Gritty Habs beat Senators 3-0; clinch division!



    Congratulations to the Northeast division champs! It was a very hard fought game…one might say an ugly victory. Carey Price was superb and full marks for the shutout and first star.

    Some may think that this was a preview of playoff hockey but if that’s the case, the Canadiens may have an early exit. The Habs have a very distinct identity that has led them to a successful season. Changing that identity will be a recipe for disaster. I agree that it was a gritty win but the Canadiens will not last long in the playoffs if Sergei K is scuffling with Chris Neil types and Andrei Markov is taking fighting major penalties.

    Andrei K played a good tough game. Kovy had a goal and an assist. Plekanec looked to be fighting the puck a little. I really like the emergence of Sergei K. this season. His vision and passes are second to none on the team. Unfortunately we saw none of that tonight. Instead we watched as he looked out of place, he took 6 minutes in penalties, and he lost faceoffs.

    Chris Higgins had a good game especially in the defensive zone. He and Dandenault played so well together on the PK in Toronto that I was suprised that they weren’t used more in that role tonight.

    Ryan O’Byrne played really well even with limited icetime. He cleared the front of the net, had a number of big hits and blocked 5 shots. I would really like to see him play a regular shift. O’Byrne provides a physical presence and can rush the puck out of his own zone. He can be insulated for the occasional mistake by playing with Hamrlik.

    Now allow me a bit of a rant:

    Carbo, I have no idea what you owe Brisebois, but I sincerely hope that the debt is now paid in full. Now you can send him back to the press box. The fans (or the rest of the team) shouldn’t have to be subjected to such pathetic play again. Brisebois would be hard pressed to make the roster of any other NHL team. So what is he doing on the ice for the team tied for first in the Eastern conference?

    For most of the night, Patrice Brisebois was nothing more than a pylon. He spent a lot of time standing still. There were also moments when he was falling down, getting beaten to loose pucks, and being hammered into the boards. And yet, Carbo continued to send him on the ice.

    It may be hard to believe, but in the first period alone, Brisebois had more ice time than any other Canadien except Andrei Markov. Yes, more than Kovalev. Brisebois played almost 8 minutes of the first period with a minute and a half of powerplay time. The strengths of the Canadiens powerplay are quick accurate passes, good rotation and a big shot from the point. Brisebois cannot contribute in any of those ways. He stood stationary on the point for the whole time. Brisebois ended the night with 19 minutes of icetime.


    Grabovski is a healthy scratch. I’m stunned. Why not give Mikhail 3 games experience in a new role?

    So who believed that you might see #11 in the lineup after it was reported that he appeared in full equipment at this morning’s practise? Not Saku…Kirk Muller! But then, I hope you remembered the date.

    1st period notes:

    Smolinski line to start with Hamrlik and Brisebois on defense.
    Brisebois started the 5 on 3 PP on the point.
    Ryder from behind the net passes out front. Forunate bounce to Kovalev who scores. Habs lead 1-0.
    Hamrlik may have injured his groin.
    Montreal outshot Ottawa 11-6.

    2nd period notes:

    Good pinch by Latendresse. Dandenault scores. Soft goal by Gerber. Habs lead 2-0.
    Heatley to Spezza in slot. Great save Carey Price!
    Good work by O’Byrne on Heatley in front of the net.
    Great save by Price at the end of the period.
    Ottawa outshot Montreal 10-7.

    3rd period notes:

    Brisebois not looking good. He fell down when Fisher took away puck and set up Ottawa chance.
    Volchenkov leaves shooter to Gerber. Perfect shot by Andrei K. Habs lead 3-0.
    Huge glove save by Price on Schubert to preserve the shutout.
    Ottawa outshot Montreal 16-9 in the period and 32-27 overall.

    Rocket’s 3 stars:

    1. Carey Price
    2. Andrei Kostitsyn
    3. Chris Higgins

    honorable mention: Ryan O’Byrne

    (photo credit: AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)


    1. I’m kind of surprised that after beating Ottawa with a Shut-out and clinching there division, you leave such a negative review.The Habs are playing without there Captain and there biggest defensive man. They’re also playing in Ottawa which the hadn’t won in in 2 years. Sure there was mistakes, but give them some congrats and quit calling it ugly.

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