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Title - Hockey is Canadien
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Follow Me on TwitterDean Eastman is the Montreal Canadiens' correspondent for OurHometown.ca Dean was born in Cornwall and raised in Long Sault and has been a loyal Habs fan since the days of the Pocket Rocket and the Roadrunner. He now calls Whitby, Ontario home to his wife Heather and young son Eric. Dean is passionate about his hockey, whether it be from the junior or professional ranks. Dean will provide current news and views on the Montreal Canadiens' organization from a global perspective. If you have questions or wish to contact Dean, you can email him at deastman@ourhometown.ca
Sabres had no business winning - Habs deliver solid effort
Dean Eastman
OurHometown.ca

Sabres had no business winning - Habs deliver solid effort
The Montreal Canadiens played much better hockey, but still ended up with the same result after 60 minutes of play on Tuesday night. The Buffalo Sabres road the coattails of an extremely sound goaltender in Ryan Miller as he stopped 40-of-41 shots and the visitors hung onto a 3 - 1 victory over the Canadiens.
PHOTO CREDIT - NHL.com

Whitby - Oct. 19, 2011 - The Montreal Canadiens played much better hockey, but still ended up with the same result after 60 minutes of play on Tuesday night. The Buffalo Sabres road the coattails of an extremely sound goaltender in Ryan Miller as he stopped 40-of-41 shots and the visitors hung onto a 3 - 1 victory over the Canadiens.

The Sabres got goals from winger Thomas Vanek (game winner) and defensemen Christian Ehrhoff and Jordan Leopold. Ever-impressing rookie defenseman Rafael Diaz potted his first career NHL goal at 2:08 of the second period on a nice feed from Max Pacioretty.

Unlike their first four games, the Canadiens played an entertaining style of play, owning the first 30 minutes of the contest over the Sabres. The Habs fired 14 shots on Miller to Buffalo’s 3 shots in the first period. Miller put on a goaltending clinic last night and was the primary reason why the Sabres escaped with the victory. Carey Price suffered yet another loss as he stopped 20-of-22 Sabres’ shots (.909 save percentage).

The other reason the Sabres won was a mental lapse by usually dependable, Canadiens’ defenseman Josh Gorges in the final few seconds of the second period. Notched at a 1-1 tie and with less than five seconds left, Gorges iced the puck. This was the turning point in the game.

The 6’5” Sabres’ centreman Paul Gaustad cleanly won the faceoff versus the much tinier 5’7” David Desharnais in the Habs’ defensive zone and with three seconds left to close out the frame, Vanek picked his spot and netted the game winner past Price.

The announced three stars of the game were Habs’ defenseman Diaz (3rd star, scored his first NHL goal), red hot Pacioretty (2nd star, nine shots on net, one assist) and Sabres’ ‘tender Miller (.976 save percentage). There were 21,273 in attendance at the Bell Centre.

The Canadiens’ next game is Thursday when the team travels to Pittsburgh to face the Crosby-and Letang-less Penguins. Michael Cammalleri is expected to return on Thursday as he has recovered from a laceration to his knee. Game time is 7:00 p.m. and can be seen on both TSN and RDS. TSN 990 AM radio will also broadcast the contest.

View from the Whitby Cheap Seats

Miller was a buzz saw on this night and closed the door on the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge in the third period. For anyone that watched last night’s game, it was a fun game to watch even if the end result was more than frustrating to take. The Habs were the aggressor, were strong on the forecheck and they were shooting at will.

Once again, the Habs’ power play was a non-factor as the team went zero-for-five on the evening. The Habs’ power play sits at an embarrassing 10% after five games this season. Scott Gomez hasn’t scored a regulation regular season goal since February 5, 2011. That being said, Gomez is shooting more and actually played quite well last night. He led all Habs’ centreman in winning faceoffs with a .636 winning faceoff percentage (14-for-22).

Natural centreman Lars Eller continues to impress me game-after-game. I had my doubts about Eller last season, but so far this year he has played well after returning from injury and missing the entire Canadiens’ training camp.

The line of Pacioretty, Desharnais and Kostitsyn was hot again last night. Note to Coach Martin - keep these kids together - you’re lacking offense on a nightly basis (except for two prior contests) and these three seem to be your best chance of getting more goals.

Negatives to last night’s contest for the Canadiens in my opinion was the play (or non-play) of Andreas Engqvist who had no shots on goal and saw the lowest amount of ice time with 5:21 minutes. Aaron Palushaj who was recently called up to Montreal to add scoring punch, saw only 6:04 of ice time in the game. The Canadiens might as well send both of these players back to Hamilton in order to let them play to find their game.

The Canadiens now sit at 1-3-1 on the season. Don’t hit the panic button until at least the tenth game"the boys showed they can play last night. Let us hope for more of the same in Pittsburgh on Thursday.

Game Stats Review

Game Summary
STATS & PHOTO CREDIT - NHL.com

  • P.K. Subban led all Canadiens’ skaters with 25:00 minutes of ice time. He registered four shots on net, was a -2 and saw 5:55 minutes of power play time.

  • Montreal registered 27 hits to Buffalo’s 18. Habs’ rookie defenseman Alexei Emelin registered six hits in 15:04 minutes of play. I like the looks of this kid. His defensive play and hard hits are more noticeable game-after-game.

  • Montreal won 36-of-71 faceoffs versus Buffalo. Andreas Engqvist was the worst of the centreman for Montreal (one-for-six, .167 winning faceoff percentage).

    In Honour of Rafael Diaz’ First NHL Goal

    Thank you to KidThunder10 for sharing this video of ‘Rafael’ (tongue-in-cheek) where he actually scored his first NHL goal a few seasons ago against then Habs’ netminder Jose Theodore. I don’t know why it took the Canadiens’ coaching staff so long to see Rafael had scoring potential. Why did it take them until the 2011-12 NHL season to insert him into the Canadiens’ lineup?

    View link here:



    Until next time, play every game as if it is your last one…


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