Habs Goalie: Price (W)
Opposition Goalie: Turco (L)
Habs goalscorers: Gionta (2), Laraque, Pouliot, Cammalleri
Opposition goalscorers: Petersen, Ott, Modano
There were a lot of choices tonight as there were goals, good hits (especially Spacek's) and some great saves. With most of our minds, however, on Haiti and not hockey I thought that it was fitting that BGL finally scored for us. To me the play-of-the-game wasn't for the goal itself, but for the circumstances surrounding it. Here you have a Haitian-Quebecois who has family down in Haiti and who must find it very hard to go on with life as normal. So, for him to score a goal, his first, must have meant so much to him and to those close to him - for that fact, and for his very excited celebration it also meant a lot to me. I am not positive that BGL has a place on this team, but I know that he is a great guy who somehow has a place in our hearts.
This was a nice game for Mike and he put the icing on the cake with a very nice looking goal in the third. He also got in on one of our PP goals (finally we get a couple at home) as he collected an assist on Gionta's first of the night. Camms led the team in shots tonight and also, surprisingly, in blocked-shots too.
Brian Gionta - Game Puck
What hands! Brian showed just how quick he can be and that he truly is a natural goalscorer. His 2 goals tonight were both the work of those quick hands and of great positioning as both came from in the slot (where he is constantly fighting off bigger players). Beyond the goals, however, he was probably our quickest player as well as our best forechecker. Burke really dropped the ball when he didn't ask Gionta to play for the USA, but, since helping out that buffoon is the last priority on my list, I am kind of glad that he'll get the rest instead.
Remember the other person in the Latendresse trade? The one with soft hands, quick legs and the ability to play on one of the Habs top-2 lines? That player is Pouliot and he continued his very impressive play tonight. He has given us that #6 forward we have needed for years and is fitting in so well with the G's; so much so that they actually have decided to not exclusively to themselves. Tonight Ben contributed with a goal and an assist and 4 shots.
A good night of work, which included being on the ice for no goals against, came to a head in the third where Hammer played a part in the last 2 goals. Our 5th goal, where he picked up his assist, was off of a great pass from Roman to Mike Cammalleri who was 150' away at the opposite blue-line. He and Spacek also made up our best defensive pair and his only blemish would have to be a very questionable interference call.
Markov is playing alright lately, but he hasn't been at his best in a few games. It is, therefore, good news that Jaro and Roman are playing so well. Spacek was on the ice tonight for 3 of our goals and none of Dallas' which, when considering the scoreline, is quite impressive. His ice-time dipped below 20 minutes tonight (mostly due to his non-usage on special teams) - something which I didn't think was the best of moves. I see no reason for keeping Jaro off the PK (I would favour him over Mara at the very least) and also think that he should get some more time on the PP. I am, however, happy with his usage at 5-on-5 as he was second in that department (only 18 seconds less than Markov).
Carey started the game with a weak goal, but rebounded nicely after that to put in a solid effort. It was one of those games that the team gave him a chance to win rather than relying on him to do the same for them - a nice change for sure. I would like to see Martin call on both goalies this weekend as the schedule is about to get quite busy until the Olympic break.
It has been 4 years since Dallas last rolled into Montreal and while some of the faces are still the same this is a far different, less competitive, team. Montreal, however, didn't take advantage of what seemed like a weakish opponent and this game was too close for too long. What did it for us tonight, however, was the PP as it chipped in with 2 goals. Add to that the fact that we got a goal from the 4th line and all of a sudden we seem to forget about our 1st and 3rd lines' struggles. With a closer look, however, one could clearly see that Plekanec and Camms need help and right now, barring a trade, I think it has to be Sergei (until his brother is ready of course). Also, D'Agostini and Pacioretty continued their very weak play as that line, to me, was pretty useless. That means that the Habs are basically carrying 2 ineffective lines and one that needs a boost. Sound familiar? Of course is does as that is how we survived the first half, so I guess we can just keep on doing that... Our defence, for its part, was pretty weak tonight and, considering we have no injuries there, that is again a big worry. I don't see us making any moves on the blue-line before the end of the year so something must improve, we must learn a way to be better and play better together. We can't keep scraping out wins (not that this was a scrape-by) if we want to do more than finish 8th and get sent home in round 1. With 10 to play in January I still think it is imperative that we find a way to get 12 points (that would satisfy my January goal of 17) because this may be the healthiest and best we are for the rest of the year, who knows - I just know that you can't always be waiting to make your move tomorrow.