Saturday, January 01, 2011

Game #39

Take Crete's Word For It, Habs Beat Panthers


Date: 31/12/2010
Opponent: Panthers
Location: Florida

Win: 3-2 (OT)

Habs Goalie: Price (W)
Opposition Goalie: Ward (L)

Habs goalscorers: Wisniewski (2), Gionta
Opposition goalscorers: Weiss, Kulikov

Play of the game

Easy choice. The play of the game for me was the game-tying goal #2. With the Habs on another PP after just scoring, the pass was being passed around quite well. Wisniewski ended up with the puck on his stick with seconds to go and fired away, as he is paid to do. Full praise for not hitting the D, but it's always a little bit dubious when people insinuate that missing the net to bounce out the other side is the intended result. The primary goalmaker, however was alert and positioned himself perfectly for that eventuality. Once receiving it Gomez feigned a shot and fired an inch perfect pass to a waiting captain. This pass is a play to watch again and again.

Dome hockey team

The 6 players we're playing in a no changes, do or die contest in the dome

Scott Gomez
Apart from orchestrating the winning goal, Gomez was pivotal in this game. He seemed to take more responsibility once the comeback became necessity and was skating the puck into danger areas as if the Panthers were kids on an outdoor rink at times.

Benoit Pouliot
I don't know whether the Lapierre trade had anything to do with it, but Pouliot looked revved in this game. He still can't buy minutes, but made the best of what he was given. He can be faulted for not always being as strong as he could on the puck. His willingness to use his balance, skill and hands is developing, though, and should encourage all Habs fans.

Brian Gionta
The captain did what he needed to do once the score was 0-2. It wasn't a locker room speech, it was his answer on the ice that led the troops to understand the game was not lost. His goal came off a super feed, but only a true goalscorer would be there to tap that in at that point. He's showing again that he is a true goalscorer.


James Wisniewski - Game Puck
This is no automatic nod to the OT goalscorer. I thought Wisniewski was a major factor in this win, the major factor. He led the team in goals, in points, in shots, in hits and in blocked shots. And that's to say nothing of the mostly solid defensive play throughout - only the harshest critic would dwell on his lapse in coverage on goal #1.

Hal Gill
This wouldn't have been a comeback without some very important penalty killing. Hal Gill is clearly one of the best leaguewide with that agenda, as he once again helped the Canadiens to a clean sheet on the road in that regard. Paired with the precocious Subban, he also tamed the Panthers at even strength long enough to allow the forwards to join the game.


Alex Auld
Not the toughest assignment for the big man, but he kept the goals against to two, which is what he needed to do. I thought the biggest saves came before the goals, and there were some important ones. Particularly one high shot at which he twitched his shoulder to make the save. Nice that Price could rest for a win.


Happy New Year everyone! And happy has been helped it turns out by the result of the game.

As I told you, my first game of the New Year was to be on tape delay. Because of the generously early start, I actually caught the first 55 minutes of play before leaving to celebrate with friends. A comeback and hold was positive enough to put this on the backburner while enjoying a few drinks. Then returned to watch in the early hours. 5 minutes of play and then a log fast forward through talking heads before we realized something was up. rewind, replay to see the three stars(?!?) and hear Alain Crete "Desole, Wisniewski a marque le but gagnant" A fitting end to a funny streak. A goal scored by the new acquisition while the floundering broadcaster went on and on about the dearly departed Lapierre. Le Sport Sans Limite, except when the limit is satellite signal. I'd have posted a picture of the game winner if there had been one.

Anyway, a win is a win is a win, even if it's experienced through the anticlimax of a taped apology. The Habs needed to win and did. But this may be their most important win to date, because not only did they need to win, they needed to prove they could comeback within a game to retake the result. Before last night, they had been abysmal when trailing. The 2-goal recovery represents the first major comeback of the season and should instill a little confidence around the room.

As for Lapierre, I am highly disappointed. On the year, he was getting no less minutes than he deserved and he should know that. To hear he requested a trade is disheartening. I hope I don't have to hear ever again that "the trade will be good for the player".

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