Tokarski Proves Himself

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Written By: Iain Carnegie, #BBBR

In what might have been a zero point night, Dustin Tokarski turned it into a two point night.

Standing on his head while the rest of the team in from of him came close to selling him out, he was the sole reason the Canadiens came out with the win.

It took the Habs 17 minutes to register one shot on goal, while the Caps turned Tokarski into the main target of a shooting gallery.

If it wasn’t for PK Subban turning the puck over at the dot in the faceoff circle during a bad clearing attempt, it might even have remained scoreless after the first twenty minutes of play.

That was one of the biggest stories of the night. Constant turnovers. The team looked the complete opposite from the previous night.

They were also undisciplined and went to the box far too many times against a team with a ferocious power play.

In the end, the offence woke up and managed to tie the game, and managed to send it to overtime, and then a shootout. Gallagher flashed the red light to seal the win.

Tokarski not only provided his team every opportunity to stay in the game, he also shone in the shootout ensuring a 2-0 season start for Le Tricolore.

It was a statement game and he made a statement with an exclamation point.

The Habs now head to the City of Brotherly Love to face the Flyers Saturday night.

Posted in 2014 - 2015 NHL Season, Atlantic Division, Eastern Conference, Montreal Canadiens, NHL, Postgame Report | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Back to Back. Habs Visit the US Capitals

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Written By: Iain Carnegie, #BBBR

So the Canadiens will play two games in as many nights as they shuffled off from a victory in Toronto last night to visit a new looking Washington Capitals squad.

Fresh off a 4-3 opening night victory, Les Canadiens will get an early season test of endurance.

True to his word, coach Michel Therrien will utilize his backup goaltender in back to back matches, giving Dustin Tokarski his first NHL start as an official backup keeper. There are high hopes placed on the youngster after his excellent playoff performance last year, but many still question the release of Peter Budaj from that role. The franchise is wasting no time putting him to the test, which is a masterful plan.

At the other end of the rink, Braden Holtby gets the start in the crease. He’s had an excellent 5-0 career run against Les Boys.

The Capitals are a much stronger defensive team this year, which is a challenge for the Habs. They will need to adjust their game and also show much needed restraint by staying out of the penalty box.

Washington ranked second in the NHL in the power play last season, and it will most likely be a force to be reckoned with this coming season as well.

It’s a depleted squad for the home team this evening however. Dimitry Orlov, Jay Beagle, Tom Wilson, and Aaron Volpati will all be out of the lineup for the Caps, while the Canadiens should look the same as last night minus Price.

Bournival, Moen, and Tinordi will all be healthy scratches for le Tricolore tonight.

Catch the game on Sportsnet 360 and RDS, as well as TSN690 Radio Montréal.

Don’t forget to join us for Live In-Game Tweeting by following us at @BleedBBR for all your game updates, stats, and analysis.

Posted in 2014 - 2015 NHL Season, Atlantic Division, Eastern Conference, Montreal, Montreal Canadiens, NHL, Pregame Report | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Boys Are BACK!

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Written By: Andrea Gordon, #BBBR

Shake off the dust, our Montreal Canadiens are back! We’ve waited 132 very long days since the last time the Habs took to the ice, and it was worth the wait.

Kicking off the 2014-2015 campaign with a 4-3 victory against rival Toronto Maple Leafs.

Les Glorieux came out of the gate a little sluggish, the cobwebs still hanging off their jersey’s as the Leafs
jumped out ahead to lead 5-0 in shots just 4 minutes into the contest.

They say it only takes 1 shot however; and that it did, as Max Pacioretty opened the scoring on the first shot of the game for the good guys.

Coming off his 39 goal season of last year, Pacioretty scored what was the 9000th goal on the road in franchise history.

It was a short lived lead however, as Nazem Kadri tied up the game less than 4 minutes later on a tip in, the shot coming off rookie Brandon Kozoun’s stick.

In true NHL style the goal was filled with controversey as the replay clearly showed the Leafs were offside. I guess the officials had some cobwebs themselves.

The first ended with the Leafs up 2-1 on a Tyler Bozak snap shot at the 19:22 mark of the first period.

The Habs went back into a very different locker room, with many saying the team is lacking leadership without a captain. The 2nd period proved those people wrong.

Sporting the “A” on his jersey, Tomas Plekanec took a great lead pass from Emelin, setting him up on a break away which he capitalized on.

Plekanec looked like a different player than that of last season, taking on a new role as one of the veteran’s on the team.

Time will tell if the Plekanec that played last night will be the one to show up night in and night out.

The 2nd period yielded just the one goal as the teams went in to the 3rd period all squared up at 2 goals.

I think most of us were waiting to see how long it would take PK Subban to score and it didn’t take very long at all.

With strong play along the boards by David Desharnais, Subban was able to get himself open and fire a wrist shot that made it’s way past Leafs netminder Jonathan Bernier.

Morgan Rielly tied the game at 3, but Tomas Plekanec made sure it didn’t end that way scoring with 42 seconds left in the 3rd to give le Tricolore the victory.

While we didn’t hear his name too often newcomer Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau locked in his first two points notching assists on the Subban and Pacioretty goals.

Manny Malholtra showed us why he was brought in, winning a big faceoff in the dying seconds, bringing his percentage to a whopping 69% in the circle.

Jiri Sekac was a -1 with a little over of 12 minutes ice time, Nerves possibly being a factor.

There was one big difference in tonight’s tilt compared to previous match ups between these two teams.

“Goons”. Neither team went into the contest boasting an “enforcer” on their team. It was almost like a breath of fresh air as both teams were able to compete and play a game based on talent and skill, not based on toughness.

We don’t have to wait too long for Game #2 of the season as the Habs head to Washington to take on the Capitals in America’s Capital.

Michel Therrien has already confirmed Dustin Tokarski will be between the pipes getting him primes immediately for the long 81 game season ahead.

Posted in 2014 - 2015 NHL Season, Atlantic Division, Eastern Conference, Montreal, Montreal Canadiens, NHL, Postgame Report | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Yes! It Is October

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Written By: Iain Carnegie, #BBBR

We’ve waited months but in just a couple of hours, the wait will be over. It’s October, and tonight we drop the puck.

After a very busy off season, it will be a very new looking Habs team as they take to the ice at the ACC to continue their long rivalry against the Maple Leafs. Even though through training camp and pre-season, we have witnessed many of the new faces play, it’s a whole different game as the 2014-15 regular season gets launched.

Les Boys have not won an opening night battle against Toronto since 2009, something they will be looking to change tonight.

Both Tinordi and Moen are healthy scratches for the opener, but here’s your starting lines and pairings for the match.

Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – P.A. Parenteau
Alex Galchenyuk – Tomas Plekanec – Brendan Gallagher
Jiri Sekac – Lars Eller – Rene Bourque
Dale Weise – Manny Malhotra – Brandon Prust

P.K. Subban – Alexei Emelin
Andrei Markov – Tom Gilbert
Nathan Beaulieu – Mike Weaver

Plekanec and Markov will don the “A”s.

Notables to watch will be the chemistry on the top line with Pacioretty and Parenteau, as well as the Subban / Emelin defensive pairing.

So welcome back Les Glorieux. We’ve been waiting for you. Let the run for the 25th Cup begin in victory.

Make sure and join us for all the action for Live In-Game tweeting at @BleedBBR and make sure to use the hashtag #BBBR.

Puck drops just after 19h00 and can be seen on Sportsnet, TVA, and heard on TSN 690 Montréal

Posted in 2014 - 2015 NHL Season, Atlantic Division, Eastern Conference, Montreal Canadiens, NHL, Pregame Report | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Habs Suffer First Preseason Loss

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Written By: Iain Carnegie, #BBBR

For the first thirty minutes, it was awfully quiet in the Bell Centre. Considering how it’s usually the loudest barn in the league, there just was nothing to get excited about.

Les Canadiens would end up walking away with their first preseason loss to the Washington Capitals tonight, and had it not been for the outstanding effort of Carey Price, the game may have been uglier.

There are a few takeaways from this match as we get closer to the beginning of the regular season which opens October 8th (against the Maple Leafs).

It’s clear that the veteran players are ready to play. Tomas Plekanec, Max Pacioretty, Andrei Markov, and PK Subban all had solid games.

Alex Galchenyuk had an exceptional night in his new center position, and Brenden Gallagher didn’t let up on his speed or movement to the net all night.

The two biggest positives came from the exceptional “mid-season style” play from Carey Price who once again did everything to give the team in front of him a chance to win the game. It was his first 60 minute outing of the year. The other positive takeaway came from the faceoff circle, where Les Tricolore dominated. At the midway portion of the second, the Habs were 63% at the dot. An area they struggles in last year.

But le Bleu, Blanc, et Rouge just couldn’t seem to open up against a much tighter checking Caps team – an improved look for Washington, who’ve generally shown a more open ice style of play. That resulted in a pounding when it came to shots on goal. By nights end, the tally was 31-18 in Washington’s favour.

Everyone knows it’s hard to win hockey games when you’re outshot nearly 2-1.

There were some poor choices that lead to penalties, that had they not been taken, would have substantially improved Montréal’s chances, and when having the man advantage, once again, the power play unit couldn’t get the job done.

There is also some buzz around the Jared Tinordi hit on Nate Schmidt in the later portion of the game. Tinordi received 5 minutes each for elbowing and fighting, plus a game misconduct. If you haven’t seen the hit, check it below and leave your comments.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3FPVlPuNzqo

It is likely irrelevant to the big picture as Tinordi will most likely be getting his marching orders back to Hamilton as early as this evening. However, if he were to face supplemental discipline, it could have an effect on a call up later in the season if it was required.

Montréal will now start preparations to face the Chicago Blackhawks Tuesday night.

Posted in 2014 - 2015 NHL Season, Montreal Canadiens, NHL, Postgame Report | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The “A” Team – No Captain for Canadiens

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Written By: Iain Carnegie, #BBBR

It didn’t take long, and just as I surmised not very long ago, it happened at the Annual Golf tournament.

The Montréal Canadiens franchise announced today that there will be no letter “C” on a Habs jersey this season. Instead, they will have four assistants instead.

Those four? Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Markov, Max Pacioretty, and PK Subban.

It’s no surprise that Plekanec and Markov hold the position. Two veterans with the franchise who hold great respect in the room. Their seasoned leadership skills on and off the ice will continue to anchor this team.

The organization however, also kept it’s word regarding youth and growing their leadership base.

There has been a lot of back in forth in the fan base as well as the media in regards to Pacioretty or Subban becoming captain, but as I’ve stated all along, I don’t think either is ready for that step yet.

This move will allow both of the younger players to grow, and will no doubt end up grooming one of them into the captaincy.

As it stands, the two veterans will anchor the team wearing the “A” for all 82 games while the other two will alternate at 41 games apiece.

So that wraps up all the off season controversy, just in time for the game faces to be put on, and begin the quest for a 25th Stanley Cup.

Posted in 2014 - 2015 NHL Season, Announcements, Atlantic Division, Eastern Conference, Montreal Canadiens | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Habs Give Bouillon a Shot

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Written By: Iain Carnegie, #BBBR

The Montréal Canadiens made it official on Thursday that they are willing to give veteran D man Francis Bouillon a chance to make the squad for the upcoming season.

They have arranged a Professional Tryout Agreement with Bouillon who will attend training camp in the next few weeks.

The 38 year old has spent the last two seasons with Les Tricolore. He played in 52 matches last season with 2 goals, 4 assists, and 34 PIM.

Much of the reasoning behind this tryout, no doubt, has a lot to do with maintaining another possible veteran player on the blue line due to the departure of Josh Gorges.

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