Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Game #67

The Habs Score 4, But it Isn't Enough

The Canadiens Game in Review

Date: Monday March 3rd, 2008
Opponent: San Jose Sharks
Venue: HP Pavilion at San Jose, San Jose, CA


Team Stripes


Final Score: 4-6 -Loss

Habs starting goalie: Carey Price (L)
Opposition starting goalie: Evgeni Nabokov (W)

Habs goalscorers: Tomas Plekanec (2), Ryan O'Byrne, Maxim Lapierre
Opposition goalscorers: Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton (2), Jody Shelley, Jonathan Cheechoo, Brian Campbell



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 Career Goal for Ryan O'Byrne



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

It wasn't goaltending and it wasn't defence, I promise you that. Our nicest goal, the play of the game, was Plekanec's second.

Markov made a great play to keep the puck in at the blue-line and made a perfect pass to Kovalev. Alex then one-timed another perfect pass to Plekanec who was standing in the high-left slot unmarked. Pleks put his 5th in 3 games home to tie the game at 3.



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

Tomas Plekanec

He scored 2 goals and was 56% in the face-off circle. He often surprised a slow Shark defence with his speed and acceleration. Played a very creative game offensively, both with the puck and without. Without the puck he is one of the best on our team at knowing where to go to find open ice.



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

Saku Koivu
- Was the best player on his line, a line that on a whole didn't show up tonight. Had a great pass on O'Byrne's first to give him 49 points on the year. Was good again at face-offs, especially when the draws were crucial

Maxim Lapierre
- I thought Max showed a lot of spirit tonight. The Habs looked tired and unmotivated for this game and it was Lapierre who was trying to get the troops going. His pest-like play is what we need out of him from here on in, the scoring is just a bonus. He scored a late goal to bring us back within one and give us hope

Tomas Plekanec
- He had chance after chance and could have easily finished the game with 4 goals. For a rare time this year it looked like he was the one carrying Kovalev on the ice rather than the other way around

Defencemen

Andrei Markov
- Had a nice assist on Plekanec's second goal. Late in the game he got a 10-minute misconduct which, given the time of the call and the Habs' situation, wasn't such a bad thing. I like to see players get into the game and it looked like Andrei was fired up all night long

Ryan O'Byrne
- He played another solid game defensively as he avoided a negative +/- rating for the 12th straight game; all since his return to the line-up in February. His goal was a bit lucky, but it was well deserved as he has been playing some good hockey for the Habs this year

Goaltender

Jaroslav Halak
- I think that it is finally time for Halak to get his first start of the year. After bringing his team to within one game of the playoffs last year as a rookie I would say that his chance is long overdue. Price looked horrible tonight - his positioning was weak, he looked disinterested and he couldn't stop a beach ball. Once again he was unable to string 4 good games in a row, showing serious signs of fatigue. His play behind the net was again too lazy and although it didn't cost us a goal it did cost us chances; you can mark my words that it will eventually cost us a goal. He didn't give the Habs any chance whatsoever at winning tonight in what may have been his worst game in the league



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

This was not one of Alex's better games of the year, but was still a decent game by normal player standards. He managed just one point, but came close on a few occasions to add to that. His defensive work wasn't as sharp tonight as usual - I think the 3 games in 3 cities in 4 nights may have caught up with him. Look for a very good or excellent performance on Thursday.

Kovalev's Assessment - Good


Overall Comments

This was a game that we could have won. Even despite our poor power-play display tonight (0/7) and Price's willingness to give away goals we came pretty close to pulling it off. I have been amazed all year at how the Habs are often 'in' the games in which they are being outplayed. This was a bad game for us and we still managed 4 goals on one of the league's best, only losing by 2. That in itself is as encouraging as anything from tonight.

Well, we need 4 points from this trip out of 8 and so far we are 0/2. All that means is that we have to make sure we are ready for another round of 3 games in 4 nights in 3 cities this weekend. The next game is pretty much a must win as far as I am concerned, especially if we are still thinking about first in the East. Let's forget about this loss, stay on the bandwagon and hope for a more convincing performance against the Coyotes.

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