Habs Goalie: Price (W)
Opposition Goalie: Thomas (L)
Habs goalscorers: Cammalleri (PenSh), Lapierre, Pacioretty, Gionta
Opposition goalscorers: Wheeler, Savard, Lucic
A weird and entertaining affair. In my opinion, the best chances were kept out and some of the strangest went in. The best play of the game for me was Lapierre's goal. This was serious goalscorer stuff - Lapierre placing an inch-perfect shot on a first time effort. Bob Cole sells Lapierre short on the original call, but a replay shows just how good he was to react and shoot for accuracy rather than power on a poised Thomas.
Gamelog: No points. Gamelog: Even. Gamelog: 50% on faceoffs. The gamelog says he had an average game, maybe even an off game. These are the games we need a record for. Plekanec didn't have an average game, he played well, so did his line, generally. They generated chances in volume and quality and could have scored with some of the favours bounces were handing out to other lines. The crowning achievement for Pleks was once again his PK duty where he logged a pretty astounding 4:24 of pretty good work. Certainly without a good PK effort throughout, the Habs might have let this slip.
The kid's got attitude, I'll give him that. Whereas, I don't remember many Pacioretty shots over the past couple of years, his new confidence means he does little but shoot. I will qualify that, however, because in this game he did make some excellent passes and banks around the boards. His best work wasn't the goal and the assist, but he deserves the reward for the rest of his game.
Another excellent game from the captain. Excellent because he did exactly what was expected of him (shoot, try on every shift, gain possession) and more. The goal he got credit for looked like a bounce, but just like Marc Savard's tip, with owners of such nimble hands you never can really count out intention.
The most ice time of anyone, because tonight he was charged with looking after the Bruins top line. Most of the game, it was Bergeron and Recchi who looked more dangerous than the bigger line. Horton, who could be seen skating up and down Spacek's side from time to time, was rendered almost completely ineffective - a tribute to Spacek, as he's just one of three 20+ point men on that line.
Tonight Subban did two major things. He got back to contributing offensively in the way he can (i.e., not attempts blocked), an he should have scored for it. He also made entering the Montreal zone difficult. Now, I'm not one for hitting for the sake of it, and I'm certainly glad Subban didn't hurt anyone, but his hits while spectacular to the highlight selector are actually more impressive to me as tactical measures. Now teams will need to know Montreal's zone is not freely gained, as it has been for a decade or more.
Carey Price - Game Puck
A funny game this. Billed early as a goaltender duel, it ended as what looked like a shootout. Really, though, I think we did witness a bit of a goaltender duel. Thomas was very solid at times, and only beaten with a penalty shot, two weird bounces and a perfect shot that needed his back to guide it in. Price similarly didn't let in a standard chance. His goals against were two bounces and a very good deflection/interference play. Apart from those, though, Price had 34 saves and was called on many times to be solid in the face of a Bruins surge. To win when lucky is one thing. To win when facing some pretty unlucky bounces shows that some true growth did take place in the summer.
As I said, an entertaining game. Another one in quite a line of them now. And really, apart from the losing, what's not to like about the fact that the forwards are opening up a bit and getting a few chances, getting a few goals.
For me the most encouraging thing to take from this game was that the Habs didn't win it by the familiar script. When the Bruins played through the coverage that worked on previous victims like the Islanders, the Habs needed to find something more. They did. There's elements to raise eyebrows too, like 37 shots allowed and a whole lot of being penned in, but the Bruins were in the same boat at times. This was just two good teams, two good rivals, having a really good go at each other with the better on the night winning.
Now the mood changes as prepare for a road trip that begins with a Saturday off and a Sunday game in Denver. Another loss might have been hard to overcome. Instead now the team can draw the positives from the points gained here and the ones they nearly gained against Philly and hopefully put in a run on the Christmas swing. Should be fun.