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The Habs win! The Habs win! On a night where they were outshot 40-13, the Montreal Canadiens managed to squeeze out a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. The formula for success was scoring two goals 30 seconds apart at the halfway mark of the 1st period, and then hanging on for dear life.

The Senators would tie up the score thanks to two power-play goals, but then with time winding down in the 3rd period the Habs managed to score the game winner and hold on to their lead, successfully this time, until the final whistle. 



Montreal 1-0: Perreault takes an unnecessary high-sticking penalty during a Habs power-play. They play 4-on-4 until the Ottawa penalty expires and now it’s a Senator PP for about 1 minute. Sheldon Souray sends Jan Bulis away, who enters the zone and let’s a slap shot go from just inside the circle and beats Lalime low on the short side.


Montreal 2-0: 30 seconds later, Ribeiro & Audette come in on a 2-on-1… Ribeiro lifts a soft pass over the defender’s stick over to Audette. He then fakes the shot, takes an extra step and then shoots it past Lalime who is caught out of position.


Ottawa 1-2:  Dackell takes a tripping penalty with a minute left in the 1st period… and predictably, Ottawa takes advantage. Spezza tips in a shot by Alfredsson and Montreal‘s lead is cut to one. An awful goal to give up in the last minute of the period, stemming from that ill-advised penalty.


Ottawa 2-2: Hossa comes in on the wing and is forced behind the net, so he keeps the puck and comes out the other side… and keeps the puck until he’s back at the blue line. He had so much fun doing it that he figures he’ll go take another spin around the Habs zone. Souray gives him a whack on the wrist the 2nd time around… another unnecessary penalty that will cost the Habs.

This time the Senators do a good job of passing the puck around, the Canadiens over-pursue on one side and that allows Redden to come in towards Theodore and let his shot go. Theo gets a good piece of it, but it trickles behind him towards the net. Markov is right there and tries to stop the puck but his stick breaks the second it touches the ice… the puck and half of Markov’s stick end up in the net.


Montreal 3-2: You can thank Dackell’s hard work for this one. He fights for the puck with Chara, tries to push it to Perreault but his checker pushes back towards Dackell & Chara. Dackell swings at the puck again, it takes a weird bounce, off the boards behind the net and comes right in front surprising everyone. Bulis gets to it first, dives to the puck and while going down backhands it just over Lalime’s shoulder and under the crossbar on the stick side.

A beautiful goal by Bulis.




          All wins aren’t pretty, and this one sure wasn’t. But just as the Habs deserved a better fate in the loss to Buffalo a few games back, they won tonight despite being totally dominated for stretches tonight. Being outshot 40-13 really tells the story. Things always even out over a long season.

         Even though the Habs were really outplayed and out-chanced, if they don’t take those two unnecessary penalties… this is a shutout win for Montreal. As weird as that might sound, I know. They really need to quit taking stupid penalties, especially against the better PP teams. Next up is Vancouver.

         For a few games now the defense is being really pressured deep in their zone. They work really hard to push it up along the boards, but then the Habs forward sends it back behind the net instead of getting it out. More often that not it goes back the opposing forward in the corner or behind the net and our tired defensemen have to do the work all over again. It leads to long shifts where the opponent controls the puck endlessly in the Habs’ zone, and eventually the exhausted Canadiens start breaking down and there’s a good scoring chance. Forwards, get the damn puck OUT when you have the chance… thank you.

         Ribeiro made a beautiful play when during a backcheck he intercepted a cross-ice pass, and immediately sent the puck back to Kilger who was trailing on the play but now found himself sent in alone on Lalime. But he took so much time to get turned around and get to the net that Ottawa had time to get back at the last second and he didn’t even get a shot off. Kilger has to at least get a shot off on that play.


Habs’ hero: Theodore and Bulis: Theo for all his top notch saves throughout the game, and Bulis for being the first forward to score 2 goals since forever. Bulis has been skating well and getting some good chances all year, but as I mentioned a few games ago that’s not good enough. He needs to start scoring because he’s one of those forwards that CAN score, and it’s players like him that will lead the Habs out of their tough stretch.

Audette had the other goal, a nice move, and took a lot of abuse out there because he was getting involved in the play. But that dumb tripping penalty he took in the offensive zone with 2-3 minutes left is inexcusable… it could have cost us one point, or even two.


Habs’ zero: The first line… who didn’t do much on this night. Ribeiro’s line had some good chances including the Audette goal, and Perreault’s line had some chances too and the winning Bulis goal. But Koivu’s line was pretty invisible, Zednik still can’t make a play other than shoot right in the chest of the goalie.

Koivu & Zednik need to start producing, their best players have to be their best players if the Habs are going to pull themselves out of their current losing streak.



Final Thoughts:


Lately I‘ve been saying the games were boring… well this one was exciting, but for all the wrong reasons. After seeing the first two games vs. Ottawa this year, Theodore knew he was going to have a busy night, and busy it was. But he and Habs somehow found a way to come out of it with the win and at the end of the day that’s all that counts.


It should give team morale a much needed boost, and hopefully it’s the kind of game where the team regains some confidence and rediscovers the art of scoring on a more regular basis. It doesn’t get any easier, as they face the formidable Vancouver Canucks next.