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The Final Stretch

  • The Habs have just six games remaining in their regular season schedule. The battle for the playoffs is fierce and involving several teams rather than just a couple.

    The Canadiens take on the Rangers tonight and once more before the season’s end. Needless to say the team that does better in those meetings is going to have a better chance at the post-season.

    Both teams are coming in hot, the Rangers with the NHL’s hottest goalie are riding a 5 game winning streak. The Habs accomplished their job of beating the non-contending teams and will face a stiffer challenge in the last stretch.

    6-0 to finish the year would be ideal, but improbable. A record of 4-2 might be what the Habs need to slide into one of the remaining spots. As long as those victories include the games against the Rangers and Leafs. As always, the extra point can and will continue to haunt the Canadiens who without that rule, would currently be above Carolina in the standings.

    If the Habs do lose, the Ottawa and Buffalo games would be the place to do it without giving up too much ground. Although the Habs have challenged against Buffalo in nearly every game this year.

    There’s simply too many options, too many potential results and outcomes involving too many teams. The season will probably come down to the last game of the year in Toronto. Maybe even the day after as the Islanders will play their final game on the following Sunday.

    Bottom line, the playoffs are attainable. If the Canadiens focus and win their important games, the rest will take care of itself. It’s for them to earn and prove they belong.

    Three teams will be in, and three will miss by a hair. Victory, and bitter bitter defeat.

    Either way, this is exciting. This is what hockey’s all about. The best time of year for hockey starts tonight and the Bell Centre will be jumping.

142 Comments
  1. Great fu@kin win and I got no egg on me,oh yeah ,go habs go, yeah haaaaa !!!

  2. #2 CANADIENS-DAWG says:
    March 27, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    I feel bad for Halak. He played his heart out tonight. NY should have only had 1 goal. Now Halak’s GAV is shot again. Those F_cking D-Men.

    Outstanding job Halak. Way to go Kid.

  3. #3 OncEaHaB says:
    March 27, 2007 at 10:23 pm

    The sky did not fall! The first and third definately weren’t the best periods of hockey, but lets hope they focus on what they did in period 2 and bring that to bear v Ottawa and v Buffalo.

    Drive for 25!

    GO HABS GO.

  4. Well, that was a good game. Good to see Kovalev and Captain Koivu picking it up at this point in the season. Currently in seventh place and another game against the sixth place Rangers left to go.

  5. #5 West Coast habs Fan says:
    March 27, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    Hey.. missed the game (just got home) But I am pretty happy with that!

  6. #6 West Coast habs Fan says:
    March 27, 2007 at 10:25 pm

    Hey.. missed the game (just got home) But I am pretty happy with the results!

  7. #7 OncEaHaB says:
    March 27, 2007 at 10:25 pm

    I agree DAWG, Halak showed he deserves to wear the CH! I think he played well, despite the goals. Way to go Halak!

  8. #8 R habs 4 real says:
    March 27, 2007 at 10:28 pm

    That 3rd period made me real nervous. Is it possible for us to play 60 minutes?
    Have we EVER played for 60 minutes this season?
    They’re making these games closer than they should be. Don’t know why. laziness maybe? Ok, we’re in 8th place, but leafs are really coming on. Tho I hate them, I have to give leafs credit because they played for 60 minutes tonight, and we didn’t. And I guess we were a little bit lucky too. But you know the old saying: ” I’d rather be lucky than good”!
    the next game we’ll be very tough in Ottawa, and if we stsrt that game the same way we started this one, it will be lights out, in a hurry.
    So, somehow Carbo will need to give his team a pep talk about coming out and skating the 1st period. Good luck on Friday guys.

  9. #9 CANADIENS-DAWG says:
    March 27, 2007 at 10:30 pm

    I don’t care what anyone says in here, if Halak can see the puck he will stop it 99% of the time.

    Maybe he is our Dominik Hasek. Just maybe. It doesn’t hurt to wish.

  10. Hey guys ,let’s not forget we just beat one of the hottest teams ,with the hottest goalie,the Habs did great,so stop with any neg action and savor the win,ummm,ya that’s real good !!!

  11. #11 OncEaHaB says:
    March 27, 2007 at 10:37 pm

    Actually Rob, we’re in 8th, Tampa is still in 7th. (Post 104)

    It would be nice to see 3 full periods of effort, but they’ve shown they can play well. Its now up to them to bring that for 60 minutes each game.

    The third period wasn’t as atrocious as some of late. At least they still managed to get some offence. Still not up to Montreal standards tho.

    Time now to focus on impeaching some Senators!

    GO HABS GO!

  12. #12 Joshtm says:
    March 27, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    That was a pathetic third period! Even though we won. Hooray, now the Islanders did us a favour. I told you that Dipietro would fold up and crumple like he has done before. Concussions are hard things to recover from.

    I can’t believe that Carbo gave Dandenault and Bouilly that much ice time! No wonder we almost lost the lead. Even though it was a bad bounce off Lapierre and Bonk screened Halak, the knockout punch of Dandenault and Bouillon took out the sails of the Habs.

    I still cannot see what Carbo and Gainey see in Dandenault and Bouillon!

    Bouillons tripping of Halak, Dandenaults repeating give aways in the third period, if it was not for the Rangers’ penalties, (thanks Komisarek and Lapierre!) they would have grinded their way back to the lead.

    The Rangers showed that Gainey needs to bench permanently Dandenault and Bouillon. There is no excuse now and don’t play Niinima unless you hook him up with Gorges! And don’t bench Gorges anymore!

    Honestly, what are Carbo and Gainey thinking, not benching a crappy defense like Dandenault but benching Gorges!

  13. #13 CANADIENS-DAWG says:
    March 27, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    When your goalie is playing great and has confidence such as Halak you have to play offence. If you make a mistake or two your goalie will make the big saves.

    Why can’t Montreal grasp this concept.

    If Montreal plays defensive with a lead they will almost blow it every time.

    Come on Carbo brighten up.

    Anyway great outcome.

    Go Habs Go.

    Thank you to all, of the teams that helped us get into 8th spot.

  14. coutNY_HAbs fan:

    Loved post #4. You must also be American because Canadians no longer speak that way, but I agree with you 100%. With Boston haven beaten Ottawa tonight, the Habs have nothing to fear in facing the Sens on Friday. If the Habs just keep wanting it more than the other team, no one can take it away from us anymore.

    I was worried that I was seeing the ghosts of the past few years when the Habs started to fade in the third. However, good teams don’t let their beaten opponent get back up again. Tonight, the Habs proved to the rest of the league that they are actually a good team.

    This also relates to a point that I was trying to make all season to some of the other bloggers on this site. Good teams don’t become good teams through signing UFAs, trade deadline rentals, cheap shoting their opponents or talking trash. Good teams are creating by a group of guys surviving together through adversity and supporting each other. I think that we have a real team in Montreal now.

    Go Habs Go.

  15. #15 coutNY_HabsFan says:
    March 27, 2007 at 10:50 pm

    They say Depietro will be back possibly bye the end of the week… They pulled Ward today. And NYI Back up. Must had been the pull your goalie night…

  16. #16 CANADIENS-DAWG says:
    March 27, 2007 at 11:00 pm

    If Montreal is to keep winning the D-Men have to stay out of Halak’s way and clear the net.

    Can’t Carbo see in the replays that Halak is beening screened and the D-Men are not taking the man in front and sides of the net.

  17. #17 R habs 4 real says:
    March 27, 2007 at 11:02 pm

    I guess Carolina didn’t show up either, because Chad Kilger scored 2 goals?
    Is that the same crappy player who couldn’t make it with the habs? Maybe leafs will have nothing left for their game on Thursday in Atlanta. Go thrashers! I think TB won’t make it because of bad goaltending. same for NYI. If we can win back to back Friday and Saturday, then we have a chance.

  18. #18 coutNY_HabsFan says:
    March 27, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    Thanks for the props Rob. These guys are playing some inspiring Hockey. It’ll be nice to go into the playoffs period, but even better with the confidence of beating the best to get there… So true about Good teams!

    Seems Carbo held off on playing Kostitsyn early in the third. He should know by now that our best Defense is when we are pressuring on Offense. We can not sit on leads!

  19. #19 Joshtm says:
    March 27, 2007 at 11:30 pm

    The race is so tight, I can’t believe Carbo took a chance by not playing Gorges!

    And the sad part in all of this, instead of blaming Dandenault and Bouillon for Halak’s performance, Carbo is gonna gamble with Huet the next game. Huet who has not been hot, Huet who has lost it.

    Halak is hot, why would Carbo play someone who has not proven himself in almost thirty games? The slump that we went into, thanks to Kaptain Koivu and his hooks, and the pathetic defense duo of Dandy and Bouilly, and the let down by the vets when the rookies were not there…guess who was also in a slump? And guess who has not broken out of his slump? Huet.

    At a time when we need every win, Carbo is gambling a safe spot in the playoffs. The same coach who sent down the rookies when they were hot, the same coach who relies on leagues worst Defense Duo of Dandenault and Bouillon? What is wrong with Carbo? Honestly.

  20. #20 R habs 4 real says:
    March 27, 2007 at 11:41 pm

    I agree that we need to continue pressing, and being aggressive all game long. Trying to protect a lead, is always a mistake. when the habs are skating and on the offence, they’re playing their best. they aren’t good enough defensively, to play that style. Only NJ can get away with it. Carbo needs to learn that the best defence is a good offence. Just keeping the puck in the opposition’s zone, will win games. Too bad Carbo is so defensive minded. that means he will concentrate more on D, than scoring. And their D men need to stand closer to the blueline when defending against a shot, rather than back in on their goalie. Halak needs to see the puck in order to stop it. They’re too close to him, and screening him hurts us more.

  21. #21 Don Carnage says:
    March 27, 2007 at 11:58 pm

    LOL Josh defending Gorges , I am sure you were the first to say how shitty he was , Josh go back to the leafs blog and do the world a favor , Another win and again we see the babies crying ……. unreal you guys need to support your team not critize all the time , for crying out loud we chased the league’s best goalie in 1 1/2 periods …….

  22. #22 Joshtm says:
    March 28, 2007 at 12:06 am

    Hey I never said Gorges was shitty get your facts straight Don Carnage, and you go back to your laffs blog you fool! Honestly.

    You sound like a real laffs fan Don#@#$#Carnage you prick!

    So when are you gonna roll our your old folgies from the retirement home and play those black and white photos of the last time the laffs won? HMMM….maybe when the laffs celebrate a hundred and one years of the last time they won the cup you might see the cup in TO….not!!!! face it the laffs will never have it again, not for all the payoffs and rule changes that Bettman wants…too bad!

  23. #23 Joshtm says:
    March 28, 2007 at 12:35 am

    I feel sorry for Don Carnage, never having seen a stanley cup in his pathetic life…probably never will ever see the stanley cup in TO neither for the remainder of his sad pathetic life…oh well.

    Statistically the Laffs are eliminated, if you look at their remaining schedule vs. that of the habs and the rangers and the islanders and the hurricanes.

    The year has worn down the laffs, Tucker and Wellwood can’t keep it up and Raycroft is hit and miss. Sundin is just not talented enough to be there for all the games…oh the sad tale of the laffs!

    The canes are too tired from the year, they have used up their reserves. The Islanders don’t have decent goal tending to pull them out, and the Rangers have lost patience and don’t have the where withal to keep up the schedule.

    But if you look at the Habs, with the rookies, that is a different matter. Now if Gainey and Carbo decide to bench any of the rookies including Halak, that could be a different matter altogether. Similarly if they don’t bring up at least a couple of more rookies the hectic year end play could very well eliminate the habs.

    As long as Carbo and Gainey don’t mess with the mix now, bring Gorges back and maybe bring up either Grabby or Milroy to buck up the size and speed, Montreal has a chance.

    All they have to do is win a few more, whereas the other teams by losing, give up points. Even the Sabres are showing the weak side, late in the year.

    The mark of a good GM is to use up the reserves at the right time. Or use the rookies when they are hot like some of the leaders and include a few good trades and you are guaranteed a playoff berth.

    The only problem is Gainey did not trade for a decent forward or defense and all we got was someone to play stable pony to Ninnima. Now I wonder whether Butterfly Biron there, could also be a stable pony to the other underachieving defense Boully? We don’t know how Biron would do, maybe he is just what we need, size, but no the sting, hench float like a butterfly and get stung…or even D’Agostini or Chippy….anyone is better than Dandy or Boully….

    You see Don Carnage a true Habs fan wants to win, not be content with just a win. But I guess that is why the laffs will never get a cup…

  24. #24 stevejur says:
    March 28, 2007 at 12:49 am

    Kovalev that’s my boy.
    It’s time and the sleeping giant has awoke.

    Load up the AK27 and the playoffs here we come.

  25. #25 Habs#1 says:
    March 28, 2007 at 12:50 am

    Wow, do you have anything better to so at night then to come on here and trash Gainey and Carbo, then troll other people here?

    Seriously you need to get out more.

  26. Unbelievable, it’s kind of like being stuck in a nightmare with both Sergei Samsanov and Darcy Tucker at the same time.

    One won’t stop saying the same stupid thing over and over, and the other acts like a loser even when his team wins.

    That being said. I do believe that ignoring that nonsense is the way to go.

  27. #27 habs phan says:
    March 28, 2007 at 1:46 am

    What a feeling!!!! our Habs are back!!!!

  28. #28 fan4066 says:
    March 28, 2007 at 7:09 am

    The stars were all alligned last night…..Canes lose, Tampa loses….the Rangers lose….and were are we in all of this….SOLE POSESSION OF 8TH PLACE….YOU GO HABS, KICK THE SHIT OUT OF ALL OF EM!!!!!!

    Koivu had 4 freakin assists!! man thats awesome, Kovalev had 2 nets. Things just clicked last night. If we could beat Lundguvst and the hot Rangers last night, we should be able to kick some big ass coming up!

  29. #30 Don Carnage says:
    March 28, 2007 at 8:07 am

    No a true habs fans does not bash the GM and Coach everyday , and bash players left right and center day in day out.

    I support the team no matter what happens, and I wont bash a GM in his second year and a coach in his first.

    Go figure that …

    Looking a little better this morning , one more night with the hockey gods on our side and this might just work out in our favor.

  30. #31 fan4066 says:
    March 28, 2007 at 8:19 am

    the Ranger win was HUGE. That may have helped us hang on to that spot the rest of the way. Look at the Canes, they lost a game they should have won, really, but the beat SJ, go figure I guess

  31. #32 Don Carnage says:
    March 28, 2007 at 8:34 am

    R habs 4 real
    Posted on March 27th, 2007 at 8:17 pm. About ‘The Final Stretch’.

    I T’S O V E R ! I T ‘S O V E R!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    THE HABS DID NOT SHOW UP IN THE MOST IMPORTANT GAME OF THE SEASON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    PATHETIC ! NO SKATING! NO OFFENCE! NO DEFENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    NO PLAYOFFS THIS YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    THIS TEAM DOESN’T CARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    NO HEART! NO DESIRE! NO ANYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’M FED UP WITH LOSERS!
    THEY DIDN’T EVEN TRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Yes here we have a true habs fan what a winner this guy is !!

  32. #33 CANADIENS-DAWG says:
    March 28, 2007 at 8:43 am

    I wonder if you guys can help me out.

    The good news is, our Hbas are on a roll.

    The bad news is my wife kicked me out of our bed.

    Why? you will ask.

    Well when Montreal won the first game of the streak that they are on, I vowed not to shave or shower hoping it will bring them luck through to the end of the year. I think that it is working. The down side is I am getting pretty “RIPE” right about now. The “HOBO” look is working for the Habs but not for my wife. And my co-workers are not impressed as well.

    What shall I do.

    I guess I should change my name to “STINKY-DAWG”……

  33. #34 OncEaHaB says:
    March 28, 2007 at 9:18 am

    Hey Stinky-Dawg, way to take one for the team… Don’t worry, its only about one and half more weeks until the reg season ends…. If they continue to win though, you may have to continue to be Stinky-Dawg throughout the playoffs…

    Eventually, you’ll just be Dirty-Dawg

  34. #35 smiler2729 says:
    March 28, 2007 at 9:36 am

    All’s I know is when the Habs were stumbling thru January and February, many on this blog were happily spewing their bullshit about how Carbo sucked, Gainey was an idiot, Kovalev was a piece of shit, trade Souray, release Samsonov, Koivu’s got no talent, etc…
    I, along with a select bunch, defended this team with the exception of finally agreeing the Samsonov experiment was a bust. A lot of us wanted the injection of youth and we got it and we were proven right. And I’m glad, like I’ve said along, that we have Bob Gainey. He sticks to his guns and believes in his guys from the coaches to the farm and shows that patience is the key to everything.
    So, yeah, where is joshtm and his ilk??? Where are they when we are winning???

    Sweet.

    PS. And I have always been a Kovalev supporter (read back and I was always defending or supporting the guy much to the chagrin of many here), he is just the way he is and I accept it, he will seem to float and not care but when the chips are down, he always shines and this team would be nowhere without him or the calibre of player he is.

  35. #36 Habs#1 says:
    March 28, 2007 at 10:19 am

    Just wait till next year when Kovalev has even less goals heading into March. Think of him like the Shaquille O’Neal of hockey, he dosen’t give a shit until the playoffs are on his doorstep and because of this the Habs may not make it. He plays during glory time. He plays well during a time that makes him look like a hero. It’s as plain and simple as that. He thinks about himself 24/7, never the team.

    Fall in love with him now cause he’ll be even worse next year.

    If this guy tried all year long the Habs may still be in 4th place in the East.

    I will never like Kovalev no matter what he does in the playoffs or the games leading up to them, but I’m done complaining. I’m just going to enjoy this run for the playoffs for better or worse.

  36. #37 CANADIENS-DAWG says:
    March 28, 2007 at 10:31 am

    I just was looking at the comments on TSN.ca by the Laff fans about the Laff win last night.

    They predict a 6th place finnish and The Stanley Cup. Raycroft is the next Ken Dryden.

    The Laff Fans are pathetic. They win one game and the Cup is theirs…

  37. #38 CANADIENS-DAWG says:
    March 28, 2007 at 10:59 am

    Are there any Maple Laffs Blogs that I can go into and harass the pathetic Laff Fans?

  38. #39 fan4066 says:
    March 28, 2007 at 11:06 am

    What a crock of bull-shit. The Laffs are not making it!

    I look at the standings and see this. Montreal CAN finish 6th for sure. They are 1 point behind the Rangers. Toronto, Carolina , Iles have a game in hand. But, Montreal has more wins than any of those teams, which is also HUGE leverage in this race. I think they will make it in for sure…they keep playing like this, they will meet Atlanta and beat the snot out of them

    #6 Montreal
    #7 NYR
    #8 Carolina

  39. #40 CANADIENS-DAWG says:
    March 28, 2007 at 11:23 am

    We better hope that the Hurricanes die down to a tropical depression or we will have company in 8th spot.

    I don’t have any faith that the Fyers will beat the Canes tonight. Not after the Canes got their Asses kick last night. The canes have something to prove tonight that they can bounce back.

    This race is too damn close..OH ME NERVES. DER RUBBED RITE RAW.

  40. #41 The Truth says:
    March 28, 2007 at 11:36 am

    ‘The Laff Fans are pathetic. They win one game and the Cup is theirs…’

    Sounds like a lot of fans on this board.

    The truth is that both fanbases are passionate to the point of schizophrenic ;) Hopefully the Habs can get in at 6 and the Leafs at 8 because my family is split so at least a round of playoffs for the Toronto half to keep them happy.

  41. #42 Joseph says:
    March 28, 2007 at 11:22 pm

    Speaking of three point games, I hate them, and I hope that the NHL will do away with the overtime loss point (what???) after this season. It’s entirely stupid. If you lose, you lose. As a result of this ridiculous system, teams with more WINS (see Habs) than teams with more overtime LOSSES (see Leafs, Canes and Isles) are struggling down the stretch to overtake those teams for a spot in the playoffs. Silly? Entirely.

    Further, thanks to the three-point-game system, it is very likely that eleven (11!) teams will finish with 100 or more points this season. Eleven!

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