Location: Tampa Bay
Habs Goalie: Price (L)
Opposition Goalie: Niittymaki (W)
Habs goalscorers: None
Opposition goalscorers: St. Louis, Lecavalier, Stamkos
It was hard to find a good play for the Habs, so I chose more of a turning point from the game. This play came right after the Lightning went up 2-0 and I felt we had to press hard then and there and get one back. Instead Tampa kept coming and the persistence of Steve Downie paid off. Downie hit Gionta with a questionable hit which I thought was clean (barely) and so did the refs. Gionta's reaction to this (he obviously didn't agree with me or the refs) was stupid and cost us 2 minutes, and a goal. He forgot why he was on the ice and just waited till Downie came by and almost knee-on-kneed him (he got called for the trip). Tampa scored on that PP and never once looked back.
Tomas was our best centre tonight as he tried his hardest to generate some chances. I thought that all in all his line did well, but expected a bit more from Cammalleri. Plek's team lead in shots (4) was good and so was the fact that he was our best face-off man; the bad news being that he was 40%.
Brian Gionta - Game Puck
I didn't like the retaliation penalty, but the team didn't have to let in a goal on the PP or go to sleep after (and before) that play. It was a bad play, but it wasn't the only reason we lost. Aside from that Brian played a very nice offensive game and came very close to putting us on the board. Gomez and Pouliot were off tonight, but Gionta kept plugging away nonetheless.
Sergei was probably our third best forward tonight, but, I'll tell you, that wasn't hard to do. Let's see, I didn't know that Lapierre was even playing till I saw him in the second period, Maxwell and Darche were hardly used and were pretty ineffective. That leaves 5 others (we only dressed 11 tonight) and three of those are Gomez, Pouliot and Cammalleri who I have already said I wasn't impressed with. Add to all of that the fact that Moen was nothing special and that Metropolit was way worse than he can be and I am even more confident with my pick.
As far as our D go tonight Markov was the best, in both ends. He worked the puck around well on the PP (better than any other Hab) and was at the root of a few good chances. I didn't see any major mistakes in our own end and he even looked comfortable playing in front of his buddy Price. On top of all of this he carried O'Byrne for a good part of the last two periods and Ryan, not to my surprise, did not play well.
Hamrlik got put on the 4th line of D tonight when he was moved away from Spacek and put with Bergeron. That, of course, is the equivalent of playing with Lapierre after a season with Plekanec - I think we all know what generally happens in those cases. So, considering that (and watching MAB play defence) it was a nice surprise to see that Roman was only on the ice for one goal against. Not a great game tonight, but certainly a better one than our other 4 D-men.
When you don't score you don't score. You can add to that the fact that the 3 goals against were all pretty good goals. Having Carey in tonight was the right call as we certainly don't want to burn out Halak and he has played quite well vs. Tampa. His game was decent tonight and I think he gives our most competitive team a chance to win (had they shown up). I, however, didn't like his puck-handling tonight (as bad as ever) and didn't like his body language after the 3 goals. I know it must be hard to be called out as much as he has been lately, but he must keep a positive attitude now, more than ever, as that is what will help him as he goes forward.
For those of you who didn't watch, well done. For those of you that did, too bad. This was a pretty bad hockey game to watch as a Canadiens fan. It lacked pretty much any emotion whatsoever, lacked proper, good scoring chances (we may have had 2) and ended up being one of the least inspiring games of the season. The bad part is that Tampa didn't really have to play that well themselves to beat us by 3 and to shut us out. There is not much more to say about this game and I can only hope that the Habs will give a better effort on Saturday against Ottawa because if they play like this it will be a certain loss. I am, however, quite hopeful that a couple of days off will help them to forget these two games and I wouldn't be surprised if they amazed us all with their talent, speed, heart and effort yet again.