Halak, Canadiens stumble in 3-0 loss to Flyers

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Hahalak.jpgFinal – Philadelphia Flyers 3, Montreal Canadiens 0

Flyers
lead series 2-0

I know that a lot of attention now is going
to turn on Jaroslav Halak, and how his struggles are costing the
Canadiens after his heroics got them to this point. While Halak has
certainly looked far from the goaltender we saw in the first two rounds
(and actually, sometimes we did see this side of him) the rest of the
team hasn’t looked much better.

After cashing in on their underdog
roles against the Capitals and Penguins, the Canadiens entered this
series as not exactly the favorites but far from a team that many
thought didn’t have a chance. For the first time in the playoffs they
were a team with the pressure on their shoulders, with a crazed fan base
that was sniffing the Stanley Cup finals and demanding success.

After
two games, they have come nowhere near living up to expectations.

The
Flyers continue to play like a confident team with no pressure and
after surviving an early push by the Habs used a boring, but solid, 3-0
win to go up on the Canadiens 2-0 in the series.

Michael Leighton
became the first Flyers goaltender since Bernie Parent in 1975 to have
back-to-back shutouts in the playoffs, as he easily outplayed Halak for
the second straight game. He’s looking confident and fresh (as he should
be) and the goaltending questions the Flyers faced after Brian Boucher
was lost to injury have been answered.

On the other end, Halak
continued his trend of looking a bit worn down after a big series and he
was far from the confident and challenging goaltender we saw against
the Capitals and Penguins. Of course, this happened at the start of the
series against the Penguins yet it didn’t carry over to the second game.
Now, the Habs are faced with the question of just what to do with their
miracle goaltender, who looked even shakier in net as the game
progressed.

With the Habs trailing 2-0 in the third, and his doing
at least trying to come back in the game, Halak allowed a very weak far
side goal to Ville Leino, barely reacting to the shot. Whether he
didn’t see it, or just misplayed the shot, it was a troubling trend to
see as the game progressed and Halak constantly failed to show the
energetic and positionally sound goaltending that was so successful
before.

The series now heads back to Montreal, where a rabid Bell
Center is sure to do all they can to give their home team the support
they need to crawl back into the series.

No hearing scheduled for Gudas after big hit on Sabres rookie

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Flyers d-man Radko Gudas doesn’t have a disciplinary hearing scheduled for his hit on Buffalo’s Daniel Catenacci on Thursday night, an NHL spokesman has confirmed.

Gudas was given a five-minute charging major for laying out Catenacci late in the third period of Philly’s 5-1 win. The hit ended Catenacci’s night, a tough way for the 22-year-old to finish just his third NHL contest.

After the contest, Buffalo players and head coach Dan Bylsma didn’t mince words when it came to Gudas’ actions.

“I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News. “I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

“That guy’s an idiot and stupid,” Foligno said of Gudas, per the Courier-Post. “He gets his hits in, he’s dirty and he’s been known for it. He goes after a rookie who plays in three games and goes right at his head.

“He’s an idiot, that guy.”

Gudas certainly has furthered his reputation as a dangerous hitter this season.

In December, he was suspended three games for a headshot on Mika Zibanejad and, earlier this month, was tossed from a game against Montreal for clipping, after delivering a low hit on Habs forward Lucas Lessio.

Report: The chances of Carey Price returning this season are ‘slim’

Montreal Canadiens' goaltender Carey Price looks on during a scrimmage game alongside goaltending coach Stephane Waite during NHL hockey training camp in Brossard, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Associated Press
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Details surrounding Carey Price‘s injury have been scarce, but according to La Presse newspaper, the chances of him returning to the lineup this season are “slim” at best.

The 28-year-old has been out with a lower-body injury since Nov. 25.

His return date has been pushed back several times, and La Presse suggests that’ll happen again.

Originally, the Canadiens said Price would be out six weeks. Then, on January 21, General Manager Marc Bergevin said he expected his goalie to be out another three to four weeks, which means that he would be coming back sometime next week.

Price has been skating for a while, but he’s been doing so without his goalie equipment.

Basically, don’t hold your breath.

Here’s an excerpt from the story (quotes have been translated):

The possibility of Carey Price returning this season are so slim that people in the organization don’t even believe it’ll happen.

According to information obtained by La Presse, the Canadiens aren’t optimistic about their star goaltender’s chances of returning this season. He’s been out since November and the club refuses to confirm the fact that he suffered a right knee injury. 

The report goes on to say that Price is dealing with a Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) injury. The only good news is that he won’t have to undergo surgery.

“People in the Canadiens organization don’t believe he’ll  be back during the regular season,” a source told La Presse’s Richard Labbé. “They’re wondering if it’s even worth pushing him to come back, but they don’t want to admit anything publicly.

“They don’t want the fans to give up hope this season. There’s a marketing aspect to all of this.”

The story also mentions that Price is telling people that he’ll be healthy enough to represent Canada at the World Cup of Hockey next September.

PHT Morning Skate: Snoop Dogg wears OHL team’s jersey during a show

Snoop Dogg, aka Snoop Lion, arrives at Spike TV's Guys Choice Awards at Sony Pictures Studios on Saturday, June 8, 2013, in Culver City, Calif. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP)
Associated Press
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

–Snoop Dog wore a Mitch Marner London Knights jersey at his concert in London. (Bardown)

Brent Burns‘ son got a gift from Jaromir Jagr:

–Here’s Pierre LeBrun’s latest edition of Team Canada’s World Cup roster. (ESPN)

–The NHL completely ruined the Toronto Maple Leafs’ centennial season. (Puck Daddy)

–The Chicago Blackhawks will be going to the White House on Feb. 18. (Blackhawks.nhl.com)

–Wings goalie Petr Mrazek talks to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman about “doing the right things” and “working hard”. (Sportsnet)

Sharks scratch Flames’ big lead, Calgary wins anyway

Calgary Flames' Mikael Backlund (11) chases down the puck against San Jose Sharks' Tomas Hertl (48) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
AP
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If you turned off Thursday’s Calgary Flames – San Jose Sharks game early, you’ll probably be stunned to see that Calgary won 6-5 via a shootout.

For instance:

  • A Sharks fan may have bitterly called it a night when Calgary went up 4-1.
  • Conversely, a Flames devotee might have retired after San Jose took a 5-4 lead, possibly with a broken remote.

The Flames only trailed for about two minutes before scoring the last “real” goal of the game, eventually taking their third straight win thanks to a shootout triumph.

It’s been a strange ride for Calgary, with its most recent win happening after Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Lance Bouma were punished with a healthy scratch. As strange as this game was, the “charity point” can leave both teams looking through a lot of film, yet with something gained as well.

Ultimately, the message may very well be: don’t sleep on these teams.

(In less positive news, Karri Ramo is injured, and it doesn’t look good.

Jonas Hiller closing out the game on a hot streak could be pretty important if Ramo’s out for some time.)