Thursday, October 16, 2008

Game #4

Habs Gift the Bruins a Single Point While Playing With Fire

The Canadiens Game in Review

Date: Wednesday October 15th, 2008
Opponent: Boston Bruins
Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal, QC

Team Stripes

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

Habs goalscorers: Alexei Kovalev, Saku Koivu, Maxim Lapierre, (Alex Tanguay - SO)
Opposition goalscorers: David Krejci, Marc Savard (2)

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

Our second goal was the result of hard work by our whole top-line and came at the perfect time. As I think back to the goal now it doesn't strike me as spectacular, but more so as necessary. It was a total team effort which was great to see as that is obviously what wins you games. Great fore-checking by Tanguay, Koivu and Latendresse put the Bruins on their heels. Great zone possession by Ryan O'Byrne allowed an otherwise dead-play to continue. The end result was a Latendresse scoring chance at the foot of the net followed by Koivu potting his first of the year in on a juicy rebound.

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

Andrei Markov
What stood out about Marky tonight was his defensive play. In the first two periods especially he was constantly breaking up Boston chances. His long reach and excellent positioning made him a near impossible obstacle for any Bruin to get around. His puck movement and offensive play were also on display tonight which was evident with his 2 assists.

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)...


Saku Koivu
I thought the skipper had a great game. So far this year I have noticed more jump and more creativity and that was best on display tonight. Seeing Ryder at one end and Tanguay at the other made me realize just how different those two players are and how much better off Saku is now. He was very good in the offensive zone as he was creating plays the same way he was last year in the playoffs. He basically controlled the offensive zone when he was on the ice.

Guillaume Latendresse
Gui can finally keep up with his linemates and he is now an exciting player to watch. He still needs a lot of work in his own end, but for the first time in his career he is no longer the worst skater in the NHL. He added a lot of power to Koivu's line and did a good job at retrieving pucks. His shot and touch around the net led to an assist tonight, but expect more goals to come from similar situations.

Alexei Kovalev
Kovalev was rewarded early in the game for his great moves and vision with his second of the year. His goal was proof that not all goals from him will be pretty, but then again, showed how soft his hands are. A lot of players would have had trouble potting the goal that he did, he once again made it look easy. I thought he skated very well tonight and was an overall offensive threat.


Andrei Markov
Komisarek did not play a good game, but thank goodness his partner did. Andrei just keeps getting better and better and it seems like no matter what trouble his teammates get him into he will find a way out. He was so calm and poised in his own end that I think Boston lost hope for a good portion of the game. Take him off the ice and it is a different story. Why do you think Carbo played him for more than 27 minutes?

Roman Hamrlik
Hammer was unfortunate to be -2 tonight. I am not going to claim that he was perfect in his own end, but he was good enough. None of the goals were his fault, although on a night where none of the other 4 blue-liners played well he is getting off easy. The thing that clinched it for me tonight was his offensive involvement. I can only hope that Roman keeps up this great play in the offensive zone because we need a second threat. At the beginning of his career he was known as a point-getter and as a PP QB, let's hope he can find his old touch.


Carey Price
Price kept us in the game in the third period when a string of stupid penalties and poor clearing attempts almost left us with 0 points. He did, however, cost us yet again with his pathetic puck-handling skills. The third goal was a bad bounce which a more experienced goalie would have read better. There is no need to exit your crease with a minute left and a one goal lead and players from both teams all around. If you do don't be surprised if the puck takes a weird hop and you have to play OT. If only he could learn when and when not to (most of the time) play the puck I think he could be quite a good all-around 'tender.

In this new section we are going to try and shed some light on certain plays or events that would otherwise go unnoticed

Our third goal (the goal that was meant to be our insurance goal) was one hell of a play. There are 2 ways to kill penalties. The first is the 'hold-on' approach. The defending team sets up in a box, ices it when they can, concedes shots and tries to get fresh legs on the ice - the Habs employ this method most of the time. The second type (and more exciting type) is when a team (or it could be a single player) acts like there is no penalty at all. The defending team chases their own clearances thus putting pressure on offensive-minded point-men. They fore-check, take shots and concede a little defence for the odd scoring chance.

Tonight Lapierre played the second style all game long and it paid off with a 1st period goal. He fore-checked hard at the half boards and won the puck off an unsuspecting defenceman. He then was instrumental in keeping the puck in and creating a chance. It culminated with a good goal, a goal that should have given us the 2 points that we ultimately had to work so hard for. Max was buzzing all night and it reminds me a lot of the way Begin used to be able to play...5 years ago.

Overall Comments

The Habs came very close to not even getting a point in their 100th home-opener. Things were looking good after 1 and not too shabby after 2. What happened, however, in the third scared me a little. We took a lot of stupid penalties (although I am not letting the striped-even-up-gang off the hook just yet) and decided to see if Boston could score 3 on us. We lost all interest in scoring with about 25 minutes left and frankly we probably deserved to lose. Yes, we are a better team than Boston and yes our players are better, but determination and drive will always tip the scales in this league. Call it complacency, call it arrogance or ignorance, but whatever you do realize that if the Habs are going anywhere this year they will have to work for it.

The first 30-35 minutes I thought were very, very good. We played an up-tempo style and didn't really allow the visiting team a chance to settle in. There were boos (unnecessary) for Chara and Ryder (???) and cheers for everything red, white and blue, but that emotion seemed to die quite suddenly at one point. The matter of the fact is though that after playing with fire we bucked up and got the win. We gave a point away tonight, but we still gained one on Boston. I was very happy that we scored 4 different types of goals (ES, PP, SH, PS) and another positive was our play in OT and the shootout. A team will never be able to dominate from start to finish and that is OK. A good team, however, will find a way to win games that they should and that is exactly what we did tonight.

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