Rabid Habs

Light The Lamp, Throw A Hit; Bleu, Blanc, Et Rouge Never Quit

Sabres' Brian Gionta

“Every single player with a normal mentality wants to play in the NHL. So I waited a little bit, and then I think I chose the right team.” – Jiri Sekac

There was a rumble in Buffalo, New York last night as the Montreal Canadiens faced the flat gliding Buffalo Sabres and ex-Canadiens Brian Gionta and Josh Gorges. This was the first time that the Habs had faced their former captain and defenseman since they were traded in the off season. This was also the Habs’ chance to finally rise and shine after Tuesday night’s 5-0 loss against the Chicago Blackhawks, and last night’s date with the Sabres was exactly what the Montreal Canadiens needed to get back on their feet. Changes were made before the game with Dustin Tokarski getting the start in the net and after being a healthy scratch over the last seven games, anticipated fans were finally able to celebrate that Jiri Sekac was back in the lineup against the Sabres, taking Rene Bourque’s place. Travis Moen and Nathan Beaulieu were scratched from last night’s game as well, but with a changed lineup (including Lars Eller who was side by side with quality wingers), could the Montreal Canadiens make up for their three game loss and rise up from seventh place in the NHL? That’s EXACTLY what they did.

The pressure was on from both the Habs and the Sabres, but ended 0-0 for the first period. Michael Bournival left half way through the first with a separated shoulder and did not come back for the rest of the game. Despite the period ending with no goals from each side, we got to see the Montreal Canadiens with a different attitude than what they had on Tuesday night.

The second period ended the same way as the first; no goals and tons of fans aggravated, claiming the game was “too boring.” However, that was quite the opposite. The pros about both the first and second period is that Montreal had kept their energy and pressure high and had not given up yet, which made many fans (like myself) excited to see the Montreal Canadiens back to their normal self.

Nineteen seconds into the third period and P-A Parenteau leads the Canadiens with the first goal of the entire game, which was assisted by PK Subban and Andrei Markov. The wheels were finally in motion for the Habs, but three minutes later Drew Stafford tied the game with the help of Tyler Myers and Tyler Ennis during the Sabres powerplay. The game stayed tied until the end of the second period and went into overtime.

After a scoreless overtime, it was finally time for a shootout. P-A Parenteau became the star of the night, after beating Michal Neuvirth on the deciding goal of the shootout. It was not Montreal’s best game in the regular season, but they managed to come away with two points in a shootout victory, and that was enough to see that the Montreal Canadiens were finally back and ready to get back to first place.

Here are my thoughts on last night’s game.

  • The Montreal Canadiens had finally ended their losing streak, but they won against a team who is considered the worst of the worst in the NHL. So, does this mean that as a team, Montreal plays better when they’re against less threatening teams? No. Why? It’s simple – you keep the lineups that work the best on the ice, and you’ll see the best results on the ice. Michel Therrien finally woke up and smelled the coffee, and it’s about time. Let’s just hope he keeps the lineups the same for Saturday (including keeping Jiri Sekac in and Rene Bourque out).
  • Almost everyone seems to be ripping the Habs. They’re too sloppy. They looked ugly getting those goals. They had to play a shootout in order to win? Trade all of the players. Are you kidding me? Did anyone not see that this was their best play since their losing streak started? Sure, they had a few loose passes and trips, but who cares? They put the pressure on hard and got what they deserved. With hard work and pressure comes a great win, even if it’s in a shootout. I’m happy for them, and I can guarantee that we will see the same game play on Saturday.
  • Am I the only one who thought it was awkward as hell for Josh Gorges and Brian Gionta, two ex-Canadiens who were strong points for the Habs lose against their team? I feel worse for Gorges, considering his trade was a surprise to all fans and his teammates. But maybe both Gio and Gorges are better off in Buffalo, and perhaps they can bring that team up a few places in the NHL (being at the bottom must feel cold as hell).

The Montreal Canadiens plays Minnesota Wild back home at the Bell Centre on Saturday, November 8th.

Find Jessica-Lyn on Twitter: @strucxtures