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Game #7: Saturday October 22nd 2011. Habs vs Leafs


THEBIGGESTHABSFAN123

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PREVIEW

The Toronto Maple Leafs are off to the same start through six games as they were in 2010-11, but they're hoping the rest of this season offers few similarities.

Another victory over their struggling rivals would be a step in the right direction.

Toronto continues its four-game road trip Saturday night against the Montreal Canadiens, who are trying to avoid a fifth straight loss.

The Maple Leafs (4-1-1) won their first four games of 2010-11, then went 1-8-3 over the next 12 on their way to missing the playoffs for a sixth straight season.

Toronto began its road trip with a 6-2 loss in Boston on Thursday, allowing six straight goals between Dave Steckel's first-period tally and Mikhail Grabovski's in the third.

"It would have been nice to start off the road trip right, but we're not going to dwell on it," defenseman Luke Schenn said of the team's first regulation loss.

Phil Kessel, who leads the league with 12 points and is tied for the lead with seven goals, was held without a point for the first time in 16 games dating to March 17, but he has a good chance to get back on track Saturday. He has four goals and three assists in his last five games versus Montreal.

Kessel assisted on Dion Phaneuf's third-period goal in Toronto's 2-0 season-opening victory over the Canadiens on Oct. 6.

Toronto is 5-2-1 in its last eight road meetings against Montreal, which has scored one goal or fewer in four of its six games.

The Canadiens (1-4-1) did not lose four straight all of last season, and they haven't dropped five in a row since Dec. 10-17, 2009. They fell 3-1 to Pittsburgh on Thursday, getting their lone goal from Brian Gionta with less than two minutes remaining.

"It's got nothing to do with the bounces, it's the way we're playing," Gionta told the team's official website. "We're just not supporting each other and we're getting away from what we want to do as a team. It's tough to win games that way."

While Toronto seems eager to move past its most recent loss, Montreal acknowledges it has some issues to resolve.

"We have to wake up because it's becoming embarrassing," winger Mathieu Darche said. "It keeps happening that we're two or three guys on the ice that are on the same page, but we need to be five."

Goaltender Carey Price, who's 3-1-0 with a 0.76 goals-against average and two shutouts in his last four starts versus Toronto, is trying to take a more positive approach.

"We can only get better from here. Dwelling on it is just going to make things worse, so the only thing we can do is put it behind us and get focused for Saturday night's game," said Price, who has a 3.46 GAA during the four-game skid.

Price made 16 saves in the season-opening loss to the Maple Leafs, while James Reimer made 32 saves to earn his fourth career shutout.

Reimer is 2-1-0 with a 2.67 GAA in three starts against the Canadiens, while backup Jonas Gustavsson - who made his first start of the season against the Bruins - is 2-1-1 with a 2.06 GAA versus Montreal.

INJURIES:

Montreal:

Andrei Markov

Chris Campoli

Jaroslav Spacek

Scott Gomez

Toronto: I don't know

SUPPORT SYSTEM BREAKDOWN

PITTSBURGH – Despite their efforts, the Canadiens recipe for winning was again lost in the details.

On the heels of their fourth consecutive loss, the Canadiens are done looking for answers. They know they have them already – it’s the execution that continues to keep them from winning games.

“It’s got nothing to do with the bounces, it’s the way we’re playing,” expressed a clearly frustrated Brian Gionta who scored the Habs’ lone goal in the game. “We’re just not supporting each other and we’re getting away from what we want to do as a team. Tonight you could see it – we can’t sustain a forecheck, we’re too spread out and we’re not coming out with speed. It’s tough to win games that way.”

Mathieu Darche, who along with Gionta and Andreas Engqvist were the only Canadiens to finish the match with a plus-1 rating, had similar feelings about the team’s most recent performance.

“Without Carey tonight, things would have been even more disastrous. We have to wake up because it’s becoming embarrassing,” dropped Darche. “It keeps happening that we’re two or three guys on the ice that are on the same page, but we need to be five. They were missing two of the best players in the league tonight and still won because they played as a team.”

Making his first appearance since sustaining a laceration to his leg on October 9 in Winnipeg, Michael Cammalleri was quick to point out that while the effort may be in place, the team’s synchronism continues to struggle.

“Everyone wants to win, everybody’s trying, but it just always ends up coming down to execution,” mentioned Cammalleri who logged 19:32 of ice time against the Pens. “When it comes to one-on-one battles, if you make a couple of good passes and get skating with the puck it becomes easy to win that battle. When you put yourself in position to win battles and support each other, everyone looks great. When you don’t, guys are left high and dry out there and everyone looks bad.”

In a night that saw him deal with some tough bounces while also making some spectacular saves, Carey Price opted for a “glass-half-full” approach to the team’s loss.

“We can only get better from here. Dwelling on it is just going to make things worse, so the only thing we can do is put it behind us and get focused for Saturday night’s game,” said Price who finished the night with 29 saves, including a highlight reel diving stop in the first period. “We’ve had a couple of good games but it just seems like if one thing’s going well, the other isn’t. We just need to finally all throw it all together and once we do that I think we’ll get on a roll, but until then we have to bare down on our details and everything should work out.”

Montreal: 1-4-1

Toronto: 3-1-1

TURNING POINT

BROSSARD – To say the Canadiens haven’t had the start they were hoping for this season is an understatement, but the team is ready to get back to their winning ways.

Going 1-4-1 to kick off 2011-12 wasn’t the plan heading into the season. While no one in the room is happy about sitting 14th in the Eastern Conference three weeks into the campaign, the veterans in the lineup realize there’s still plenty of hockey to be played.

“It’s never good to have a stretch like this, but we have 76 games to go and that’s the way to look at it,” stressed Tomas Plekanec, who has four points in six games to date. “We need to control the future, not dwell on what happened in the past.“

“We have to go out there, play as a group and control the things we can control,” added the Czech pivot. “We got some players back and they’ll help us; we just need to put it all together and do it together. We’ve been talking about it for three weeks; it’s time to bring it on the ice.”

Looking back on the past few games, head coach Jacques Martin sees a common denominator. After finishing seventh in the league with a 19.7% power play efficiency last year, the Canadiens have gone just 2-for-25 with the man advantage so far this season. Having gone without the services of Michael Cammalleri for three games hasn’t helped the cause and the Habs bench boss is hoping his sniper’s return from injury can help spark power play production.

“A big factor in all of those losses was our special teams play. That was our main focus during practice today,” revealed Martin. “If your power play is clicking and can get you a goal or two every night, that can be the difference between winning and losing.“

“We had a good meeting this morning where we kind of recapped where we’re at and what we’ve learned in the last couple weeks and what we need to be better at,” he continued. “It’s obvious you need to trust your teammates and you need better execution and you need to be on the same page.”

A glue guy in the Canadiens dressing room, Hal Gill knows what it takes to bring a team together and get everyone working in the same direction.

“It sounds simple: ‘Just execute the system’. But there’s a lot going on. It’s not about the system; it’s about executing the different support levels and trusting in it,” confirmed Gill, who played his 1,000th career NHL game on Thursday night in Pittsburgh. “For whatever reason, we got away from the trust and we have to find that again where you know that other guy is going to win the battle and chip it up the boards. We’re kind of in-between right now and you can’t be in-between; you have to be all out and on the same page together.

“It comes from having success with it and it comes from working hard on it in practice and in games. It’s not something that just happens; if everyone could do it, everyone would win,” he underlined. “It’s hard work to play as a team – there’s a lot going on and guys need to buckle down and get the job done.”

Lineup will be posted when founded out( probably tomorrow after morning skate).

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Well you certainly have this GDT down pat....

thgreat_job.gif......very nice 123.B)

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They have to win this game... and please no perimeter shots! well atleast if no one is there to take the rebound. The only reason habs out-shot the teams is because they shoot from everywhere. Play the puck, skate hard and kick some A**. GO PRICE GO! lets get a big win at home, and bring carey a win!

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if they don't win this game....I may cry

I may get banned.<_<

Oh for pete sakes habs....come onnnnnn...WIN THIS ONE,PLEASE.

lets get a big win at home, and bring carey a win!

Getter done boys....all on the same page.

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Great job on the thread 123 :) I stole your last image to post in the French GDT ;)

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Hmm...another concern for tonight's game, it's another damn milestone game: Cammalleri's 500th <_< On the flip side, Cammi usually shines when the spotlight is on him :D

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EMOTIONS RUN HIGH

MONTREAL – The Habs are looking to deliver an emotional performance Saturday night, and what better way to bring that out than a showdown with the Leafs.

Despite still hunting for their first home win of 2011-12, the Canadiens are aware that they did a lot of things right in their last two Bell Centre outings. Back home to face the Maple Leafs for a classic Saturday night rivalry, head coach Jacques Martin hopes to see his team continue to play with passion in front of their home crowd.

“The Leafs are a team that’s enjoyed a good start to their season, with players like Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul playing well for them offensively which is why we need to have an effort like we did in our last two home games,” explained Martin, whose team put a combined 84 shots on goal against the Sabres and Avalanche.

“We played with a lot of emotion and passion in those games against Buffalo and Colorado. We worked hard, created a lot of scoring chances and had strong performances,” continued Martin. “We want to come out and play with that same kind of energy tonight versus the Leafs.”

The points may not have stacked up for the Habs so far and while it’s certain that fans will be clamoring for a win against their division rivals, no one wants to make that a reality more than the Canadiens themselves.

“No matter what team you play for, if you’re in the position that we’re in right now, you’re not happy. It doesn’t matter if you play for Montreal or you play for Florida – you go out to win every night,” expressed Habs sophomore Lars Eller who practiced Thursday on a line with Andrei Kostitsyn and Travis Moen. “We know that we’ve got a fan base that has a huge hunger to win games and when we don’t, people start asking questions, and I certainly don’t have a problem with that. We want to win more than anyone and we’re trying our very best to make that happen.”

With the Habs’ head coach recently falling under fire for the Canadiens slow start to the season, Michael Cammalleri was quick to come to his defense of Saturday morning.

“We know a lot of people care about the performance of this club, but as far as singling out Jacques as the reason for us not winning these games – it’s unjust and unfair,” said Cammalleri who will play in his 500th NHL game against the Leafs. “The responsibility of winning and losing has to be shared by the both the coaching staff and the team of this organization because it’s too much of a burden for anyone to have to carry by themselves. We all need to do a better job so we can all be successful.”

“One thing about markets like the two teams playing tonight are in is that things can change quickly," added Cammalleri. "You win a few in a row and all that negative noise can turn positive pretty fast.”

Also, our lineup for tonight:

Cammy-Pleks-Gio

Patches-DD-Cole

Moen-Eller-AK

Palushaj-Enqvist-Darche

Gorges-Subban

Gill-Diaz

Emelin-Weber

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On the flip side, Cammi usually shines when the spotlight is on him :D

Was it not on him last game when he returned....I had high hopes that he'd get me some damm pts.;)

EMOTIONS RUN HIGH

Yep...were gonna see this tonight...right here on this thread if the habs do not come out with strong performance/effort dammit.:P

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