when it comes to the inconsistency of the NHL. Refs are NOT supposed to decide the outcome of a game! Ever! And they almost did again last night. It’s disgusting and unacceptable. Call them both ways. The end.

  7. Agreed about Souray on the PP, forgot to mention that. Maybe he could have buried all the missed Rivet chances. Rivet just has no offensive touch whatsoever.

  8. #8 VanFan says:
    April 25, 2006 at 2:55 pm

    Gainey is the real hero. The whole team emulates Bob Gainey! Way to go! The memory of the Habs-Canes 2002 series is still fresh in my mind. Please don’t let up, habs! On T.V., Les Habitants appear to be a faster and stronger team on the road. I hope the team and fans rally to eliminate Carolina at the Bell.

    Passing note, I hate it when players like Doug Weight whine and pine for penalties to be called! I swear that one of the Cane players bit his lip to draw blood from a scab to get a 4-minute penalty called… man, that’s Acting, not hockey.

    Go habs!

  9. #9 Stephen O says:
    April 25, 2006 at 7:22 pm

    Why isn’t Koivu producing, as the earlier comment remarks? Is it something that can be fixed? I agree that with an elite Koivu we’re nearly all the way.

    And look at behind the bench! Gainey, Carbonneau, Jarvis: 4 Selke trophies, 3 Selke trophies, 1 Selke trophy. Next, 7 Stanley Cups as a player; 1 as G.M., 3 Stanley Cups, 5 Stanley Cups. Jarvis the league’s all-time iron-man.
    So, watch when we score: all three stone-faced! They’ll probably smile when we win the cup.
    Imagine what it’s like as a player with *that* coaching staff behind you on the bench! And then laugh at the Canuckleheads having lightweight *Mark Crawford* chirping at you ….

  10. #10 riggs says:
    April 25, 2006 at 8:26 pm

    What is it with Bob Cole and Harry Neale broadcasting a Habs game. These two guys are dying a silent death. They would love nothing more than to see the Habs get killed. They are so anti Habs that it not even funny. Get rid of these two homies.

  11. #11 HabsBoy4Life says:
    April 25, 2006 at 8:44 pm

    It’s well established that Koivu has been virtually invisible in the series thus far. I think it’s entirely possible that he’s injured/sick and the organization is doing a good job keeping a lid on the situation.

  12. His ice time was definitely next to nothing. Is it possible the coaching aren’t pleased with his leadership? I dont know. He may be nursing an injury…..if he can get firing though….lookout

  13. #13 riser8 says:
    April 25, 2006 at 9:30 pm

    I thought the Habs played two great road games and were full value for the two wins. I am not too worried about Koivu as he will pull his game up a notch before this series is over. Its great that all four lines are playing well and I really like Plekanecs line for their speed and determination. The injury to Souray could become a concern if it keeps him out for more than one game. Another big game tomorrow night as the Habs try and put a stranglehold on the series. Look for another great effort from the boys, and if they can play as smart as they did in Carolina they should prevail….but it wont be easy.

  14. #14 Gumper says:
    April 25, 2006 at 10:16 pm

    Yes, Koivu’s play is very puzzling. He’s playing like the odd man out and ironically, alot like Bonk used to play. He’s not looking confident at all and he should be drawing off the overall team success to find a groove somehow. He’s in a slump and when that’s happening to a good player, it has an opposite effect ’cause he’s trying too hard. That said, it’s a good thing his ice time is curtailed because in last night’s game, he was more of a liability than a plus. come on Kap’n Koivu,.. shake it off dude!

  15. Hell of a time for a slump.

  16. Do you think maybe koivu is just getting really frustrated from loosing all those face-offs? It’s not an easy task to have laid on you against a team like the Canes; especially with the majority of them being against brind’amour. Isn’t he the league’s leading face-off guy?

  17. #17 John says:
    April 26, 2006 at 1:56 am

    Koivu’s playing has been sub-par in this series so far. But I have faith that he will shine in the forthcoming games. Besides, his linemates have been good – that will likely rub off on him. As for Kovalev, what a player! Most people don’t know that his skating abilities are due in large part because he grew up figure skating! Go figure, apparently, Togliatti, Russia, is famous for producing world-class figure skaters. This is probably why he could turn on a dime…in any case, the rest of the team is pulling together and seems to have tons of character. Ribeiro needs to add a bit more weight on his 175-lb frame. He’s not solid enough. Bouillon is a little piece of steel, and as long as Zednik keeps his mind off his hot wife, he’ll continue to do well.

    Go Habs Go!

  18. #18 Gumper says:
    April 26, 2006 at 11:07 am

    Ah man, Boullion gets double teamed pasted by Recchi and Weight.. remember that? ..and “he” comes out of that one with the puck. Did he throw his arms up like a woman? NO. This guy puts to rest, the myth that french Canadians are soft. Even more-so, because he’s one of the smallest guys in the league… and he’s a defenceman to boot. At any rate, I don’t think Bou’s 100% yet. How’s Begin shaping up? When is he expected back?

  19. #19 mrvulguy says:
    April 26, 2006 at 4:21 pm

    Begin is truly missed in this line-up. Even though they are winning the series… Begin brings some extra intensity for the playoffs. He’s a fierce competitor. I hope his knee is good enough for him to play soon. What is Souray’s injury? Can a puck to the nuts really keep him out for more than a game? His presence also adds to the Canadiens’ confidence. And last of all, Captain Koivu needs to step it up a notch. I think if those three elements start to come together with the rest of the team then watch out for a run to the finals. Everything is falling in to place nicely: Hot Goalie, Kovalev on fire, Ryder is steady, Defence is solid, and a strong supporting crew with Higgins, etc

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