Thursday, March 25, 2010

Game #74

Another Tight Game, Another Loss


Date: 24/03/10
Opponent: Sabres
Location: Buffalo

Loss: 2-3 (SO)

Habs Goalie: Price (L)
Opposition Goalie: Miller (W)

Habs goalscorers: A. Kostitsyn (2)
Opposition goalscorers: Connolly, Gaustad, (Connolly, Vanek - SO)

Play of the game

Sometimes it takes a whole game to understand what the play of the game was. It's context you see. Knowing now how the Sabres would react after sniffing blood and the Habs were prone to folding like a cheap tent, I have to choose an early save. The save that was most worthy was Carey's stop on Adam Mair in the first period. Having stopped a decent shot from Hecht, a rebound was left to slip. A hungry Sabre was there waiting. Mair pounced and actually unleashed a very testing shot that looked a goal. Carey had stayed with the play and had none of it. Flashing his glove he knocked the threat away and conserved the one goal lead for the Canadiens. Sitting here after 65+ minutes, it doesn't seem a stretch to say he won a point with that save.

Dome hockey team

The 6 players we're playing in a no changes, do or die contest in the dome

Brian Gionta
Another game, another dome for Brian. He played a solid one this night. More shots, a few testing. He even set up the best chance of the night, while Gomez did his best Higgins impression for the nostalgic amongst us. Really though, I thought Brian made the dome out of sheer effort. He played the most minutes of anyone on the Habs. He was a leader in PK minutes and PP minutes too. He was the workhorse right up till that final minute when Martin chose to sit him.

Andrei Kostitsyn
Last game Andrei played great and actually earned criticism. Nothing but goals will do, apparently. Well this game was different. This game was goals. His first was a goalscorer's effort slotted in with ease. His second was more of the same as he took advantage of the space he found in the slot to unleash a powerful low one past Miller. He may not have done much else tonight, but put the last two games together, and i think we can say the boy's awake now.

Sergei Kostitsyn
Dominic Moore had a fine game, and I'm glad he's the "Monster". I thought Dom was actually outshone just a little by the more beguiling Sergei Kostitsyn this time. Speed matched by intelligence, sometimes only missing people on the same wave length, I thought SK74 continued his stunning roll here, for most of the game, at least.


Andrei Markov
Another funny effort from the D. 42 shots doesn't look good on the CV. Many weren't testing though, and rebounds were cleared well at even strength. I thought Markov was the class tonight. Despite his foolish penalty in OT, he makes the dome for being the most reliable route out of the zone and least scary to watch. Runner up for play of the game was Markov stepping on the ice after shaking off that blocked shot in the wrist. Don't want to think anymore about it.

Hal Gill
Gill was big. And for the first time in a while, it mattered. Buffalo seemed to cater to Gill's invitations to go outside -- I guess they haven't watched his recent lowlight reel. Our assistant captain stood out among the other D for blocking more shots (4), playing more successful PK minutes (nearly 8 minutes) and for being smart enough not to get penalized. He even had two hits. Though I think i saw them, and I'd score those differently.


Carey Price - Game Puck
Carey played an excellent first 58 minutes. 65 minutes really. I had plaudits lined up (only in my head, don't worry) in case of the win, or, heaven behold, a Carey Price shutout. He came into the game as a professional. If preparation had been a fault in the past, he corrected it for this night. Carey seemed prepared to play, to move; he even seemed to be prepared for his individual adversaries. Carey even showed he's learned something from Halak as he covered up mistakes with aplomb. The nagging question after this game is why Carey, a once dominant shootout goalie, was completely ignored by Buffalo skaters as they picked where to shoot and scored with ease. It looked like Price may have checked out early. It tarnished a good night. Had anyone done anything remotely heroic, he'd have lost his game puck.


Consider yourselves lucky you didn't have to choose this dome or game puck. After a deflating end like this, rational thought is hard to come by. As the blood boils, it's hard to remember why my notes say what they do from the 55 minute mark. This game was another tough contest. For some reason Pierre McGuire wanted the story to be Ryan Miller holds the fort. I'm not sure why, except of course for the fact he's a buffoon. I mean Miller was good, but like Elliot from the other night wasn't tested to the maximum degree by the Habs. Carey Price made more saves on paper, but thought Buffalo was shooting in the first two periods, his tests were on par with Miller's for the most part -- both played well, both deserved praise.

But let's talk about the last 4 minutes shall we? It's on my mind. First, Ryan O'Byrne taking a very ill-timed penalty. Yes, it's something that happens, but pinching in the offensive zone (why is he doing that anyway?) with a few minutes to go with an undeserved lead. Keep calm Ryan. Next, blind clearing doesn't work? Shocker. Buffalo intercepts a weak attempt to get sustained control and multiple shots? The first goal against was predictable.

I don't always see eye to eye with the Monster-maker, but I do when it comes to Cammalleri on the ice after the 2-1 moment. Cammalleri is OK defensively, but only when you consider his upside. Pyatt and Moore had been playing very well. Gomez and Gionta are always good. Sergei is a good option. The Plekanec line looking for an empty netter was a coaching error. Carey Price couldn't be faulted on goal two.

OT was a mess with another penalty, an opportunity wasted, considering the shootout was to pit a cold and shaken youngster against the ultra-confident Vezina candidate. The forwards might have done more on the shootout, but Carey's play was lamentable. I can only assume he was ruing the loss of his first shutout for 18 months.

A point may be the decider. Will it be the point we gained or the point we lost? We may have to wait another 8 games to know that. I know I'm done talking about this one now.

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