Habs Goalie: Price (W)
Opposition Goalie: Roloson (L)
Habs goalscorers: Darche, Moen, Plekanec, Halpern, Kostitsyn
Opposition goalscorers: Wisniewski, Tavares, Weight
Early goals are like banking points in October - key at the time, invaluable at the end of the day. That is why I was so happy with our 2nd first period goal which put us up 2-0. The goal was orchestrated by none other than Tomas Plekanec who, with brilliant speed, demonstrated, yet again, his diversity. A 2-on-1, thanks to New York's aggressive attacking style, came about during the Isles second PP of the first. A hard clerance by Gill, some good work at the blue-line and a beautiful pass by Tom and a nice display of speed and hands by Moen gave us a brief 2-goal lead. The goal, as it turns out, was very crucial as the Islanders would come back to score 3 of their own.
Can you believe it? Andrei now has more points (10) than games played. He has had a fantastic start and that has made him play with confidence. Tonight he was confident alright as he shot when he should have, passed when he should have and hit when he should have. He seems so comfortable on the ice that he is really a treat to watch. Tonight an assist on Plekanec's goal and an empty-netter, that sealed the game, were added to his tally.
Gionta was feisty all night and came close to scoring on a few occasions. I was happier with how he played tonight than I have been over the past week as I really feel that he put in a good effort. Let's not underestimate his value as a leader and a defensive presence when we speak of him. He may not have many points, but 6-2-1 as a Captain for the career looks pretty nice, I think.
Tomas Plekanec - Game Puck
The complete player was at his best, again, tonight. He has to be the of the most likeable players in the league right now as he is well-spoken, tries hard at all times, can play in any situation and rocks the turtleneck as good as, if not better than, anyone since Bobby Smith. It was 2 points for him tonight - back to Point Per Game pace.
Again PK was a delight to watch. The hot starts of Pleks, Kostitsyn and Price may be overshadowing what has been a very good start for the energetic rookie. If I can take away one thing from this game it is that he can shoot, he can really shoot. In all he let go 9 times of which 5 went on net. No goals, but with a cannon like that, and Markov soon to be feeding him, I would be afraid to be any non-Habs goalie.
The obvious choice would be to send Picard down when Markov gets back. That, however, may be hard to do as right now he is playing better than both Gill and Spacek. It seems that he has already leap-frogged O'Byrne, but could he get higher than #7? Spacek and Gill at their bests is a better alternative than Alex, but right now it is Alex that deserves to be on the team. He played a nice, simple game today in which he led the team in hits (3) and he even put 3 pucks on net.
3 goals on 21 shots isn't great, but, again, he got the job done. He kept us ahead the whole game and got us the win against a team that may just be hanging around come March. The thing I am happiest about is that we are winning and that we are doing it with team defence. If we were letting up 40+ shots each night it would take something special to be 6-2-1, but, instead, we are getting enough from all 19 players to win on a consistent basis. I am very happy with his start, but I do have one concern: burnout. I would like to see Auld on Friday as I think Price will need the odd night off to ensure he is fresh (even if we lose some of those games).
Tonight, like Monday, was a fun and entertaining game to watch. Granted Phoenix and New York and more traditionally the types of teams that play open styles and finish lower in the standings, but still we, at the root of it, watch hockey for entertainment, right?. I have long wondered if I would like to be a New Jersey fan (pre this year) and see them win at all costs of entertainment. I think my answer, however, wouldn't be so black and white as I would certainly want a bit of both. In fact, I really am enjoying this Habs season. We are able to win playing a boring style and are able to pick it up and play exciting too, all the while getting those wins. The big thing for me, though, has to be the shots against. Limiting other teams to under 25 shots not only increases our chances at winning, but also helps me, and likely most of you, to not panic for 10+ hours a week while we hang on for dear life. It has been a great start, but not a lucky one. We are playing well and have deserved all of our results. There are two more very winnable games coming up this weekend and I am looking forward to putting a few more points in the bank.