Habs Goalie: Halak (L)
Opposition Goalie: Kiprusoff (W)
Habs goalscorers: None
Opposition goalscorers: Iginla
There aren't too many positives to be taken out of this one, but I will hand it to some of our boys for showing some heart and good camaraderie at times. My favorite incident took place when McGrattan, known for his dirty play, hit Plekanec at Calgary's blue-line for no apparent reason. The hit was dirty in my opinion as it came when Tom didn't have the puck, had his head down and was in open ice. Seeing that his smaller teammate had just been knocked over for the second time in a matter of minutes (Phaneuf laid a big one on Pleks in the corner) he decided to take the matter into his own hands (God knows the refs weren't about to do anything). So Paul dropped his gloves and jumped onto McGrattan. There were a few punches thrown, but in reality it wasn't much of a scrap. What it showed me, however, was that these guys, even though they are still getting to know one another, will go to war for each other and that, my friends, is the basis of any solid team; it is a tried, tested and true fact of sport.
Mike was by far our most dangerous forward tonight. He had a few spectacular moves, but came up just short on a couple of occasions. I think that Martin thinks the answer is for him to play with Gomez and Gionta, but I really like him with Plekanec and hope that that experiment hasn't, yet again, been aborted. I also think that you should end a game with the same lines as you started with, something that was not the case tonight at all.
One of these days I really need to see a goal from Andrei, but I can live with how he played tonight as it was head and shoulders above most of our other forwards. His 4 shots led the team and at least 3 were very dangerous; they were shots that created rebounds and forced the Kipper to come up big.
Glen did well on the third line tonight and also featured predominantly on our special teams. You can't fault him for not scoring as who would have expected that we would even be hoping for that outcome. He has exceeded expectations all year and tonight was an example of how he is one of our most solid, responsible and reliable players.
Hamrlik didn't bring much to the table offensively, but I felt did a good enough job against Iginla's line. He played for over 26 minutes and, although he was on the ice for some chances, never got himself into major trouble. Playing almost half the game against a team like Calgary, however, will wear you down, so I can only hope he will be good to go for the rest of the week. He is, because of Markov's injury, being used more than we would like, but so far, so good.
Spacek had a few weak moments in his own end, but there was nothing too catastrophic. Our defence, on the whole, wasn't great tonight, but I also didn't think their effect was too negative either. Jaro's upside came in the form of offence as he took 4 shots and also played semi-decently on what was an otherwise pitiful power-play.
Jarolav Halak - Game Puck
Halak could have let in 3+ goals tonight or probably could have had a shutout. It was one of those nights where he wasn't great, but got most of the bounces. The bottom line, however, is that he made some big saves down the stretch and he gave us a chance to get points we didn't really deserve. The goal against was weakish, but, then again, an Iginla wrist shot is often quite hard to stop. A loss is a loss, but 1 GA and a .967 Save % has likely earned him a start before the week is over.
You never like to see your team lose a game 1-0 (first shutout of the season) as it then becomes very easy to say the 'what ifs'. What if Gorges stays with Iggy. What if Halak stops that shot. What if Gomez lifts the puck on his breakaway. What if Gionta drops to Kostitsyn instead of going cross-ice (and broken up) to Gomez on a 3-on-2. You see, I could go on and on. This is it though, Calgary was better than us tonight. They had the better goalie, the better offence and by far the better D. We tried hard at times, but one look at either our PP or PK will tell you that we were simply outclassed. I think, however, it is time for Martin to find a way for us to be able to compete against good teams. The season is almost 1/4 of the way through and we still have trouble against quality teams, we still seem to lack a defensive system and we are still struggling to find lines, combinations and a team identity. Markov being injured is a great excuse, but it is so played by now. The lack of chemistry with new players isn't a great November 10th excuse either. And, being told the players (professionals I might add) are still learning a system 2 months after its introduction is starting to look worse on the coaches than on the players. Things will certainly have to line up for us over the next 2 months if we want to stay in the top 10 (or get back to the top 10 I should say), but I believe that we have the potential and the will to get it done which, in reality, are paramount to anything else at this point in time.