Habs Goalie: Price (W)
Opposition Goalie: Biron (L)
Habs goalscorers: Gomez, Plekanec (EN)
Opposition goalscorers: None
He was more than a goal tonight. Gomez was skating with pep and putting some excellent passes onto the blades of his wingers when they were open, and the trailing defenders when they were not. The goal he scored was the perfect ice breaker in a game that could just have gone the way of so many Rangers:Bruins games -- to OT without goals. Quick head and quick hands ensured the Habs had a lead to play with and a highlight to look back on.
Easily the most dangerous forward over the game. He posted 5 shots in the end, but for me it was his suddenly deft passing that caught the eye. Andrei still looks slow and uninterested most of the time, but the deception is revealed as he navigates through defenders at this speed and releases shots that rarely fail to rebound. Could it be that fans of the Steve Begins of this league don't know all there is to know about scoring NHL goals?
Just generally quite good. I agree with the coaches who put Tomas on the ice for important situations in this game (like PK and end of game) as I opt for him in my dome too. Responsible without fail, and learning again to use his speed to put questions in defenders minds, he's continuing his latest surge.
The GUEST may wail, but I liked Spacek today. He had his slips, but more often than not he made up for them. One time in particular, he gaffed and was winning the puck back within two steps. A word to the coaches who stare down 40 minutes without a PP goal: Spacek can shoot, Spacek can pass, Spacek is worth a try at this point. Tonight he did get some time on the PP and created some of the better opportunities from it.
Alexandre Picard - Game Puck
All the D had their valiant moments in this one, but I tip my hat to Alex Picard, victim of circumstance, who played for his NHL career today. He played for it and it showed. A good month after his last shift, Picard filled in for Wisniewski as if nothing had transpired. He set up a goal with a good quick shot that (un?)intentionally caromed behind Biron to open the seam and blocked a couple of very dangerous chances. He also fought and totally phased Sean Avery.
Carey had a great game and a shutout. So why no game puck? Not to detract from Carey, but I thought today he made a lot of moderately difficult saves. The Rangers took 35 shots (or so the scorekeepers say) and I estimate more than half were squarely in his waiting breadbasket. Still, Carey deserves tons of credit for finding and re-entering his November groove, as making a shutout look easy takes prep and hard work.
Sooner or later this PP has to score. When the Canadiens needed a lead the PP was dry. When they needed to pad their lead, nothing from the PP. It's been, what. 21 opportunities now? This is getting a bit long. Suggestions for the team? Try using all 5 guys out there, that's what the man advantage is for.
A close victory against a close rival on a mid-winter's afternoon was not granted. This was a critical test, and the team passed with another missing part. As Olivier pointed out in the post on the Three Pillars, this is really getting quite impressive. The Habs are just currently finding lots of ways to win, if not score. Rather than fret about the 19 shots the Rangers took in the third, I choose to stay positive about the way the Habs limited them to 16 over two with few early chances of quality. Good starts make for good chances of winning and they tell me that the team is mentally prepared. All good signs as February drags on.
Next game is another interesting litmus test. The Devils the Canadiens face tomorrow have little to do with the Devils of the standings. As we heard, they have been on a good run of late. Lemaire is back, Brodeur is revived and the sleeping free agents are back.eating the Devils of February 2011 will be as important a statement as beating the Devils of 2008 was. If today's game was an indication, it should be a nice contest with a plucky Habs team gunning for important points.