Habs This Week: Flip Flop
Mother Nature had her way with just about everyone this past week, amping up the temperatures to trick everyone into thinking they were in mid-playoff form. Unfortunately, this was the week that the Canadiens discovered (for real) that there is no chance of that for them this year.
Shut Out: Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
Cody Hodgson scored his first goal as a Buffalo Sabre and added another in the third period to procure the Sabres a win, Tuesday, against the Canadiens.
The Sabres once were where the Canadiens are, and are now where they usually tend to be at this time of year, fighting for a playoff spot. Despite dominating much of the opening frame and throwing 32 shots at Sabres' goaltender Ryan Miller overall, they were not able to break his shell even once, let alone play spoiler.
The Habs have yet to beat the Sabres in regulation through the last nine games. They'll have to wait until at least October to try again.
TOI: Subban (28:00)
SOG: Plekanec (6)
In which Erik Cole changes name to Erik Goal: Friday, March 23rd, 2012
Erik Cole added his name to Max Pacioretty's in the 30-plus goal category on Friday night, as well as the record books. He recorded a natural hat trick before the halfway mark of the first period and became the holder of the Canadiens' fastest hat trick (to start a game) in the process.
We can also erase 1995-96 from the slate, as Vincent Damphousse and Pierre Turgeon are no longer the last two Habs to record more than 30 goals in the same season. Jason Spezza also had his say by scoring his 30th
but we don't necessarily care about that.
More importantly, Cole had the game-winning goal against the Ottawa Senators in a 5-1 win. Petteri Nokelainen and Lars Eller were the other goal scorers and Chris Neil was generally not a happy camper, stirring up trouble at all ends of the rink and picking up 33 of the 144 penalty minutes handed out during the game, even shoving an official to get to Ryan White. Brad Staubitz and Zenon Konopka also dropped the gloves in the opening moments of the first period of this chippy affair.
TOI: Campoli (25:01)
SOG: Cole (7)
Points: Cole (3G)
City of Brotherly...: Saturday, March 24th, 2012
Leave it to the Habs to be slump-busters. Daniel Briere's last legitimate goal came at the start of 2012, on January 8th. But he scored two against the Tricolore on Saturday, combining with Kimmo Timonen and Matt Read to ensure four tallies against the Canadiens' one (Tomas Plekanec) and buying themselves a ticket to the postseason.
Plekanec was serving a slashing call in the first period when Timonen's slapshot opened the scoring. He made up for it with his 15th goal of the season at 3:44 of the second, but Briere's two goals came shortly after that. Then it was all Ilya Bryzgalov from there. He even helped do in the Canadiens by making a stretch pass to Jaromir Jagr in what ended up becoming Briere's second goal of the night.
Just as it ensured the Flyers' participation in the playoffs this season, it eliminated the Canadiens.
"We're going to have to come back with a chip on our shoulder for sure next year. It's frustrating, we got behind at the start of the season, and it's tough climbing an uphill battle. We just didn't do a good enough job again." - Ryan White
TOI: Subban (24:16)
SOG: Plekanec/Nokelainen/Subban (3)
Points: Plekanec (1G)/Eller (1A)/Palushaj (1A)
vs Florida Panthers, Tuesday, March 27th
@ New York Rangers, Friday, March 30th
@ Washington Capitals, Saturday, March 31st