Kukla's Korner Hockey
If the post-season odds were not already stacked against the Montreal Canadiens, Tomas Plekanec may have added some fuel to the fire on Tuesday by giving the Washington Capitals some bulletin board material.
In an interview with Montreal newspaper La Presse, Plekanec took a swipe at the Capitals’ goaltending.
“It’s not as though we are facing (Martin) Brodeur or (Ryan) Miller,” Plekanec told La Presse. “They don’t have a dominant goaltender. When you look at the goaltending matchup in this series it favours our team. I just believe that our goaltending is more solid than theirs.”
“I’m not saying their goalies are bad. I’m just saying our goalies are better.”
Plus a little note on Ovechkin, who left practice early, via a Tarik El-Bashir tweet,
Speculation around KCI is that Alex Ovechkin isn’t 100-percent. But he will play Thursday.
from the CP at TSN,
The Montreal Canadiens are hoping that Columbus forward R.J. Umberger was right when he said the Washington Capitals play the “wrong way” to win in the playoffs, but they’re not counting on it.
The Canadiens will be decided underdogs when they face the top-seeded Capitals in the opening round of their NHL Eastern Conference quarter-final on Thursday night in Washington (TSN, 7 p.m. ET).
The Capitals finished 33 points ahead of the Canadiens in the regular season and scored 101 more goals. The 70 points amassed by Montreal’s top scorer Tomas Plekanec would place him fifth on the Capitals.
But for all their firepower, led by Alex Ovechkin’s 50 goals and 109 points, the Capitals are perceived by some as vulnerable to a playoff upset because of their loose defensive play and lack of a top-notch goaltender.
How big is tonight’s Canadiens game against the Carolina Hurricanes? So big that all of Mayberry is bypassing the big social up in Mount Pilot to go tailgating in Raleigh. So big… well, you make up your own scenarios.
-Dave Stubbs of Habs Inside/Out. More from Dave as the Canadiens look for one more point.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette at Faceoff.com,
If the Canadiens decide to shed one of their young goaltenders during the offseason, there’s a veteran goaltender who just might jump at the idea of serving as a backup/mentor to whichever goaltender remains with the team.
We’re talking about the Islanders’ Marty Biron, who is making the most of a discouraging season with a strong finish. He is 7-1-2 in his last nine starts after posting a 4-3 shootout win over the Canadiens last night.
There’s a certain amount of self-interest when media folks talk about having Biron in your home city. That’s because the 32-year-old native of Lac St. Charles is one of the best interviews in the league in either of Canada’s official languages.
from Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette,
Somewhere in the final period in Philadelphia Friday night, Jaroslav Halak might have won what has eluded him for so long in this town:
A little respect.
Here he was in a critical, four-point game against the hated Flyers, on the road in Philly where the Canadiens have never fared well. His teammates were beaten, sagging so badly they managed only three shots on net in the third period.
Shot by shot, save by save, Halak scrapped and battled and fought to preserve that 1-0 lead in front of a braying, hostile crowd.
Against all odds, Halak pulled it off. Won that game with the absolute minimum of offensive support.
from Dave Stubbs of Habs Inside/Out,
(Carey) Price earned third star vs. Carolina but was booed by some in the Bell Centre crowd for it. Yesterday, I asked Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin if he’d been angered or if he otherwise felt strongly about his goalie being heckled. Martin replied: “I respect the fans. They pay good dollars to be entertained and they have a right to an opinion. As a professional athlete, or a coach, you have to work within the framework. Sure I’d like to see better results (for Price), as he would. At the same time, I can’t say we lost the game because of him.”
With this answer, Martin blew a golden opportunity to publicly support his goalie who’s been working hard in practice, trying to get better results, keeping his team in games and yet been victimized by bad luck.
from Manny Almela of MontrealCanadiens.com,
Still in full control of their own destiny, the Habs are now facing five remaining games about as big as games can get at this time of year. As frustrating as a loss to the lowly Hurricanes is – especially at this crucial time of the season – the Canadiens know it’s not time to panic now.
“We were doing everything right and the results just weren’t coming,” shrugged Hal Gill. “Sometimes when you’re doing all the right things and it’s not working out, you start doing the wrong things because what you’re doing isn’t getting it done. I think we were guilty of that tonight. We know what we need to do the rest of the way to get this done.”
Chief among those is Carey Price, who delivered his second-straight solid outing without the results to show for it. Opponents hoping the young goalie’s confidence is shaken can think again.
“All I can do is play well,” said a defiant Price, looking nothing like a guy in need of a pep talk. “If I’m not rewarded on a night I play a strong game so be it.”
from Dave Stubbs of Habs Inside/Out,
The Canadiens aren’t saying so, calling it just an upper-body injury that will be re-evaluated Monday when the club returns to practice, but forward Glen Metropolit suffered a separated shoulder in tonight’s 4-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils.
Metropolit played just two shifts totalling 1:21, getting two shots on goal. He was returning to action after having been a healthy scratch Thursday vs. Florida. That was the first game the 35-year-old veteran had missed this season since a six-game span in October when he was dealing with a rib injury.
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
Travis Moen never saw it coming Monday night, the skate of Ottawa’s Matt Cullen carving into his face like a scalpel.
“It hit me so fast, I didn’t have time to be scared,” the Canadiens forward said Thursday, speaking in the team’s Bell Centre dressing room after a brief morning skate.
Moen’s injury is a grotesque sight, a beautiful/macabre template for any horror-movie makeup artist.
His Canadiens cap, pulled tightly over his forehead, did little to disguise a ragged stretch of about 50 sutures that begins above the bridge of his nose, curves through his left eyebrow, dips into his eyelid and meanders to the corner of and below the eye.
continued with picture…
Word is Moen was treated at the Bell Centre and looks like he will be ok.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com