Sunday, October 14, 2007

Game #4

The Canadiens Game in Review

Date: Saturday October 13th, 2007
Opponent: Carolina Hurricanes
Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal, QC


Team Stripes


Final Score: 1-3 - Loss

Habs starting goalie: Cristobal Huet (L)
Opposition starting goalie: Cam Wrad (W)

Habs goalscorers: Christopher Higgins
Opposition goalscorers: Cory Stillman, Matt Cullen, Chad Larose



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 Home Game

1st Regulation loss
1st Goal for Higgins




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

This game had everything a true hockey fan could want, except Habs goals. There were spectacular saves, spectacular plays and unfortunately spectacular misses.

Tonight the play of the game for the Habs was a fairly simple choice. Our goal was OK, but nothing to write home about, just a good hard working goal. The play tonight was Huet's leg save on Walker. A brutal giveaway led to a glorious chance for the 'Canes, but Huet was there with his left pad to keep the score at 1-2. Luckily the refs overlooked the fact that in desperation to make this save Huet actually threw his stick, it didn't stop the puck, but should have been a penalty shot nonetheless, I guess we got lucky there.



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

Alexei Kovalev

Huet played well, but giving a losing goalie the puck is hard to do. I'll tell you why tonight it's Kovy. For the first two periods the rest of the forwards and most of the D were still in the locker room while Kovy played against Carolina (with Huet behind him). Kovalev was holding the puck, stealing the puck and setting up all kinds of plays for players that were nowhere to be seen. By the third when the others arrived it was Kovalev who led the charge all period long. He also showed on one penalty-kill how to play the PK in the NHL...take it to their end, skate around their pylons and watch the clock tick down.




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)...

Forwards

Alexei Kovalev
- Strong in both ends. Stood out more tonight as everyone else was flat. Showed his true leadership (and reason why he still wears the 'A' despite most of the media hating him) by getting the whole team on board for the final frame

Andrei Kostitsyn
- Of the 3rd period performers he was one of the best. His game was interrupted by a few shifts on the 3rd line while Kovalev and Plekanec tried to get Latendresse going. Kostitsyn was back by the end of the period, probably wondering why Carbo wasted 4 or 5 of the second line's shifts playing man-down, or maybe with #84's skating I should say man-behind. Had a few shots on net and carried the puck well

Christopher Higgins
- He was there at the start (the very start) to pot one and then came back for the third. Gave us every opportunity to get back into it, but Ward was too much


Defencemen

Roman Hamrlik
- Was strong in our own end and never looked out of place once. That is hard to do when you are compensating for someone who is often facing backwards. Showed he can lead by example as the D got going by the end too

Francis Bouillon
- Nothing to speak of offensively, but a few solid strips of the pucks, some good hits and reliable play at the back. Saw him a lot on the ice, when you notice someone they are either playing well or poorly, you never notice average play (don't think I've seen Begin once this year...). Tonight there was no bad from 51

Goaltender

Cristobal Huet
- He should be able to take some solace from the fact that he was a big player for us tonight, as we needed and will need him to be. Some more spectacular saves to add to the repertoire




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

Probably AK's best game of the season. I guess if I were a regular media outlet that would be impossible since tonight he got less points than he has done in other games. With Kovalev, however, it is not just about points, he created so much space for others and led the charge in an inspiring 3rd period. If Kovalev played this well for the next ten games without any points I would urge you to ignore everything that the media is saying about him. The media's views (boxscore) can vary quite a bit from the views of someone who has actually witnessed the game.


Kovalev's Assessment - Very Good


Overall Comments

If Huet kept the Habs in the game in the 1st and 2nd, then it was Ward who saved the 'Canes tonight in the third. Without question the Habs played their best period of the season in the 3rd. It was chance after chance and rarely did Carolina see the other end of the ice. Ward was spectacular, stopping the top 2 lines on numerous occasions as Carbo seemed to realize playing the 3rd and 4th would just kill momentum. It was very encouraging to see this outburst, unfortunately no goals resulted from it, but the again we won't see a goalie that hot every night.


The discouraging part about tonight has to be the first two periods. I don't expect every period for the whole season to be as good as the third, but after seeing the third I am expecting every period to be better than the first or second. The first and second were just bad. A team with as much talent as us should not allow that to happen. That is, however, why you want leaders on your team, because we saw the team follow suit when Kovy, Huet, Higgs and Koivu led the way at the end. I would say this team does indeed have leadership and it looks like the flock is listening. Losses will come, more often than we like, but knowing who we have leading the way, and seeing that displayed in the 3rd, I am more encouraged by tonight's display than I would be had we won 1-0 on Higgins' goal.

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