Thursday, March 13, 2008

Game #72

Old Habits Return as Senators Blank Montreal at Home

The Canadiens Game in Review

Date: Thursday March 13th, 2008
Opponent: Ottawa Senators
Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal, QC


Team Stripes


Final Score: 0-3 - Loss

Habs starting goalie: Carey Price (L)
Opposition starting goalie: Martin Gerber (W)

Habs goalscorers: None
Opposition goalscorers: Jason Spezza (2), Antoine Vermette



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 Shutout Loss to Ottawa this season



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

Our best play came on a third period power-play, but, although we came close, it didn't result in a goal. There was a mad scramble which started with a Kovalev pass into the crease and ended with a whistle. Plekanec, Kostitsyn and Hamrlik all had good whacks at it, but we couldn't get it by Gerber. Call it luck for the Sens, or bad luck for us, but the puck went everywhere but in the net. On most nights this wouldn't get a mention, tonight it was about all I had to choose from.



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

Roman Hamrlik

Offensively Roman was not only our best D-men, but was pretty much our best player. He played a very physical game and used his size well to get a few decent scoring chances for himself. He was great in our own end as he had another solid outing alongside his young apprentice; Ryan O'Byrne.



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

Guillaume Latendresse
- He didn't play too much tonight, but when he did he got involved. Thankfuly he didn't try anything too fancy which is a way better approach than usual for him. Got physical when he had to, making me wish we saw him use his size on a more regular basis

Tomas Plekanec
- I liked what I saw from Tom tonight. He came close to scoring twice and in some games that makes you the player of the game in a 2-1 win. He was good at face-offs in this game as he won 11 of 18. His transition game was the best among our forwards as any ill effects from the flu seemed to have disappeared

Andrei Kostitsyn
- Andrei played over 18 minutes and had 3 shots which are about par for him these days. What was different tonight, however, was the fact that he had 4 hits. He played a very physical game - call it frustration if you like, but nonetheless I liked it. We will need more of these physical performances from Andrei as we approach the post-season

Defencemen

Roman Hamrlik
- His four shots on goal led all Habs in that department. To me that shows the spirit and desire to win that the Hammer has. He never gave up right until the end of this game as he was throwing his weight around until the final siren

Mike Komisarek
- He didn't have a spectacular game, but played well enough for consideration in here. He played nearly 20 minutes and had 5 shot-blocks and as many hits. Defensively he was a rock tonight, playing his best defensive game in at least a week

Goaltender

Jaroslav Halak
- Price has failed to post back-to-back solid efforts in nearly 2 weeks and I think that is something that should concern us. Tonight he got unlucky and didn't get any offensive help, but at the end of the day he didn't give us a chance to win. He got into more trouble behind the net playing the puck - he wasn't burned , but it will happen sooner rather than later. After Halak's excellent outing in LA I would give the Slovak another chance



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

Kovalev had a hard time getting going tonight. The Sens were quick on him all night and it always seemed that he was running out of room. I didn't think his special team play tonight was that good, but he made up for it with some spirited even-strength shifts. He came close to making stuff happen, but like I just said about Price, he didn't make it happen and he didn't give us a serious chance to win.

Kovalev's Assessment - Average


Overall Comments

We still can't find a way to beat Ottawa. And, to me, that is where the problem lies. We are thinking about a way to beat a specific team and forgetting how we beat all the others. We are thinking of a way to counter Alfie and co. and we are forgetting to just play our own game. We have finally figured the Devils out after nearly 15 years and I think that is because we no longer treat them like anything special, we simply look at them as 1 of 29 teams. Ottawa played better than us tonight there is no doubt there, but it would be interesting to see if they at their best are better than us at our best. Our play against the rest of the league would suggest that we are better than the Sens, it is just a matter of playing that way when we face them.

This wasn't a typical Habs game, this was a flat, low-emotion, Thursday night, anywhereville, USA hockey game. The Habs have the ability, like the Sens it seems, to be absolutely fantastic some nights and rubbish the next (although the latter happens very rarely for us these days). I am sure that we will flirt with first place right until the end of the season, as we have done for near a month now. That is just fine and dandy with me as first is a lot further from ninth than eighth (or tenth). We have 2 games left against the Senators and I will say what I said 3 months ago - we now must both of those if we want our division back.

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