Habs Goalie: Price (L)
Opposition Goalie: Huet (W)
Habs goalscorers: Cammalleri, Moen
Opposition goalscorers: Versteeg, Barker, Sharp
Cammalleri got a good bounce and scored and Moen did well to tuck one in, but neither of those goals screamed 'play of the game' to me. I instead will go with a save that Price made. The save itself was a good one and the timing, too, was crucial. It came in the second period and was at a time that the game could have been put out of reach. Carey made an initial save and then Patrick Kane had the rebound at the side of the net and got at least 2 or 3 whacks at it. Price, however, was up to the test and held strong against the post. He actually managed to keep the puck out with his skate blade as the puck went behind his pad. The Habs went on to tie the game soon after that and I was viewing that save, at the time, as a game-saver.
He was fast, he was exciting and he was creative. Tomas may not have scored tonight, but I think that, overall, he was our best forward. He played for over 19 minutes, wasn't on the ice for any 'Hawks goals and did very well on the PK. He did, however, have a very bad night at face-offs as he went 4-10.
Mike scored a good goal and was a big reason that play was kept alive in the first place. Like the goal-scorer he is the puck was able to find him and it was almost a gimme. That gives him 6 on the year which is about what we would expect from our top sniper. Aside from the goal he was very good on the fore-check and, I thought, played very well with Pleks and Laps. Hopefully this line will flourish, but at the same time I am hoping that Gomez, (suddenly cold) Gionta and (can't buy a break) Kostitsyn will excel too...that is the plan, isn't it?
Max didn't have a stellar game, but I just wasn't that impressed with the rest of our forwards in this one; I simply expect more. I am not sure if he will always merit 50% more ice-time than Latendresse and Chipchura, but tonight he at least earned it. He picked up an assist on Moen's goal, had a few other chances in the offensive zone and made quite a few solid defensive plays. Right now the kid isn't scoring, but it at least it seems that Moen and Metro's work ethics are rubbing on him.
When you take away the players that had serious problems tonight you are, once again, only left with two defenders. Gorges, again, is one of those as tonight he stayed out of trouble a lot better than the others.He took an unfortunate penalty (unfortunate in that the ref actually called it) and didn't see too much ice (why are Gill and Bergeron both playing more than him?), but I am happy to report that he wasn't on the ice for any goals against. What you get from Josh is low-risk, mistake-free hockey and tonight was another clear example of how effective of a game-plan that can be.
Our best offensive and defensive D-man was Spacek tonight. Over the past week or so I think he is playing a lot better and has really started to establish himself as a leader on this team. He got beat a couple of times tonight by quicker forwards, but all in all he played a clean and effective defensive game. He managed to pick up an assist on Cammalleri's goal which was essentially an easy rebound off a very menacing Spacek point shot.
Carey Price - Game Puck
Until Carey let up the third goal there was no doubt in my mind that he had been our best player. Although at first I was upset with him on that third goal (his stick was up and pads were back behind him, not butterfly'ed), upon reflection I still can't think of anyone who played better. Price was able to stop 33 of 36 shots and many of them were actual good scoring chances. Chicago is a better team than us and played a better game than us and I thought it was our goaltending that even kept us alive at all. He didn't steal us points tonight, but he put us in a very good position to get points that we really had no business getting.
I think I have the Habs figured out. We aren't a very good team, but we try hard. This, I think, is what has given us our most realistic start since the lockout. By that I mean that we are losing (badly at times) to teams that have more talent and are finding ways to win (sometimes comfortably) against teams with less talent than us. In previous years we could out-play a Detroit, but then show no effort 48 hours later against a Florida. That, I believe, is how we could look so good and yet so bad all in the same week. This team, however, just can't keep up with some teams and it is showing in the results. Like I have always said though: there are more bad teams than there are good, so our style of play should get us into the playoffs.
Chicago didn't really play at their best in this one, but they certainly out-chanced us early. With that came more penalties to us and less to them. That, of course, made it easier for Chicago to go to work and to continue with the quality chances. We were unable (apart for some very brief periods) to establish any sort of sustained attack and that ended up costing us as most of the game ended up being played in our end. Two fortuitous goals towards the end of the second gave us hope, but all it felt like was a chance to get to OT. Good teams will find a way to win and that is precisely what Chicago did tonight. We couldn't do anything about it really, but we are certainly going to have to be better against high-end teams if we want any hope of doing anything at all in those playoffs once we get there.