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After blowing the game in Vancouver, the Montreal Canadiens found yet another way to lose and the Calgary Flames came away with a 2-1 victory. The Habs started the game well and controlled the first period but only got one goal out of it thanks to Kiprusoff’s heroics, and they even managed to give the lead up with a bad turnover in the period’s last minute.


As they often do the Habs then disappeared, outshot 24-11 in the last 2 periods, but it looked like they were get away with it and head towards another overtime… until the Flames scored the game winner with 1 minute left in regulation.



Montreal 1-0: In what is a penalty-filled 1st period, Oliwa gets 5 minutes and a game for intent to injure when he cross-checks Langdon in the face… after they fight, no winner btw, the Habs get a 5 min power-play. They get a few good chances, namely Markov faking the shot but instead aiming at Perreault at the side of the net but he manages to deflect it wide at arms length distance… that kind of thing happens when you haven’t been playing. In the last minute of the extended PP, there are 3 defensemen on the ice since Rivet is being used as a forward. Ribeiro sets up shop behind the net, finds Rivet open to the side of the net… and he one-times it past Kiprusoff.


Calgary 1-1: Just when the Habs are starting to think about how disappointed they are with the prospects of being up only by one after a period in which they had many chances to build up more of a lead, Calgary comes out of nowhere in the last minute to tie it up. Bouillon gets hooked behind the net, no call, it leads to a turnover and two Flames end up alone on Theo… he makes the first stop but the second guy finishes the job.


Montreal 2-1:  Just when Julien is starting to think ahead to overtime, the unthinkable happens… Calgary scores and wins the game. Koivu loses the key faceoff in the defensive zone, one might ask why Perreault wasn’t used with a minute left… after all he was the only center to have won more than 50% of his faceoffs during the game. But who am I to question these things?

The faceoff is to Theo’s right, and Julien decides to pull Ryder off the right side and put him on the left with Zednik to have them both rushing towards Leopold at the point since the play is set up for him to take the shot. During this time Quintal has gone to take Ryder’s place at the right side of the circle near the boards, lining up with Gélinas. And so the stage is set, and now everything that could go wrong goes wrong.

First Koivu loses the draw to Conroy, and then Ryder & Zednik don’t get to Leopold on time so he gets the shot off. On the other side, the second the puck is dropped Gélinas goes around the 2 faceoff men and heads towards the net while the much slower Quintal has to go around the same two but from the opposite side. By the time the two meet up again on the other side of Koivu & Conroy, Gélinas had already had the rebound come right to him and netted the game winner.


It’s all about X’s and O’s and execution, and the Flames had the Habs beat in both respects. There is no need for Quintal to lineup in Ryder’s spot, he only puts himself further away from the net he is supposed to protect… and it gave the much faster Gélinas the chance to beat him to the net. That’s the X’s and O’s part. As for execution you have Koivu losing the draw, the wingers not getting to the defenseman in the time to prevent the shot, and Theodore who gave up a big fat rebound right to the front of the net on what wasn’t a very hard shot from the point.


The saddest part is that Yvon Pedneault on the RDS telecast singled out Souray as the guilty party on that play. The fact is Souray was the ONLY Habs player who didn’t contribute to that goal being scored. He was checking his man in front of the net, saw Quintal’s man coming in unchecked but he couldn’t go over to him because he’d be leaving his own man open. Souray couldn’t know which way the rebound would go. You can’t go blaming someone for not doing someone else’s job, that’s just stupid.





          Here’s a stat you don’t hear every day… all 12 of the Habs shots in the first period were on the power-play. Another weird thing happened, the Habs didn’t allow a goal on the PK and scored a PP goal of their own. How often does that happen with this team? Like, never?

          Theodore was run into and knocked around yet again tonight. How far are we from just a few years ago when the players couldn’t have as much as a toe in the crease? Maybe the league has decided letting players take a run at goalies will lead to more fights & more goals… which are the two things that bring the fans to rink in the first place. But actually it’s all the officiating that has gone to hell this year; it’s really hard to take a sport seriously when they change the rules, and how they are enforced, from one year to the next.

          Ribeiro now has a point in each of his last 6 games… albeit quietly. Nice to see some consistency in his point production, that’s a very rare commodity on this team these days.

 –         Audette suffered a seperated shoulder in the 1st period, no word on how long he’ll be out of the lineup.


Habs’ hero: Gotta give it to Craig Rivet… a rare appearance for him on this side of the hero/zero ledger. He gave the tone by finally protecting Theo early and dropping the gloves, then he scored the Habs only goal on the PP… making his coach look good.


Ribeiro & Perreault created a lot of scoring chances… although need to convert them more often.


Habs’ zero: No major zeroes on this night. There’s Bouillon for the turnover the lead to the first goal. Yes he was hooked, but if he’s gonna let it make him lose the puck he has to sell it better than that. Markov is a master at it, he would have sold it and gotten the penalty call.

Then I’ll name all the people who were at fault for the winning goal: Koivu for the faceoff, Ryder & Zednik for not getting to Leopold, Julien for not having Quintal in the right spot at the faceoff or using Perreault to take that faceoff, Theo for the bad rebound.



Final Thoughts:


The Habs have no luck, they just happened to visit Calgary on the very day their new goaltender played his first game for his new team. Of course Kiprusoff was extra focused for this one, and stole the game in the first period… because if wasn’t for his heroics the Habs would built up a lead it could actually hold.

But that doesn’t excuse them for coming out flat for the last two periods.


And it gets even worse on Saturday, when they’ll meet an Oilers team with an “extra-strength” version of home advantage with a 60k crowd on hand… and possibly newcomer Adam Oates, who I would not be surprised to see join the roster early just so he can be part of this special event. Hell, the way Edmonton is trying to rig everything in their favour maybe they’ll even let Messier dress up in both games… for old time sake.