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Atlanta @ Montreal | Oct. 30 2007 | Final: 3-2 Atlanta (S/O)


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Guest d80jcrant

It's tough for a team to end a slump while in the midst of a long stretch on the road, but the Atlanta Thrashers have been able to find some success. They may have a harder time picking up a win in Montreal, however.

The Thrashers look to end their struggles in Montreal and snap the Canadiens' four-game winning streak when the teams meet on Tuesday night.

Atlanta has gone 3-2-0 after starting the season with six straight losses and firing coach Bob Hartley. The Thrashers are 2-2-0 on a season-high seven-game road trip, beating Chicago 3-2 on Saturday night in their last contest.

Two more wins will give Atlanta (3-8-0) a winning road trip, which would be a major achievement considering how bad its season started. The Thrashers, though, have lost two straight in Montreal and are 4-9-1 there all-time.

Atlanta went 1-3-0 overall against Montreal in 2006-07, and the Canadiens have been sharp so far this season. Montreal (6-2-2) is four points behind first-place Ottawa in the Northeast Division.

The Canadiens, however, have given up seven goals in their last two games, and will now be contending with a red-hot Ilya Kovalchuk.

Kovalchuk scored a tiebreaking goal early in the third period and set up Slava Kozlov's two power-play scores against the Blackhawks. Kovalchuk has three goals and four assists in his last four games.

Kozlov, who had a career-best 80 points last season, avoided a fourth straight game without registering a point.

"We have some real dynamic players on our team and it's good for us to get them going," said Thrashers goaltender Johan Hedberg, who has given up just two goals in each of his last two games.

Hedberg has never beaten the Canadiens, going 0-5-0 with a tie and a 2.63 goals-against average in six games. Five of those contests were in Montreal.

The Canadiens are on their worst two-game stretch on defense this season, but their goaltending has generally been strong so far.

Rookie Carey Price faced eight Pittsburgh Penguins in a shootout Saturday night, and had to only make three saves as Montreal won 4-3. Making his third career start, Price got the win after teammate Andrei Markov finally scored in the lengthy shootout.

"That's part of being a goalie, trying to make yourself look big and try to make them hit a small target," Price said. "Hopefully they either miss the net or hit me."

Price and No. 1 goalie Cristobal Huet have combined for a 2.54 GAA. Huet is 3-2-1 with a 2.12 GAA in six games against Atlanta.

Montreal's offense, meanwhile, has been outstanding during the team's winning streak, scoring 20 goals. The Canadiens have outscored opponents 14-5 in the first period this season.

Montreal has six players with at least three goals. Alexei Kovalev has found the back of the net five times to lead the team, but he has just one goal and no assists in his last seven games against Atlanta.

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Guest CanadianMike

Is it official? Is Grabs back in and Kosts back out of the lineup? That has got to suck for Kosts if it is.

If Lats is quiet tonight maybe we should have him sit instead (for thursday and Sat's game)

GO PRICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Guest d80jcrant

Here are the numbers for this game....Take it for what it is worth....Something or nothing.

Habs overall are 6-2-2 for 14 Points. 3.50 GFPG and 2.70 GAPG

Habs at Home are 2-1-1 for 5 Points. 3.00 GFPG and 2.00 GAPG.

Habs VS SouthEast are 2-1-1 for 5 Points. 3.00 GFPG. 2.75 GAPG.

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Kovalchuk is on a serious tear so our third line has to shut him down. We do that and we win, they don't have much else right now.

Hopefully we get on them early like our last few 1st periods and make it a hostile environment right from the get go. If we make it out of reach early Atlanta will fold and you can bet on that like Micheal Vick on a dog fight!

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Guest Captain Koivu#11

This game is pretty big. Lets hope the offense keeps rolling, although it did kind of slow down against the Penguins. My predicted scorers for tonight are:

-Higgins

-Hammer

-Streit

GO HABS GO!!!

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What about the game in between that? I think that game has a significant importance. They way I look at it, our home stretch is fairly important.

Atalanta: Prove to ourselves, the league, annalists, and the media that we're not going lose against slumping teams. We've already lost against a low-point-total team(Florida in OT). Let's not have that happen again after we've played 2 of the top offensive teams in the east. We are showing confidence in letting Price play between the posts, but let's not leave him out to dry. Help him out.

Philly: I look at this game, like the game we played against Colorado last season. Although we play the Flyers more than once, Colorado(of 06-07) and Philly(of 07-08) have one thing in common...Montreal's public enemy #1...Briere(is the 06-07 version of Jose). We need to show Daniel what he could have been apart of. *Now even though some people didn't want Briere here in the first place, that's fine...but...a Win would be good stick it into his face*.

Toronto: This(or these) game(s), as always is for pride. Toronto is in a home slump...and apparently their antidote are away games...Let's not have Montreal become a healing ground for our arch rivals. The bitter taste of last season still reeks in our mouths...so grab the nearest leaf on a tree(but make sure it's not poison ivy) and wipe your mouth with it...that's a taste we don't want to experience anymore.

Buffalo: Another of our division rivals comes to town. Many teams last season had much trouble with Buffalo...but not MTL...let's continue that trend, and keep the Sabres down in the cellar where they belong, so we can catch up with Ottawa.

great post!

the only thing i took note of was mentioning our loss to a 'low point total team'. the panthers never play like a bottom-tier team when they play us and i can't imagine we have a winning record against them over the last two or three years. atlanta on the other hand...but that said, they've picked up their game of late (or should i say kovalchuk has) and that should be a wakeup call that our 'a' game is needed despite the opposition's record.

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Source: http://mn-thecountdown.blogspot.com/

MULLIGAN, SMULLIGAN…LET’S MAKE SOME HISTORY:

I don't think I have been the only person fretting this game tonight due to the record of the opposing team. The Atlanta Thrashers are 3-8 and are currently hogging the Leafs spot at the bottom of the Eastern Conference barrel. However this team is far superior to what their record indicates, and the fact that they are 3-2 in their last five shows that this team is just starting to catch its stride, and we sure don't want to be caught along the way. It would be easy to take the Thrashers lightly and go down early, loose confidence and tumble down that oh so familiar slippery slope to a loss.

With that said, the all mighty Sponge Bob visited me in a dream last night, as he usually does where we play a round of golf in which the golf balls are mini Maple Leaf player, and the holes are filled with hot boiling oil, and we have a cheering section following us around mainly composed of Angelina Jolie, Heidi Cloom, that chick from Underworld, and Youppi (yeah...that one threw me off too :blink:). In any case he told me if I win this round, the HABS continue their winning streak. In many ways, thanks to the Holy Sponge Bob taking repeated mulligan on Tucker's face, I won by 11 strokes (my lucky # and our Captains jersey #...must be a sign). So the all mighty said this one's in the bag, and I believe him...let me tell you why.

First off Brisebois is back in the line-up, replacing our (currently) only defensive liability Gorges. Furthermore, Jesus Price (a.k.a. the Great Wall of Montreal) will be making his first appearance at the Bell Center, and you can bet you last buck they boys will be extra motivated to give him the win. As far as special teams go, Montreal is ranked first with a 30.4%, which will go against Atlanta’s PK ranked second to last in the league with a 71% efficiency. I like those numbers, especially given the fact that Atlanta is one of the more penalised teams in the league (7th overall) with 62 penalties (6.2 per game). It doesn’t take a genius to figure out there is a high likelihood of 2-3 PP goals in Montreal’s favour tonight…but that’s just the numbers. It could be 0 or it could be 6.

As far as the team’s approach to the game is concerned, I don't believe this locker room is taking the opposition lightly. Several players (mainly vocal leaders in the locker room) have stated publicly on several occasions that the Thrashers are a much better team than what their record indicates, and that since the change behind the bench they are far superior and cohesive on the ice. So the team has their game face on, and that pretty much guarantees the win, because we're at home, we have the final change, and as long as Markov and Komisarek are on the ice, Kovalchuk’s line (incidentally the only real danger) is mute especially with the support of the likes of Smolinski, Chipchura, Dandenault, Kostopoulos and Begin.

I was cautious, timid and somewhat worried coming into this game tonight, however following my round of golf with the all might square pants him self, my mind is at ease. I'm looking forward to this game as yet another historical moment I will be watching live as Price makes his debut at the Bell Center and does it in style with a.......do I dare say......the "s" word!.

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Guest habs_fan1160

I'm excited for this game, so far it looks like I don't have to work tonight, so I can actually watch the game and not have to tape it. Should be an easy two points, but I'd hate to underestimate these guys.

GO HABS.

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Yeah, I can actually watch this game tonight too.

All it takes is shutting down their first line, like so many posters have said before me. Hedberg has never won against the Habs, so scoring first, often and quickly is important to shake up his confidence.

Looking forward to this. The way we've been playing, i'm cautiously optimistic we can walk away with 2 points on this one.

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Guest concreteveins

I really fear that Atlanta, mainly Kovalchuck, is gonna put on a show tonight. If carbo puts his checking lines against their best (which is the case with all other teams), I think he might make em look silly. For example, a Lats-Smolinski-Grabs line might hang out Smokes to dry against Kovalchuck and I do not think that Begin - Chips - Kostpolous is fast enough to keep up with Hossa or Kovalchuck. I think that the Begin-Chips-Kostopolous line is a better bet because of the way they have been playing and their chemistry. My gut tells me that Kovalchuck and Hossa are gonna come out flying.

Another thing that worries me is playing Price against Kovalchuck. I think of Halak last year when the Habs got smoked(rookie, still learning, had been playing well up to that point). But I know price is probably ready for em..

Its just Kovalchuck is fast and smart, and he opens up space for other players. If I know the Habs D they are gonna be chasing Kovalchuck around the net and all he is gonna half to do is put it out in front for an open Kozlov or White.

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Guest d80jcrant

No game is easy in the NHL. You have to work hard every game and play your best. We all know that sometimes the calls go your way sometimes they don't. Players can pick corners and score big goals and other times they will hit post and miss the net. My point is the good teams have to find a way to win. The records indicates that Habs should win. If I remember right the Habs last year lost their fair number of games against teams much lower in the standings. This game will be a huge test of Habs trying to separate themselves from the 7 place teams and below. Habs win it we will sit nicely in the top half....We lose then be will be with the bottom half or close to it.

I would call this game a "Must Win situation"

Go Habs Go

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Guest RockMtl

Ya, I know we're only 10 games into the season but I put this game into the what I call SWC (Shoulda - Woulda - Coulda) catagory. Although I still say, any team can beat any other team on any given night, given the current stats, these are the games we SHOULD win. The 2 points are very precious (Ref: Florida). OK, don't believe me - we'll talk in March - (Hope we wont have to!). All we need is 60 minutes and Character. Truth be told - I would be more upset dropping tonights game than Saturdays. (Ducks while the rotten tomatoes and eggs are thrown my way).

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Guest jennifer_rocket
I really fear that Atlanta, mainly Kovalchuck, is gonna put on a show tonight. If carbo puts his checking lines against their best (which is the case with all other teams), I think he might make em look silly. For example, a Lats-Smolinski-Grabs line might hang out Smokes to dry against Kovalchuck and I do not think that Begin - Chips - Kostpolous is fast enough to keep up with Hossa or Kovalchuck. I think that the Begin-Chips-Kostopolous line is a better bet because of the way they have been playing and their chemistry. My gut tells me that Kovalchuck and Hossa are gonna come out flying.

Another thing that worries me is playing Price against Kovalchuck. I think of Halak last year when the Habs got smoked(rookie, still learning, had been playing well up to that point). But I know price is probably ready for em..

Hmm, against Kovalchuk and Hossa. If seperated I would try to get the matchup between Smolinski and Hossa. As for Kovalchuk, I think our top line against Kovalchuk's line would benefit us. Koivu, Higgins, and Ryder have shown consistently this season that when they're o the ice they can control the flow of play by working the puck down low in the offensive zone. Kovalchuk could become very frustrated with this and be completely ineffective. Who else is on his line that we would worry about? Hossa, check him. Kovalchuk, power on power.

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Great news! I'm glad Bouillon is in, as he's been having a solid year and Gorges still makes me a little nervous.

i think you misread the post. my understanding is that boullion is out, which is too bad, he's been playing great; but i'm psyched to see gorges get another outing. his game really picked up against the pens, if he's even better tonight i'll be happy. he's still learning but his second game was a lot better than the first: hopefully he can keep it up!

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Guest GreekHockeyCoach

I know everyone is obsessed with Price and with every right, he's the future, solid young goaltender that will probably lead the habs to a stanley cup one day. But given his performance against Pittsburgh (excluding the shoot out) he didn't look very sharp. I hope that giving him a second straight start isn't demoralizing for Huet who has been as solid as any top goalie in the league thus far. For the time being, Huet is the #1 goalie on this team and has looked far better than Price in the games he's played. Again, I'm not knocking Price by any means and I hope Carbo isn't making decisions based on what the media is writing. The media is basically putting Price on a pedistool and this can be touchy situation with Huet. If we want to make the playoffs and compete this season, it won't be Price that will get it done for us, it will be Huet. Just my humble opionion.

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Guest FlHabsFan

Worst thing we can do is over estimate. I think Tampa did that last night against the Rangers and came out flat and lost 3-1. So lets not do it against the Trashers. Theyve got Hossa, Kovulchuck, and even that rookie Bryan Little with speed and scoring ability. They have a very fast Line.

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I know everyone is obsessed with Price and with every right, he's the future, solid young goaltender that will probably lead the habs to a stanley cup one day. But given his performance against Pittsburgh (excluding the shoot out) he didn't look very sharp. I hope that giving him a second straight start isn't demoralizing for Huet who has been as solid as any top goalie in the league thus far. For the time being, Huet is the #1 goalie on this team and has looked far better than Price in the games he's played. Again, I'm not knocking Price by any means and I hope Carbo isn't making decisions based on what the media is writing. The media is basically putting Price on a pedistool and this can be touchy situation with Huet. If we want to make the playoffs and compete this season, it won't be Price that will get it done for us, it will be Huet. Just my humble opionion.

reading back in this thread it makes sense that carbo would use price tonight against atlanta for his home opener as opposed to very tough opponents ahead, the flyers and the leafs. i don't think it was a slight or a reward, just the numbers game. even in his press conference yesterday carbo said he spoke with huet, who understood, and said he was trying to find the right game for price to start at home. if anything it's a slight to the thrashers ;)

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