Sunday, April 13, 2008

Game #1-3

Habs Finally Fall to Bruins; Still Lead Series 2-1

The Canadiens Game in Review

Date: Sunday April 13th, 2008
Opponent: Boston Bruins
Venue: TD Banknorth Garden, Boston, MA


Team Stripes


Final Score: 1-2 (OT) - Loss

Habs starting goalie: Carey Price (L)
Opposition starting goalie: Timothy Thomas (W)

Habs goalscorers: Tom Kostopoulos
Opposition goalscorers: Milan Lucic, Marc Savard



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 Loss to Boston this season (11 GP)
1st Time this season that Boston scored the first goal
1st Time we were ever trailing in this series (lasted 18 minutes)



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

The best play I saw tonight by the Habs was the result of a typical Brisebois miscue in which he pinched at the absolute wrong time allowing a 2-on-1 to happen.

Breeze-by lived up to his name when a penalty to David Krejci was just ending and he decided to go fishing in the offensive zone. The pass from Kostitsyn went awry and it meant an opportunity opened up for Boston. With so little time left in the game at the time (9 minutes) a goal would have certainly ended it. Price, however, once again bailed out his 'defenceman' and made an incredible save when the Bruin decided to shoot. This play kept us in the game much longer than we actually deserved.



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

Carey Price

Carey was fantastic tonight. He very nearly did what I had predicted he would not, steal us a game. Boston had a lot of good chances tonight and Price made a lot of key, difficult saves. He got very unlucky in OT when it seemed like his team crumbled right in front of him. Thomas also had a great game tonight, but to me there was no doubt who the top goalie was.



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

Tom Kostopoulos
- Tom was our most dangerous forward tonight as he crashed and banged all over the ice. His goal was the result of hard fore-checking and great effort. One thing that does bother me though is that our 4th line wingers are our best players so far this series

Maxim Lapierre
- Max played a great game, especially in the first two periods. He was great in the offensive zone as he surprised everyone by generating a few quality scoring chances. He used his speed a lot tonight as he proved yet again how slow the Bruins' defence really is

Bryan Smolinski
- He had a great little pick on our goal tonight. It was something that probably should have been called as interference, but since it wasn't it was a smart play. He played very well again with Tom and Steve as their line continues to be our best defensive AND offensive weapon. It was a good night in the face-off circle as he won 13 of 23

Defencemen

Mike Komisarek
- Mike played with a lot of heart tonight. He may not be 100% healthy yet, but that doesn't seem to be enough to slow him down. He was particularly effective in our zone, especially on the PK. Towards the end of the game he joined in the offence on a few occasions and actually came close to ending the game himself

Josh Gorges
- Josh was on the ice for the wining goal, but it was far from being his fault at all. He was used a lot tonight as Carbo went with 4 defencemen for most of the game and he played like he deserved it. He got involved a bit offensively too, but continues to be snake-bitten in the goal-scoring department. Tonight he could be counted on for good, simple, risk-free defence - the type that wins you games

Goaltender

Carey Price
- Carey gave us a serious chance of being up 3-0 in this series, but not enough of the team bought into that idea. Boston hit him, got in his face and shot the puck from anywhere and all he did was make key saves and keep a cool head. He just has to keep doing the same thing in the next games and hope that his team rises up around him



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

I thought there was a chance that with back-to-back playoff games Alex would have been able to excel during both, but I was wrong. Following his season-long trend of being weak in one of the two games Alex followed up a great game #2 performance with what can only be called a mediocre showing. He can't do it all himself though and the team and Carbo have to know this. He will do his best to do as much as he can (and he does), but he won't always be the one to bail us out. The PP is looking dangerous still, it's just a matter of time till a few pucks find their way through.

Kovalev's Assessment - Average


Overall Comments

Boston has been getting better in each game that we have played them dating back to the regular season. Tonight they were the more imposing team by far, but yet they still barely beat us. We can look at this one of two ways. The first is that they are getting better with each passing game and may be working the Habs out, in which case we should be worried. However, you can also look it as though their best coupled with our worst was still only a close OT affair. I had thought the Habs had a sweep in them and was actually surprised at the effort tonight. The next game now becomes a must-win as we can't afford for them to come back to Montreal with the series even and with all the momentum. Tonight we adjusted our game to their style for the first time in our 11 meetings this year. We have won against every team this year by sticking to our game plan of offence and speed, thus simply overwhelming the opposition.

The Habs were hurting tonight in the offensive-creativity department. We have a lot of offensive weapons, but not too many with much imagination. Players like Higgins, Ryder and Latendresse are good at burying chances, but they lack the abilities to create plays out of nothing. Everyone knows that Saku is the answer, but until he is ready there is not much we can do. Apart from using our next closest thing that is - Mikhail Grabovski. In his last 11 games of the season Grabo put up 7 points and an even rating. That isn't bad for a player who everyone assumes is a defensive liability and nothing more that a fast skater. Right now we are playing with 2 lines - Kovalev's line, which is being watched heavily and Smolinski's line which is scoring, but is ideally needed for other duties.

Streit didn't see much ice tonight which was shocking to me. He is knocked around the league for not being a good enough defensive defenceman and I think Carbo is buying into the hype. Most people assume since he played forward and got so many points he can't be any good in his own end. Well they're wrong. Let's not forget that Mark made the team as a defensive defenceman and was regarded as that for his first season and a half with the team. He plays the position well and if he were partnered with Hamrlik we would see a very good combination. Brisebois on the other wasn't able to have a rebound of one his weak shots tucked in tonight, thus rendering him even more useless than I thought possible. After the first 2 games people were saying he played well, when I think what they meant was that he didn't play as brutal as usual (but was still brutal). Tonight he was horrid, a big reminder why we booed him for 13 years before his latest stint. He wasn't good enough all year for a top-6 (or 7) spot, but now is riding the fact that he was on a great team in 1993 to a permanent roster spot.

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