Friday, November 02, 2007

Game #12

The Canadiens Game in Review

Date: Thursday November 1st, 2007
Opponent: Philadelphia Flyers
Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal, QC

Team Stripes

Final Score: 5-2 - Win

Habs starting goalie: Cristobal Huet (W)
Opposition starting goalie: Martin Biron (L)

Habs goalscorers: Saku Koivu, Alexei Kovalev, Tom Kostopoulos, Guillaume Latendresse, Christopher Higgins
Opposition goalscorers: Mike Richards, Scottie Upshall

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 Goal as a Hab for Kostopoulos
1st Game of the season against Briere (Who cares)
1st Public Announcement in french for Saku

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

This was another great game for the offence and another solid game for the defence. There is nothing spectacular to write about from the Habs end of the rink, which in a 5-2 win, is a good thing. Huet and the defence played their positions very well this game and were never forced to do anything unreal.

Our goals were all very nice, 2 on the PP, 1 on the PK and the other 2 while the ref has his arm up. The first, Saku's was, however, the play of the game. Coming off the bench during a delayed penalty he grabbed the puck at the blue-line, sidestepped two Flyers with one swift move and went 5-hole. This gave the team an instant lift, making it 1-0. This goal set the tone for the game early and we never looked back.

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

Saku Koivu

Saku netted a goal and added a beautiful assist on Latendresse's second to bring his team-leading point total to 14 through 12 games. That total is good enough for 20th in the league and puts him on pace for his second consecutive career year. A +2 rating from this game raises his +/- to +6, which in itself is a considerable improvement. To top it all off Saku delivered a pre-recorded message to the fans (on TV and at the Bell Centre) in french. A great day's work for our star and captain.

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
- Scored his team leading 7th of the season to go along with another great game in the offensive zone. Our power-play looks better and better each game thanks to him

Saku Koivu
- It was another memorable night in Montreal for Sak. A goal , assist and great 2-way play. Made his linemates look really good tonight, made his line look like one of the best in the league

Guillaume Latendresse
- Gui played his best game of the year by far. It looks like the team is adamant that he plays with Plekanec and Kovalev (pretty lucky for a struggling, barely-NHLer) so he may as well play well for us. His goal, was very nice, even if Saku did do most of the work for it, but tonight what stood out for me and the reason he's in the dome, was how he stood up after Kovy got cheap-shotted. Gui was the first player on the scene and was involved in the scrum, showing that he is willing to drop 'em and that if a team goes after his linemates he'll be right there


Mike Komisarek
- A great defensive game. He got tough when he had to, played simple when he had to and didn't make any big mistakes. Obviously he has watched and learned very well from Markov over the years and it showed a lot tonight

Andrei Markov
- Did it all tonight. Power-play, 5 on 5 and even on the PK. His PK play as usual was stellar, but tonight it was his contribution on the SH goal that stood out. He had a great give-and-go on a 2 on 1 with Kostopoulos that ended with a goal. The fact that our best, slot-clearing, penalty-killer was able to outrun 4 Flyers to get in on the 2 on 1 is awesome, but it didn't amaze me one bit. What a player


Cristobal Huet
- Like all season he kept us in when it was close and let the offence do the rest. We aren't talking Grant Fuhr (Win - 5 GA) though, Huet is posting amazing numbers allowing us to now win by 2, 3 or even more goals on most nights. Another very solid outing

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

7 in 12! Wow! What a start for AK. Could he score 40, maybe 50 this year? I don't see why not. The thing is as nice as that would be it wouldn't matter to me. Kovalev tonight showed he is more than just a one-trick pony. His shot is incredible, there is no doubt there, but so is his passing, his play-making, his strength and even his defensive play. Tonight I was thinking how that 40 would be great, and having a 40 goal-scorer back on this team would be amazing. Kovalev though proves night-in, night-out he is so much more than that, goals are just the bonus. As long as he keeps playing the way he has, since he arrived with the team, our team will be a force, with or without his goals.

Kovalev's Assessment - Very Good

Overall Comments

There are 3 players currently suspended on the Flyers, making them look like the old Broad-Street Bullies, yet I still thought I had to see it to believe it. Tonight this team showed that they have absolutely no respect for other players in the league, other teams or the rules of the game. Both Kostitsyn and Kovalev took elbows to the head in what could only be described as an intent to injure. The worst part is they went after our best player in a game where we followed the rules and didn't try to injure their best players (although those would be hard to determine).

The good thing is we play the Flyers 3 more times and even though they resemble the old broad-street bullies they are no where near that. The cheap shots they have, the despicable coach, management and players they have, but the ability to win the cup they most definitely do not have. So 3 more games to me seems like 6 more very attainable points. On the other hand that means 3 more games where I am worried for 60 minutes that they'll take someone out. They are a far cry from being an intimidating team, they are just a team that makes you uneasy when you see any hit or swing of the fist or stick coming. The fact is they aren't a horrible team and they do have decent talent, but I would like to find out the answer to why Briere thinks or maybe it was only thought, they are better than us. It can't be based on last year, it most certainly can't be based on history, definitely not based on paper and I think it's safe to say not based on the team we have this year. All in all we are a better team this year without Daniel and we were always going to be

3 points this week is a great start after 2 games, but the main event has yet to come. Despite how well or poorly either of us or Toronto is ever playing you can always count on a close game and tomorrow will be no different. It will be a great game between 2 teams going in very different directions, both this year and overall, but it will never be a write-off. The 2 points is what we're after no matter how we get, just please no OT!


  1. Honourable mention for play of the game to Tom Kostopoulos. Not for his goal...which was pretty sweet....but for his valiant effort at a french interview during the first intermission. Never a more broken and anglicized interview has ever taken place, but you gotta give him huge credit for trying.

  2. I have to give an honourable mention to Koivu's play on the Higgins (should-been-a-goal) when Biron sprawled on his back and saved without looking.

    Incredible play and pass. Another day at the office for M. Koivu...

  3. Hey Topham, thanks for popping by. I don't hate Habs bloggers ;-) I'm more than happy to help exchange some viewpoints. Email me at and let me know your address, and I'll shoot over some thoughts on the coming games.