Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Game #11

The Canadiens Game in Review

Date: Tuesday October 30th, 2007
Opponent: Atlanta Thrashers
Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal, QC

Team Stripes

Final Score: 2-3 (SO) - Loss

Habs starting goalie: Carey Price (L)
Opposition starting goalie: Johan Hedberg (W)

Habs goalscorers: Alexei Kovalev, Christopher Higgins (Saku Koivu - SO)
Opposition goalscorers: Eric Perrin, Vyacheslav Kozlov (Bryan Little - SO, Ilya Kovalchuk - SO)

2007/08 first
There's a first time for everything, so they say. What they didn't tell you is that every game, something happens for the first time, you just have to look harder in March...

1st Game for Price at the Bell Centre
1st Shootout Loss for Price
1st Goal without a visor for Higgins

Play of the game
The play you're straining to see on the press catwalk monitor...

This game lacked a lot of the flare that we saw in last week's games. It was a high-tempo game, but there weren't too many spectacular plays. Great saves by Price or great defensive plays were no where really to be seen. This game had just good solid play.

Our goals were, however, quite nice. Of the 3, including Saku's shootout goal, the nicest, and timeliest, was Higgins'. On the PP at the end of the game (what did I tell you about a losing home team getting PP chances at the end) Higgins was stationed right in the slot waiting for the puck to come down the line to him. The puck traveled fast and the players moved it with conviction - from Alex to Saku and in a blink of an eye to Chris and then to the back of the net. It was a pretty goal which gave us hope at the time for 2 points, but at least bagged us one.

Game puck
Trophies are for the end of the year, play well in the game, you get a lovely puck...

Alexei Kovalev

Alex was back on form tonight after a slightly off game (or half a game) in Pittsburgh. He contributed well with a goal and an assist and looked very dangerous on the power-play. It would appear that this Atlanta team has yet to figure Alex out which is good news for our next 3 encounters. Did Hedberg figure him out in the shootout though? Nope, Alex missed the next.

Dome hockey team
We're going into the last minute with these 6 (and they're attached to the ice, so they're not coming off)...


Alexei Kovalev
- A good offensive game, ran the power-play and looked in control along the boards in both ends

Saku Koivu
- Saku's best game in a few. His offence looked great tonight as he was the best player on his line. Unlike the past few games he looked sure of himself in his own end doing a good job cleaning up some messes

Tomas Plekanec
- No points tonight for Tomas, but a good game nonetheless. He looked threatening in Atlanta's end and his speed was evident all night. Showed a lot of of play making ability tonight


Mike Komisarek
- A few flashes of offence tonight combined with solid defence, hitting and shot-blocking. The defensive aspects are really coming along for Mike, but it is especially nice to see him getting involved with the offence

Roman Hamrlik
- There was a 2 minute stretch in the third when Hamrlik was our best forward, he was everywhere in the offensive zone. He had some great point shots tonight too. His defensive play, as usual, was solid


Caery Price
- No he didn't get the shootout win, and yes he looked quite beatable in the one-on-one challenge, but aside from that he played a good first game at home. He never made any crazy saves, but tonight his solid play was enough to give us a legitimate chance of winning

Eyes on Kovalev
Did he flit and float? Someone ought to keep track...

There was a pre-game ceremony to honour the Habs' 3 1000 game players - Hamrlik, Smolinski and Kovalev - all having achieved the feat in the past month. When Kovalev was presented with his crystal and silver stick he was smiling and seemed very happy. The crowd gave him the biggest ovation of the three, as they should have, he is the longest serving Hab of those 3, and it was great to see. During the ceremony it was obvious to see that Kovalev loves Montreal and the Habs, and that the people love him, despite how much certain media outlets try to stop that. Alex has been our best player all year and seems to finally be getting the recognition for it. It is just too bad that last year was considered a bad year for Kovy. Having watched all those games too I see no difference from this year in his play, the only difference I see comes at the end of the night when I pull up the scoresheet. Tonight was another top performance, another 2 points.

Kovalev's Assessment - Very Good

Overall Comments

I hate to say it, the all time cliche, but we should have won it. Once the game started my feelings on that changed, I saw Atlanta was a better team than their record indicates and they gave us a great game. On paper though, we should've won. However, I think we were due for a loss and they were due for a win - what a dangerous combination.

The Habs showed great heart to get back into this game after two goals caused by two pretty dismal defensive plays. The first was a team effort, they all contributed to making the Habs look bad. The second goal was unfortunately mostly Goges' fault. He gave the puck away right to Kozlov who went in alone to beat Price 5-hole. I can't, however, fail to mention that if a goalie doesn't cover his 5 with his stick then he shouldn't be a butterfly goalie, this is twice in 2 games now. The mistake for Gorges comes at a hard time for the kid who is currently battling with the Breezer for the number 6 spot. Gorges, in his 3 games, has looked, to be kind, quite awful and I could see a case for Patrice being made. Josh had a great camp, whereas Brisebois failed his medical so missed camp, but this is the regular season now. Camp is camp, at some point you have to show what you can do in a real game, otherwise you are just another Hainsey, Marcel Hossa or Jozef Balej.

This wasn't the best start to the week, but one point will do. We have 2 more games at home this week against teams we'll be battling with all year, so let's look at getting four points and please no OT.

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