Habs Goalie: Price (L)
Opposition Goalie: Smith (W)
Habs goalscorers: Lapierre, Plekanec, Kostitsyn
Opposition goalscorers: Clark, St. Louis, Stamkos, Malone
Less than a minute after Tampa tied it up we went back on top with a very nice goal. The play started when Kostitsyn rubbed-out Lecavalier in our own end and stole the puck from him. He then got it to Gorges and started heading back up the ice. Josh moved it to Pleks and in he went with Andrei on a mini 2-on-1. Tom held on to it for a while before saucering it to his winger on the left. Kostitsyn was then in alone on Smith and made a great deke around him before lifting a backhand shot into the middle of the net.
Kostitsyn's shining moment was certainly his goal and the hit that led to it, but he also had other good moments throughout. He was one of our best forecheckers on the night as he seemed to be on the Lightning D more than any of our other forwards. It was nice to see him pot one as that should quiet some people out there. Next up is Pouliot; unfortunately, however, he still looks a few steps behind.
Tomas Plekanec - Game Puck
Pleks was our best player tonight as he chipped in with a goal and an assist. His goal wasn't anything special as it was a slapshot into an open net, but at least he didn't miss and at least he was there to take that pass. He played 21:53, but I still would have liked to see him out there more. He is killing penalties better than our 'specialists' and is more reliable with the puck than just about anyone on the team.
Two stupid penalties and Mike still makes the dome. That is because our bottom-6 were bad, Pouliot was non-December 2009 Pouliot and Gomez and Gionta didn't have much going in this one. Despite his penalties he did manage an assist on Pleks' goal and was a +2, which led the team.
Jaro was good tonight, or at least better than most. He contributed up front by moving the puck very well in the offensive zone and by keeping plays alive at the blue-line. He assisted on Plekanec's goal as he turned a Hamrlik botch-up into a very good breakout pass to Camms. I am not sure if Subban is the right partner for him though. I seem to remember him and Markov doing very good things last year (in the pre-season) before Andrei went down, so it will be interesting to see if he'll be with Andrei, stay with P.K. or will be paired with the Hammer as he was for most of last year.
Josh chipped in with an assist and a team-high 5 blocked-shots. I didn't notice too many mistakes (or any) despite him being right there on both of Tampa's final two goals. To me, those goals had nothing really to do with him, but more to do with the players around him.
Price played well early on and made some very good saves to keep us in front for a very long time. New this year for him is the non-catching glove-save and I have to say 'what took you so long?'. He tried for a few seasons to catch it or simply let it his his glove, but there wasn't much success. This year, and tonight in particular, he is big on the glove-saves that simply hit his fast, upward-moving, glove. I think he was screened on the first goal, but the last three were all similar. The D played bad, there was a mad scramble and Price got caught way out of position. Most, if not all, goalies would be in the same boat so it will be interesting to see whether he'll consider this 4 gaol-against loss as a bad game or as a good one. I actually hope that he forgets about it and moves on as it really should be one to forget; I don't think he was a major factor one way or the other.
People will be complaining about the fact that Boyd was tripped right before Tampa tied it up. After watching the replay, however, it appears more that he fell and the non-call was probably the right call. What wasn't a good call, however, was the slashing call on Subban with 2 minutes to play. This is the typical NHL-style of 'give the trailing team a chance to tie it up'. It is a farce as nothing else was called in the third period or in OT. To say that a little slash (Subban did slash) was the worst thing that any player did during that time period is a joke. The refs and league will make arguments that Subban slashed him and that is against the rules; and, that it is. But, when is the league ever going to comment on the other 40 infractions that happen throughout a period and offer a rational, logical explanation as to why those aren't called. I am familiar with the rules and I can't seem to find anywhere in there that states a ref shall use judgement to not call most of the penalties (apart from puck-over-the glass - we all know how much time that wastes...). This league's officiating is a joke and tonight we paid the price. I do, however, know that we'll benefit from it too, so yipee.
Our defensive play, for the most part, was bad tonight. We put ourselves in too many bad situations which is why we let up 48 shots. We have to keep in mind that Halak is no longer here, so letting up our usual 40+ shots per game is no longer a great strategy. If we keep playing like we did tonight it won't matter how many goals we score as I feel we won't win that many games at all. We'll see what happens this weekend, but play like that and/or less than 2 points may be a reason to question if this is the system for us this year or was it simply the system for the roster we had last year.