Habs Goalie: Halak (L)
Opposition Goalie: Leclaire (W)
Habs goalscorers: Cammalleri, Pouliot
Opposition goalscorers: Regin, Shannon, Neil, Campoli
The Habs were flying early on and their 1-0 goal was proof of just that. It was Plekanec who, I thought, did the best work on the play by keeping a dump-in alive from behind the net. The puck then ended up back at the left point with Markov. He blasted a pass to Kostitsyn who was waiting in Kovalev's spot (you know the one) beside the net. Instead of shooting, however, Andrei fired another pass cross-ice to Cammalleri who had a relatively easy shot on goal.
It was really good to see Brian back as I had kind of forgotten what this player brings to the table. He brought a lot of energy, great hands around the net and a chemistry with his linemates that cannot be taught. In all his 6 shots led the team and, I thought, that he was very unlucky not to score.
Scott Gomez - Game Puck
Scott has been playing well as of late, but not this well. He is clearly not the same player without Gionta and is everything that one would hope for with him. He engaged his wingers so well in this game (even Pouliot played better) that I think they looked like our top line throughout. He also did a good job on the PK where he, once again, worked very well with Sergei.
Mike had chances, but he also had a lot of bad moments in his own end. In the end, however, I thought that the good outweighed the bad, the highlight of course being his 19th of the year. It wasn't the greatest 2nd and 3rd periods for his line, and I really would have liked to see them go to work on the PP, but, in the end, he was still one of our 3 best.
Andrei has played better, much better, since his return, but at the end of the day he was still our best defender, by a lot. He contributed very nicely to the offence throughout (especially early on) and was our most reliable defender in our own end. He ended up being on the ice for both of our goals (no coincidence) and was only around for 1 of the Senators' goals - Campoli's empty-netter.
I have seen Josh play better this year, but tonight he had to compensate a bit more for a weak partner than he usually does. I felt that Gill was a bit more of a liability tonight than he has been of late and it was Gorges who, most of the time, cleaned things up. It would be nice to see Josh play with Hammer when the big-man gets back as I feel that would give the Habs two really solid and dependable pairings.
Not Jaro's best game of the trip, but still he wasn't the reason that we lost. He did let in 3 on 27 shots (.889) which is bodering on bad, but I felt that tonight was the night that his lack of defensive support caught up with him. The second goal, on the PP, was a screened shot that was hard to pick up (he barely reacted) and then the third was very questionable indeed. There was a thought that it was batted in, but, upon review, they determined that it was a good goal. How does the league then, 5 minutes later change the goal from being a Michalek goal to a Neil goal? Now, I am not saying it was clean or not, but isn't the review supposed to determine if it is a good goal? And, one would think, that a big part of knowing if it is good is knowing who actually scored it. By changing the goalscorer 5 minutes after the review one sees how the league simply lacks patience and can't wait the extra time, during the video-review, to get things right at the potential detriment of the defending team. Typical NHL, as it may have cost us the game. To me they determined that Michalek didn't bat it in with that first review, but did Neil? The guy who actually touched it last? Brutal.
I was in attendance tonight as I made the trip west on the 417. It was a good game, at the start, filled with excitement and Habs goals. At 2-0 up, however, the Habs decided to stop their attack and to play a more conservative, dump-and-chase, style. So, with 50 minutes to go they wanted to see if they could hold on. Usually this is such a great strategy that I am shocked that it didn't work...I'll tell you what the Habs were really doing though and that was waiting for a Power-Play. One can't blame a team, that hot, to expect to score on a PP (at least 1/4 of the time), but that, unfortunately, requires drawing some penalties. You can't really fault the Habs as they expected the refs to give equal chances (as they normally do) with the man-advantage despite how each team plays. Well the refs didn't do that and the Habs, at no point, really showed enough fight to have a penalty taken on them. Why would Ottawa trip us on a dump-in or hook us as we slowly skate out of our own end? Going up 2-0 and hoping the PP will carry you the rest of the way is a fair enough strategy, but they forgot that actually putting yourselves on the PP is part of that plan. Players like Lapierre, Moen and Gionta should get out there and run around as much as they can until someone pulls them down; it is actually quite simple. So, we waited for a chance that never came and Ottawa, of course won the game in the meantime.
One thing that stood out tonight for me was the play of Alexei Kovalev. He was by far the best player on the ice from either team. Critics will say that he floated, that he didn't hustle, that he was -1 and that he didn't get any points. He was, however, the engine of the Sens' offence, he was the best threat they had all night, he drew penalties and he created more chances than any other player on the ice. Ottawa fans have bought into the hype that TSN is selling about him being a part-time player, but, just like he did nightly in Montreal, he was one of the best players on the ice despite having an 'off game'.