Habs Goalie: Price (W)
Opposition Goalie: Luongo (L)
Habs goalscorers: Desharnais, Gionta, Kostitsyn
Opposition goalscorers: H. Sedin, Samuelsson
That third goal, the winner, was one of the most crucial plays that we have made in the past few weeks, maybe of the whole season. The goal took the game to 3-1 and helped to kill Vancouver's attack for enough time. started with a great fore-check by Kostitsyn who won his battle and the puck. Eller then received the puck, but quickly got it back to Andrei who unleashed a quick shot through Lou.
Andrei Kostitsyn - Game Puck
That was a great game from Andrei who played very, very well all night. I thought that it all started with player-management in his case and was happy to see him getting regular time on the PP. Instead of Pou, Desh or Moen, Kostitsyn was given a regular go on the man-advantage. I think that he took that vote of confidence and decided to express himself on his line, in particular with Eller. This is Andrei's type of game, fast and full of chances. The Calgary game was everything that he (and the Habs in general) is not as it was slow and near-impossible to get into a rhythm.
He was finally back with one of his regular wingers in a real game and I thought that he looked really good. He used Mike well and Halpern managed to keep up too. He was dynamite on the PK and led the team in shots. I wonder when the Habs last iced a line with 3 successive numbers (13/14/15) on it was? With all the retirements and players using random big numbers I would guess that is has been some time.
Early on he played like a true leader as he was all over the ice. That all paid off for him and the Habs when he scored his 22nd just 7 minutes in. I think that he and Gomez can certainly work for us and I would rather that happen now than at the beginning of the season. If they can gear up for the stretch and do well and lead the team then I would deem their seasons success as I could care a less about how many points a player gets in October/November when the team is winning.
That was playoff Gill, that was the Gill that we longed for last week when he was out. Can you believe that he played 26+ (most of any Hab) and was that good? He is so good on the PK and is the definition of calm and steady in his own end. There was a fantastic dive at the end of the game to get an icing call and I think that that won us the game as it forced Vancouver to keep tired players on the ice with no rest as there was no time-out left.
Subban was good, but Hammer was better. He, like Gill, led this group all night. What Hal was able to do on the PK, Roman did on the PP. He was sharp throughout and reacted just as a leader should after a tough few games. Knowing that he can play this well against the league's best and fastest is very reassuring.
Carey's teammates did very well to get him a two-goal lead and, so it was he who repaid them big time. After out-shooting the Canucks 14-1 in the first 10 minutes things changed fast. Over the last 50 minutes they took it to us to the tune of 38-11. Price fought his way through traffic on a lot of shots to do what he had to to keep the puck out of the net. Vancouver came close, but certainly can't be used to having so many quality chances turned aside.
I had a feeling all day that we were going to win this game. I didn't think that last week, but after Edmonton and Calgary I was feeling very good about it. That feeling came from the fact that things like this happen all of the time in the NHL. When things look their worst teams often do something totally unexpected. It was doom and gloom after the past two games, so one can only hope that the nay-sayers will take it easy for a second and get behind this team once again. I mean, they have been on the band-wagon before, I am sure they'll be ready to re-board right away.
We started this game in fantastic fashion and must have totally surprised Vancouver. Our quick start bought us a lead and ended up costing them their time-out (a move that would prove crucial for us later on). The 'nucks did wake up though and it was pretty much all them for the remainder of the game. We took penalties, but not stupid ones really, just desperation, we-can't-keep-up ones. A very timely Kostitsyn goal saved us this game as everyone could see what was about to happen.
This win doesn't mean we won't lose again. It doesn't mean that we won't lose to bad teams again (so, expect some de-boarding of the wagon in the next few weeks). It does, however, remind the team and fans that we do have a good team that is capable of doing good things. We have a lot of good players and when things line up (as is the case with every team in the NHL) we can win some games. When things don't go well or, believe it or not, the other team plays well we may lose (even if we are trying to win). The Habs maybe didn't deserve this win, but who cares about that? There are no playoff spots for teams that deserve to be there, only spots for those who get the points. We needed some points on this trip and I am happy that the players did what they had to to make that a reality.