Kukla's Korner

The Upper Canadien

Cole with 3 in 5:41 as Habs top Sens

The Senators had everything to lose Friday night, and lose they did, as the Montreal Canadiens stormed to a 5-1 win. Led by Erik Cole’s opening-game natural hat trick (the first Hab to score 3 in a period since Brian Bellows in 1993), Montreal played a gritty, team game, much of what we’ve seen the past few weeks - a very different game from the first few months of the season.

Carey Price was sharp in net, keeping the Sens out of the game, while the Habs could have had many more past Craig Anderson and Ben Bishop, as they had a 4-0 lead 9 minutes in, and came close twice more before the 12 minute mark.

What does this sort of a game show? It shows that the Habs haven’t given up, despite what many fans would like, and that the players, apparently, like playing for Randy Cunneyworth, because of late they have increasingly upped their game as their season trickles away.

Important for next season, PK Subban has looked much better of late, and Andrei Markov slowly seems to be getting back into form, his tape-to-tape passes as integral as anything for the Habs to compete in 2012-2013.

As for the Senators, they are on perilously thin ice, with the Sabres and Capitals gaining on their 7th place perch, and time very quickly inning out on the season. A flu bug has ravaged some of the Senators roster, and while the Canadiens have played them very well this season, I suspect this had much to do with tonight’s poor showing, especially at the start of the game.

Montreal heads to Philadelphia next, a date which will even further test their new, gritty persona, led by Ryan White and Brad Staubitz. Don’t be surprised if Carey Price gets a rest, yielding his net to Peter Budaj.

Puck drop at 7.

Beliveau update: News today that Jean Beliveau is doing well in his recovery from a stroke, headed to a rehabilitation centre for the next stretch of his treatment. I’m sure we will see Le Gros Bil back in his regular seats come fall. Prayers to the man who represents hockey for all Montrealers.

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About The Upper Canadien

The Upper Canadien is your one stop shop for all things Montreal Canadiens. Since the summer of 2010, I've been providing Habs related news, notes, and most importantly, opinions. As a blogger, I don't believe it's my job to report the news, it's my privilege to comment on it. You may disagree with what I suggest. In fact, you most likely will. But that's the great part about blogging: it spurs opinion, comment and engages all involved. I've really enjoyed all the debate and commentary from readers thus far and I encourage everyone to respond with ideas on lineups, trades, logos, sweaters, mascots, whatever. The Upper Canadien is a conversation for all hockey fanatics.

I've come to Kukla's Korner with four years of campus radio and three years of sportswriting from my time at Mount Allison University on Canada's East coast. Not only do I not have any professional journalistic training, after five years in the corporate world, I've spent much of the past two years completing an MBA. Business by day, hockey by night, I'm a Canadiens fan through and through. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I do writing.

Questions or comments? theuppercanadien@kuklaskorner.com