Sunday, November 16, 2008

Game #16

Thoughts With Bou as Habs Get 2 Points

The Canadiens Game in Review

Date: Sunday November 16th, 2008
Opponent: St. Louis Blues
Venue: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO

Team Stripes

Final Score: 3-2 - Win (SO)

Habs starting goalie: Carey Price (W)
Opposition starting goalie: Manny Legace (L)

Habs goalscorers: Andrei Kostitsyn, Robert Lang, (Alexei Kovalev - SO)
Opposition goalscorers: Steve Regier (2)

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

The Habs needed a win, so I was willing to give the play-of-the-game to any player who would single-handedly deliver me those 2 points. A big save, a defensive play or goal would all be considered. Tonight Price made 3 straight saves in the shootout (1 actually missed the net) which allowed Kovy the opportunity to have the game on his stick. He went in fast towards Legace and it looked promising. A fake shot to the right was followed swiftly by pulling the puck to his backhand and then literally roofing it over a kneeling goalie. There was no major reaction from Kovy who knows he can do better, but I think he at least deserved this honour.

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

Andrei Kostitsyn
Kostitsyn was not only the most maligned player on RDS tonight (Zednik, Samsonov, Perezoghin - style), but was also, for a 2nd time in 3 games, our best player. It seemed like he was everywhere in this one. Not everything that he did was pretty, but there were no major mistakes, and boy did he see a lot of the puck. He increased his season totals by 50% as he added a goal and an assist to his point totals.

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)...


Robert Lang
Lang bounced back from a very poor performance against the Flyers last night with a solid outing tonight. He scored a very nice goal, from his knees, and was clicking with the Kostitsyns. At 59% he was our best centre in the face-off circle.

Alexei Kovalev
Kovy played an average game (by his standards), but when we needed him the most he came through. Tonight he was playing with Saku and Tangs who themselves didn't have the best of games. The potential of that line is incredible, but I wonder if we are better off to spread those guys around a bit? I say that, but how can I forget the magic that Kovy and Saku had together when Alex first joined the team - at this point I am open to anything.

Andrei Kostitsyn
His goal was exactly what we needed; a fast, end-to-end rush, but more importantly it was a player taking the responsibility himself. Too many times this season have I seen passes at the wrong time, slow rushes or a very low level of conviction from our stars - that goal was perfect. His assist on Lang's goal was pure genius, he could have shot, but instead found a wide open Lang who was left with nothing more to do than lift the puck.


Roman Hamrlik
This was a very nice, calm game from Roman. Yes, he was on the ice for both Blues goals, but you'd be hard-pressed to blame them on him. He is playing better and better with O'Byrne as their trust with each other continues to grow.

Andrei Markov
Our PP is hurting, but it is no fault of Markov's. He continues to be our best player with the extra-man, his 9+ minutes of PP time were good evidence of that. Defensively he was very strong as Blues players simply could not find ways around him.


Carey Price
Extra, Extra! Price lets in weak, early goal and doesn't fall apart. Of everything that happened tonight I am most pleased by this. I haven't seen Carey rebound from a weak goal like that one in a long time. He went on to play a very solid game and was especially strong in OT and in the shootout, where he made 3 saves. His puck-handling nearly cost him in the first period and after that he didn't come out too much. Let's hope he scared himself from leaving his crease, it may be just what we needed.

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

At 0/10 I think it is safe to say our PP is in a bit of trouble. All night long we approached the power-play in a very bad way, at least that was the way it appeared to me. Things aren't happening quick enough and there is absolutely no desperation. I think that this can be attributed to a couple of things. The first is that we are lacking good passes which would enable us to be quick. It seems that every pass is obvious and when it isn't it is very awkward. The receiving player is having a lot of trouble taking a pass and doing something with it quickly (let's face it though, Tanguay and Brisebois aren't Streit). The second reason I think that we aren't doing well is that we aren't trying anything new. We are doing the same thing every time and it is becoming increasingly easy for the opposition to counter this. Creativity, in my opinion, is the key to scoring, and in particular, the key to a successful PP, as of now we are not doing anything creative, we are just going through the man-up motions.

Overall Comments

The game and result, for me, were overshadowed by what happened to Bouillon. In OT he took a puck to the throat and immediately raced off the ice, down the tunnel. As of now I have no idea how bad his injuries are and I can only hope that he will be OK. It was eerily reminiscent of the event which took place involving then Hab Trent McCleary. A puck to his throat ended his career and nearly ended his life. At that point the game, the result, the season even didn't matter at all to me, I was only worried for Frank. Let's hope he is alright and that he is back on our blue-line soon doing what he does best.

The game itself wasn't all that exciting. Sloppy play from both teams ensured that it was really a game (and points) that the Habs could and should grab. St. Louis are not a very deep team and given our talent you'd have to think it would be a walk. Well, it wasn't, but 2 points is, alas, 2 points. The team's main problems tonight, aside from the PP, were lack of speed and poor passes (both execution and planning). I am glad we got the win, but until we play tight hockey I think this is how we will garner our wins. Close games all year will burn us out, so we'd better get better, fast. If we have to fight every night from now till April the playoffs may be very, very short.

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