Sunday, March 20, 2011

Game #73

Winnesota Mauled


Date: 20/3/2011
Opponent: Wild
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota

Win: 8-1

Habs Goalie: Auld (W)
Opposition Goalie: Theodore (L), Backstrom

Habs goalscorers: White, Kostitsyn, Subban (3), Wisniewski, Moen, Pyatt
Opposition goalscorers: Koivu (PS)

Play of the game

A missed call left Kostitsyn flattened after he had played the puck around. With some great play from his linemates, and to his quickly regaining his own feet, Andrei was back in to receive a puck in the slot. A split second later, he undid Theo's confidence with another high shot. It was the gamewinner minutes in, it felt like it.

Dome hockey team

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


Benoit Pouliot
Just as the key to the last game was the last 40 minutes, this game swung right from the start. By the time the game was 21 minutes old, the Canadiens had basically won and Pouliot had been involved in all three goals. The pre-game was a all Pouliot (his first game back in Minnesota) and so was the first few minutes as his line injected superior energy against the Minnesota bewildered. Not all his assists were big time plays, but the first goal certainly was, a highlight play for the reel.

Andrei Kostitsyn
Looked invigorated every time the camera panned to him (except maybe after 7-1). His goal was truly exceptional and his play meant the Wild D had a lot to worry about on two lines. His stat line only shows a single goal, but his pass to Eller (no goal) in the third was also sublime. The dangerous forward is back for the time being.

Ryan White
Great first goal against Theodore blocker side and a brilliant game through and through. Back when I predicted White would make the team in 2009, this is what I had in mind. It's safe to say he won't do this every time, but perhaps a little injection of confidence in Minnesota will help Ryan to open up like this more frequently.


PK Subban - Game Puck
It was a game ago that McGuire spoke of the emergence of a superstar. It didn't take long. Tonight's game showed Subban to be dominant in many situations. His first goal was his usual determined puck protection turned goal and the second and third showed us all the utility of his protracted wind up. But as I said to my wife as we watched, the amazing thing about Subban is that his goals were probably not his best contributions. I would count his outlet pass on important Goal #1 as example of more play, as well as other outlet passes. But in this near shutout, he also had multiple minutes of calm and controlled defensive play.

Roman Hamrlik
Most nights this performance from the Brigadier General would merit a game puck, or at least the best defender spot. He was slick and looked comfortable despite the minutes of the season. I think it shows the difference of the system and the wins the system has afforded. 20+ minutes this season is not equal to 20+ minutes in Roman's previous seasons. It's no wonder he wants to extend his millionnaire days in this city.


Alex Auld
Good concentration and good luck gave him a real-game shutout. The only blemish being a classy breakaway move by little (big) Koivu. In 2 straight games, Auld has done the job and performed the important task of allowing Carey to rest. Tonight, Alex returned to his early season form, filling his team with belief and calm.


One of those games for the Habs. Goals came quick and on nearly every chance. Minnesota seemed determined to show Canadiens fans that other teams can let up more odd man rushes than the defence we complain about. As the praise flows, it is important to recall that this result will have little effect on the Buffalo game.

The result does, however, have an enormous effect on the playoff security of this hockey team we watch. 87 points moves them closer to a certified place in the playoffs. 0.500 from hear (9 points) would clinch regardless of what anyone else does. It closes the door to teams lower down coming through a bit more. And it puts the heat on the Boston Brutes.

Speaking of unsportsmanlike reactions to being down by more goals than your team can score. I thought the refs did a great thing by ejecting Clutterbuck when they did. It probably saved the Habs another injury.

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