The Canadiens Game in Review
Date: Saturday November 17th, 2007
Opponent: Boston Bruins
Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal, QC
Final Score: 7-4 - Win
Habs starting goalie: Carey Price (W)
Opposition starting goalie: Tim Thomas (L)
Habs goalscorers: Saku Koivu, Tom Kostopoulos, Andrei Kostitsyn, Guillaume Latendresse, Roman Hamrlik, Mike Komisarek, Alexei Kovalev
Opposition goalscorers: Glen Murray (2), Zdeno Chara, Marco Sturm
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 7+ Goal Game at the Bell Centre this year
1st 50+ Shot (52) Game for Habs this year (1st since 04/1/96)
1st Multiple Point Games of the year for Ryder, Chipchura
1st Game with 7 different goal-scorers
Play of the game
The play you're straining to see on the press catwalk monitor...
Our goals were nice and were there ever a lot of them. The amazing thing is Thomas made 45 saves; about 10 of those were very dangerous scoring chances, with another 3 ringing off the post. Boston has to consider themselves lucky to leave town with such a small margin of defeat - this could have been huge. Can you imagine over 10, over 15? It would have been incredible.
This game was all offence for the Habs, thus it makes the nature of the play of the game quite easy to choose - it will be a goal. The problem is, unlike last night, there are so many to choose from. The nicest goal of the game is going to the do-it-all defenceman, Roman Hamrlik. With the game stuck at 4-3 early in the third it was still anyone's game. The ref had his hand up to signal a delayed penalty. Most players and teams tend to just focus on getting an offensive-zone face-off in these situations, that is what going for a goal makes this such a great play. Hamrlik got the puck in front of the net and as he was being tripped (something that also should have been called as a penalty) gathered the puck and threw it at the net. It bounced in the net behind Thomas as Roman was lying flat on the ice. It was a spectacular goal for anyone; for a D-man it was great to see. Putting the Habs up 5-3 at that point was a huge boost for us, giving us a 2-goal lead for the first time of the night - we never looked back.
Trophies are for the end of the year, play well in the game, you get a lovely puck...
For a second night in a row Ryder gets the game puck. Tonight with 7 different goal-scorers and 12 different point-getters this could have been a really hard choice - Ryder made it an easy one. He was the offensive force of his line and of his team all night. He looked as dangerous tonight as he ever has which is good news for Koivu and Higgins. Like Kostitsyn has done with the second line, Ryder is now completing that top line, making it a real force. His play in the past few games has been phenomenal, it is great to watch. He didn't manage to score tonight, but it wasn't because of lack of effort. He had 13 shots, most of them quality chances. He did end the game with 2 assists and a +1 rating.
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)...
- Showed his great speed tonight and moves that have earned him a new nickname: KJ (Kovalev Jr.). His goal came off a shot that we all knew he possessed, but it was still amazing to see. Great chemistry with Tomas and Alex all night
- Great play around Thomas all night, it was chance after chance. His line had 21 shots and he probably had a hand in at least 18 of those. It was just a fantastic single player effort, it made you realize the type of player he is, the type of player he always was
- Saku can thank Ryder tonight for getting the top line going again. Koivu, though, wasn't just along for the ride. If Ryder lead the charge it was Saku riding shotgun. A goal, an assist, +1, 4 shots and almost 18 minutes played. Our best centre tonight (and most nights) - effective in the face-off circle and in our own end too
- We haven't heard much from our talented #4 D-Man for awhile. Tonight, however, he was promoted to the second pairing with Hamrlik and he didn't waste his chance. He got 2 assists and ended a +1, he also played over 20 minutes for the first time in a long time. Skates so well with and without the puck, was a force offensively all night and played his best defensive game in recent memory
- Roman had a great game in both ends in every aspect. He finished +3, a team best, and notched a goal and an assist. He has two people to thank for his strong game tonight - Streit for being a very capable partner and Carbo for giving him a rare chance to play with a very capable partner. I had said last night there were good things in the near future for #44 and he proved me right tonight, look for him to keep this going
- Did Price play badly? Why isn't he in The Dome? Price's performance would not have been enough last night or on most nights for the Habs. He looked shaky all night, probably playing his worst game as a Hab. We can't blame the kid, every goalie will eventually have a bad game - his punishment: no Dome. The fact is Price let the Bruins stay in this game way too long. The scoreline should have been completely lopsided, but instead going into the third it was tied. Huet gets in tonight for the same reason Price did last night; he didn't give our team the chance to win a low-scoring affair. Tonight the offence bailed Carey out, last night Cristo wasn't so lucky. With Cristo back in The Dome tonight look for him back in between the pipes on Monday.
Eyes on Kovalev
Did he flit and float? Someone ought to keep track...
Alex missed out on The Dome tonight, but don't let that make you think he played badly. After a pretty ordinary game last night Alex was back to himself tonight and showed it as he and his line were threats all night. He scored his 10th of the season on a sweet top-shelf one-timer - keeping the dream for 40+ alive. I liked the way he was used tonight by Carbo, he was used in all situations. He, like last year, proved tonight to be one of our best penalty-killers. He may have been held to one point, but was a big reason our power-play did well tonight. He even threw a few hits and got a bit rough along the boards, it was a complete effort.
Kovalev's Assessment - Very Good
After last night's game I think we were all hoping for a big win tonight. I was hoping for a win to ensure we didn't slide into a losing pattern, something we must avoid at all costs this year if we want to play beyond April. This was a fast paced game with a lot of end to end action. There were over 80 total shots fired on net so there was no lack of excitement. Boston is a team we have had success against over the past few seasons and it is important that we keep it that way as intra-division games become crucial in retrospect come game #82. I would say that we definitely delivered a Knock-Out punch to this Bruin squad and it will be interesting to see how they come back in the next few games after a 7-goal, 52-shot performance against them. Tonight marked the first time Tim Thomas has let in more than 3 goals all year which will surely hurt his impressive numbers (1.68, .950). The amazing thing for Thomas is that he has put up those numbers with a very sub-par team and defence in front of him. I know that people have said that this Habs-Bruins rivalry is dead, but I beg to differ. The game got very chippy at times making me quite anxious to see the Bruins again soon.
Tonight we had 7 different goal-scorers which is quite something after a night where we could only find the net once and where the Habs made me wonder if we would ever score another goal again. Of the 7 different goal-scorers 5 have names beginning with K (Koivu, Kovalev, Kostitsyn, Komisarek, Kostopoulos) witch must be some kind of NHL record in itself. It was also a game where we got back on the Power-Play, as the penalties were handed out in a big way (107 PIM total). I think that my theory got some very good supportive data tonight; we need to be on the PP to win, and since the refs like to call it all even, all the time (56-51 in PIM) then that means we must take penalties. We managed to score 3 power-play goals and another shorthanded, they scored 1 power-play goal - I like that ratio.
Our week ended quite well after all. With 2 road games, of 3, and two of those 3 being back-to-back I am quite happy with 4 points. If we continue to finish each week better than .500 then we will finish very high this year. Our next game will be a very special one for the Habs and for Larry Robinson. Larry is becoming the 13th (15th if you include Aurele Joliat and Elmer Lach - there is still much debate as to whether those ever happened) and only 3rd defenceman (Harvey, Savard) to have his Habs sweater retired. Hopefully the Canadiens will be able to find a way to win for Big Bird, but Ottawa will be a tough match. You always hate to face a team after a loss, especially a team like Ottawa who have not yet lost back-to-back and have only lost 3 all year, but thanks to our good friends in Toronto we will have to do just that. If anyone out there knows a thing or two about putting up some seasons with minimal losses it may be Robinson having helped the Habs to win or tie all but 30 games over a 3 year span (8, 10, 12 in the mid 70s). The one person in the building on Monday night who will be hoping for an Ottawa loss more than anyone else may just be Robinson himself who will be hoping that Ottawa starts losing a little more to keep some Canadien hockey lore in tact. I say for our sake and for Larry's let's finally get one over the Sens.