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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Habs Tale of Two Cities

Canadiens drop 3 of 4 points in back to back games against Bruins and Sabres
If I said Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller would give up four goals five straight games in a row, would you think I was crazy? Drunk? Just plain stupid?

(Well I am fighting a cold right now.)

But it's true. Yet still, the Canadiens unfortunately reminded us of the team we painfully watched last year Thursday night in Buffalo when they gave up a two goal lead in the third to lose in a shootout 5-4.

For their part, the Canadiens came back strong after a disappointing loss to arch rival Boston Bruins, falling 2-1 on Wednesday night in Montreal but let the Buffalo game slip away. Twitter-folk were screaming for Peter Budaj's head but the truth is, he had a solid outing and kept the Habs in the game in the second when they ran into penalty trouble.

Thomas "I'm on fire!" Vanek celebrates his game tying goal with 2 seconds left against the Habs Thursday night. Buffalo won in a shootout 5-4.

In the Bruins game the Habs roared out of the gate but an inability to capitalize and a hot goaltender in Tukka Rask did them in. That and the fact that Boston is a strong third period team and with a quick goal 14 seconds into the third, the Bruins stunned the Habs who came out flatfooted eventually leading to the winning goal a few minutes later.

So it goes sometimes. I don't mind the Habs losing like that -- sometimes that's just the way the puck bounces. And Tomas Plekanec finished the night minus two.

But as good players often do, Plekanec bounced back with two goals but unfortunately it wasn't enough.

But what I do mind is how the Canadiens lost the game to the Sabres.

What's worse is how Montreal took leads into the third period only to lose both games. That's also like last year. Ulp!

Ryan White re-entered the fray replacing Travis Moen against Buffalo and you have to wonder what is going on with this guy. Game after game, he's taking unnecessary penalties and putting this team in difficult situations. And with the Canadiens in full control 4-2 in the third period, the guy takes another pointless penalty, opening the door for the Sabres to get back into the game -- which they did when Vanek scored.

Ryan White is essentially playing his way off the team and straight into the press box. Two losses in a row sting and we can feel the pressure ratcheting up. And boy Therrien was pissed -- a very quiet, controlled pissed, mind you -- in his post-game scrum. He didn't call him out by name at first, but it was easy to know who he was talking about. Then right at the end he mentioned White and how it might not have been his best decision to put him in back in the lineup. Oof!

Twitter was ablaze with rants and raves when it was announced that Budaj would get the call over Price against the Sabres but the Habs are entering a tougher part of their schedule and Therrien needs to keep him fresh. This was as good an opportunity as any to get Budaj a start.

And what can you say about P.K. Subban? After sucking it up and taking his two-year "bridge" contract he's clicked right away with Andrei Markov and has put up points in each of his four games.

I was a bit surprised with Subban's reaction to his goal against Boston -- not that it was flamboyant or anything but it was a bit more energized than I had predicted earlier. Against the Sabres, Subban blasted a one-timer off a Markov pass past Miller on a five-on-three and kept his reaction muted.

There's a time and place for everything.

Next game against the Leafs back in Montreal. No need to panic, but is it fair to say it's a must-win for the Habs?


Big thanks, or in hockey talk, stick tap to Anthony aka HabsHappy on twitter for the brand-spanking new masthead image which now sits at the top of this blog. The guy has some serious talent and he perfectly visualized my Habs Fan in LeafLand handle -- no easy feat. Still need to do some additional work on the design here but again, I can't thank him enough for donating his special skills and generosity. Check him out at

Follow-moi on le Twitter: @HabsFanLeafLand


  1. HABS still have a few growing pains to suffer through before we can expect them to finish off their opponents each and every time they go into the 3rd with a lead. Two losses like this show they are not there yet...
    I agree that the HABS are in a relative must-win situation, strictly just to stem the brief losing spell and to show the LEAFS who's boss. We'll see...

    1. Agreed, definitely a work in progress. How about dem Hawks eh?