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Montreal @ Phoenix | Mar. 6 2008 | Final: 4-2 Habs


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Guest HabsFanInPitt27

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Vs

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At Jobing.com Arena - Glendale, AZ

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Game Preview

The Phoenix Coyotes are hanging around in the Western Conference race, but they'll have to solve a long-time nemesis if they hope to make up ground.

The Coyotes will be trying for their first win against Montreal in nearly a decade on Thursday when they host the Canadiens.

Phoenix (34-28-5), which has not reached the postseason since 2002, is in 10th place in the Western Conference - three points behind Colorado and Nashville for the eighth and final playoff spot.

"We've got our work cut out," Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said. "There's a tough haul ahead. But the light at the end of the tunnel is strong. Nothing will be given to anyone."

The Coyotes will be looking to end an even longer drought on Thursday, having lost five games and tying three others against the Canadiens (36-22-9) since a 4-2 victory Dec. 9, 1998. It is also the first meeting between the teams since Phoenix lost 5-2 at Montreal on Dec. 13, 2005.

The Coyotes have won three of five, including Wednesday's 2-1 victory in Dallas. Peter Mueller and Shane Doan each scored for Phoenix, which has managed only 10 goals in its last seven games.

Radim Vrbata, who leads the team with 27 goals, picked up an assist but has not scored a goal in a season-worst seven games. The Coyotes, meanwhile, managed only 16 shots after taking just 17 in Saturday's 3-1 loss to Calgary.

But while the Coyotes' offense has sputtered, goalie Ilya Bryzgalov has stepped up. He made 20 saves against the Stars and owns a 1.21 goals-against average while starting the last five games.

"Our goaltending has to be strong if we're going to make the playoffs," Doan said. "Bryzgalov has given us a chance. Our goaltending has been strong all year. That's why we're in this position."

The Coyotes have dropped three of four at home, but will be trying to halt that skid against Montreal, which is tied with Ottawa for the Northeast Division lead.

The Canadiens had a three-game winning streak snapped Monday, falling 6-4 in San Jose. Tomas Plekanec scored two goals and Ryan O'Byrne added his first NHL goal for Montreal, which opened a four-game trip against Pacific Division foes.

"We did some really good things, and we did some really bad things," coach Guy Carbonneau said. "We're playing well, but we still have a young team that's learning to play on these occasions. ... In the papers, everyone was talking about our defense and our goaltender, and we saw the results tonight."

Rookie Carey Price made 33 saves but struggled through his worst game as the No. 1 goaltender since Montreal traded Cristobal Huet to Washington on Feb. 26. Price is 3-1-0 with a 2.51 GAA in four starts since the trade and had allowed just four goals on 92 shots in his first three games before Monday's loss.

"They go to the net hard, and I just have to work harder," Price said. "That's how you score goals in this league."

In 30 appearances, Price is 15-10-3 with a 2.78 GAA.

Team Leaders

Habs

Points: Alexei Kovalev 69

Goals: Alexei Kovalev 29

Assists: Alexei Kovalev 40

PIM: Tom Kostopoulos 102

Plus/Minus: Alexei Kovalev 10

PP Goals: Alexei Kovalev 16

SH Goals: Tom Kostopoulos 2

Yotes

Points: Shane Doan 64

Goals: Radim Vrbata 27

Assists: Shane Doan 43

PIM: Daniel Carcillo 244

Plus/Minus: Shane Doan 12

PP Goals: Ed Jovanovski 7

SH Goals: Radim Vrbata 3

Pictures

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capt.11416d18aaa14a5a8076332b2b979876.coyotes_stars_hockey_dna105.jpg

capt.9153c9b6cf2f4738aec5cfd7eaa2d409.coyotes_stars_hockey_dna101.jpg

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Guest FlHabsFan

If Price is going to be the true #1, then he has to start tonight. No other team plays this goalie shuffle.

I miss the old Phoenix logo. More of a South West feel. This one has a looney tunes feel.

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Guest sanman
Palm trees and Hockey... :rolleyes:

Well last night, PHX beat Dallas last night! :blink:

Hope we get them tired.

If not lets make them tired...skate, skate, skate boys.

Lets stick to our style (2nd period of the Sharks game). Once thing we lost was the long pass which we detroyed NJ & Buffalo with. A lot had to do with good forechecking from SJ but with 2 man forechecking, there is more room in the centre ice zone. Hopefully the team has prepared and learned from SJ.

This is a winnable game. They have to come out hard and take the 'crowd' out of it. Crowd is in quotes because I have no idea what kind of following there is in Phoenix.

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Guest Habsgirl3823

I'm looking forward to this game. I'm happy that Price is back in net tonight... like a lot of people have been saying, if he's gong to be the true #1 in Montreal, he's gotta be given chances to make up for his mistakes, and rebound from bad outings.

GO HABS, GO!

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Guest sanman

I really think the SJ game was a goog game to learn from and spirits and body should be well tuned for this game. By now they should be nicely adjusted to Pacific time and well rested.

By the same token that we are anxious for this game, I have to think the HABS are as well.

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Guest bigsby

i can't believe the coyotes have been around for over a decade! i still think of them as new!?

all i can ask for is a defensively sound game tonight and the boys should do okay. everything clicks when the d communicates and moves the puck well (but i'll be looking for kovalev's name on the scoreboard :) ).

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Guest rosalie52

The Habs are in Arizona right now. How sad. It's much more pleasant to be stuck in the cold, the snow and the ice like in Montreal. :lol:;)

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Guest FREDDYBEACH HAB

The Montreal Canadiens are fighting for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Phoenix Coyotes are just trying to get to the postseason. Those two clubs square off tonight at Phoenix's Jobing.com Arena.

In a bit of a surprise move rookie goaltender Carey Price will once again get the start in net for the Habs despite coming off his worst start of the season. In Monday's loss to the Sharks, Price allowed six goals on 39 shots.

Head Coach Guy Carbonneau is sticking with the youngster in an attempt to build up his confidence.

"We know there are goingto be ups and downs, but both of them have to believe that it's not the end of the world," Carbonneau told the Montreal Gazette about Price and backup Jaroslav Halak. "Not that we encourage bad performances, but to be able to go back to them is always good for their psyche."

Price lost his first game since taking over the starting goaltending job full time with Cristobal Huet's trade to Washington at the trade deadline.

Price had given up just four goals over three games since the trade, all wins.

The Canadiens sit second overall in the East, two points behind top-seeded Pittsburgh. Montreal is also tied for the top spot in the Northeast Division with Ottawa, but the Canadiens have played one fewer game, giving them the tie breaker.

The Canadiens also had a three-game road winning streak snapped on Monday, but are still 20-10-4 as the visiting club this year. Montreal will also visit Los Angeles and Anaheim on this swing.

The Coyotes haven't made the playoffs since the 2001-02 season, but third-year head coach Wayne Gretzky has his club knocking on the postseason door.

Phoenix made a big statement on Wednesday, defeating the powerful Dallas Stars, 2-1. Shane Doan's second-period goal was the decider, and his 21st goal of the season was also his 40th career game-winning marker to tie Keith Tkachuk's Winnipeg/Phoenix franchise record.

Rookie Peter Mueller netted his 20th goal of the season, becoming the first rookie in club history to reach that mark since the 1992-93 season. That year, the Winnipeg Jets had four freshman skaters reach that mark, including Teemu Selanne, who netted an NHL rookie record 76 goals.

Ilya Bryzgalov got the win after stopping 20-of-21 shots for the Coyotes, who have won three of their last five games. Bryzgalov has a 1.22 goals-against average over his last five outings.

Phoenix currently sits 10th in the West, but is only three points behind Nashville and Colorado for the last two playoff spots in the conference.

The Coyotes begin a five-game homestand tonight and are 14-15-3 as the host club this year. However, Phoenix has lost three of its last four at home.

Montreal is unbeaten in its last eight tests against Phoenix, going 5-0 with three ties. The Canadiens, who haven't visited the Coyotes since March 5, 2004, have two wins and a tie in its last three in Phoenix.

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=231352&hubname=

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Big game for Price, big game for the team. Both need to step up their game and rebound from monday's loss.

I hope Kovalev breaks the 30 mark tonight !

Go habs Go!

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Guest habsrule4eva3089

If Price plays the way we know he can, and our powerplay succeeds, no doubt about tonight. Hopefully the defensive corps play as well they have for most of the season. Monday was an off night for the whole team hopefully tonight everyone rebounds! GO HABS GO!

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Guest Tamara84

Like your game thread. Hope the habs win tonight and Carey Price plays a good game. I will watch the whole game so I hope I stay up late and they win. Hope they win because I am going through a break up so hope the habs cheer me up.

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Guest arrowsno13

Montreal has to do two things tonight. One, get goals early and as often as possible. Two, WIN! I feel Higgy's gonna have a great game. Price is gonna show us that the last game was a fluke. He was given a vote of confidence by Carbs and he's going to act on it. GO HABS GO!!!!! :lol::lol:

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Guest WindsorHab#10

The key to winning for us is playing smart defense which we did not do against San Jose. We're one of the best teams scoring but commitment to defense is first & foremost. I don't understand the benching of Kostopoulos and the playing of Smolinski as he has brought nothing to this team and as a matter of fact contributed to the loss on Monday night. I guess Carbo knows best so GO HABS GO!!!!!!!!

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Guest CanadianMike

It's game day!!!

Coyotes played last night (I am pretty sure) There is no reason for Price not to bounce back.

Go Habs Go!!! Plekanec opens the scoring and will be one of the 3 stars. mark my words. :P

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Guest habsrule4eva3089

Does anyone know why the Habs are wearing the home red jerseys for the past 2 or 3 weeks. What happen to white road jersey?

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It's game day!!!

Coyotes played last night (I am pretty sure) There is no reason for Price not to bounce back.

Go Habs Go!!! Plekanec opens the scoring and will be one of the 3 stars. mark my words. :P

Yes they played last night and knocked the Sens off their skates a few times. And they're DANGEROUSLY fast. I was not familiar at all with this team and didn't expect such speed. I hope they gave too much yesterday so that keeping up with them tonight doesn't become an epic battle.

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Guest CanadianMike
Yes they played last night and knocked the Sens off their skates a few times. And they're DANGEROUSLY fast. I was not familiar at all with this team and didn't expect such speed. I hope they gave too much yesterday so that keeping up with them tonight doesn't become an epic battle.

Sens played the sharks last night. I do remember seeing coyotes when I was flippin stations.

edit" ok they played in Dallas.

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Guest Jose23

Man i hope the habs humilate the coyotes tonight.. make the score like 12-1 or something... i wanna see a big performance from them! GO PRICE GO!

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Sens played the sharks last night. I do remember seeing coyotes when I was flippin stations.

edit" ok they played in Dallas.

you're totally right, too many short segments from too many unfamiliar teams .... i did see the coyotes' speed though and it's the sharks that knocked the sens off their skates... now it makes more sense.... or does it?

i clearly need a coffee and my dose of habs :)

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