Saturday, March 22, 2008

Not What I Was Hoping For.


I woke up this morning later than usual. For me, 9 AM is a good hour to wake up on a weekend. I am a morning person and I love being lazy on weekend mornings, doing nothing except watching stupid YouTube videos and reading about the Habs.

Anyways, back to today. Today I received a phone call at 11:45 from my cousin; I rolled myself out of bed and answered the phone with more of a growl then a "hello"
Anyways.... back to what I wanted to say.

So I was doing my usual Habs reading when I say something that scared me: KOMISAREK OUT MINIMUN 3 WEEKS WITH LOWER BACK INJURY.

Mikey (As I like to call him) is having a career year with leading the league in blocked shots and hits. He brings an irreplaceable playfulness to the locker room.
This will be the first major player that we have lost this year due to injury. It will be exciting to see how O’Byrne will step us his game and try to fill that physical role.

On a more important note. Who will be asked to take over the 8th spot of defense? Will Brisebois play? Dandenault? Or will Streit be moved back to defense?

Personally I would like to rather Streit be moved back to defense, however what would that match ups be. With Komisarek, he was perfect for Markov. Markov is a fast offensive Defenseman who loved to join the rush. But who on our lineup can play that Strong defensive role? The quick answer would be O’Byrne, but I would be scared to place him there because he is still a rookie and is sometimes out of position. Streit? He isn’t a strong enough backwards skater and is sometimes afraid to use his body. Brisebois? Please, don’t even get me started. It is because of this that I feel that Dandenault will get the call.

Check back later for updates.
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Guillaume Latendresse will also miss the game with neck spasms. Ouch... Anyways, expect Bryan Smolinski and Steve B├ęgin (YES!!!) back in the lineup. Also expect Streit to play defense. I still would rather dandenault play. But then again, we aren't keepingf him so whats the point. I guess Streit is better in the long run.

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For the fun of if, try and come up with your own line combinations. Try to think of each players styles and who they would play best with.

Friday, March 21, 2008

M-V-P!

First Of All...


___________________________________________________________________


It's really been a luxury to Canadiens fans to see AK-27 strut his stuff every night this season. I didn't jump on his bandwagon this season, I liked him last season and the season before and even when he did nothing in his first 12 games here. I just always liked him. My friends, my father judged him by his offensive output. I just liked the moves he makes with such ease. Last year he showed up only on some night, but i accepted it.

This season. Without Kovy, we'd be nowhere and that's a given. Not only has he taken the entire team on his shoulders and taken them up a mountain to first place, but he has also jump-started the careers of Andrei Kostitsyn and Tomas Plekanec. Every night, even on an off night, there is some move that makes you jump.

What sticks out for me this season so far in terms of highlights, after Kostitsyn's three goals; I think of when he hurt his thumb, and on the next shift, as if proving to everyone that he's okay, he pulled out these dekes, and this pass a-la-Bure, kicking it and passing it back. Then i think of when he lost his glove against the Bruins, had the puck, picked up his glove while maintain control of the puck. Anyway I'm not going through all my memories of this memorable season, what Iwanted to get at was my favorite Kovalev move. The Backwards spin. I think he used that move for the first time last season in an Overtime against the Sabres. I think. and it was sick. He does it every now and then, and its actually one of the best moves in his arsenal. Last night was picture perfect. On Chara, scores. As weak as it was, WOW! Ditto on the second goal. Weak but WOW!

I still think that if Washington makes the playoffs, Ovechkin, or Malkin, but Kovy has to be in the MVP race. He has to be.

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Lines were rolling again last night, our rejuvenated Captain is delivering, and I think its a matter of time before Higgins and Ryder get their 45343rd chance to reunite with Saku. Kostopolous dropped the gloves finally, I've been getting frustrated, when we've been losing lately I've wanted to see someone drop the gloves, just for the sake of dropping them. Against Ottawa or something, it was nice to see TK defend my boy Andrei.

Grabovski is too small. He actually just gets bounced around. He needs to put on thirty pounds or so, so he doesn't go flying every time he gets touched.

I love Lapierre. Missed him the last few games.

Hope Komisarek isn't out for too long, but Streit can definitely get it done on D while he's gone. Ryan O'Bryne will get a nice increase in playing time, so we'll see how he responds to that. Gorgeous Gorges was the guy who got the extra playing time in the first period before Carbo re-adjusted things. He played just under 23 minutes, which was second on the team. Second game in a row that he was second in minutes to Markov. Thought that was interesting.

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See You at the Bell Tomorrow. It would be psycho if they do it, and I'm gonna go against my gut, and pick Les Habitants to pull through yet again, 4-1 over the Bruins tomorrow night.


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Quote Of The Week:

"I feel good. A little bored, but good."

-Richard Zednik, March 20

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Going for 10 in a row

The Habs go for the 10th straight win against the Bruins Thursday night in Boston.It is the first game of a home and home series between the two teams

This season the Habs have outscored the Bruins 32-12 this season, including two occasions with 7 or more goals.

Carey Price Gets the call, after sitting out the last 2 games, and looks to get the team back on the winning side after a shootout loss to the St-Louis Blues. Price has faced the Bruins 3 times this season, obviously winning all 3 contests.

The Bruins are beginning to look like the Canadiens of recent years due to their inconsistency. One night they look as if they could be one of the most dominant teams in the East, and then the next night they get shutout and let in 8 goals.

This game will be interesting as it may be a potential playoff preview seeing as the Habs are currently matched up against the Bruins. More interesting though is how the losing team (cough! cough! the Bruins) recovers on Saturday night at the Bell Center .

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

We'll take it

The Canadiens tie the New Jersey Devils for the Eastern Conference lead after a 4-3 shootout loss to the St-Louis Blues on Tuesday. On paper, it was a game that the Habs should have won effortlessly, but came up short to a team that played like they had nothing to lose.


It was a game that the Blues took control of from the very start. Keith Tkachuk scored the opening goal on a 5-3 powerplay, 5 min into the game. Chris Higgins then scored his first goal in the last 10 games, and then Saku Koivu gave the Habs the lead 10 minutes into the second period. But the Habs held their only lead of the game for 47 seconds, after Andy McDonald caught Jaroslav Halak off guard. Brad Boyes gave the Blues the lead, until Mikhail Grabovski tied it up with 10 minutes left in the 3rd. Overtime solved nothing, and Saku Koivu missed a golden opportunity to give the Habs the lead in the shootout, and could not solve Manny Legace in the Shootout.

The game was Halak's first ever loss at the Bell Centre, and gave a performance he would surely like to have back. He made 25 saves in the loss and was caught off guard several times giving the Blues many great chances to score.

It was also possibly the worst game for the Pleckanec-Kovalev-A. Kostitsyn line all season, registering no point and generating very few scoring chances.

On the plus side, while the first line was not succeeding, the habs other lines really stepped up. The reunited line of Koivu-Higgins-Ryder played very well combining for 4 points, and Sergei Kostitsyn registered 2 assists, including one on the game tying goal by Mikhail Grabovski.

All in all, hats off to getting a point, but the Habs must play better down the stretch, especialy in the next 3 games.

The last "2 point game" of the season

The Canadiens face off against the St-Louis Blues Tuesday night, in what will be the final regular season game against a team not in the Northeast division.

Jaroslav Halak will get the start in goal after his shutout performance against the Islanders. He will in all likeliness face Manny Legace, who was one of the hottest goaltenders in the league, leading to the All-Star break.

The last time these two teams played each other was March 10th, 2007, where the Habs won the game 4-3. The Habs are 3-5-1 against Western conference teams this season, and are 1-2-1 against the Central Division.

The Blues currently sit 14th in the West and a loss will bring them ever so closer to being "officially" eliminated from playoff contention. The Habs must take advantage of this matchup as it will be their last meaningless game of the season. The rest of the schedule for the Habs this season contains 2 games against all 4 of their division rivals, each of them looking to either push for a playoff spot, or better secure their position. Toronto of course will in all likeliness try too hard to make a playoff push, but get stopped short and lose out on a good draft pick.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Goaltender Hot Seat?

Ah, Yes.

Jaro Halak is starting tomorrow night in goal. As much of a fan of Carey Price as I am, I think I like Halak just as much and I'm happy to see him get the call in goal tomorrow night. Halak will now get another chance to steal some of the job from Carey Price. He's 2-0 this season, 10-6 last season and he plays with confidence in goal. Gainey is looking better and better coming off the Huet trade. This is now the second time Gainey has managed to obtain something for nothing. (See Theodore, Jose).



Whether or not Halak takes his 9th straight home decision tomorrow night or not, Carey Price should be in goal Thursday when the Habs look for their 9th straight against the Broons.

It'll be interesting to see however, who is in goal Saturday against the Kryptonite Senators.

Price is 0-2 in three appearances against the Sens this season with 10 goals allowed(3.44 GAA) and a save percentage of .878

Halak lost in his only game against the Sens during the 06-07 season allowing 4 goals on 36 shots.

It will be an interesting decision for Carbo. One that will be even more interesting if Nos Canadiens do it again tomorrow night with Halak in goal.

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On another note, I liked the lines on Saturday night, but i missed Max Lapierre, i don't know why he was left out of the lineup. Chrissy Higgins looked okay with the Belarussians but obviously he missed a good 2-3 chances.

Mikey Ryder played a good game on Saku's wing but Latendresse was the beneficiary of a typical Saku pass on the insurance marker. A true Goal-scorer's goal for Guy, who tied his rookie total on the goal.

Plek and Andrei Kost were back in tune with AK-27 who again played with fire.

Nice to see.



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I have missed too many predictions, so I will post my prediction for the Blues game right now.

I'm tempted to predict another 3-0 win but i will say 3-1 to stay safe, for the Canadiens

Halak Attack!!!!!



With his current shutout streak at the Bell Center standing at approximately 495,441 minutes, Carbo decided to go with the same goaltender as Saturday.

Halak has never lost a game at the Bell Center while going 8-0. Not bad…

Halak stopped 30 shots Saturday, including an amazing late game pad save stop any chance of an Islanders rally. He was the game's first star.

During the post-game interview he showed that he's got the goalie's post game share-the-credit analysis. Whether he was coached by Price or Christobaul is undetermined so far.

"The whole team did a great job," Halak said. "They kept (the Islanders) shooting from the outside and when there was a rebound, they cleared it.
"I don't think about shutouts, I just think about the wins. Whenever and wherever we have a shutout, it's great."

Halak has played 160 minutes this season and has an incredible save percentage of .965 and an average of 1.13 goals against.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Habs remain in 2nd

With Ottawa losing 5-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday, the Habs remain in 2nd place in the East and first in the Northeast division.

The Habs, however, move into 2nd place in the goals scored category, 1 behind the Sens.

3rd straight shutout for Habs

3 different goaltenders have had shutouts in the last 3 games (obviously one was against the Habs but still a 3rd shutout). Jaroslav Halak is the latested goaltender to post a shutout for the Habs, in a 3-0 win against the New York Islanders on Saturday. He improves his record on the season to 2-0, and is 8-0 lifetime at the Bell Center.

Roman Hamrlik scored the game winner seven minutes into the second period, on the power play. Alex Kovalev also scored, netting his 31st goal of the season. Guillaume Latendresse scored the final goal of the game with two minutes to go, assisted by his new linemates Saku Koiu, and Michael Ryder.

The Habs now lead the Northeast division, with Ottawa playing tomorrow against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Happy St-Patrick's day
Hope we have more reason to celebrate tomorow afternoon.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A must win

The Canadiens face off tonight against the New York Islanders in what, like every game in the last two months, could be the most important game of the season. Only 3 point separates 1st and fifth place in the East (with Carolina weaseling their way to third thanks to technicalities), and the Habs can potentially reclaim 1st place with a win tonight.

The Habs lost their hold of first place in both the conference and the division with a loss to Ottawa on Thursday. The Sens, who lead the Northeast division thanks to their higher win total, have the night off tonight and play the Hurricanes tomorrow.

The Habs have really juggled the lineup tonight in order to shake off the horrific loss on Thursday. Jaroslav Halak, who has started just one game this season but holds a 7-0 record at the Bell Center, will get the start tonight. Chris Higgins will play alongside Mikhail Grabovski and Sergei Kostitsyn, while Saku Koivu will center a line with Guillaume Latendresse and Michael Ryder.

The last time these two teams faced off was on Superbowl weekend, where the Habs won the game convincingly 4-1.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Alright, I'm Done

Screw Life. I'm Jumping Off The Bandwagon.
See Ya!
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Just Kidding.
But you knew that, didnt you.
I figured you did.
Anyway, rough game tonight. Happends. Jusy I hope when we lose, we can at least score a goal, or like lose in the last minute of a 3-2 nail-biter. I'm starting to get fed up again with Chrissy Higgins. Until he starts living up to that 'A' and that talent, i'm gonna refer to him as Chrissy. In my wonderfully happy post Tuesday night, where i happily congratulated the whole team: "Rest of the Crew? Job Well Done." I suppose Chrissy falls into that crew because i didn't mention him anywhere else. But he certainly wasn't anything too special Tuesday. Tonight he was again MIA, as he has been for a good month or three. But c'mon DO SOMETHING MAN! Help your good ol' pal Saku. Help your team! Earn that 'A."
Kovalev played with fire tonight. Unfortunately his linemates didn't. Mark that one down, first time i put down my favorite player in about 3-4 years. Andrei didn't have it tonight. He did at least wreck what's his face at the end. Clean hit. Bad Nights happen. I forgive him thanks to the hit.
Plek Plek was missing a beat again tonight, much like Tuesday night. It's a tad more evident in a 3-0 loss than a 4-0 defeat, but i'll let him off easy cuz he's definitly has some flu lingering effects.

What more do i have to say. I'm tired, i feel like going to sleep.
The Habs will pack in it and come to the Bell Saturday fresh like this didn't happen, but i really hope we can beat the Sens sometime soon.

Oh. Nothing on Price's back tonight.
Mais Moi Je Veux Halak Samedi Soir.
Go-Habs-Go

Biggest game of the year


3 goal comeback versus the Devils before the All-Star break, historic 5 goal comeback against the Rangers, and Tuesdays 4-0 win against the Devils, all these can be considered the most important games of the 2008 season. None, however, are more important than the game against the Ottawa Senators tonight.

The Canadiens can take a 4 point lead for the Northeast division with a win over the Sens.

Carey Price, who is coming off his second career shutout, will make his 3rd straight start, versus martin Gerber, who will be starting his 7th straight game.

The last time these two clubs met, the Sens scored 3 goals in the opening 5 minutes to win the game 6-1. The Heatly-Alfredsson-Spezza line accounted for all 6 goals.

On the plus side, TSN reports that Daniel Alfredsson will be a game time decision tonight, but head coach Brian Murray expects him to miss his 5th straight game.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Carey! Carey!


The last two minutes of RDS HD telecast was all that needed to be heard. With the greats Pierre and Yvon mum except for a few words, it was left to the 21,273 strong at the Bell to tell the Story. What a Game against our nemesis. First time we win a season series against those guys in more than a decade.
In his post-game interview, Carey said that Brent Sutter being on the other end didn't change anything for him. This comes as no surprise seeing as this Goalie said "It was just like any other game" after his first NHL game. Nevertheless, with this performance Carey Price sent a message to the Devils, to Sutter and to the rest of the Eastern Conference. Bring It On!
We won't have to wait long for another test, seeing as the Sens come to town Thursday. They've been having their troubles but they still destroyed us 6-1 in the last meeting. Any time i see big #15 on the ice, i know we gotta watch out. Dany Heatley scored 3 tonight, and he'll be looking for more Thursday.

Every time Michael Ryder scores a goal, I cheer a bit louder. Same for Captain K. Before I get to Mikey Ryder, Captain K finally has turned it on, after all the S**T he has taken this year, Saku is doing his thing once again. Unlike in past years when he slows down come crunch time, this year is the reverse and there is nothing wrong with that. I maintain that if you take away Michael Ryder's and Christopher Higgins' season-long inability to finsih Saku's plays and you give them each 10 or so more goals. That would give Saku a good 15 more assists and hes up there with Kovy and nobody's complaining.
Back to Ryder. I was a hater all season long. I hopped on his bandwagon at 3:01 pm February 26th. The reality sunk in, there was no Hossa, Jokinen or anyone coming to help, it was time for Ryder to pick it up. While he's still a bit off. He's finally playing some relatively good hockey all things considered and it was nice to see him pick one up tonight. I'm really waiting for him to get a game-winner one of these days.

For Those Not Already Mentioned?
Sergei Kostitsyn? Incredible Night.
Max Lapierre? Incredible Night.
Andrei Markov? Incredible Night.
Franky Boo, Gorgeous Gorges, and Bryan Smolinski all get Honourable Mentions.
Rest of the Crew? Job Well Done.

The battle for first place is on

The Montreal Canadiens face off against the New Jersey Devils tonight, in one of the most anticipated games of the year, as the winner will claim first place in the Eastern Conference.

Carey Price will once again face off against Marin Brodeur, who has lost 2 straight games to the Habs, after winning the previous 9.

The Habs will once again be without Tomas Pleckanec, who will miss his second straight game with the flu. Ryan O'byrne will be back in the lineup, taking over for Patrice Brisebois, who has been less than stellar this season.

The last time these two clubs met, the Habs won an intense goalie battle 2-1. Andrei Kostitsyn scored the game winner late in the third period.



Stats from nhl.com

Monday, March 10, 2008

Absence Felt

Tomas Plekanec has missed just one game all season and the team almost looked lost without him. Pleks, who missed the game against the Ducks with the flu, has had 9 points in his last five games (6 G, 3 A), and has been one of the Habs most productive players all season.

Pleks' absence begins to raise the question of where the Habs would stand without certain players.

In the five games without Roman Hamrlik, the Habs lost 3 straight and won the other two by very close margins. They also put up very poor defensive efforts.

In the one game Saku Koivu was out, The Canadiens blew a 2 goal lead against the Rangers to lose in overtime.

The Habs have 5 players who played in all 70 games this season, them being Alex Kovalev, Chris Higgins, Mark Streit, Mike Komisarek, and Andrei Markov, all 5 being key components to the teams success.

The Habs have been fairly lucky this season on the injury front and we hope that this continues. But the conclusion that can be drawn here is that every one of these players is important o the Habs success and if we lose just one of them, things could get ugly.

Habs come up shorthanded in Anaheim

The Canadiens concluded their four game western road trip on a sour note after a 3-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

In what was their third game in four nights, the Habs put up a dismal effort against a very strong Ducks team.

Todd Marchant scored 21 seconds into the game on a weird goal that bounced over the net and went off Carey Prices back. Chris Kunitz scored the game winner with 7 minutes left, and Sammy Pahlsson scored a shorthanded goal 40m seconds later to seal the win for the Ducks.

Alex Kovalev scored his 30th goal of the season, off a great pass by Mikhail Grabovski, who replaced Tomas Pleckanec who was out with the flu.

Carey Price made 34 saves and while his counterpart J-S Giguere made 20 saves for his 34th win of the season.

On a positive note, the Canadiens killed off 8 Ducks, powerplay opportunities, including a 5 on 3 in the second.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Habs without the Turtleneck Power

Tomas Plekanec will sit out tonight vs The Ducks at 8:00 PM Et. Pleks is out with the flu and is therefore kept in the teams hotel in order to not get anyone infected. Grabovski will therefore return to the lineup and play between AK46 and AK27.

No other line changes to be made tonight.

Carey Price starts in net.

Scratches: Ryan O'Byrne, Mathieu Dandenault, Steve Begin.

Up Next ---> The Defending Cup Champions


The Montreal Canadiens conclude their western road trip tonight, when they face the defending cup champion, Anaheim Ducks. The Habs can retake first place in the East with a win over the Ducks.

Carey Price gets the call tonight, taking over for Jaroslav Halak, who had an outstanding game on Saturday versus the LA Kings.

The Ducks will be playing their first game without leading goal scorer, Corey Perry, who will be out until at least the second round of the playoffs, after getting cut by a skate.

The Ducks have not scored in their last 130 minutes of game time. The last time they score was in their 3-1 win against the Ottawa Senators.

The Canadiens have won 2 of their games so far out west and remain 2 points ahead of the Senators for the Northeast division lead. The Habs currently hold the second best road record in the NHL, while Anaheim holds the second best home record. Montreal also has the second most goals in the league, one behind the Senators.


Stats from nhl.com

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Dethroned!


The Canadiens kept on pace with Jersey with a 5-2 win over the LA Kings.

The Canadiens had a 3 goal second period, Jaroslav Halak made 35 saves in his first start since April 5th 2007. Guillaume Latendresse scored his first goal in 16 games, 13 minutes into the second period, for the game winner.

Patrice Brisebois recorded his 400th career point, with a goal 5 minutes into the second. Saku Koivu, Andrei Kostitsyn and Tom Kostopoulos also scored for the Habs.

Rob Blake, who recorded his 700th career point, and Anze Kopitar scored for the Kings.

Next Up ----> Anze and the Kings


The Habs (37-22-9) play their 3rd game of their 4 game west coast road swing against the last place Kings(27-37-5). The game can be seen on RDS at 4:00 PM ET and you can listen live on CJAD 800. Jaroslav Halak will get his first start of the 07-08 season while Price takes a breather. Halak, who went 10-6 last year, will get to prove to his coaches and critics that he deserves to play more often.

The Habs however, have some minor locker room problems to attend while on their road trip. I dont like this and hope that its not true, but Mikhail Grabovski is in some hot water these days. According to RDS, Grabs wasn't happy about his benching last game and took the news a step to far. He supposedly flew to meet with his agent Gary Greenstin without the team and then met with Guy and Bob Friday morning. I can't figure out why Grabs would do this. Grabs should understand that we have a lot of depth and that sometimes you got to sit a game or two out. I agree that he shouldntve sat out vs Phoenix, but i dont agree with complaining about it and causing a stir in the tabloids. Montreal is in a great position to finish first in the East and go deep in the playoffs and off ice drama is really not needed at this point.

Anyways back to tonights game. The Los Angeles Kings will try to win their 2nd game in a row after shutting out the Sens 2-0. The Kings, who have used 10 goalies since the beginning of last season, now have a new Rookie playing in nets by the name of Erik Ersberg. Erik made 40 saves for his first career win and shutout. However, it may look as though the Habs will be facing Dan Cloutier. Clouts has a 6-3 record and a 2.04 GAA vs Montreal and has won the past six games against the Habs.

Montreal will look to get back to first place in the East after the Devils, who beat the Lightning 2-1 on Friday night, who lead by one point. The Habs have been on a tear in their last 11 games going 8-3. They have scored 3.5 goals a game in that span and have moved up to first, in front of the Sens, in the Northeast Division.

This is the first meeting between the Canadiens and the Kings since Montreal won 3-2 at home on Dec. 3, 2005. The Canadiens, who have won eight of the last 11 in the series, haven't visited Los Angeles since a 4-2 victory on March 6, 2004.


Go Habs Go!!

TEAM COMPARISON

2007-2008 Team Stats
83 Points: 59
37 Wins: 27
3 Shutouts: 2
1 Power Play Rank: 13
25 Penalty Kill Rank: 27
.821 Win % When Leading After 1: .571
.828 Win % When Leading After 2: .905
.211 Win % When Trailing After 1: .259
.115 Win % When Trailing After 2: .108



TEAM LEADERS


GOALS: A. Kovalev 29
D. Brown 29
ASSISTS: A. Kovalev 43
A. Kopitar 38
POINTS: A. Kovalev 72
A. Kopitar 66
+/-: A. Kovalev 11
B. Boyle 4
OT GOALS: A. Kovalev 1
A. Kopitar 1

Stats from NHL.com

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Taking a look at the +/- leaders and losers of the team, It’s fascinating to see how each player is actually playing. While the top two lines are the ones who play on the power play and therefore their +/- isn’t changed from the pp.

It is amazing that they are leading the team in the +/- category. In fact, the players who are supposed to be the shutdown guys are actually the ones who allow the most goals against.

The players that have the highest +/- are:

Thomas Plekanec
Alex Kovalev
Roman Hamrlik
Mike Komisarek

While our shutdown guys are the lowest on the +/-:

Brian Smolinski
Mathieu Dandenault
Guillaume Latendresse
Tom Kostopoulos

Price almost outscoring Bouillon


Weird eh? Currently Price has two assists, while Frank the Tank only has a goal and five assists.

Now I know he's not such an offensive defenseman, but I still thought you all should know that.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Grabovski Scratched, Kostopoulos In


According to RDS, Mikhail Grabovski was offended that he was a healthy scratch against the Coyotes and Left Phoenix before the team in order to meet with his agent.

Grabovski met with Carbo and Gainey on Friday but they decided not to punish Grabovski. The rookie was on the ice for the Canadiens practice later in the day.

In other news, Tom Kostopoulos is rumoured to be back in the lineup against the Kings, there is no confirmation on who would be left off the lineup.

I expect the lines to be shifted a bit. Don’t be surprised if the lineup looked like:
Higgins-Koivu-Sergei
Andrei-Pleks-Kovalev
Streit-Lapierre-Ryder
Latendresse-Smolinski-Kostopoulos

Not What We Ordered


I want to make this clear. I have nothing against Brian Smolinski. I have never heard of him causing any trouble with his teammates or even his coach. He smiles a lot and seems like a nice guy. But when Bob Gainey was shopping for a shut-down centre with experience and some offensive upside to replace Radek Bonk last summer, he made an expensive purchase with a no-return policy in Smolinski.

Smolinski isn't a write-off as an NHLer. He's fine most nights as a fourth-line centre. Him and his linemates are often able to force the play in the opposing zone for long stretches, and they don't mind getting dirty in the corners.

Unfortunately, Smolinski and his linemates aren't only being asked to do what they do well. They're being asked to shut down the NHL's top lines and play a defensive game they don't have the talent to play.

Yes, defence is a talent. Carbonneau had it. Smolinski does not. This is why we see leads evaporate late in the third period. It's why the PK isn't as good as it was last year, and it's why the team gets hemmed in its own zone when the better opposing lines are on the ice.

Gainey can't return Smolinski now, or even trade him. Smolinski is a nice guy, but he's not the one we ordered.

Halak to start vs. LA


CKAC reports that Jaroslav Halak will make his first start of the season against the LA Kings Saturday afternoon.

Carey Price will start on Sunday vs. the Ducks in Anaheim.

Grabovski?

CJAD has reported that forward Mikhail Grabovski has disappeared and apparently flown back to Canada.

The team declined to comment, but Grabovski missed the team bus to jobing.com arena last night.

Death by PK


If Guy Carbonneau and his staff are making a list of things to improve before the playoffs start, I hope it begins and ends with the penalty kill. Because, honestly, the PK is killing the Habs.

Take the last game against the Sharks. Sharks of course won, 6-4. The difference was the two PP goals given up by the Habs, with no goals for in the special teams department. Which proves a great PK will defeat a great PP, and when it comes down to it, the teams with the better PKs will win playoff series. NHL stats today say the Canadiens' PK is ranked 26th in the league, with a less-than-stellar 80.2%. Or, as I'm sure Carbonneau refers to it, fourth last.

Maybe it's an Eastern Conference thing. The Buffalo Sabres are the top PK team in the east, tied for eighth place with Detroit with an 83.8 success rate. Which means more than half the teams in the west are as good or better on the PK than every single team in the east. The tight defensive style most western teams play, including on the PK, is one reason why every pundit out there expects whatever team wins the east to be anihilated in the Stanley Cup finals.

While some of us would like to think the PKs in the east are so mediocre because they have to face the Habs' PP multiple times a year (ha ha!), the fact remains that the Canadiens need to improve that aspect of their game if they expect to make a serious playoff run. So the question becomes, how do they do that?

I think part of the reason they suffer on the penalty kill is that they're not aggressive enough on the puck carrier. We often see them succeed at retrieving and clearing dump-ins, and turning back opposing attempts to penetrate the defensive zone. But once the other team sets up, it seems as though it's only a matter of time before they score. The Canadiens are working the four-man box properly, but they don't press the puck carrier or move out of the box to block passing lanes like they did when things were clicking along last year. It's obviously not a coaching issue, because if I can see this problem, you can be damn sure the coaching staff...defensive icons all...can see it too. So, it comes down to personnel.

There's a guy at the university of New Brunswick who's collected stats on how many goals against various forward and defensive pairings allow per minute of PK time. Those stats show the best penalty killers at forward, and the most-often used, are Plekanec and Kovalev, with a stellar 3.7 goals allowed for every sixty minutes they play shorthanded. Compare that with the "defensive" forwards Begin and Smolinski, who allow 12.7 goals for every sixty minutes they play on the PK. Interestingly, Francis Bouillon is the best defenceman on the penalty kill, on the ice for 5.9 goals against for every sixty shorthanded minutes.

The problem, of course, is that Kovalev and Plekanec can't play entire PKs when they're also playing a regular shift and on the power play. Chris Higgins and Maxim Lapierre show some promise as a PK pair, allowing 4.8 goals against per sixty minutes shorthanded. But they've been used only a third of the amount of time as have Smolinski and Begin.

So, perhaps it's time for Carbonneau and his staff to take a close look at who's on the ice for PP goals against, and try the guys who have the better averages at preventing those goals. Because it's easy to play opponents who can't stop the number one PP in the league, which offsets one of the worst PKs on most nights. But when the Canadiens try to compete with teams who can shut down the PP, that porous penalty kill is going to be the death of them.

Written by J.T.

First in the East... again


The Montreal Canadiens have once again moved into first place in the Eastern Conference after a 4-2 win versus the Phoenix Coyotes.

Andrei Markov scored the game winning goal, on the power play, 10 minutes into the third period. Alex Kovalev had 3 assists, and Carey Price made 37 saves, for his 3rd win in 4 games. Tomas Plekanec, Saku Koivu, and Sergei Kostitsyn also scored for the Habs.

Shane Doan scored on his cousin, Carey Price, 10 minutes into the second period, and Zbynek Michalek also scored or the Coyotes.

Alex Kovalev recorded his 500th career assist during the game, and Andrei Markov also recorded his 200th career assist.

With both Ottawa and Pittsburgh losing tonight, the Habs moved into first place in the East, tied with Pittsburgh with a game in hand. The win tonight also ties the Canadiens with Ottawa in the wins category.

Get well soon Pierre...and fast


In what may be considered one of the most boring Habs games this season, the absence of RDS commentator, Pierre Houde, did not make things any better.

Pierre Houde missed the game against the Coyotes with the flu and was replaced by RDS reporter Luc Gelinas.

Gelinas is well known for his interviews with players during and after the games.

Gelinas' commentating during the game did not posses the same attitude and charisma that Pierre brings to the games, alongside his long time partner, Yvon Pedneault.

Get well soon Pierre, and fast please!
The games are just not the same without you.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Failed Flames-Habs Trade

From FanNation.com:

Posted: Sunday March 02, 2008 08:50AM ET

Calgary's Alex Tanguay must have been disappointed to stay with the Flames. It's believed he had agreed to waive his "no trade" clause. The Flames talked to Montreal about RW Michael Ryder, but it's believed GM Darryl Sutter balked at the move.

Article originally taken from:
http://www.fannation.com/truth_and_rumors/view/41812

Habs have Best Fans in the League

Congratulations Habs fans. For years we've been arguing with Leafs fans about who were the best fans in the NHL. We've known all along that we could proudly proclaim ourselves the winners. But now it is official.


NHL players voted for which team they believed had the best fans (players could not vote for the fans of their own team).


Montreal dominated with a commanding 35% of the votes.
The next team was the Minnesota Wild who captured 13% of the vote. Toronto only captured 5% of the vote. *True fans ;) yeah right.


The Ottawa Senators were the only Canadian team not to be in the top 6 with a 1.4% vote.

Montreal Canadiens......35%
Minnesota Wild......13%
Calgary Flames......11%
Vancouver Canucks......6%
Edmonton Oilers......6%
Toronto Maple Leafs......5%
San Jose Sharks......5%
New York Rangers......4%
Philadelphia Flyers......4%
Detroit Red Wings......4%

(Poll taken from fannation.com)

I obviously knew that we would come out on top but I was extremely surprised that Minnesota was second. I read an article earlier in the year that they were considering calling Minnesota the American Hockey town (Stripping Detroit of that title). But still, I am very pleased with their support.
Colorado, come on!! You’re the old Nordiques. Show a little support.

Anyways, tell me what you think of this poll. Who do you think should be the top 5? Is there any team that surprised you by being there, or not being there?

Habs Visit the Desert

The Canadiens continue their western road trip tonight, when they face off against the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Canadiens currently sit 2nd in the East, 2 points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins, and tied with the senators for the Northeast division lead. The Habs have a game in hand on both of them.

The Coyotes sit 10th in the West, 3 points behind the Colorado Avalanche and Nashville Predators for the final playoff spot in the West.

Carey Price, who is coming off his first loss since being named the starting goaltender, gets the call tonight, versus Ilya Bryzgalov, who has been one of the hottest goaltenders in the league since being claimed off waivers by Phoenix.

The Canadiens are currently riding an 8 game unbeaten streak against the Coyotes, with 5 wins and 3 ties, and have 2 wins and 1 tie in their last 3 visits to Phoenix. The last time these two teams faced off in Phoenix was March 5th, 2004, in a 4-3 win for the Habs.

TEAM COMPARISON

2007-2008 Team Stats
81 Points: 73
36 Wins: 34
3 Shutouts: 5
1 Power Play Rank: 12
26 Penalty Kill Rank: 12
.821 Win % When Leading After 1: .700
.828 Win % When Leading After 2: .828
.211 Win % When Trailing After 1: .250
.115 Win % When Trailing After 2: .040



TEAM LEADERS


GOALS: A. Kovalev 29
R. Vrbata 27
ASSISTS: A. Kovalev 40
S. Doan 43
POINTS: A. Kovalev 69
S. Doan 64
+/-: A. Kovalev 10
S. Doan 12
OT GOALS: A. Kovalev 1
S. Doan 1


Stats from NHL.com

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

That Sound? The Great Fall off the Carey Price Bandwagon!


To say that Joe Thornton beat Saku, me, and my prediction, would be quite the understatement. With 2 goals and 2 assists to his name, he certainly shut me up.


For the Carey Price fans, whatever is left of them, it was a tough night. In our hockey-sick town, I'm curious how many fans were calling for Price's Head, Jaroslav Halak, Cristobal Huet, Yann Danis, or any combination of the four. While maybe Yann Danis is a bit much, you never know what some of our 'loyal' fans were thinking after they saw, but did not believe Jody Shelley's second period goal.

I'm unaware as to if a starter has been announced for Thursday night's game, but from experience, I have a feeling The Guru will have to wait for Halak's 2008 debut as a starter. Carbo has shown this year than when his guy has a rough game, he tends to go back to them in a vote of confidence. Carey Price is Carbo's Guy.

Obviously, it would come as no surprise to see Halak in between the pipes, and it would satisfy some people, myself inculded, who have wanted to see Halak strut his stuff once more. The guy was 10-6 last year with 2 shutouts at a critical time of the season, and he should've been in goal for the April 7th Showdown with the Laughs. If its possible in the world of proffesional sports, Carbo owes Halak a chance.


If it comes Thursday, let's see what he can do with it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Still The Guru, but without the Nickname

Hey guys,

Even though my perfect record in predicting the games is proving that i am indeed The Guru, I've decided to drop the name on BlogSpot so I can stick to my real name, Jamie, on my other posts.

Hope you don't get to confused and if you want to check out my other blog (there might be some hockey mentioned, but really its about everything,) here's the link: just click here.

I'm not switching my allegiance or anything, I just needed a place to write my thoughts on all things NOT-Canadiens. This is still the only place to go for all your Habs info. :)

The Perfect Loss


Last nights game was the first game of a 4 game road trip out West. The Habs came in and blew it against a strong team. After 12 hours since the game ended, I've heard dozens of scapegoats for the loss. Here are some of them:

1)" The refs were horrible..."
Romo says: The refs are usually horrible and sometimes its against the other team so you cant blame something thats never perfect in the first place.

2) "Price is cracking under pressure and we need Halak to lead this team..."
Romo says: Price had a BAD game...It happens to the best goalies of all-time. Lets analyze his game last night. First goal, quick goal, defense lets Marleau right in. Second goal, Smolinski trips Price letting Joe put it in. 2 quick goals and Price lost his cool, was angry at refs, and his head was all over the place. Third goal, powerplay goal, Price hit into his own net and Boom, no call and an easy goal for JT. Fourth goal, now this was ugly and the blame can only be put on Price. This goal was a double whammy because we just tied it up and then Boom, the first goal of the season for Jody Shelley??, a guy who plays 5 minutes a game. The guys lost their momentum and Price lost all focus (if he even had any left). The fifth goal, one word, Horrible defense, The Cheech puts up a highlight play and undresses Gorges. (I think). Price was watching the play and didnt focus. And then the last goal, Powerplay goal, after Streit screws up on OUR powerplay, Markov forced to take a penalty and prevent breakaway. Campbell, one of the best offensive defenseman in the league, undresses Komisarek and Price again was watching the goal instead of reacting and trying to save it. All the goals were ugly, BUT we cant just blame price when we have so many factors to breakdown for the goals. Price is the leader, and this game will give him experience for the future. He is still learning and I'm sure he'll come back on Thursday and play a great game. Halak will play, but it wont be Thursday. Price is the #1, Gainey has confidence, Guy has confidence, I have confidence and so should you!

3) "Latendresse should be sent down to Bulldogs..."
Romo says: I agree that he would benefit from Don Lever's coaching in the AHL, but you cant blame the guy for the loss. You can blame him for not scoring in the last 15 games, but not for last night. I agree hes slow, but he tries hard and doesn't necessarily do more harm to the team than he does good (cough cough Smolinksi).

The Canadiens played a bad game defensively, probably worst of the season, but again we see the character in the players to never quit and continue fighting for the win. We tied the game up 3 times and almost came back to win it. We put up 4 goals, away, in the west coast, against a great team.

4) "The team was tired..."
Habdul says:
after playing their third game in four nights and having just taken a 5 hour flight, to a time zone where they are 3 hours behind, YES, the team was in fact tired. It was seen on the ice as almost everyone looked like they were exhausted. On a positive note, the team still scored 4 goals and put up a decent effort.

Positives :
Lapierre - Played like a horse and deserved that goal.
The Kovy Line - 2 goals from Pleks, good chances, passing and speed. (BTW Kovalev is not playing hurt, that is Baloney)
Markov - The D was bad, but Markov not only stood his ground last night, he made great offensive plays including setting up the third goal. Showed some emotion and got a 1o minute misconduct in the end for mouthing off against refs.


The *fans* have to stop finding negatives and focus on the positives. This team is learning, and through it all is still tied for first place. Stop being bandwagoners, if you like the Habs praise them, if you don't, then we don't need you rambling on your 2 cents when clearly all you want to do is create chaos.

This team is great, its young, quick, exciting. It has leadership, and it has good coaching (Carbonneau is doing a good job.) We can score goals, we have all year, all we gotta do now is play good defense and we will be a much better team. The team will learn a lot from this loss and therefore it is great for the youth movement. They need these games to learn and improve. The future looks great.

Go Habs Go
Pheonix Watch OUT!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Habs, Sharks Closely Linked


I'm surprised theres been very little mention of the inside stories for tonights game. Aside from the fact that, yes, The Habs are in First and look to stay ahead of the Pens by winning tonight, there are two stories that I find more intresting in tonight's game.

The two reasons i'm looking forward to watching this game are:

1. This would've been bigger had the game been in Montreal, but c'mon, canadiens.com didn't even mention it in their preview. Craig Rivet! Don't tell me you weren't proud to see this former Habs score two big goals in last years playoffs. Saku's best friend, is in the midst of a career year in San Jose with 31 points, including 16 on the power play and 93 penalty minutes. Craig Rivet on the powerplay?

2. Saku Koivu vs. Joe Thornton. OOH BABY! I love it when Saku plays big Joe Thornton.
Career Points: 585 vs 660
100+ PT Seasons: 0 vs 3
Reasons why Saku Koivu is better than Joe Thorton?
2001 Playoffs: Habs Win Series 4-2
Koivu: 8 Pts 6 games Thorton: 6 Pts 6 Games
2004 Playoffs: Habs Win Series 4-3.
Koivu: 8 pts 7 games. Thornton: 0 pts 7 games
2006 Olympics: Koivu beats Thornton yet again, in a Finnish Upset over Canada, Koivu (5'10) knocked down Thornton (6'4) behind the Canada net, to steal the puck and pass it to Teemu Selanne for the game winner.

__________________________________________________

I expect the Canadiens to tie their season-long win streak tonight. With big nights coming from Saku and Mikey Ryder.

Habs Express welcomes new writer, MJay!

On behalf of the entire Habs Express site,
I'd like to welcome our newest writer MJay. MJay will be expressing his own opinions about the team, organization and its fans. He is an exceptional blogger and will be a great addition to our already amaing staff.

Enjoy!

The Staff at Habs Express

One City, One Team, One Site - Habs Express

Onto the West Coast we go

The Canadiens begin their western road trip on Monday, aiming for their 4th straight win, against the San Jose Sharks.

Carey Price will get his fifth consecutive start in goal tonight, in his first visit to the west coast. Price has been stellar since being named the number one goaltender, posting a 1.33 goals-against average, and a .956 save percentage.

San Jose looks to extend its season-high winning streak to six games Monday (10:30 p.m. start) when it faces Montreal in its first home game since Feb. 14. The Sharks currently sit in 5th place in the Western conference, 7 points behind the division leading Dallas Stars. They are currently riding a 5 game win streak, and can attain 4th place in the West with a win tonight.

The last time these two clubs met was January 14, 2006, in a 6-2 win for Montreal at the Bell Center. The last time they met in San Jose was March 3rd, 2004, in a 4-3 win for the Sharks. The Habs are currently riding a 3 game losing streak in San Jose.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Some interesting stats from Tale of the Tape on records of Montreal and San Jose

Home/Away
San Jose Home record*******14-13-5 (27th)
Montreal Away record*******20-12-4 (3rd)
I like our chances here.

Scoring Vs Defense
Montreal GF/GA*************209 (2nd)/184 (14th)
San Jose GF/GA*************155 (26th)/170 (2nd)
Looks like it will be a contest between Montreal’ scoring and San Jose’s shutdown defense. Montreal has the advantage here.

Special Teams
Montreal PP/PK**********25% (1st)/80% (23rd)
San Jose PP/PK**********17% (18th)/86% (2nd)
This could be a real battle to see which special teams prevail. San Jose could have a slight edge here.

First game at Home/Away
Montreal 1st game of road trip*****11-2
San Jose 1st game back at home*****2-7-2
Very nice. I like our chances here.

Can the East get any closer?

1. MTL 81*
2. PIT 81*
3. CAR 73*
4. OTT 80
5. NJD 80
6. BOS 76
7. NYR 76
8. PHI 74

Has anyone noticed that 31 (Price) + 41 (Halak) - 39 (Huet) = 33 (Roy)?

Mike L
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Another Note: Some Player Facts

When Andrei Kostitsyn scores a goal, our record is 12-2-4.
When Mark Streit scores a goal, our record is 11-0-0.
When Andrei Markov has 2 points or more, our record is 11-1-1.
When Maxim Lapierre score a point, our record is 10-0-1.
Without Brisebois our record is 22-6-4

When Canadiens score the first goal, our record is 28-5-6.


From Romo-Sexy





Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Night out with the Kostitsyns


I had the privilege of attending last nights game with fellow co-founder/writer of Habs Express Mike L. We had the privilege of getting great tickets to the event at the Bell Centre. After celebrating the win over Jersey with 21, 273 people at the Bell Centre, I decided to head out with two of my buddies and party it up at Club Opera. Unfortunately, it was packed and so Opera decided to raise the age-limit to 21 and over. However, no club in Montreal can stop Romo-Sexy, so I got in, with style. I managed to become a VIP and receive benefits. Don't ask me how I pulled that off, but one of the rewards was to sit at a table with the two most popular Belorussians in Montreal. You guessed it, Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn, the two Bratyas.

The two Bratyas, who had an amazing game capped off by Andrei's first star selection, were sitting with some girls, bouncers and I think their father. Their parents flew in to watch the game last night and so they decided to hit the night life of Montreal as well. Anyways, back to the Bratyas, Andrei and Sergei both wore suits, drank Vodka (like water as all Russians do), and got some girls. I decided to walk up to both of them and express my happiness. Sergei was more quiet but me and Andrei had a nice long conversation. Here's some questions I asked Andrei.
P. S The convo was in Russian.

Romo asked "Do you feel more comfortable now that your brother is playing with you every night?"

AK46 - "Yea, of course. He's my best friend and having him with me definitely makes me happy."

Romo - "Will the Canadiens win the cup this year?

AK46 - (While smiling said) "YES. We'll win it. You'll see."

It was very nice seeing Andrei's expression and confidence in winning the cup. Whatever Guy is doing in the locker room has got to be working because all the players seem to be excited and confidant on bringing the cup back to this city.

Definition - Bratyas is Russian for Brothers.

Our Impact Player


Make no mistake about it...Alex Kovalev is the engine pulling this Habs train to first place in the East.


Sure, the defence is massively improved over last year with the addition of Hamrlik, the return to form of Bouillon and the emergence of Gorges and O'Byrne.

Other forwards are contributing, with seven forty-point scorers for the first time since the team's last Cup Final appearance.


The goaltending has been solid for the most part, and there's a kind of rare cameraderie and got-your-back attitude in the room. Even Guy Carbonneau has improved, with a much more relaxed attitude and smarter coaching decisions.


But Kovalev...he's the glue holding the whole collage together. Saturday, after his four-point night against Buffalo, he sits at fifteenth place in NHL scoring. He's ahead of the Sedins, Dany Heatley, Scott Gomez and Olli Jokinen. Sidney Crosby too...but we can't count that when you consider Crosby's injury.


I don't remember the last time the Habs had a guy ranked that high in league scoring.Tomas Plekanec is feeding off the perfect cross-ice passes from Kovalev on the powerplay.

Speaking of which, the powerplay is still number one in the league while Kovalev leads the league in PP points.


The PK has also improved, since Carbonneau decided to make Kovalev a full-time penalty-killer. So now he's setting up shorthanded goals as well.


This season, I've seen Kovalev block shots, hustle back to cover his own zone and unselfishly dish the puck to his much younger linemates when he might have scored himself. His wristshot from the right circle has the accuracy of a night-vision scope.


Two nights ago, when the Sabres had scored their second goal and the defence was looking a little harried, Kovalev skated over to Carey Price and had a little chat with him during a stoppage in play. Things settled down after that and the Habs chugged on to a nice win. This is the definition of a guy who does it all, and when you consider where the Canadiens were predicted to finish this year, you have to look at Kovalev as a major reason why they're first in their division instead.


So...the question is: Has Kovalev done enough to become a Hart Trophy candidate? If you look at the definition of the award, which says the winner is the player who is most valuable to his team, you'd have to think he has a chance to get his name on the ballot.


Here's a guy who, at 35 years of age, is set to have one of his best offensive seasons, is a solid plus player, is wearing the A for his team and showing why he has it, is dominant on special teams and is making his teammates better players.


I guess the real litmus test is to think about where the team would be without Kovalev. The PP would certainly be less effective. Andrei Kostitsyn and Tomas Plekanec would likely not be sitting on the first line without Kovalev as a winger. The many, many games in which Kovalev has figured as the Habs' offensive force would be either much closer or be lost. The very fear he instills in opposing defenders wouldn't be there, nor the respect for the Habs' attack we're witnessing now.


I think Kovalev should be a Hart candidate. Whether he becomes one might depend on how far uphill that engine can drag the Little Team That Could.


Written by J.T.

*Also Check out this article on Kovalev from NHL.com*

Saturday, March 1, 2008

First in the East!!!!


The Montreal Canadiens, who were projected to come anywhere between 9th and 13th place, have risen to first in the eastern conference. It is the first time they've held op spot in the East after the all-star break since 1993. Coincidence!?

The Canadiens beat the New Jersey Devils 2-1 on saturday claiming sole possession of first place in the East.

Mark Streit scored on the power play, 6 minutes into the second period, to give the habs a 1-0 lead. It was his second consecutive game with a goal.

Brian Gionta tied the game up for New Jersey, nearly 14 minutes into the second period, ending they're 131 minute goalless drought.

Andrei Kostitsyn scored the game winner on a power play goal, with 6 minutes left in the game.

Carey Price played a solid game, stopping 31 shots, including some very key saves on a Devils power play with 5 minutes left in the game.

New Logo!

Hey guys, Habs Express now has a new, real, logo. Special thanks to Cory Switzman, who designed the thing.




Next Up - Brodeur and the Devils


The Northeast division leading Canadiens, take on the conference leading Devils, Saturday night in Montreal. It is the third time this season the two clubs are meeting, and the first time in the Bell Center.

Carey Price will face off against Montreal native, Martin Brodeur, who is 34-13-5 (W-L-T) all-time against the Canadiens.

The Last time these two clubs met, the Canadiens came back from a two goal deficit in the third period, to win the game 4-3, thanks to a two goal effort by Brian Smolinski and a late goal from Christopher Higgins to win the game.

Numero Uno
The Devils sit atop the Eastern conference but for how long...The Canadiens have their eyes set on becoming number one and are now only 1 win and a Pittsburgh loss away from sole possession from the crown.

The Price Is Right
Carey Price gets his 4th consecutive start and his second since the Canadiens traded away Cristobal Huet. Price, who is 14-9-3, will aim for his 3rd straight win.

Montreal Snipers?
The Montreal Canadiens have scored 207 goals for 07/08 campaign. The team without a "Superstar" sits 2nd in the league behind Ottawa (211 goals). The Canadiens are the only team in the NHL with 7 players that have at least 40 points. The team has great chemistry and thus all four lines produce speed, precise passing, and goals.

Please don't bench me!
The 2007-2008 roster consists of 22 players and 2 goalies. This is an issue in the locker room because only 18 players and suits up to play. Therefore 4 players are scratches for every game. When looking at this from a coaches viewpoint, this is great. Because if 1 player doesn’t perform then there are 4 others who are eagerly waiting to take his spot. However from a players viewpoint, this is horrible. Every player wants to play. That is their job, that is their life, that is what they love. If a player is scratched then it might be several games before they return. Right now the chemistry on the team is great. Dandenault, Kostopoulos, Brisebois will continue sitting in the press box while Smolinski and Begin alternate.

TEAM COMPARISON

2007-2008 Team Stats
80Points:79
37Wins:35
4Shutouts:3
21Power Play Rank:1
11Penalty Kill Rank:24
.783Win % When Leading After 1:.821
.923Win % When Leading After 2:.828
.294Win % When Trailing After 1:.211
.231Win % When Trailing After 2:.120



TEAM LEADERS


GOALS:Z. Parise25
A. Kovalev29
ASSISTS:Z. Parise30
A. Kovalev38
POINTS:Z. Parise55
A. Kovalev67
+/-:P. Martin19
A. Kovalev9
OT GOALS:P. Elias2
A. Kovalev1