The Canadiens Game in Review
Date: Monday November 12th, 2007
Opponent: Toronto Maple Leafs
Venue: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON
Final Score: 4-3 (OT) - Win
Habs starting goalie: Carey Price (W)
Opposition starting goalie: Andrew Raycroft (L)
Habs goalscorers: Andrei Markov, Andrei Kostitsyn, Alexei Kovalev, Mike Komisarek
Opposition goalscorers: Kyle Wellwood (2), Boyd Devereaux
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 against the Leafs
1st Win against the Leafs this season (3 GP)
1st Win in Ontario this year (4 GP)
1st Road Game in Red Sweaters
Play of the game
The play you're straining to see on the press catwalk monitor...
4 great goals, a bunch of bone-crushing hits, and a few spectacular saves. This game had a lot of great plays and should be fun to watch over and over on the highlight shows. That of course in itself is a sign we won - I can't stand seeing the goals against us again and again after a loss.
The play of the game was our third of the night, Kovalev's 9th. Just when everyone thought that the Leafs had found a way to best us yet again, along came our 2nd (1st) line. With just over 6 minutes to go in the third every Habs fan out there who had vowed that we needed an OT-free win was hoping to just get one more, to at least get into OT. Plekanec rounded the net and picked up the puck behind Price from Streit. With incredible speed (a la Modano) he flew up the left wing. He beat 3 Toronto players to the outside and then rounded the net. The whole building was thinking wraparound when at the last minute the puck came into the slot from the short side, there Kovalev didn't waste anytime unloading a one-timer upstairs.
Trophies are for the end of the year, play well in the game, you get a lovely puck...
To me, tonight was Kovalev's best game of the season. The thing that really made him a force tonight was his 5 on 5 play. Usually Alex waits till the PP to give his best, but tonight with only 3 power-plays (4:20) that just wouldn't have been enough. Realizing that after the first we may not get another chance on the PP (which we didn't) Kovalev and his line took the game in their hands. A fabulous 1 goal, 2 assist performance tonight earns Kovalev puck of the game. 3 points is always something special, against the Leafs, in Toronto, when you are at two separate times losing the game, it is fantastic!
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)...
- Great 2-way play tonight, used both of his wingers very effectively. 2 assists to give him a very impressive 15 points in 17 games, good for 2nd on the Habs. His assist on Kovalev's goal was absolutely majestic. He has been making the highlight reels all month proving he is an offensive weapon
- Another great game for Alex as his remarkable season carries on. His 3 points tonight give him 16 on the season, the best on the team. A great game in both ends. He is our best player at gaining the offensive zone and, as we saw tonight, breaking-out of our own
- He, nor his line, had their best defensive game of the season, but they weren't on for any goals against so that can be slightly overlooked. Saku did come up fairly big in the face-off circle tonight, especially on the PK - when it counted. Offensively Saku was on fire this game and how he was held off the scoresheet heaven only knows. He got robbed by Raycroft in the third on what looked like the go-ahead goal
- Defensively what more can I say? He was in the face of the Leafs all night, and unlike some of our defencemen, Mike takes on all opponents, even the big and strong ones. Had a few huge hits, on Tucker especially, and a lot of great, defensive plays. Offensively - Wow! Putting 3 forwards on the ice in OT was a big mistake for Toronto and Komi exploited it so well. His OT-in alone-breakaway goal was fantastic, making me wonder if we'll see him in the next shootout. Or using Felipe Alou's theory - odds are very good that Mike Komisarek (career .200 hitter) won't score back-to-back, so no we shouldn't see him
- 8 PIM tonight for Andrei was a definite sour point. He did, however, score a goal, finish +2 and give an English interview. The penalties aren't a habitual thing for him so I am in no way worried, but some were quite pointless. I was, however, glad to see him get involved physically, he was obviously very much into this game. If you want proof of this check the winning goal - the one dancing and trying to climb Komi is none other than Markov himself
- This was a big test and I have to say he did quite well. This wasn't Saturday night against Toronto, and it is only November, but still he did well. Carey's positioning tonight was impeccable as he made all the routine saves and a lot of very solid saves. The good thing is when you are solid, like he was tonight, you can afford to let in some soft ones. That is exactly what happened against the Leafs. One goal was deflected (with a high-stick) and another took a bad bonce off Streit, but those will always happen. If you can stop everything you should stop then you won't get burned too much by bad luck. For Price his size will increase his luck over his career
Eyes on Kovalev
Did he flit and float? Someone ought to keep track...
Always a big game player, and tonight, as we all know, was a big game. This one was really a must-win. Alex has proved himself to be a big-game player his whole career. Whether with New York, Pittsburgh, Russia or now with us he always seems to rise to the occasion. Our 1st line has been having a bit of a rough time lately, but unlike last year, when we didn't have a complete 2nd line, our 2nd line is stepping up and it is Kovalev leading the charge. 3 points in a game is always the sign of a good player, 3 points in a tight must-win game against a bitter rival, as opposed to a 6-1 win against a basement team, is the sign of a great player.
Kovalev's Assessment - Excellent
It was a good game tonight. The type of game that had me on the edge of my seat. After a good first period, in which we saw all 3 of our power-plays, the Habs quieted down. It wasn't until the Leafs took the lead late in the 2nd that we started to play again. The Habs have a tendency to outplay their opponents badly for portions of the game and then get outplayed badly themselves. I am sure that most teams are like this, we just have to make sure we outplay our opponents for the majority of the game. For the times of the game when we do get outplayed it is up to Carey, Cristo, Markov and Co. to take care of business.
After a tough loss in Ottawa we were all hoping for a big win tonight. Getting a win in Toronto is usually hard enough without the added pressure of must-win scenario. The last must-win game we played in Toronto was last April and we all know how that ended. Tonight showed that this team isn't the team we were last year. We play a more complete game than last year's team did. This team seems to be built around speed and defence, something we were on the verge of last year, but never quite proved. Conceding a point to the Leafs tonight stings a bit, but we have to just think about ourselves. I am hoping that at the end of the year we will be suitably positioned ahead of the Leafs that this one point won't come back to haunt us, as it did last year. If we keep winning it doesn't matter how may games the other teams lose in OT.
The Canadiens got their 10th win in only their 17th game as their impressive start continues. They have yet to be trailing after the first period this year and have yet to lose a game by more than one (real) goal. (There have been two 2 goal losses in which the opponent scored into an empty net) What the Habs have to try to do, unlike the past 2 seasons, is keep this play alive well after Christmas. Like most of our recent games we have started and finished the past few years very well, it now becomes a matter of getting it to work in the middle.