Habs Goalie: Price (W)
Opposition Goalie: Pavelec (L)
Habs goalscorers: Pacioretty, Emelin, Plekanec
Opposition goalscorers: None
Tomas Plekanec - Game Puck
I believe this is the second game in a row for Pleks. Yesterday was a bit of a hollow honour, but today he won it from stiff competition. What he is known for doing best, he did best today. That goal he scored was why anyone thought he could play the point in the first place, and that Emelin set-up (sublime pass, btw) is why he's the best PK player in the league.
The guy plays the Corsi game lie that's all there is. Many times to my frustration it's just shots from anywhere. But because Max can actually put some weight behind his shots (unlike today's honouree) he gets goals from it, so I can't hold him at fault. His goal (gamewinner and gamechanger) came from the classic throw the puck on net play. But other than that, he seemed to thrive against a hodge podge Winnipeg D.
It wasn't as thrilling as his game against Detroit, but David was nonetheless quietly effective. He has stolen his place on the depth chart form a few red-faced players, and continues to cause blushes with his constant dome selections.
I have him in the dome in a game like today's because he managed to use all the tools at his disposal in this one, and he has more than anyone out there. While the HNIC analysts were drooling over Bogosian, it was Subban who scared forwards from entering the zone, it was he who set up a goal, it was he who played on the shutout garnering side. That's not to say he didn't leave anything to be desired. As usual, he did. But that's only a longing for the fan who can see and remember his own potential.
With Desharnais, Alexei must be the most positive story of the season. Coming over from Russia he too some time to adjust. Half a season in, he's nailed his name to a locker room stall and advertised to the league forwards that the Habs zone won't be soft=play land anymore.
He got the win as part of the team effort, but you could tell he wanted this shutout for himself. And rightly. 0.913 doesn't mean what it used to and in a salary negotiating position, he needed more ammo. Well he got it with determined play and full concentration throughout. A thoroughly deserved shutout. I'd love to see a few more.
I'm not afraid to say I was dreading watching this game. As a rule, I hate losing. I don;t mind supporting a losing team, but not the one of this week that showed how many ways they miss the point of winning hockey. I'm not sure they have found the answer, but they did manage to entertain for long stretches and to be fair, they did everything that was required to win this.
The implications of this win are interesting. Because of the way things have been happening, all but one team in the league has decided the season is not over. So interestingly, the second to last place is in play. Rightly, I feel, the team, however, is talking about winning for the pride of the sweater and the city. A GM can't dispose of an entire young stable, so a culture of pride and winning may probably be as important as a prospect. What's more, the standings are stranger than they've been in years and there are three weak links in playoff positions in the East at the moment. If 85 points can make the playoffs, it wouldn't do to end with 83.
Speaking of pride. Can Gomez have any left? While the fans sort of, kind of, ironically willed him on, his coaches couldn't have cared less about his goal total. He played the least minutes of any player at ES. With all the injuries there have been, only 11 forwards, and some teammates little deserving of ice time as well, it's a matter of shame to this player with his stature and contract to say that the coach's got that dead right.