Opponent: Maple Leafs
Habs Goalie: Price (W)
Opposition Goalie: Giguere (L)
Habs goalscorers: Pouliot, Gionta, Desharnais
Opposition goalscorers: None
Price's save on Grabovski's deflection at the end was nice, as were a few of his other saves, but I still go with a goal tonight. All three were nice, although the Pouliot goal stood out to me thanks to the total team-effort that went into it. First, Hamrlik caused confusion when he shot towards the net. The Leafs then got tied up in knots when Desharnais grabbed a hold of the puck behind the net. He then threw the puck out in front to a wide open Pouliot. Ben was so wide-open as White had drawn two players to himself just beside the net. The goal looked easy, but the shot, pass and support that surrounded the play were all key to pulling it off.
David Desharnais - Game Puck
Wow, David is certainly playing great right now. Tonight he added to his hot streak with a goal and an assist. It wasn't, however, the points alone that made him stand out tonight. No, he seemed to be everywhere and seems to be getting very comfortable in this league and with his role on the team.
I was happy to see Eller dropped from Gomez's line and actually thought that they looked better throughout the game because of it. Scott and Andrei were right there on the third goal as it was Gommer's great pass that led to the marker. Once Camms is back I think that we'll be able to ice a complete second line and would expect them to contribute much more than they have been doing of late.
What it looks like to me is that Pouliot is realizing that he is good, he is starting to believe in himself more. The hair is growing, he is winning fight and is scoring goals. With 8 to go to 20 and 25 games to get them I am predicting that 20 will not be a problem for him. That of course will be a lot easier to do if his linemates also stay hot and keep feeding him ridiculous passes.
You don't get shutouts with good goaltending and horrible offence alone, no, it takes good D too. PK was great all night and, I felt, intimidated Toronto's fragile forwards. I am looking forward to Gill's return, but do think that PK is quite capable of being great with or without his new-found mentor.
What a game for the Hammer. Look at this: 2 assists, 25 minutes (1st), 6 blocked-shots (1st), 5 shots (2nd) and 3 hits (2nd). This is #1 defence worthy, this is one of the best games of the year worthy. The more I think of it, the more I believe that Hammer is the key for us - this year, these playoffs and hopefully (in a slightly lesser role) for a few more years to come.
Saying that this was an easy game makes it seem like shutouts are easy, but as far as games for Price of late are concerned, this was a relatively easy game. Price was good, but didn't even have to be at his best to beat this lowly team. It is nice to know that we can play a game where we get good goaltending, good offence, good D (nothing game-stealing or outstanding from any group) and win with relative ease. 7 shutouts now for Price this year! That is incredible - think he can hit 10?
A snowy winter's night, Hockey Day in Canada, Habs blank the Leafs - now that is a good night! In a season of so many meaningless events (Thrashers games, All-Star Farce, November) it is nice to have a night like this. In fact, we are now at 25 games to go and 2 weeks from the trade-deadline - things are starting to get fun again. Tonight's game was a nice change from the Toronto games of recent memory as the Habs played like the better team that they are and didn't let the Leafs get too into it. Anytime that we can sneak by Toronto without much trouble we know that we are doing something right (it is forever implied that they are doing something wrong). This year, it seems, is now actually one of our best ever against the Leafs. In fact, for the first time since the season after their last Cup conquest (1968) we have shutout Toronto twice in a season. It is a great feeling having a good team that is moving up, but an almost as good feeling seeing just how bad and poorly managed our lowly rivals remain.