Location: New Jersey
Habs Goalie: Price (L)
Opposition Goalie: Brodeur (W)
Habs goalscorers: Desharnais, Kostitsyn, Darche
Opposition goalscorers: Parise (2), Clarkson (2), Zubrus
I am mad that we lost, but I will try and save that for later. In here, I will be serious when I say that the play of the game was Darche's goal (Kostitsyn's a close second). After New Jersey made a mess of it at our blue-line on their PP Pleks started skating up in the hopes of getting the puck. Gill read it well and found Tomas with a great pass. Plekanec made a great move that wasn't quite enough to beat Brodeur, but was enough to seriously trouble him. Darche supplied the support and notched his third of the year.
Andrei Kostitsyn - Game Puck
Not sure why one of our top forwards of the season started on the 4th line and got only 2 minutes in the first, but it didn't seem to bother him. He was the most dangerous Hab all night and scored a very nice goal to give us a two-goal lead.
Don't let the two pathetic penalty calls confuse you as Erik, once again, had a good game. He played a good, hard, clean game tonight, but that didn't matter to the refs. They see a head-jerk here or a plea to the ref there and it is to the box for our top player. The rest of this season is his opportunity to get more players playing like him as he knows he is here to stay (does he wish he wasn't?).
Max competed again tonight and should be pretty happy with his game. I am not worried about the -2 when one is an empty-netter and another should not have ever happened.
I thought that Kaberle, Diaz and Gill were below what we need tonight and Subban and Emelin weren't at their usual high levels. One player that played above his usual, however, was Weber. He picked up an assist, was a +1 (only Gill, of the D, was also a +) and led the team in shots in a D-low 11 minutes. Whether he gets moved or will be back next year is the question; games like this help to improve both scenarios.
Our makeshift #1 was our best again tonight. I do miss a world where Gorges, a natural 3/4, could be playing on a second pairing. Let's hope that next year Markov and Subban live up to their bills.
Not the best game from Carey with 4 goals on 21 shots, but things may have been a lot different with better reffing. The first goal was weak, but after that there were two deflections and one shot that he couldn't have predicted. Tonight he wasn't any worse than Brodeur, the difference was that the luck was in Marty's corner.
The Canadiens played much better than they did on Tuesday and I think deserved to win this game. Players like Plekanec and Kostitsyn were better which added some punch to our attack. The plan, however, got derailed with poor decisions that favoured NJ. The team that can never do any wrong in the eyes of refs league-wide capitalized on a couple of those calls/non-calls and that is that.
The two worst calls of the night were the high-sticking call on Cole and the non-call on hooking against Cole. The 'high-stick' (or should I say stick accidentally to head, no matter the height of the head) call was brutal. Brodeur's head was below Erik's waist and was out of the blue plaint. The blade of Cole's stick made contact, Marty threw his head back and the ref bit. Can the NHL just change the rule and say if a stick touches a player in the head it is a penalty (if Brodeur's mask bled would it have been 4 minutes?) because they are not calling anything near what the rulebook says is a high-stick. The Devils scored a crucial goal on that PP.
The second incident involved Cole again. This time. late in the third, with the game tied at 3 (the time/situation of a game when we are told that refs can't make calls else lose their jobs) Cole was hooked badly coming out of the zone. Unlike most hooking calls, which are made to keep TV viewers happy with PP goals, this one actually had an effect on the play and on the player being hooked. Cole was unable to clear the zone. The puck was kept in, the game-winner was scored and the horns sounded. A perfect scenario for the NHL and fans in New Jersey who need wins as incentive to pump time and money into a foreign sport.