Canadiens-Blackhawks: Lots To Cheer For Habs' 4-1 Win
If parting is such sweet sorrow, there was surely nothing sweet about coming back for Cristobal Huet as he made his first return to the Bell Centre after being traded to Chicago during the 2008 trade deadline.
Huet was scored on by Alex Kovalev after only 25 seconds into first period, and this on the Canadiens' first shot. The rest of the evening was followed by sarcastic chants of "Huet" as the fans tried to get under his skin, seemingly forgetting that not so long ago, the Chicago goaltender, known as Cristo-Wall, had been the toast of this town.
The on again, off again love affair with Carey Price on the other hand, was evidently back on as the crowd cheered him on with every one of his 28 saves and even felt for him when his shutout streak was broken with just under eight minutes left in the third period.
"This is the best I've felt in a long time," was what Price had told me after Saturday night's shootout loss against the Sabres.
How do you suppose he is feeling now?
What an uplifting experience it was to see Carey Price, named the game's first star, standing square to the shooter. That's right, folks, I said standing, not kneeling!
Also, as many people know, when you see Carey Price skating out of his blue zone to play the puck, you are looking at a young goaltender with full confidence in himself, and play the puck Carey did.
Price has come a long way since his shootout meltdown against the Rangers where he seemed incapable of stopping a bus, let alone the puck, which the fans, and more importantly, his teammates are thriving on.
The Montreal specialty teams were key once again as the Habs' stymied the 'Hawks on all six of their power-play opportunities. Markov and Schneider were more opportunistic while Montreal enjoyed the man-advantage.
Guillaume Latendresse ended up getting the game-winner as his line, including Lapierre and Kostopoulos continues to return dividends for the Habs'.
Christopher Higgins, with another solid performance in his relatively new role of "checker extraordinare," also managed a team high seven shots on goal.
The only question mark at this point is the Kostitsyn-Plekanec line whose lack of productivity still manages to baffle everyone. In their defence, however, with the elder Kostitsyn out with the flu the last few games, and the younger sibling injured early in yesterday's contest, it has been rather difficult to really get any momentum going.
Which brings me to the vintage jerseys:
I, for one, was really glad to hear that Bob Gainey had decided to forgo the barbershop-esque jerseys. The last time the Habs' wore them they took a trouncing from the Bruins and more importantly, lost Robert Lang indefinitely with a torn Achilles tendon, as well as Guillaume Latendresse with an upper body injury for weeks.
Last night, however, with relatively similar jerseys to the ones of today, the Habs' still suffered injuries to two players with Roman Hamrlik and Sergei Kostitsyn both heading to the dressing rooms, not to return.
Maybe we should give the already over-saturated marketing schemes a rest until at least the end of the regular season?
I mean, they are selling Montreal Canadiens dog bowls in drug stores, for crying out loud!
I'm not usually a superstitious fellow, but with six games remaining and the Habs' clinging to the eighth and last playoff spot, perhaps it would be prudent to put all that one can on one's side.
The Habs' next two games will prove if this team has turned the proverbial corner as far as getting their act together is concerned. They head off to Long Island where they will meet the Islanders tomorrow night and then revisit the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
Both these teams had just recently beaten the Canadiens while they were in the midst of "finding themselves" under the new Gainey regime.
Hopefully for them and their fans, they will find two more wins before the week is through.
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