Win: 5-4 (SO)
Habs Goalie: Halak (W)
Opposition Goalie: Dubnyk (L)
Habs goalscorers: Plekanec, Gionta, Moen, S. Kostitsyn, (A. Kostitsyn - SO)
Opposition goalscorers: Nilsson, Gagner, Cogliano, Horcoff
This play was the main reason that Sergei got the Game Puck as it really was the best/most crucial play of the game. With the game tied at three I was a bit worried that we would find a way to lose to the league's worst team. Edmonton actually looked poised to go ahead and I thought a goal could come at any minute. I also felt that if they took the lead that would be it for us - so, that makes Kostitsyn's goal that much better. The play started with a weak dump-in by Gill that went right to the Oilers. Kostitsyn, however, fought hard in the corner and came out with the puck. He then moved in towards the net and put a well-placed shot up and over Dubnyk.
Sergei Kostitsyn - Game Puck
Sergei has been playing well of late, but his service on the third line doesn't usually have that great of an impact. He can be an impact player, from time to time, but playing a solid two-way game is good enough for me. He has some chemistry right now with Moore and I feel that this now gives us our best third line of the season. Tonight Kostitsyn was an impact player as he scored that crucial goal and also added an assist.
At times Andrei looked great in this one and at others he looked quite mediocre. The good times included some quality shots, an assist on Plekanec's goal and good work in the offensive zone. His missed shots, flubbed passes and occasional defensive lapses made him look average, at best, at other times during the game. Well, he sealed his fate in the shootout where he made a fabulous move to score the only goal, the winner. We needed that goal, but I think, maybe more importantly, he did too.
Right now the battle for the third spot on the third line is heating up. I think it is really between Moen and Lapierre and maybe even Darche. Lapierre, however, thanks to his dirty and inconsistent play, is slowly falling behind. Tonight's effort from Moen will help his cause greatly as he was really a force. He managed to score a goal (first in 30+ games) and pick-up an assist too. If he can be the energy guy for that line and play like he did tonight, then I think that line has everything we need from a third unit.
Markov was of course good tonight, but I think one area that needs to be improved is the PP. Now, you can point to Bergeron's absence and also at the play of his teammates, but at the end of the day this is his unit to run. I feel that we are trying to be too cute and are trying too many passes and that is costing us in our quantity of quality scoring chances. What he didn't do with the extra-man, however, he did at even-strength as he picked up 2 more assists (21) and dominated the flow of play while he was on the ice.
This was a much better game from Hal which, thankfully, didn't involve any assists on Oiler goals. No, instead, Gill was quite discrete as I didn't really notice him much. When I did notice him, however, it was because he was making a good poke-check or was blocking a passing lane. As a 6th defenceman he can be quite effective as his long reach, size and ability to stay in position do help us. I hope that we continue to use him wisely and in the right situations and that he finds a way to be at his best for the next 1+ months.
This game did not start well for Halak as 2 quick goals already had me doubting him and our chances. He continued to look shaky throughout the game and with that came 2 more goals. It was decided then, Price gets the dome. In OT and in the shootout, however, Halak clawed his way back to respectability and I found reasons to give him the spot. He played the shootout particularly well (and, admittedly got a bit lucky) as he did not let any of the five shooters score. I am not thrilled with his game, I know he can/should be better, but when you get a win on an off-night, you have done well.
We started this game very strongly and I was convinced that we would run away with it after an early goal. To me, their defence and goaltending was too weak to match up and I was ready for a pounding. Four minutes later I was humbled as I had just watched my team go down in a game that no longer looked like a guaranteed 2 points. The Habs, however, kept up with the pace of the Oilers and found a way to match blows. No one player, on either team, was that spectacular all night as this was a team effort (for better or worse) by both squads. It was nice that we got to OT as I had been worrying that we would get 0 points; to me, 1 point at that point would have been enough. In OT we had our chances, but again our PP couldn't connect. It was then on to the shootout where one would have to think we held the advantage. Well, the goalie who I had never heard of had different plans as he decided not to let any of the three or four players that tried score between his legs. Luckily, for the sake of that 2nd point, Halak had found his form and Kostitsyn found the back of the net. These were 2 points that you really should get and, thank goodness, we somehow got. Boston on Saturday will be a test, but mostly a test of our desire to get into the playoffs. We don't want to allow the Bruins to get points just as much as we need them ourselves. So, let's see if we can continue our hot play and head into our week of scoreboard watching with 2 more in the bank.