Habs Goalie: Price (W)
Opposition Goalie: Elliott (L)
Habs goalscorers: Kostitsyn (2), Pouliot
Opposition goalscorers: None
A bad Carkner penalty gave us a PP at a time when I was afraid that Ottawa was ready to score one to tie it up. Our Power-Play, which has looked horrible, looked better on this chance, but we couldn't find the back of the net. 4 seconds after Carkner was let out of the box, however, we connected on a very nice play. Gomez started the play by controlling the puck well on the right side and then getting it back to Gorges at the point. Josh took a nice, low shot which I believe was shot wide of the net on purpose. Out the puck game, off the boards, to Pouliot who was at the goal-mouth on the other side of the net. He had little to do other than put it in, but it was still crucial. 0-2 down was enough for Ottawa to call it a night; it was a very key goal for us.
Andrei Kostitsyn - Game Puck
Kostitsyn picked up goals 3 and 4 in this one as he, again, looked like our best player. On the first goal he went all the way with Pleks before Tom got the puck back to the sniper in just the right spot. On his second goal he was the beneficiary of some very good work from Cammalleri as he pounced at precisely the right time. Very early indeed, but I think that this may be the start of that 30-goal season we have all been hoping for for a few years now.
Benoit scored his first goal of the year and also played his first good game of the year. Maybe it is easier to look good against a tired, effortless team, but the fact is that he also looked better than most of his teammates. If this can get him going we'll just have Gomez and Gionta to worry about - who would have though?
I liked Cammalleri and Plekanec for this spot, but chose the centre for a couple of reasons. The first being his assist on the game-winner - it was a good play that he was, again, at the heart of. The other factor was his play on the PP. We didn't score a goal on the Power-Play tonight, but I did like the way that we worked the puck around. We need Pleks (and Markov) to be in charge when we are man-up and tonight represented a step in the right direction in that department. I will forget about the horrid face-off night that he had as, I am hoping, we won't see that type of effort again.
Subban was all over the place tonight. He was yapping, shooting, hitting, skating hard and so on and so on. The energy that he brought was fantastic and was enough to throw one or two Sens off of their games. I have been very impressed in these 7 games and am really looking forward to seeing even more improvement over the next 75.
No Spacek yet, but we may have Hammer back. I, for one, am not surprised that Roman has had a slow start as he essentially missed all of training camp. I do, however, know how good he can be and in the absence of Markov it is hard not to expect a lot from him. He was a big reason that the Habs limited Ottawa to 19 shots tonight as he was integral in clogging things up and breaking up plays in his own end. I was also very happy with his work on the PP and look forward to him being a big part of our second unit this season.
The wait is over! After 23+ months Carey finally got another shut-out. Tonight marked his 5th career clean-sheet of which 3 have come against Ottawa. I felt that he started the game a bit cold as he very nearly cost us on a couple of occasions (most notably his puck-handling miscue - a pass right to Alfredsson). In the second period, however, he played very well and that is when the game was won. There were at least 3 posts tonight, but like we always hear, you have to be lucky to be good. He got the help from his team that he needed tonight and did a very good job of keeping up his end of the bargain.
Isn't the NHL funny? We go to Ottawa, two days after looking horrible to play against a team that was hot last night. That team that made us look horrible then hosts the team that looked bad against Ottawa last night and loses 1-6 (while healthy scratching Kovalchuk). 3 nights of hockey, 4 clubs, 8 different teams. You don't have to be a genius to see that this league is really a 6 month marathon in which each and every game is a new, winnable (and easily losable) challenge. Our win tonight, although we like to believe otherwise, really has no bearing on how we will play this coming week. One would think that two games against Long Island and one against Florida would mean a guaranteed six points after tonight's tight effort. We must, however, be mindful of what has already happened to us in a matter of two short weeks. We need Martin to prepare his team for the next 75 games as he did so tonight. We have the talent, speed and depth to win a lot of games, but so do most of the other 29 clubs. Tonight's display by us and Ottawa only helps to reinforce the notion that any team can win in this league if they really care to do so.