Wednesday, April 30, 2008
It appears that coach Guy Carbonneau feels that 20 year old Carey Price needs a bit of rest, and has cconfidence in starting Halak in this pivtoal fourth game with Montreal trailing the series 2-1.
Rumours also have Sergei Kostitsyn as a game time decision. Should he not suit up, Michael Ryder will be in.
The Habs ran out of time to tie game 3 on Monday night, recovering from a 3-0 deficit to narrow the score to 3-2 before time expired.
Montreal will likely welcome Patrice Brisebois back to the lineup tonight, and the likely candidate to sit out will be Ryan O'Byrne.
No word on who gets the call in goal, but Carbonneau said today that he knows who will be in net come gametime, and the chosen goalie knows as well, but he won't reveal it to reporters.
Price's usual start is in question tonight after he allowed 3 goals on 6 shots in the 2nd period in the game 3 loss before being replaced by Jaroslav Halak, who held the fort in the 3rd making just 2 saves, one of them critical.
The Flyers are also receiving some welcome help as they will be embracing the return of Mike Knuble to the lineup tonight. Knuble strained his hamstring in game 5 of the Philly-Washington series, but has stated that he's fit to return tonight.
Martin Biron, who has proven the old addage "You have to be good to be lucky and lucky to be good" true, gets the call in goal again for Philadelphia.
The Habs, who were the only Canadian team to advance to the second round of the NHL playoffs this season, were the team of choice for 40 per cent of Canadians asked.
Toronto missed the playoffs for a third straight season in 2007-08, yet finished second among those surveyed at 24 per cent.
Last season, it was the Leafs on top with 24 per cent while the Canadiens finished a close second at 22 per cent.
More than 1,000 people across Canada were surveyed April 24-28 - after the Ottawa Senators and Calgary Flames had been eliminated from the playoffs.
With files from the Canadian Press
Monday, April 28, 2008
Montreal took game 1 in dramatic fashion, tying the game with under 30 seconds left to play in the third and winning it in OT in just under a minute played.
Game 2 went Philly's way, thanks in large part to a stellar performance by Flyers goalie Martin Biron combined with a weak effort by Habs goalie Carey Price.
Game 2 ended in emoitional fashion, as Tom Kostopoulos nailed Kimmo Timonen with a gloved punch to the face after Timonen was shown laughing at the Habs forward after Philly's 4-2 go ahead goal. The punch cause a huge melee in the Habs zone, and may have set the table for a feisty encounter in Philly tonight. Puck drop goes at 7:08.
- Mathieu Dandenault is slated to be a healthy scratch tonight, and it appears that coach Carbonneau will look to Guillaume Latendresse to fill his spot. Latendresse may figure in on a line with Bryan Smolinski and Tom Kostopoulos.
- Ryan O'Byrne will play again, as Patrice Brisebois coninues to suffer from an unspecified leg injury.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Umberger scored the first goal of the game just 5:53 in as he spun to face the net from well out int he offensive zone and released a wrist shot that beat a screened Carey Price over the shoulder.
The Flyers would add insurance shortly after as on Jeff Carter found the top shelf short-side on Carey Price, converting a late solo rush down the wing on the tail-end of a powerplay for the powerplay marker.
Saku Koivu would score his 1st of the playoffs before the 1st period finished, as he scooped up a loose puck behind the net and came out on the opposite side of where Biron was anticipating, coraling the puck short side between the post and the late-reacting Biron's skate.
Daniel Briere scred just past the midway mark of the 2nd, as he deked out Price and released a backhander from in close setup by Vinny Prospal that was partially - but not entirely - saved by Carey Price's inner pad. The puck JUST barely crossed the line, but as the play continued, Prospal potted the puck past a downed Price to ensure that a goal would result from the play.
Just a buck 26 into the 3rd, Andrei Markov would make the game a game again, taking a Higgins pass as he pinched in from his position and redirecting the pass past Biron for his 1st of the playoffs.
Umberger restored the Flyers 2-goal lead with just over 2 minutes to play in regulation, swatting at a puck which seemed to be en route to being caught in midair by Price. Umbergers stick connected with Price's glove, allowing the puck to land on the ice, and Umberger took a shot off the post, back off Price's skate blade and in for the controversial put-away goal.
The Habs had their fair share of chances gone missed, notably those by Plekanec (breakaway) and Kostitsyn (missed backhander in close). Also huge were the saves on Tomas Plekanec on the powerplay, as he snagged a shot out of midair from Plekanec who stood on the doorstep, and a save on Bryan Smolinski who elected shot on a 2-on-1 with Steve Begin early in the 1st.
Chris Higgins, who still cannot BUY a goal, had Biron beaten, but the puck rang off the far post and stayed out.
Martin Biron absolutely stole the show as he made key save after save to keep Philly in the game, and counterpart Carey Price had another sub-par game between the pipes, missing out on saves he should have been able to make.
Ryan O'Byrne played in place of Patrice Brisebois, who is reportedly suffering from an undsiclosed injury and elected to sit out before the game got underway. O'Byrne held his own in the defensive end, but could not help the Habs earn a win for a possible 2-0 series lead.
Game 3 goes Monday night in Philadelphia.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Contemporary artist Ju Ming's sculpture entitled Taichi Single Whip located near metro-station Square Victoria, has been decortated to resemble a patented Carey Price pad save. Enjoy.
Here's a personal fav I found in the Journal de Montreal...hahahaha:
The horse looks SO SAD and humiliated it's really too funny...It was probably just moments away from horse-kicking its owner straight in the teeth, or at least ripping some bad gas in retribution...awesome stuff! It's actually wearing pants and holding a stick hahaha... no horsing around in round 2!
Daniel Briere also reserved himself a 2-game minimum appearance for the Bell Centre boo-birds to feast, and I believe this feeding frenzy will far eclipse the Chara session.
The Habs swept away the Flyers in the regular-season this year, outscoring Philadelphia 15-6 in the process.
The last time these two franchises met in the playoffs was in 1989, when Guy Carbonneau and Bob Gainey teamed up to sink the Flyers in six games to advance to the Stanley Cup Final, eventually (and unfortunately) losing to Calgary.
The Habs and Flyers have met in the playoffs 4 times in their history, with Montreal owning a 3-1 record on Philly all-time in the postseason. The Habs won one series in 4 games (1976), one in 5 (1973), and one in 6 (1989); they lost their only series to Philly in 6 games as well, this one back in 1987.
Here is the full schedule for this upcoming series:
ALL GAMES START AT 7 P.M.
Thursday April 24th - Game 1 in MTL
Saturday April 26th - Game 2 in MTL
Monday April 28th - Game 3 in PHI
Wednesday April 30th - Game 4 in PHI
*Saturday May 3rd - Game 5 (if necessary) in MTL
*Sunday May 4th - Game 6 (if necessary) in PHI
*Tuesday May 6th - Game 7 (if necessary) in MTL
All games can be viewed on RDS or CBC.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
The Canadiens squandered 3 separate leads Saturday night in Boston in game 6, allowing the Bruins to tie the game at 1, 2 and 3 before having the B's jump ahead 4-3. The Habs equalized on Chris Higgins' 2nd goal of the night, but shortly after that - and very late in the 3rd, Marco Sturm potted a loose puck by Price by outwaiting him.
Game #6 was by far the most entertaining of the series, but all that should change with tonight's contest.
The Bruins are riding higher than they have been all season as they have now won back-to-back games vs. the Habs for the first time this season, needing games #13 and #14 to accomplish that feat. They will look to make it 3 in a row, with the most important victory yet to come.
The Canadiens are also looking for their most important win of the season tonight.
Looking to put an end to the stunning comeback attempt being displayed by the resillient, never-say-die Bruins, the Habs will once again have captain Saku Koivu in the lineup, as well as regulars Francis Bouillon and Mark Streit, barring some sort of unforseen event.
Montreal's ineffective powerplay CONTINUES to make headlines as this series goes on, but much of the credit must be given where it is due: the Bruins are playing the PK exceptionally well.
Alex Kovalev will have to step his game up for game 7, as will linemates Andrei Kostitsyn and Tomas Plekanec.
Andrei Markov, who has had an absoultely dismal series (highlighted by his worst performance yet in game 6), also needs to find a way to regain the confidence he had in abundance throughout the regular season. He is shying away from all physical contact, and the Bruins have picked up on it and have seized every opportunity to make his life a living hell.
The Habs have not been finishing their checks, passing crisply, or cashing in on their chances, 3 things that they had going for them on any given night during the season.
The Bruins have been doing the opposite, noteably in the hitting department, as every single Bruins skater is making sure to lay the body on the adversary.
The Bruins may welcome back Patrice Bergeron as an added offensive weapon for game 7, but it still remians unlikely. Bergeron's status would currently best be decribed as doubtful.
It will definitely be a wild one in Montreal tonight...the Habs will have to come out gunning if they wish to avoid the humility of having done to them what they did to Boston in 2004; that is, trailing the series 3 games to 1 as the #8 seed and coming back to win it 4-3 for the first time in franchise history.
A Boston win would allow them to set a record of their own; that is they would comeback to win a series that they were trailing 0-2 for the 1st time in franchise history (32 opportunities).
GO HABS GO!
Saturday, April 19, 2008
The Habs were embarassed on home ice Thursday night, dropping a 5-1 decision to Boston to allow them to narrow the series lead to 3-2 in Montreal's favor.
Carey Price was the focus of the match Thursday, as he has been on a regular basis - however, for the first time, it was a focus he'd have preferred to not have had.
Price quickly played a puck from his glove to Maxim Lapierre, but the communication was botched and a turnover resulted, with Glen Metropolit tallying the eventual game winner.
Shortly after, rookie Sergei Kostitsyn took a very undisciplined penalty, allowing big Zdeno Chara to score on the PP, putting the game out of reach.
Sturm added a shorthanded goal, and then Vladmir Sobotka scored on a harmless shot from an awful angle, summing up the Habs night perfectly; lack of effort, and poor goaltending.
No word yet on who the scratches will be for either team.
Mark Streit is also a game-time decision.
Friday, April 18, 2008
With the game tied 1-1 in the third period, Carey price, who had been stellar up to this point in the series, handed the Bruins the lead when he tried to play the puck to a teammate only to have it intercepted by a Boston player and Glen Metropolit batted the puck into an open net for a 2-1 Boston lead.
Moments after the goal, Sergei Kostitsyn took an undisciplined penalty in the offensive zone.
Zdeno Chara scored the Bruins' second power-play goal of the game 5:49 into the third period for a 3-1 Boston lead and the Bruins coasted the rest of the way for a 5-1 win and narrowed the Canadiens' lead in the series to 3-2 and force Game 6 Saturday night in Boston.
Marco Sturm added Boston's fourth goal while shorthanded at the 15:13 mark of the final frame and Vladimir Sobotka made Price look silly with a shot from a bad angle that Price misplayed at 17:48.
Phil Kessel, who was a healthy scratch for the last three games for the Bruins, scored on the power play 7:45 into the second period when he grabbed his own rebound and beat Price between the legs.
Things had started well for the Canadiens, who grabbed a 1-0 lead on a nifty goal by Alex Kovalev 9:47 into the opening period.
Kovalev, who had lost his helmet and had his golden mane flowing like Guy Lafleur decades ago, got the goal on a backhand shot that eluded Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas between the legs.
Patrice Brisebois and Roman Hamrlik got the assists on the goal. It was a fourth point in the postseason for both Brisebois and Kovalev, who are tied for the team scoring lead.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Ok so I didn't have any question for you at all, I just hoped you would read my email instead of deleting it so quickly, as you probably have all the rest of the replies to your piece in the Sun about Habs fans.
The "kind of fans" who give nicknames to their legends and heroes are the kind of fans with actual PASSION for their team...a nickname is direct and personal, as opposed to the lame and completely non-CREATIVE style of adding "er or "y" to a name...Caber, Steener and Matt-y are pretty f'n lame if you ask me, which I know you don't, but too bad...why don't you ask them if they'd rather be remembered by a real nickname or by a suffix, you might be shocked to hear the answer.
"Habs fans are arrogant, and often cruel. They tell Leafs jokes, such as:
What do Habs fans have that Leafs fans don't?
Colour photos of the Stanley Cup. "
Every joke has some truth to it right? Isn't that the old addage? In this case, that joke is fully true.
"It is true Montreal has won 10 Cups since the Leafs' last in 1967.
But this is pure luck, not divine right."
PURE LUCK! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, 10 cups since your last one...you're right Mike, that must be completely luck, and must have nothing to do with the fact that we iced better squads than your Buds did. It must be luck, jeez I can't believe how lucky we REALLY are.
"Even when they lose, they're lucky. The Habs missed the playoffs last year, a glorious chance for Leafs fans to gloat. But we missed, too, damn the luck."
Sure Mike, let's just go right ahead and accredit EVERYTHING to luck while we're at it...or, let's be rational, and admit that both of our teams dropped the ball and were surpassed by 8 other playoff-worthy teams who worked to the bone to make it in, like the New York Islanders...why don't you hate them too then, Mike, they knocked your guys out? Oh, that's right, you're too much into a blind-rage for Habs fans that all the hate you can possibly muster is directed at us, none left for the Islanders, or for your own team who could have picked up and extra win or even point here and there throughout the season to qualify for the playoffs.
"Zdeno Chara, just because he's tall. Darcy Tucker, because he's from Toronto. The American anthem. The other team's stickboy."
PASSION again, Mike-y (or Mike-r, which ever super cool nickname you prefer). We like disturbing the other teams stars and goalies, anything to help the boys win, but that's hardly being arrogant. We may have crossed the line by booing the American anthem, of that I'll agree, but we don't do that anymore...maybe you haven't watched some of our games in a while so you don't know.
"Not only are they rude, they're everywhere. I have seen Canadiens sweaters from Stonehenge to the Amazon."
Take a hint big guy, you're cheering for the wrong team. This team is WINNING. Look it up in the dictionnary.
"Leafs fans never smirk. In fact, we don't smile much at all."
That's not because you're humble, as you also implied us Habs fan of not being... no no, it's because your team stinks and has been stinking for quite a few years (I believe it's since 1967), leaving its fans no real opportunities to smile.
Enjoy reporting on the golfing...and say hello to Caber, Steener and the rest-er of the crew-y.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
The Montreal Canadiens must be very relieved to have escaped game 4 in Boston with a win as they are now up 3 games to 1 on a Boston team that gave it their all to try to even the series.
The Bruins once again played with more intesnsity than the Habs for the most part of this game, but were denied in their 60 minute quest for a single goal as Carey Price's star shined brightly once again, making 27 saves in the win.
Despite what many fans and columnists alike are saying, I believe that this game wasn't a solid team performance. From what I saw, the Habs weren't playing the style of hockey that brought them to an Eastern Conference regular season crown; they were dumping and chasing, not finishing their checks on every opportunity, and setting up & exectuing very poorly on the powerplay (despite Brisebois' PPG with 42 seconds remaining in the 2nd). The Habs were basically trying to play Boston Bruins hockey, but were not playing it right at all and were lucky to keep Boston off the board.
Boston missed two glorious, sure-goal opportunities in the first; one player missed an open-net, and David Krejci failed to connect on a 2-on-0 taking a feed from Marco Sturm and redirecting it wide.
Steve Begin took a terrible penalty at the very end of the 2nd period on a harmless carry from Milan Lucic in the neutral zone with under 10 seconds to play, but lady luck was on Montreal's side this time around, as the Bruins failed to cash in and tie the game.
The Habs did shape up when it mattered most, however; as down the stretch and into the final 10 minutes of play, they really cracked down on defense. They provided Carey Price with all the assistance he would need en route to helping him record his first career NHL playoffs shutout, including a fantastic, selfless play by Roman Hamrlik who acted like a goalie himself in the dying seconds of the game to partially block a shot from in close as the B's pressured with Thomas on the bench for the extra attacker.
Prior to all that and with about 12 minutes to go, the Habs had a great chance to practically put the game away early, as Tom Kostopoulos broke the zone and floated a drop-pass to Steve Begin who would patiently skate in on Thomas, outwait him, and would try a pass back to Kostopoulos in the crease area for an easy slam dunk goal - only problem was that Marc Savard stood between them, and with Thomas down and out, Savard managed to make a goal-line interception and clearance.
Montreal are now 2-for-21 on the powerplay. Tom Kostopoulos had another standout game, his 4th out of 4 career playoff games, all played this season.
Boston will look to send the series back to Boston for game 6 Saturday by winning in Montreal in game 5 which goes Thursday night. Price is 15-4 since general manager Bob Gainey traded goalie Cristobal Huet to Washington on Feb. 26. And he's allowed just seven goals in his last seven games.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
The Montreal Canadiens will look to bounce back fromt heir first loss of the season against Boston tonight in game 4.
Boston needed their 11th confrontation with Montreal this year to notch a win, and that win put an end to a 14-game Montreal winning streak over the Bruins, dating back to last year.
Milan Lucic has been the story of the Bruins so far as he is effectively using his size and skill to create plays. Milan leads the NHL in hits in the postseason with 18.
The other key element for the Bruins thus far has been their penalty kill. Ranked 28th in the regular season, Boston have revamped their shorthanded mentality and have switched to a tighter box in front of Tim Thomas all the while adding more agressive checking on the Habs point men. The result? #1 ranked Montreal's powerplay is exectuing at just under 6%, going 1-for-18 thus far.
The Habs will need to find a way to get the powerplay going a.s.a.p as they are now dealing with a Bruins team that is high on momentum and motivation having won their first game vs. Montreal in well over a year.
The key line has been that of Tom Kostopoulos (team leader at +3), Steve Begin and Bryan Smolinski (tied for team lead with Kostopoulos with 3 points). This line needs to continue doing exactly what it's doing; grinding it out and laying the body on the Bruins defence, all the while creating scoring chances.
The problem that needs addressing immediately is the ineffectivness of Montreal's go-to line in Alex Kovalev, Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Kostitsyn. This line needs to shift into gear as of tonight to attempt to avoid having the Bruins tie the series at 2 heading back to Montreal.
No lineup changes are confirmed as Guy Carbonneau stated that the lineups will be a game-time decision. In all likelihood, however, expect to see Ryan O'Byrne inserted into the lineup to provide that extra physical element that the Habs need to wear down the Bruins forward contingent. Patrice Brisebois MAY be the healthy scratch, as could be Mathieu Dandenault, which would surely see Mark Streit return to offense.
Puck drop scheduled for 7:08.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Marc Savard is to Boston in game 3 as Alex Kovalev was to Montreal in game 2, tallying the overtime winner for his 1st career playoff goal.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
The B’s stepped onto the ice to an absolute cacophony, blasted by a seismic sound wave of 21,000-plus frenzied locals who embrace this team to the very bottom of their souls. The remarkably emotional pregame spectacle must have had some intimidating effect on the Bruins players, nine of whom were appearing in their first playoff game.
“With the crazy crowd, the singing, the towel-waving, it was like being a Roman gladiator,” said B’s goalie Tim Thomas, who was not sharp in his playoff debut. “I took a few minutes to soak it in. I don’t know if that had anything to do with the start. I don’t think so. But (tonight in Game 2) I’ll pay no attention to it and just go out and do it.”
The B’s neophytes had been told that playoff hockey was different than the regular-season variety, faster and more intense. They quickly found out how true that was.
Things got worse in a hurry. Pregame noise was one thing, and it probably did contribute to the visible nervousness, uncertainty and jittery hands the Bruins displayed. -
Friday, April 11, 2008
''Andrei scored, I scored. I'm happy for us both. I'm happy to help the team.''
Thursday, April 10, 2008
For Montreal, Saku Koivu is OUT with the left foot injury, Francis Bouillon is out as well but believes he will be ready to go for game 2.
Ryan O'Byrne will be a healthy scratch due to Mike Komisarek returning to the lineup, while replacing Bouillon will likely be Patrice Brisebois.
Michael Ryder who suffered from the flu is also ready to go, and will likely play on a line with Chris Higgins and Sergei Kostitsyn.
For Boston, Marc Savard appears to be healthy enough to go after recovering from a broken bone in his back. Patrice Bergeron will not play.
Puck drop: 7:08.
GO HABS GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, April 7, 2008
Here is the full schedule for the Canadiens/Bruins series:
Thursday April 10th, 7pm Game 1
Saturday April 12th, 7pm Game 2
Sunday April 13th, 7pm Game 3
Tuesday April 15th, 7pm Game 4
Thursday April 17th, 7pm Game 5*
Saturday April 19th, 7pm Game 6*
Monday April 21st, 7pm Game 7*
* if needed
ALL games will be broadcast on RDS & CBC. VERSUS (U.S.) will broadcast GAME #2 Saturday night.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
The Canadiens end the year at 47-25-10, totaling 104 points, two ahead of Pittsburgh.
With many predicting the Habs to finish out of playoff contention this season, the Habs have not only stunned their critics; they've made them all look like fools (me included) as they are now statistically the favoured Eastern team to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, gunning for their 25th Stanley Cup.
And if history is any indicator, Montreal will be heavily favoured to at least come out of round 1 on top.
The Habs owned the Bruins this season, defeating them all 8 times they met, only one of which requiring extra time (shootout).
Lifetime, Montreal is 23-7 vs. the Bruins in the playoffs.
Boston can thank their 12 overtime losses for their spot in the post-season, as Carolina had more wins in ninth, yet only mustered up 92 points, two fewer than the Bruins.
The Bruins will be hoping for an early return from Marc Savard, suffering from a broken bone in his back suffered in Boston's last game in Montreal, courtesy a Steve Begin crosscheck, and will also be praying for a miraculous return of dangerous centerman Patrice Bergeron, sidelined nearly the entire season after being boarded head-first by Philadelphia's Randy Jones.
Montreal will likely be without Saku Koivu for the first game at least, but there is optimism of a Koivu return for game 1 as well...he is suffering from a broken bone in his left foot, suffered blocking a shot in a game vs. Buffalo. Accoridng to coach Carbonneau, if Koivu can assure him that he's ready to go and ready to play through the pain, he will suit up.
The series kicks off Thursday night.
The other Eastern playoff matchups are as follows:
2 Pittsburgh vs. 7 Ottawa
3 Washington vs. 6 Philadelphia
4 New Jersey vs. 5 NY Rangers
Friday, April 4, 2008
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Higgins opened the scoring on a power play 11:28 in when he beat Miller by re-directing a Mark Streit point shot for his 25th of the season and 50th point overall.
The soldout Bell Centre crowd of 21,273 was still celebrating the Canadiens' opening goal when Smolinski made it a two-goal lead with his seventh goal at 12:08., taking a nifty - yet surely unintentional - feed from Steve Begin from below the goalline and off of the side frame of Miller's net right onto his stick, and releasing a slapshot past Miller's blocker-side.
Mikhail Grabovski will sit out due to the flu.
Alex Kovalev also suffered from the flu yesterday, but is cleared to play tonight.
Bouillon is also out with a lingering foot injury, and will join Komisarek and Koivu, as well as Grabovski, Ryder, and other Hamilton recall Greg Stewart.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Fresh off a 32-save performance that helped the Habs clinch the Division, Carey Price was named NHL Rookie of the Month for the month of March today, edging out other candidates Sam Gagner, Nicklas Backstrom, Patrick Kane and fellow 'tender Erik Ersberg of L.A.
Price will get the start tomorrow night and will go head to head with Ryan Miller. Miller has surrendered 17 goals in six games against Montreal this season, but 10 have come in the last two matchups - both losses.
Since becoming the Canadiens #1 goalie at the trading deadline with the sending of Cristobal Huet to Washington, Carey Price has dominated between the pipes. He has registered 10 wins in his 13 starts, losing only to top-tier teams San Jose, Anaheim and Ottawa. His goals-against-average in that span is 2.29; two of his 10 wins have come versus and in Buffalo.
The Habs (45-25-10) now trail Pittsburgh by 2 points, as the Penguins were able to topple the Flyers 4-2 tonight. Pittsburgh have 102 points through 81 games.
The Sabres (38-30-12) won the Presidents' Trophy last season by setting franchise records with 53 wins and 113 points, but sit in 10th place in the East this season with two games remaining for them.
Should the Sabres not take tomorrow's contest into overtime, their season will officially be over.
The Sabres reached the conference finals each of the last two seasons, losing to eventual Stanley Cup winner Carolina in 2006 and Ottawa last year. Now, Buffalo is trying to avoid joining the New York Rangers (1992-93) and Montreal (1969-70) as the only teams since 1967-68 to miss the postseason after leading the league in points the previous season.
A win for Buffalo tomorrow night would put them at 90 points, one point off 8th place Philadelphia.
Washington currently holds down the 9th spot, but plays host to Tampa Bay tomorrow. An overtime loss would be good enough for Washington to grab the 8 spot, as they would equal Philly in points while having one more win.
Who will be more desperate tomorrow night...a team gunning down 1st in the East, or a team playing for their postseason lives? If Tuesday's game was any hint, don't necessarily favor the Sabres.
Notes: The Canadiens recalled forwards Matt D'Agostini and Greg Stewart from the AHL affiliate Hamilton Bulldogs today. No word yet on whether or not they will both play, but they will practice with the team Thursday morning.
Puck drop: 7:38
The Canadiens were able to come out of Ottawa with 3-0 win led by a 32-save effort from rookie netminder Carey Price.
The Habs may now celebrate the feat of earning the Northeast Division crown, a feat they hadn't accomplished since the 1991-92 season - that's a 16 year span folks...for the MOST STORIED franchise in NHL history.
In fact, the last time the Habs won the Division title, the Division was called the Adams Division, and the Habs needed just 93 points in 80 games.
It's about time, boys!
Montreal came into the contest having won 5 of their last 7, while Ottawa had LOST 5 of their last 7.
And the streaks continue...
Alex Kovalev opened the scoring on the PP midway through the first, backhanding home a Michael Ryder centering pass from along the goal-line past Martin Gerber and top shelf for his 35th of the season.
5:28 into the second, Mathieu Dandenault picked up a Guillaume Latendresse rebound and created a lane for himself to either dish the puck or go for the shot. Luckily, Dandenault chose the latter, and released a perfect wrister to beat Gerber high and top corner once again.
Midway through the third, the Habs would send this game out of reach on an Andrei Kostitsyn marker on the PP, his 26th of the campaign, as his wrist shot beat Gerber under the arm and over the pad.
Ottawa's loss now puts them in serious danger of actually missing the post-season, something that hasn't occured in 12 years. The Sens sit with 92 points through 80 games, good enough for 6th out East, but only one point ahead of both 7th Boston and 8th Philadelphia, both of whom have only played 79 of 82 games. 9th place Washington won tonight hosting Carolina, which moves them up to 90 points in 80 games, 2 away from the catching the Senators.
The Habs win vaults them to 100 points with 2 games remaining, and guarantees them a finish in the Conference no less than 2nd. The Pittsburgh Penguins also have 100 points through 80 games, but remain first as they have 45 wins, one more than Montreal's 44.
The Canadiens have not reached 100 points since doing so in 1992-93, when they finished 3rd in their Division with 103 before going on to shock many people and win the Stanley Cup, their 24th overall and 23rd as an official member of the National Hockey League. It is the 16th time in their history that they've broken the 100 point barrier.
Alex Kovalev became the first 35-goal scorer for Montreal since 1995-96, when both Pierre Turgeon and Vincent Damphousse tallied 38.
Montreal have played all their road games this season, and have two home games remaining: Thursday vs. Buffalo, and Saturday vs. Toronto. Montreal finishes with a 25-12-4 road record.