Smart, passionate and somewhat biased commentary about the Montreal Canadiens (HABS) from a lifelong fan now living in Toronto (LeafLand).
Mar
20
2013

Tough Week Ahead?

Uh-oh.

It’s one of those weeks where the Canadiens are supposed to rack up the points, because they’re playing the Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders.

Yeah those out-of-the-playoff picture teams… well actually the Islanders are in the race for the 8th and final playoff spot. But the Sabres are like last year’s Canadiens; no matter what they do or say, it’s wrong.

Except of course for last night when the Sabres beat the Canadiens in Montreal 3-2 in OT.

And yet your Habs, still second in the Eastern Conference behind the Pittsburgh Penguins — who won their 10th in a row last night — still managed to get a point out of the evening and gain one on the Bruins, who lost in regulation to the Jets 3-1. Thanks Winnipeg!!

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Steve Ott scored the OT winner as the Sabres beat the Habs 3-2. AP/CP Paul Chiasson

Now it’s off to Long Island for another seemingly easy two points; meanwhile the Islanders have taken all four points off of the Canadiens so far this year.

The Canadiens were good to get a point. An uncharacteristically sluggish start saw the team go down 2-0 on goals by Steve Ott and Tyler Ennis. The Habs got things going in the middle frame but Jhonas Enroth — who is undefeated against the Habs — made the saves when he had to. Finally in the third Montreal got on the board after just another hard-work, grind it out kind of play by rookie Brendan Gallagher, who won puck battles deep and finally fed the puck to an open Max Pacioretty who put it between Enroth’s legs.

Then Colby Armstrong scored his second in that many games to tie the game up with less than four minutes remaining from a terrific pass by Alex Galchenyuk. There you go… both rookies made the difference that on a night most other years, we would have seen the Habs lose 2-0 in regulation. That’s why the kid is staying with the big club, his points have impact.

Enroth made a game saving save on Gionta in the closing moments of the third; then P.K. took a bad penalty in OT which lead to Ott’s second goal of the game.

This game could have been out of reach if the Canadiens could hit the net with more consistency. They had 34 shots to Buffalo’s 18 in regulation and missed the net another 24 times.

Carey Price made a couple of nice saves but I think he still is adjusting to maximize his focus in games where he does not see a lot of pucks.

If the Canadiens can stay out of the box and initiate the game and tempo they want to play, they should walk out of Long Island with two points as they try to revenge their earlier 6-3 loss — the team’s only regulation loss in the last 19 games.

This will also be the Habs’ last visit to Nassau County Coliseum before the Islanders pick up and move to the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn next season. Remember “Bossy Bossy 50 50!!”?? Good memories from that rink but it’s wayyy past its day.

Twitter, remember? @HabsFanLeafLand

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