Kukla's Korner

The Upper Canadien

Habs…beat the Rangers?

Well, here’s something I didn’t expect to write on Sunday around 10 pm: the Montreal Canadiens defeated the New York Rangers. 4-1. And it wasn’t a fluke. They dominated the game from start to finish. Physical play, crisp passes, and solid defence.

Where did the regular Canadiens go?

Now, if you read this blog regularly, you’ll know that I’m looking at the season in 3-game pockets. They went 2-1 in the last one. They needed 2 of 3 against Boston, Ottawa and New York. They got 1.5. You know what? Against three of the NHL’s best teams of late, that’s actually pretty good.

To me, without question, this was the Canadiens most impressive win of the season. So what have we got here?

We’ve got a team that needs to win, you guessed it, 2 of their next 3. 3 of 3 would be great. Washington, Pittsburgh, Toronto. It doesn’t get any easier, does it? But I think it can be done.

Rene Bourque looked solid in his first game as a Hab. His rush to start the game almost resulted in a goal, and he kept it up all night. The Habs best line? Pacioretty-Desharnais-Cole. Dominating. These guys came to play, and it showed.

Best defenceman? Probably Josh Gorges. Subban was shaky at times, which has too often been the case, and Alex Emelin looked a tad rusty after not playing Saturday night.

And perhaps overshadowed by the offensive explosion - yes, 4 goals is an explosion for Montreal - the play of Peter Budaj. Budaj hadn’t played in what seemed like decades, and was sharp right out of the gate. It’s nice to know the Canadiens have a competent back up, as Carey Price has looked rather tired of late.

So now, a few days off, as the Habs get ready for Wednesday’s tilt with Washington. Are more moves on the horizon? Maybe. Here’s my thought for the night regarding trades:

The Habs took on Tomas Kaberle and his massive salary to help the PP. He’s playing about 10 minutes a game. Meanwhile, Marc-Andre Bergeron wasn’t even offered a contract. He’s making less than a million. Could he not have played as the 7th defenceman solely for the powerplay? Why did it take the Habs shelling out four times the salary to figure out that this would work?

This season really has been a lesson in mismanagement.

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Comments

Da lil Guy's avatar

So you’d said earlier they needed 2 of 3 to keep the playoff drive alive. They got 1 and a half.

Enough, in your eyes? Or is it time to write the Habs off?

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 01/16/12 at 12:34 PM ET

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What if Cunneyworth straightens them out?  Do you think anyone will care what language he speaks?  Maybe Camilleri was a malcontent, maybe this shakes em up.Not over yet.

Posted by 13 user names on 01/16/12 at 04:56 PM ET

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Not enough. They need a solid 5 or 6 wins in a row. And they need to stop losing games by a goal and giving away the extra point. Without a serious string of wins, and I mean now, this team isn’t going to make it.

I’m somewhat curious to see if Gauthier uses that $3 million in extra cap space they have. After all, I suspect his job security depends on a playoff berth.

Posted by The Upper Canadien from Toronto on 01/16/12 at 11:12 PM ET

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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