Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Game #22

Refs Decide Canes; Players, Posts Decide Habs


Date: 23/11/2011
Opponent: Hurricanes
Location: Carolina

Win: 4-3 (SO)

Habs Goalie: Price (W)
Opposition Goalie: Ward (L)

Habs goalscorers: Eller, Cammalleri, Moen (Gionta, SO)
Opposition goalscorers: Tlusty, Stewart, Brandon Sutter

Play of the game

Have to give credit to Lars Eller for finishing a Herculean effort while killing a penalty to wake the Habs and turn them onto the fact that the Canes were starting to play like they had the week earlier. Full speed ahead to make the passing option, he recovered Gionta's first shot and set up a chance, gathered the scraps of that and fed Diaz and then pounced lightning quick on a puck from the mask of Cam Ward to walk it in.

Dome hockey team

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


Lars Eller - Game Puck
I knew there would be rebuttal for the C+ I gave Eller. I sort of expected it to come from his legion of new fans. Instead, Lars (probably unknowingly) played in a way that put every assessment made by this scout in dispute. He was aggressive and made things from almost nothing. The highlight goal was the crowning moment of his game.

Travis Moen
The last minute penalty was a blemish, but he had a good game overall. He hit the post squarely early and then set up a nice play he finished for the game tying goal as well. He's perhaps still not the player that we thought we had signed that big summer, but he's better as a 7-goalscorer in November than not.

Michael Cammalleri
Camms too hit the post at one point and scored the critical second goal. He continues to look dangerous most of the time. This game showed what a dangerous player on form can be vs. the dangerous player he sometimes becomes lurking around the fringe.


Josh Gorges
Gorges continues his maturing process in this league. While he certainly would be the best 4th defenceman anywhere, he is doing a good impression of a good first option on many nights. Tonight, he was the most heavily used player (excluding PP) and with good reason. When I wasn't noticing him it was good. When I was it was usually because he'd edged his way in to pry away a puck from a Hurricane. His shot redirected by Cammalleri was a good example of simple, well executed offense from the back.

Hal Gill
You want to say something bad about this guy, because he lumbers. But you know he lumbers into some pretty smart coverage. His personal play of the game may have saved a goal as he lost his mark but spun smartly with stick on ice to deflect a quick shot to the corner. That was the kind of night he had. Would it kill him to shoot for a corner on a clean chance, though?


Carey Price
Oh he wrestled this one back from Budaj. I watched on the NHL Centre Ice and the Canes commentators were keen on pointing out how dopey and drowsy Price seemed from the start. That first goal an obvious example. Carey worked his way in eventually and made numerous saves that only he could have made with his suddenly in your shooting lane torso. To top it off, he forced three shooters to miss their plays in the shootout under pressure to earn the Habs the bonus point they deserved.


Have you ever seen a ref go back on a bad call? Tonight you did when they made an icing call they'd rather not have against the Hurricanes. They could have gone back on the goal that should have ended it when Bryan Allen dragged down Erik Cole and the puck went in, but that would just have been too sensible. Kind of like blowing the play dead when the puck is on top of the net sensible.

I guess on American Thanksgiving when hometown assignments are in demand and games are plentiful the Wednesday-nighter in Carolina doesn't draw the best officiating crew. Never mind. In the end, their blundering got the Canes a point, but cost the Habs none. Thanks to the posts, who really could not make their minds up in this one.

The Habs played relatively well and certainly well enough to win. From a shaky, and indeed strange, start this game evolved into one of the best spectacles of the season. The goals were good and the result turned out better. Gomez went missing some time late in the second period amid trade speculation on twitter. However, it has since been "confirmed" that he has merely been moved to day-to-day status, probably coming back too soon from an injury. His absence again makes space for player of the game Eller, we only hope that Lars bottles what he had tonight for future contests.

Coming up, Flyers then Pens. Two tough ones that pose early tests for the Canadiens aspirations and mettle. I'd look for Price in both given the importance and the alternative. Maybe even some exciting news of returns coming up? One can only hope.

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