Habs Goalie: Halak (W)
Opposition Goalie: Rask (L)
Habs goalscorers: Markov, S. Kostitsyn (2)
Opposition goalscorers: Wheeler, Lucic
Sometimes watching the game with new people and new perspectives can be a good thing. I was all set to make Sergei's second, our insurance marker, the Play-of-the-Game, but after re-watching another play (and listening to some wise hockey minds) I changed my own mind. The play that I settled on was Halak's brilliant save towards the end of the third, while we held a one-goal lead. The chance came from the stick of Krejci who had passed the puck well with Recchi on a 2-on-1. The shot was low and looked to be a certain goal, but Jaro got across with his left pad and made a true game-saver.
Sergei Kostitsyn - Game Puck
Forget third line, the way these guys are playing it could be 1c. Sergei, again, found a way to be a high-impact player as he was very involved in the play and showed very good fore-checking skills on both of his goals. The first goal really started with a nice pass from him to Markov and was ended nicely with him finding a loose puck beside the net. His second was due to hard-work as he pressured Rask into making a mistake on what was a very easy play.
I think that it is safe to say Dominic Moore is giving the Habs something that not too many people expected. Tonight he recorded 2 more points (his first multi-point game as a Hab) and was, again, very good in his own end. In just 9 games with the team he has not just impressed me, but most of you too, I'm sure. In all he has 7 points is a +5 and the Habs are 6-3 during that stretch. The best part of all of this is that he has given coach Martin a third line to choose from, a group that is gelling and that is delivering at both ends of the ice.
This was a quieter than usual game from Gionta's line, but it was still a pretty good effort from Brian himself. Of the non-3rd liners I felt that he was the most offensive player on the ice and was one of the best at getting involved in the play. In all he played 19+ minutes of solid 2-way, was on the ice for one of our goals and neither of theirs and took a team-high 4 shots.
I wanted Markov to get the PP going, so he scored me a goal. I go through periods where I really wonder if there is anything that Andrei can't do. He was our go-to guy tonight and without his solid play a win may not have been in the cards. In addition to his goal he linked up very nicely with Sergei, at the end of the first, to give us a 2-goal lead. With 27 points in the bank I am still holding out hope that the last 12 games will bring him 13 points. With him hot going into the playoffs (as opposed to last year when he was out) we will be a much, much stronger team.
Another player that impressed me on the PP tonight was Spacek. Two or three of his four shots were bullets from the point that forced Rask to make good saves. He has a good shot and, so, I was glad to see more of it tonight. Defensively there isn't much bad to talk about as his 20 minutes of ice-time didn't coincide with any Bruin goals - I really liked what I saw.
I am glad that Martin came back with Halak as the time for flip-flopping is over. I am also glad that Jaro put the bad game behind him and came to play tonight. It was a solid effort from start to finish and I was always confident that he would hold us in the game. His save towards the end of the game, on the 2-on-1, was an example of just how clutch he has become. The win was his 22nd and the chances that he hits 30 are very much still alive. His play, combined with that of Markov, Pleks, Gionta and the others has me thinking that we will be watching some meaningful hockey this April.
This game wasn't a must-win in that anything bad would have come from a loss, but beating a rival, in regulation, is at least a very- very-nice-to-win. Montreal, I thought, played very well in their own end right from the start as they never really gave the Bruins any great chances. The best part, really though, was that Boston never had sustained pressure, even when they were on the Power-Play. In all there were 11 Boston shots through 2 and the Habs were certainly in the driver's seat. It was also very nice to get an early goal in the third before the Bruins really got going on their comeback. The pace did pick up in the third as Boston tried to tie it up, but their 12 shots and one goal against simply weren't enough. This game was another great team effort as I felt all of the players contributed to keep chances down and to get our pucks deep into the Bruins' zone. The next 7 nights have us playing just once before we head into the final, busy three weeks. The win tonight was our fifth in a row (first time since October 2008) which, of course, sets us up very nicely for scoreboard-watching week. Cammalleri and Bergeron are also on the mend and will be back as soon as possible - hopefully before the end of the month. They will add a lot to our team and the prospect of playing with a complete line-up, for the first time this season, has every Habs fan very excited indeed.