The Canadiens completed the 2010-2011 season with a 4-1 victory over the Maple Leafs at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre Saturday night.  The victory guaranteed them 6th place in the Eastern Conference and sets up history’s 33rd playoff series with the Boston Bruins in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  The Bruins finished the season in third place in the Eastern Conference.

Brian Gionta scored two power play goals for Montreal.  Ryan White and Tomas Plekanec scored the others.  The Canadiens outshot Toronto 34-28.

Summing It Up –

….When the Canadiens score first you can almost turn out the lights.  The Canadiens had a 2-0 lead by the time the game was seven minutes old.  From that point on they stuck pretty much to protecting the lead.

….Congratulations to Jacques Martin.  The Canadiens 44th win of the season was the 600th of his coaching career.  This may have been his most creative season.  Ninety six points is remarkable considering the way his defense was beaten up all season.

….The good news is Tomas Plekanec, Brian Gionta and Michael Cammalleri have their game under control.  I counted five blue ribbon scoring chances for Cammalleri.  Gionta scored twice and was around the puck all night.  Tomas Plekanec scored the game’s last goal a shorthanded breakaway and was dominant in a penalty killing role

….P.K. Subban put on another one of his shows both offensively and defensively.  Hal Gill was rested for the game, so he was paired with Jaroslav Spacek for the night.  He logged a team high 23:26, three minutes more than anyone else.   Subban took eleven shots.  Seven of them were on goal.

….As for Spacek, he’s playoff-ready.  After 16 minutes in Ottawa on Thursday he came back with 19 minutes of steady work in this game.

.Ryan White had a very effective night.  He was an assist short of a ‘Gordie Howe Hattrick’. He scored the opening goal of the night after Eller and Pyatt had won a battle along the boards.  Two minutes later he fought the Leafs Mike Brown to a draw which in the end got Brown an extra roughing penalty.  The Canadiens made it 2-0 on that power play.

….Interesting to note the way Jacques Martin used his third defensive pairing.  Brent Sopel and Paul Mara.  They were the second penalty killing defense pairing behind Subban and Spacek.  Sopel had a good night, doing what he does well, which is blocking shots.

….On the down side, the Canadiens seemed to tail off in the second period and but for some good work by Carey Price, might have seen their lead slip away from them.  But then again, that’s the story of the season isn’t it?

….In my view this might have been Andrei Kostitsyn’s worst game in a month.  You always worry that it’s a precursor to another one of his slumps.

….I wonder if the Canadiens might be better served using Yannick Weber as a forward or are we just in danger of repeating the Mark Streit saga here in Montreal.  Still, Weber was at the point for both of Gionta’s power play goals.

….The scare of the night came at 13:15 of the second period when Roman Hamrlik appeared to catch a skate in a rut and went to the ice with something that had groin injury written all over it.  Hamrlik shook it off and after missing a shift put in another eleven shifts.  finiHe may pay the price when he gets up tomorrow.

…..So, now it’s on to Boston for game one of the playoffs Thursday.   The Canadiens have been involved in 32 playoff series against the Bruins over the years.  Their record against  them is 24-8 with a total of 99 wins and 64 losses.  Fresh in everyone’s memories of course are the beatdowns inflicted on the Canadiens their last two visits to Boston.  However, the Canadiens have beaten the Bruins nine of the last twelve times they’ve played them.

The Corsi/Fenwick Numbers

Game Number Team Player Goals Saved shots Missed Shots Fenwick+/- Blocked Shots Corsi+/-
21217 MTL 6 – D – SPACEK, JAROSLAV 0 0 9 1 8 4 12 6 2 16
21217 MTL 11 – C – GOMEZ, SCOTT 0 0 7 8 7 3 3 4 4 3
21217 MTL 13 – L – CAMMALLERI, MICHAEL 0 0 9 6 6 3 6 4 5 5
21217 MTL 14 – C – PLEKANEC, TOMAS 0 0 6 5 3 3 1 2 5 -2
21217 MTL 20 – D – WISNIEWSKI, JAMES 1 0 10 13 9 2 5 1 5 1
21217 MTL 21 – R – GIONTA, BRIAN 0 0 7 7 4 1 3 5 3 5
21217 MTL 22 – D – MARA, PAUL 0 1 4 13 1 3 -12 3 6 -15
21217 MTL 31 – G – PRICE, CAREY 1 1 23 24 16 9 6 10 13 3
21217 MTL 44 – D – HAMRLIK, ROMAN 1 0 11 11 7 1 7 2 6 3
21217 MTL 46 – L – KOSTITSYN, ANDREI 0 0 7 6 6 5 2 3 6 -1
21217 MTL 52 – L – DARCHE, MATHIEU 0 0 6 7 5 3 1 3 4 0
21217 MTL 53 – C – WHITE, RYAN 1 0 5 4 1 0 3 2 0 5
21217 MTL 55 – D – SOPEL, BRENT 0 0 3 9 1 4 -9 2 5 -12
21217 MTL 57 – L – POULIOT, BENOIT 0 1 6 7 4 1 1 2 3 0
21217 MTL 58 – C – DESHARNAIS, DAVID 0 1 5 5 4 1 2 2 0 4
21217 MTL 68 – D – WEBER, YANNICK 0 1 4 6 4 3 -2 0 3 -5
21217 MTL 76 – D – SUBBAN, P.K. 0 1 9 1 6 4 9 6 2 13
21217 MTL 81 – C – ELLER, LARS 1 0 5 6 2 2 0 2 4 -2
21217 MTL 94 – C – PYATT, TOM 1 0 3 5 2 2 -1 1 2 -2

The Eastern Standings following games Saturday April 9th.

GP Pts. Next Games

1st –Washington     82    107**  –

2nd -Philadelphia    82    106*

3rd – Boston             81    103** @NJD Sunday

4th – Pittsburgh       81     104                 @ATL Sunday

5th – Tampa Bay     82     103

6th –  Canadiens     82      96

7th –   Buffalo          82      96

8th – NY Rangers     82      93

9th – Carolina           82      91

Eliminated – Toronto, Atlanta, New Jersey, NY Islanders, Ottawa and Florida.

The playoff matchups – 1- Washington vs. 8- NY Rangers.  2-Philadelphia vs. 7-Buffalo.  3-Boston vs. 6-Canadiens.  4-Pittsburgh vs. 5-Tampa Bay.