Habs Goalie: Budaj (W)
Opposition Goalie: Caron (L)
Habs goalscorers: Emelin, Cole (2), Pacioretty (2)
Opposition goalscorers: Lecavalier, Gervais
If I have to look for the best play tonight, the best goal (despite being fairly upset with the win) it would have to be Pacioretty's second. All of the goals were good, actually, but I did like the 5th goal where Max blew past his coverage down the wing and unloaded a bullet of a wrist-shot up and over Garon's replacement (was the requirement to find someone with as close a name as possible?).
Max Pacioretty - Game Puck
The numbers were good tonight - 2 goals, an assist and +4. Could it be that Max isn't that keen on a top-2 pick as he is fairly happy with his status as top-2 winger on the team? I am fine with that attitude, but hope that next year he contributes more to team success and isn't simply remembered, again, for having a good year on a bad team.
People remember stats and don't remember when points were gotten, how they were gotten or the context in which they were collected. Therefore, I can totally understand Tom's desire to put a few more points up this week so when we look back in a few weeks, months or years we think slightly better of him than had he mailed it in. Unfortunately for him, however, I would rather we be a Cup contender within 3 years than he get an extra 3 points, but would he?
Cole just can't help himself, can he? Unfortunately for the top-2 pick drive Erik is healthy and is playing at his usual level. Tonight he inched closer to 35 with 2 more goals and has two games to net one. He is all business on the ice and for that I respect him and look forward to another season with him leading the offence.
I was happy that Emelin scored a goal tonight as he desrved some reward for his season. Is it possible that he is the most underrated and under-appreciated Hab? He has been noticed all year, but when you think of what this guy has done, as a rookie, you can't help but be excited for next year. I say, give him 3-5 more years of being labeled as underrated and then the trophies will start flowing.
It was very good to see how well the PP was doing tonight and that was thanks in no small part to the work of Markov. Tonight was his 11th game and he keeps looking better in each. I still hope he plays some more hockey this spring and has a good summer of hard, off-season work as opposed to the rehabbing he has been doing for the past couple of summers.
That pass to Lecavalier was right up there with O'Byrne's own-goal in the department of hilariously brutal plays. Aside from that play he was good even though Tampa played horribly. I am not sure if Mayer will get the start tomorrow or Budaj. It doesn't really matter, but I would say there is a good chance we'll need Mayer at some point down the road, so why not give him a taste now.
Tampa looked like the team playing to lose and we seemed to be fueled by a Bell Centre crowd that was ill-advisedly cheering them on way too much. It seemed like we couldn't help ourselves and it meant a few great chances for our top line. It even meant that Rene Bourque almost got more than one shot or stood in front of the net once in 18+ minutes. If only our team followed the lead of the bottom 3 lines we'd be gold. Now, however, it looks as though Edmonton will bag the 2nd spot and we'll have some work to do to stay in 3rd.
Tonight was a big milestone for Cole as it was his 700th game and he celebrated with two more goals; bettering his best goal mark again and getting to 59 points, 2 shy of that record. It was another milestone round here. Tonight marked the 450th game report that we at LIW have written. We haven't missed one game since we started in the Fall of 2007 with a win in Carolina. That night, the first ever goal to be documented was scored by none other than Erik Cole, it was his 300th career game (playoffs included). The only other players to play tonight and then were Markov and Plekanec; all 3 of those players made the dome tonight.
I couldn't have kept that streak alive without the help of Topham, ian vitro, my Dad (uncredited, but he has written pieces) and a naturalized Habs fan for a wife. We started reporting on games to show a different, maybe more honest side of the game. In the beginning it was all about the thrill of the winning, but, just for a brief moment we have now started to hope for the opposite. There has been a conference win, a conference final, brutal trades, sad player moves a Centennial and so much more. So, thanks to all of you who read and keep this fun and entertaining after each and every win or loss.