Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Game #3

The Canadiens Game in Review

Date: Wednesday October 10th, 2007
Opponent: Pittsburgh Penguins
Venue: Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, PA

Team Stripes

Final Score: 3-2 - Win

Habs starting goalie: Carey Price (W)
Opposition starting goalie: Marc-Andre Fleury (L)

Habs goalscorers: Tomas Plekanec, Alexei Kovalev, Andrei Markov
Opposition goalscorers: Ryan Whitney, Maxime Talbot

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 Habs Regulation Win
1st Game in the NHL for Carey Price and Kyle Chipchura
1st Game of the season for Josh Gorges
1st Career Win for Price
1st Points for Plekanec
1st Goals for Plekanec, Kovalev

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

A lot to choose from tonight. Everyone in the world knew Price was starting and by now knows that he got the win. He played a very good game, he wasn't perfect, but was very close. He made a few outstanding saves that definitely kept us in the game. I can't, however, say that one save in particular was the play of the game.

There were also a few great defensive plays from the likes of Markov, Komisarek and others that saved us at times. The play of the game tonight though was our 1st goal. Call it the turning point or call it a hell of a shot, either way it set the tone for the remainder of the game. Until Plekanec scored this goal the Habs looked flat, destined to let Price's efforts go to waste. After the goal things changed, we started shooting, we started skating around them and we kept that going for the rest of the game. The shot was a quick slapper, top-shelf, after a great cross-slot pass from Markov, Fleury was already down and ready before the shot was released.

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

Andrei Markov

Markov excelled tonight, maybe making up for a miscue vs. the Leafs on Saturday. 3 great plays earn him the honour tonight. A splendid pass to Plekanec for goal number 1, a beautiful goal (game winner) of his own and a great pass block in the slot in the last moments of the game where he lay down flat on the ice to deny a scoring chance.

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)...


Tomas Plekanec
- A promotion to the second line tonight meant I actually noticed him in the game. What a difference Kovalev and Kostitsyn can make. Latendresse and Kostopoulos again made their centre look invisible tonight. To top it off his first 2 points of the year

Michael Ryder
- He didn't figure on the score sheet tonight, although he did play his best game of the season. He worked very well with Sak and Higgs tonight giving us the full force of our 1st line

Christopher Higgins
- He gave the whole team energy tonight. Worked very well in the corners and around Fleury's net, came very close to netting one of his own


Andrei Markov
- Player of the game. Offensively our best player, defensively our best player, and still the best kept secret in the league, if only Edmonton knew

Michael Komisarek
- He rebounded well tonight from a weak performance against Toronto. Didn't offer much offensively, but seemed to shut down Sidney and company quite well with a few excellent defensive plays


Carey Price
- 2nd game in the dome, 1st by his own merits. The pressure he has had on him for almost a year now must be unbearable, but somehow he put that aside and gave a great performance

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

Until he scored he wasn't having a great game, he was actually having a bad game. Isn't that Kovalev though? Unlike any other player we have he can swing a game just like that. After he scored he started to play a whole lot better. His first goal should silence some critics, but he will have to keep it up. He did give away the puck a fair bit tonight, but never in crucial areas or at crucial times, so it is a little easier to overlook.

Kovalev's Assessment - Good

Overall Comments

This was always going to be Price's first game. The minute that Carbo announced Carey was starting there was no other story out there to be found. Poor Chipchura. It is rare that a Habs player can single handily overshadow the whole team for the days leading up to a game, but that is what happened. Whenever his start was going to be we all knew that people would be excited and hopeful for the future of this team. He played really well, I believe proving he belongs in the NHL. Has he stolen Huet's spot? No, he didn't play that well. Will he steal Huet's spot? If it is because of his good play rather than poor play from Huet I think I stand united with all Habs fans when I say I would love that. A goalie better than Huet at his best may just be enough for this team to go deep.

The game, aside from the Price circus, was a good one. Good end to end action, not many penalties, clean play and a lot of scoring chances. Chipchura had a good start tonight, I think he played well enough to get another chance soon, but Grabovski will be back as we should value the offence more. Gorges didn't have his best game, but despite a fairly rough game still looked better than Brisebois, who in my opinion has no place in this league. Hopefully Gorges will return to form soon giving us our best group of 6 D since the early/mid nineties.

Starting the year on a 3 game road trip is a horrible thing as the excitement at other arenas early in the season often translates into a lot of early-season home wins. In retrospect getting 5 of 6 points on the road is fantastic and now we have 3 road games out of the way. So it wasn't horrible at all. 5 in the bank, let's keep going.

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