Loss: 4-5 (SO)
Habs Goalie: Budaj (L)
Opposition Goalie: Fleury (W)
Habs goalscorers: Eller, Cole, Kostitsyn, Pacioretty
Opposition goalscorers: Letang, Jeffrey (2), Malkin (1, SO)
It wasn't a game devoid of highlight moments (nor lowlight). The high for the Canadiens was the goal that got us the point. Budaj on save bumped the puck out to Cole. With his one track mind, he naturally blew down the left wing. Pacioretty smartly went with and made himself and his stick available for a pass right until it came through the defender's legs. His shot took advantage of a moving Fleury, but made sure by hitting the top netting in style.
Erik Cole - Game Puck
Despite his two late penalties, Cole still stood out as a positive force for the Canadiens. he is making things happen for himself all the time and when his linemates keep up, for the teammates too. Two points with a goal is a good night against the Pens.
Less money to stay in Montreal? We'll believe it when we see it Andrei... But he continues to make a case that a GM who believes he needs a big guy who can impose himself and score has an option with him. He continues to lose the puck on attempted moves, but importantly those moves buy him the hesitation of defenders (which he exploited twice on the night).
At times, I rant at this guy. Sometimes he just makes these lazy plays that verge on the robotic. But the guy is also robotic in his scoring at the moment (evident with his goal). He should have been a shootout shooter, of that there is no doubt.
Josh had to play the hottest player in the NHL. We're not talking about a streak from Nick Foligno here, this is hulking, streaking Evgeni Malkin. With James Neal in tow, the Pens came into the game with one of the best scoring duos and certainly one that peppers the goal most. Gorges played them to a standstill at points. He eventually had to watch a Malkin goal, but were it not the Russian at his hottest, the shot from the boards wouldn't have been counted a scoring chance.
This selection is good news for the Habs. While many don't like the Kaberle acquisition, he's here and will be for a while. Better he succeeds. Tonight he played more and showed off his better qualities. He made the PP goal with a slick pass and did the better part of the good work for the Habs on that file.
Budaj had his moments and has a big hand in the point, but he really missed his chance to get the dome when he let in goal four and his chance to get it back went missing with Malkin's shot in yet another pathetic shootout. Carey couldn't have done worse.
It's a strange place for a Habs fan at the moment. Coming into the game, I wasn't exactly sure what or who to cheer for. Knowing that a win likely only draws out the playoffless season and diminishes the odds at getting one of the few players that the Habs would truly benefit from choosing.
When the game started with a goal, and a cheer was the instinctual reaction, I knew I couldn't cheer for losing, even if intellectually I can accept the concept of living to fight another day. In reality, it seems like I am really still quite invested in many of the players doing well, and as a result am urging them on.
The result tonight then was a disappointment. At least for the emotional side of me. Disappointing that the team allowed so many chances for the opposition to climb back, disappointing that the goalie would let in such an obvious tying goal and disappointing that the team remains so utterly abysmal in the shootout. Rationally, though, this was a very lukewarm team facing the hottest player in the league with a strategy of falling back to protect a lead. What else to expect? It very nearly ended well, which is to the credit of those who built a strong lead in the first place.
On another note, have I have ever such praise for a goalie who was on for so many goals against? Rarely. Eller's goal was presented as a mystery by the crew I was tuned into. I think most jus saw a badly tended rebound coming to the predictable predatory forward. These RDS guys do make me laugh sometimes. I suppose it's good a Habs fan gets a few laughs in at this point, so perhaps thanks are in order for their commitment to fulfilling their own prophecies with their description.
Tomorrow the Leafs. At this point, getting in that team's way of the playoffs at this point and in future match-ups may be the only tangible thing left this season. Wow it would feel good to watch Burke blame everyone else without an ounce of self-awareness again. Let's hope we can watch a preview soon.