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Aebischer has weak game, while Theodore shows why Canadiens deemed him expendable
PAT HICKEY, The Gazette
Published: Sunday, October 22, 2006


Thay-O, Thay-O, Thay-O.

There was a time when the Bell Centre faithful raised that chant as a salute to goaltender Jose Theodore.

But the voices were dripping with sarcasm last night as Theodore returned as the enemy and the voices mocked each of his failures.

The goaltending showdown between Theodore and David Aebischer failed to materialize. For the first time this season, Aebischer struggled. But it didn't matter because Theodore showed why he was deemed expendable last spring.

The bottom line: Eight goals on 36 shots.

"I felt sorry for him," said Craig Rivet, who gave the Canadiens their first lead when he came out of the penalty box and beat Theodore on a breakaway to put Montreal ahead 5-4 at 5:40 of the third period.

"He's a warrior and he was battling out there," said Rivet, who said it was his first breakaway.

"I don't think I've scored on a breakaway going back to when I was a kid." said Rivet, who said Friday that it was possible to beat Theodore with a high shot.

"That's where my shot went but, to be honest, I was just trying to get the puck on net," Rivet said. "I was trying to shoot quick."

In the new National Hockey League, special teams are important and the Canadiens were special as they bounced back from a 3-0 deficit.

The Canadiens scored four power-play goals on eight opportunities with Christopher Higgins providing the winner on a power play at 10:55 of the third period. They also successfully killed six of seven penalties.

"It's a question of guys willing to pay the price,' said defenceman Sheldon Souray, who scored two power-play goals and also added a pair of assists. It was his biggest offensive output since Jan. 10, 2004 when he had six points in the Canadiens' 8-0 win in Pittsburgh.

"You see guys like Saku Koivu standing in front of the net and creating traffic and that makes it tougher for the goaltenders to see the shots from outside."

Aebischer said the game didn't start the way he anticipated.

"I didn't expect to be down 3-0 to start the game," said the former Colorado netminder, who finished with 33 saves on 38 shots.

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