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The Montreal Canadiens fell short in their pursuit of a 4th straight win with the Toronto Maple Leafs visiting the Bell Center on Saturday night. The fell short indeed, in that they found themselves playing shorthanded far too many times on this night… and were held to only 15 shots as they lost 1-0 giving the Leafs their first win of the season.


The Habs started out strong with a spirited shift buy the 4th line who applied a lot of pressure in the offensive zone to set the tone for the home team.  

But 3 minutes in, the  Canadiens were called for their first of 7 penalties on the night when Ward was called for tripping. From that point on Montreal lost it’s rythym and the Maple Leafs took over.


Toronto 1-0: The only goal of the game scored on the power-play. Nothing special, a shot from the point that deflects off Brisebois’ leg as he was pushing Gary Roberts out of the way so Theo could see the shot. Bad luck nothing more, good things happen when put the puck on the net.  





         The Habs had been taking too penalties for a few games now but it wasn’t costing them. It always catches up to you in the end. The offensive players could never get in a flow, our 3rd line ended up being our biggest offensive threat by far.

          The Habs only managed 2 shots in the 3rd period, where they had two power-plays. Each of “top 2” lines had taken turns carrying the load so far this season, it just happens they both took the night off tonight.   

          If you’re looking for some positives,  the PK did very well again… and yes Theo is a big part of that PK unit. Also we still only allowed 25 shots despite being really outplayed… it wasn’t long ago we gave up an average of 40.

           Ok, so Ward’s penalty parade ended up costing us the game. But I won’t dump on the guy while he’s down. The tripping penalty was simply his stick getting caught in Nolan’s skate… bad luck. Then his two high-stick were him slashing at the opponent’s stick and then bouncing right up in their faces. He needs to be more careful, but I chalk it up to being just one of those nights. I liked the energy he brought the game, which is what we need from our 4th line. Now just do it with your stick on the ice.  


Habs’ hero: Theodore kept his team in it all game long, and was unlucky on the only goal he gave up. I also have to mention the 3rd line that provided the only offense the Habs could muster tonight… Bulis gives that line an offensive edge and was the best Canadiens player.


Habs’ zero: No, not Ward… he cost us 1 goal. Our offense should be able to score one goal, they didn’t even come close. Our “top 6”, all of them, combined for 4 shots… the Perreault line got none.

The only time I noticed any of them on the ice tonight was when Ryder & Audette collided at center ice… ouch.


Final Thoughts:


The Habs didn’t face a backup goalie or a team playing a second game in as many nights, and it wasn’t so easy anymore. The Habs just kept shooting themselves in the foot all night, the result was predictable.

And yet they were in this game until the final whistle, which is exactly what Julien’s system was designed to do.


But while Theodore and the defensive system did their jobs, the offense pulled a no show. Not scoring is one thing but getting no chances is quite another. The top 2 lines were completely invisible, and now Julien just went from not knowing who deserved a demotion when Koivu returns to not knowing who, if any, deserve to stay.


If Koivu is ready, now ia the perfect time to bring him back. And there’s potentially more good news for the Habs, as Hasek could likely get a night off on Monday… so Montreal might have a chance to go 3-0 vs. backups this year.

Not only that but the Red Wings just lost Derian Hatcher for 4-6 months and lost to lowly Pittsburgh last night in their first game without their bruising defenseman.