Rabid Habs

This Land Is Habs Land

Habs vs Islanders

“I’m not surprised by the success of the Islanders, they’re a really good team.” – P.A. Parenteau

The Montreal Canadiens were flying to the island to play their last game before the holiday break against the New York Islanders on Tuesday night. This was the first time of the season that the Canadiens and the Islanders were meeting, and the Islanders were already having a great start to the season. They were sitting in second place in the Metropolitan Division (fifth overall in the NHL) and had four straight wins, their last taking place on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. With John Tavares and Kyle Okposo both amassing 28 points since the start of the year and Brock Nelson, one of two Islanders first-round picks in 2010, having 27 points this season, including 14 goals, the New York Islanders were ready for their fifth straight win. As for the Montreal Canadiens, they had a successful game on Saturday night when they downed the Ottawa Senators 4-1, picking up their fourth victory in their last five games, all of which came at the Bell Centre. With no line changes being made for Tuesday night’s game, the Canadiens had a great chance at starting their holiday break the right way with a second win in a row. If the Canadiens could put their penalty kill on fire, get the pucks deep in the Islanders zone and aim for the net, they would see the excellent play that they have had for the past four victories and turn New York Island into Habs Land.

The first period looked dark for the Canadiens as the Islanders scored their first goal with seven minutes and 56 seconds left thanks to Kyle Okposo. The Islanders were applying the pressure hard, making it extremely difficult for the Habs to keep up and get pucks into the Islanders zone which left the Islanders in the lead until the clock ran out.

13 minutes and 50 seconds into the game and Andrei Markov scored his 800th game goal and the first Habs goal of the night (assisted by P.K. Subban) which was followed by loud ‘boos’ from the Islanders fans, but nothing could bring down the Canadiens’ spirit and energy after a nice tie-up. The high from Markov’s first goal was passed down to Brendan Gallagher (assisted by Sergei Gonchar and Alex Galchenyuk) who slipped one past Chad Johnson with eight minutes and 33 seconds left of the second period, leading the Habs two-to-one. The Islanders fought hard but no matter how many pucks were shot deep in the Montreal zone, the Canadiens shot them right back. The smooth as butter Canadiens led the second period until the buzzer rang.

The Islanders’ offence and defence were getting aggressive with the Canadiens as time was running out in the third period and the Islanders were desperate for a tie-up. With one minute and 11 seconds left, David Desharnais (assisted by Lars Eller and P.A. Parenteau) gave the Habs their third goal of the night and despite their on ice aggravation, the New York Islanders were just no match for the rabid Habs and the Montreal Canadiens broke the Islanders’ winning streak.

Here are my thoughts on last night’s game.

  • Carey Price is good on his knees (no, I’m not being dirty, you perverts). Almost every save (37 saves in total) took place with Price’s knees blocking those hard to get shots by the Islanders. Any hockey fan can agree that Carey Price is one hell of a goalie, but Canadiens fans can agree that he is a blessing in a bleu, blanc, et rouge disguise.
  • Even though the Islanders fans felt the need to boo the Habs for their first goal of the night (and a beautiful goal I may add), it’s the team that stayed grounded and kept the energy flow at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum positive. The Montreal Canadiens have had their fair share of self-confidence issues on the ice, which we used to see every time they wouldn’t have the first goal of the night. However, with beautiful chemistry flowing through the new line ups the Canadiens are glowing with happiness, which has made their game play positive. Their positivity wasn’t brought down by silly fans who can’t deal with their team being beaten by a creative team. If anything, it sky rocketed and that’s one of the reasons why I truly believe the Canadiens have been playing so well. They just don’t let anyone beat them down anymore.
  • Nathan Beaulieu NEEDS more time on the ice. Beaulieu brings toughness and energy to the ice, and he can handle the stick and puck well. I know exactly what some people are going to say, “He’s still young. He’ll get more time later. He’s not our most important player.” Okay, maybe he’s not the top player on the Canadiens roster, but he’s a fantastic player who needs to gain more experience on the ice in order to become a top player. Enough said.

The Montreal Canadiens will be away from hockey for five days until they face the Carolina Hurricanes away from home on December 29th at 7:00pm.

Follow Jessica-Lyn on Twitter: @strucxtures