Habs Goalie: Price (L)
Opposition Goalie: Theodore, Clemmensen (W)
Habs goalscorers: Moen, Cole
Opposition goalscorers: Fleischmann, Matthias
Cole's individual effort at the end was a thing of beauty. It wasn't good in the sense that it filled me with hope (I am getting pretty tired of believing that the Habs will come back), but was good in that in reminded me that we have Cole. Where would we be without this player?
He gave us the dreaded first goal, but then did his best throughout the game to avoid the usual outcome. He was also the only player to improve his +/- by 2 this game. Moen has 9 goals which is great for Moen, but at New Year's isn't it a bit sad that he has more than Plekanec, Desharnais, Eller, Cammalleri and Gionta; I think there is some mirror looking to be done by quite a few players heading into 2012.
This is mostly for his assist on Moen's goal. We need more of that from this player heading into a new year. Being a top-2 centre generally requires more than potential that was spotted 5 years ago and 12 points in half a season.
Not a surprise to see Erik in here once again. He is good and he cares. And, not only is he good, but he also plays a good game. It has been a tough few weeks (months?) backing so many 'good' players who can spend half of a season waiting to heat up.
Alexei Emelin - Game Puck
He and Cole have been the 2 pleasant surprises so far this season and I can't imagine how painful some of these games would have been without #'s 74 and 72. His hipcheck on Versteeg had me out of my seat which is rare for any non-goal plays. He now leads all rookies in hits and is 16th in the league. Not bad for a guy that has to still fight for a spot and has only featured in 28 games.
Josh is now locked up for 6 years which proves that you can trade for Kaberle and sign Gorges to a long-term deal. It is also proof that he doesn't want out, that he isn't fed up and that he cares about this team. I see that every game and I am happy that our leader on D will be around for a while. He doesn't have much to explain after a decent first half, but can he rally his troops now to follow him in what will be the hardest half season in the last little while?
The second goal didn't look good, but otherwise he was fine. We can't expect him to be better than he has been as he has had a fine first half. But, if we want to make the playoffs he has to play better. When he is near the top of the league we are a better team. He is currently outside of the top 20 in the two main categories (which is obviously not his fault more than each of his teaamates') and that is not how this team (with not much in the way of skill or depth in front of him) will make the playoffs. Basically we need the player who was our best player last year to be even better now; it would be nice if his teammates gave him a huge hand in achieving that.
I don't have much to say because, like you, I am sure, I am ready to forget 2011. This game was another game of the same kind, a game that has come to characterize the Habs. We basically can't play 60 minutes of hockey anymore. We are good enough to not get blown out all the time (or much at all), but aren't good enough to win tight games, games that we used to excel at winning.
2011 was a rough year that may be remembered mostly for the playoff game-7 OT loss to the Cup Champions and by a very bad first half. 2012 doesn't have to be the same, though, we can turn it around. These players have been good players before, even with this team. So, it is time to put the past behind us and start fresh. We have 43 games left; let's just see what happens.