Habs Goalie: Price (W)
Opposition Goalie: Ward (L)
Habs goalscorers: Gomez, Kostitsyn, Picard
Opposition goalscorers: LaRose, Cole
A 5-minute PP is never a bad thing, but unless you capitalize then there is really nothing too special about it as it often means that one of your players could have been hurt. Luckily Spacek was OK and we scored two goals - can't get much better. The nicest play on that PP was the goal that tied the game; Kostitsyn's. The play started with a great fake by Camms at the point who went down low to his centre. Tom then hit Kostitsyn's stick with an incredible pass and the puck then took off into the stratospehere of the net.
Scott Gomez - Game Puck
Scott scored a goal and added an assist tonight as his good play continues. That now gives him 17 points which isn't very good, but I have definitely seen worse. Let's not care about the past and only the present and future for a moment and all of a sudden we are pretty happy with where Scott is. He is seeing the game very well, is using his speed and puck-controlling abilities and is doing a great job of getting the puck to his teammates.
Pleks did it all tonight, much like he always does. His defensive play and play on the PK were great and he did a good job in the offensive zone. When he has two fully capable wingers he is great, not just good. Tonight I felt that he was a lot closer to great than he has been in a few games.
I liked the way that he played tonight, but didn't feel that it was that much different from when he is playing 'badly'. The big difference is that he scored, but if Ward makes a big-time save on that shot is this a poor game by most people's standards? The answer if, of course, yes. I am, therefore, happy that he scored, but at the same time that will add fuel to the 'he scored in Carolina, why can't he tonight' fire. Regardless of what others think I was happy to see him getting so much ice-time and not being replaced by Moen or Darche at tough points (towards the end) of the game.
When Alex shoots like he did on his goal he brings something important to our squad. He netted the game-winner and it couldn't have come at a better time. I do notice that he plays a bit better with Weber, or at least he has done lately. Maybe it's is just me, but it is possible that Weber's style is a better fit for Picard's. Either way he played a nice game. There were a few defensive miscues, but his offensive contribution made up for all of those.
I wasn't too thrilled with Spacek's work on Carolina's second goal, but aside from that I thought that he played a nice game. In addition to his two assists was the fact that he drew the deciding penalty. Now, it is never a good idea to turn your back on a play, so I am just stating the obvious. Aside from those plays he played well and I thought did a particularly good job on the PK.
One more goal and a loss may have been enough for Auld tonight as I wasn't too impressed with Carey. The main issues I had were his puck-handling (although he didn't get caught I felt that he was way to unnecessarily cocky and careless with the puck) and the first goal which was a goal that he is used to saving. In the end, however, he turned in a great third period and ended up being the main reason that we held on for the win. So, well done Carey for redeeming yourself in the last 20.
We really needed this win and I think that the players knew that too. The game started well enough too, but a Hamrlik mistake gave the 'Canes a SH marker and I was worried about bad luck biting us. We did well, however, to regain our focus and to apply pressure throughout most of the rest of the game. Carolina, too, played a nice game and it was fun to watch, but the bounces just seemed to go more in our direction. It was nice to see players like Gomez, Kostitsyn and Picard score tonight as we need that variety in our attack. The more players that we can make look like a threat, the easier it will be for the whole team.
This will help the players, coaches and fans rest a bit easier over Christmas, but then it is back to business on Boxing Day. It seems silly that the NHL would make a team (it happens to us every single year) play on the 23rd and the 26th, but that is business and the holiday season means that there are tickets to be sold. I do, however, hope that the team gets home safely tonight and enjoys tomorrow as best they can as they have earned it with a great start to the season. As for me it is off to Vermont for a ski holiday and, so, I leave you in Topham's capable hands. I'll miss 5 games in all and would be very happy if we could bag 5+ points during that time, thrilled if it was 7+.
Happy Holidays everyone and I'll see you in 2011!