Location: New York
Habs Goalie: Price (L), Auld
Opposition Goalie: Lundqvist (W)
Habs goalscorers: Subban, Wisniewski, Gionta
Opposition goalscorers: Anisimov, Girardi, Callahan, Gaborik, Boyle, Prospal
The coach made the play of the game in this one. The decision to start Carey Price was the right call, but after a fluke goal and a bad minute, it was right also to pull him. Auld coming in didn't turn the tide right away, but did eventually have that effect. In addition, it provided the comical moment of the game as the large goalie had to get on the ice without the benefit of a door, clambering over the boards in his pads. A close second must be whatever Martin and his leaders said in the room during the first intermission - since those words salvaged 40 minutes from the contest.
David did a nice job, but he really does look better going against lesser defenders, especially against playoff level teams with organized defence. We hope Plekanec comes back soon for the sake of the overall attack, and so the Canadiens can complicate the lives of opposing coaches as they struggle to deal with a 3rd/4th line centered by this tricky attacking centre.
Gionta played a nice game and had another goalscorer's tally. TSN hit the nail on the head (unlikely as that sounds) when they recognized the importance of Gionta in the Canadiens never-say-die attitude in this one. The captain's determination both troubles and surprises his opponents and will be a major key in the Canadiens future hopes.
It's really too bad Gomez can't score. That's because it would be the final complement to his play. He really does do so many of the other things just right. Most noticeable for me tonight was his stickwork in boardlong battles. Gomez should deliver a clinic to his teammates, as winning the puck with a quick burst and clever stick check seem to be the norm of late for him.
Clear villain of the first act. His crosschecking penalty was just about unforgivable and certainly unnecessary. The confusion of the penalty unravelled all the good from the Subban goal and rally. In a game of redemption, however, Hamrlik was central. He looked good on the PP and began to look confident at the back again too. Usually, we aren't too forgiving of veteran mistakes, but in a 5-goal meltdown, most had mess on their hands.
PK Subban – Game Puck
What a goal. What a player. Pierre McGuire is not a man I find much opportunity to agree with, but in the case of Subban, I find no dispute. After yet another rush, Pierre affirmed we were watching the first year of a superstar's career. Like Hamrlik, he was not unscathed in this contest, no defender was, but he availed himself well when down, never giving more ground.
Embodiment of the resilience of the Habs. Alex looked determined to leave it at 5 and to lead his team from the back. There were several decent saves in his 18. What's more, he outperformed his rival against the same opposition. As simple as it gets for dome goalie calls.
Those who thought I was harsh after the Washington loss will certainly have reason to question tonight (or not). The nature of this loss, being so different, leaves me feeling another set of emotions. The lows came in the first, and resignation of a loss was turned into hope.
Part of this was playing an opponent with a 4-goal lead. But I also thought the depleted Habs showed a lot of will and spirit as the refused to relent in their task. The win was never going to be in reach, but the moral victory, the team-building endnote was. It's worthy of note then that the Canadiens stuck with it and won the second two periods and led the hopeful to believe their hope was reasonable.
Important stuff at playoff time. Important stuff for the players tasting their first action in the NHL and important for those coming back. A loss is a loss, but this loss had some victory in it. For that, there's reason to be positive.