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Different game, same result. Last week it was a game Montreal should have won but gave it away due to bad penalties, and the Canuck defensemen lead the charge. This time around the Habs never lead, were simply outplayed and it was Vancouver‘s Bertuzzi-Morrison-Naslund line that took over… they were named the 3 stars of the game.



Vancouver 1-0: A goal that simply shouldn’t happen, letting the 4th line score 5 minutes in. Kesler carries it in, Bouillon stands up his man and knocks him down along the boards. Brad May who was trailing the play picks up the puck, and as Ribeiro closes up on him he finds Keane in the high slot who uses Rivet as a screen and beats Theodore with a quick but soft shot.

Rivet gave Keane too much room, and Theo makes that save on a good day.


Montreal 1-1: The Canadiens answer back a few minutes later. Vancouver turns over the puck in the neutral zone to Koivu who rushes in towards the net, then backs off and slides it to Zednik coming late. Zednik’s initial shot is blocked by Sopel, but it goes right back to him and he shoots again immediately… Cloutier is completely fooled by the initial shot block, isn’t ready for the second shot and it goes in.


Vancouver 2-1:  On one of the many shifts where Vancouver is simply buzzing in the offensive zone, overwhelming the Habs, they eventually score. Morrison is along the boards near the corner, and finds Naslund open as he comes out on the other side from behind the net. Quintal never has time to get to Naslund, even if he takes his sweet time before getting the shot off. He takes so much time that Theo has time to get over and seems to have his angle covered before Naslund let’s his backhander go… but it somehow squeeze in under Theo’s glove.

Again a shot Theo could have stopped. Then again Quintal is too slow on that play, yet again, and left Naslund wide open.


Vancouver 3-1: Bertuzzi is fed by Naslund and scores from the high slot. Actually it was barely a shot, more a puck pushed towards the net… but it went off Brisebois’ skate.


Vancouver 4-1: Langdon gets called for interference. Daniel Sedin gets a shot off, while Souray allows Jason King to stay planted right in front of the net. It goes off King’s skate and in.

Souray has to do a better job of clearing out the front of the net.


Montreal 2-4: The Habs finally figure out that what’s good for the opposition might also be good for them. So they send Langdon to shield Cloutier in front of the net, and Sundstrom shoots it in as Cloutier can’t see a thing.


Vancouver 5-2: Morrison finds Naslund coming in late, Ribeiro is a step late covering his man. Naslund sweeps in alone on Theo, fakes the shot then goes to backand and slides it into the open net. The all-star made it look so easy, Theo was completely fooled.

Despite the advantage of playing at home, Julien had Ribeiro out against Naslund… I doubt that was part of the game plan.





          It was the second game in as many nights for Vancouver, who on top of that were having problems on the road. They also had Cooke out of the lineup after injuring himself against the Leafs the night before… and he had been a pest in last week’s 5-4 loss. And despite all that, Vancouver had a pretty easy night.

         The Habs had a few good shifts, where they applied some good pressure in the offensive zone. But they spend too much on the boards and behind the net… you can’t score from there. And when they do get it to the slot, they’re still missing too many chances.

          It was the 3rd time in the last 5 games that the Habs allowed 40 shots, the other two were over 30 shots. This was something Julien had been able to correct so far this year, but lately it has been falling apart. We do have to keep in mind that two of those games were against the powerful Canucks and another versus Ottawa.

         I mentioned after the Oilers game that it might be the perfect time to rest Theodore. It was the first game back after a long road trip, and Theo had taken a lot of abuse and faced a lot of shots lately. I had a feeling Theo would have a sub-par night and that’s what he had.



Habs’ hero: There were no heroes… but a few players played well. Sundstrom played his best game in a long time, he was even promoted to the 2nd line at one point and made things happen. He eventually scored once back with the 4th line, with two other players who gave a good effort in Bégin and especially Langdon.


Habs’ zero: The 3rd line has a tough job description, shut down the opposition’s starts every night. They’ve done well on most nights, but tonight they didn’t even come close… they were lost all night. The Souray-Quintal duo had another tough night, both -2.

Quintal still hasn’t played a good game since coming back from his heart problems. I’m not suggesting his heart is affecting his play, more that he simply hasn’t found his groove since. And this complicates things for Gainey, as he is contemplating trading one of his right defensemen for some help up front.




Final Thoughts:


Claude Julien was so furious after the game that he didn’t go into the room to talk to his players. The players held a meeting, the consensus was they didn’t show up for this game and need to work harder. When asked if he thought the fact the team held a meeting was a good sign, he said talking is nice… but he wants to see it on the ice.


Komisarek was not dressed vs. Vancouver, but one would assume the Habs don’t plan leave him out of the lineup for very long. With Quintal and Rivet presently struggling, Julien has no shortage of players who could use a night off to reflect on how they’ve been playing.


Next up, back to back games vs. Washington & Florida.