Canadiens Weekly Wrap Up: 3 Wins, 3 Months Without Andrei Markov
So much for the ''who have they beaten'' argument.
A flawless week that saw finally saw the Montreal Canadiens meet and defeat superior competition. Three flawless outings, with only three goals allowed by temporary fan-favorite Carey Price.
Following the No. 3 trend, we have no choice but to mention the loss of superstar defenseman Andrei Markov after a collision with Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal.
Markov re-injured the same knee that required him to go under the knife in the off-season. It looks as though he will be out of action for the next three months as initially reported by RDS. More on this in a minute.
Before we continue, let's start you off with a little scoreboard recap.
Tuesday November 9th
Vancouver Canucks 0 @ Montreal Canadiens 2
Thursday November 11th
Montreal Canadiens 3 @ Boston Bruins 1
Saturday November 13th
Carolina Hurricanes 2 @ Montreal Canadiens 7
Was The Price Right After All?
If you view my Bleacher Report profile, you'll see one of my articles I posted after Carey Price signed his two-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens.
Most of you gave me a lot of slack for it and I replied with nothing else, but politically correct comments. My preferred response was always ''only time will tell.'' Well if you can't tell time, it looks as though this it's Price's time is right now. And he's not letting up.
The embedded video on the right shows Price pulling the highway robbery on Carolina forward Chad Larose on Saturday evening which sent the Bell Center crowd into an absolute frenzy. The look on Larose's face is absolutely priceless, no pun intended obviously.
As the season keeps rolling on, Price looks like he's gaining stability from every victory and finally looks like the first round draft pick the Canadiens drafted in front of third line winger Benoit Pouliot.
I've said it before, there's skill and there's will and Carey is finding the perfect balance between the two this year.
Wherever the puck goes, it seems as though Price is there to save the day. Very rarely does it seem like he is out of place when the play is in his own end. From starting position at left side face-off to chipping in to help his defensemen clear the zone effectively.
Price's efforts in the off-season are paying off in a big way. He seems more focused and determined to perform to the best of his abilities. His new-found confidence has also re-ignited the love story between him and the Hab faithful...for now.
Second best Penalty Killers, Power-play Woes Over?
The Habs currently sit second behind the Los Angeles Kings with 88.9 percent in terms of penalty killing. An area in which it is essential to perform in when you compete in the post-lockout National Hockey League.
Amazing penalty killing efforts from grinders Jeff Halpern and Tom Pyatt helped the Canadiens shutdown the Sedin twins and Vancouver's extremely dangerous power-play on Tuesday night.
This can also be attributed to their very tight defensive play when faced with a shorthanded situation. The squad keeps that box closed up, blocks shots and clears the puck as soon as it falls on their stick.
Basically, hockey basics. I can't stress the issue enough, without them there's no way this team would be so good at killing off penalties. The coaching staff has done a tremendous job etching this into their team's mind.
The penalty kill looks as solid as ever, and with Markov out for an extended period of time it looks as though their going to need this trend to continue.
Fifty percent of the goals scored by the Habs this week were on the power-play, Markov's short-lasting return looked like it lit a flame under the man advantage crew. Now that their superstar blue-liner will be out of action, does this mean another power-play drought?
Sure, Markov is the quarterback in terms of his passing and play spreading abilities. But this doesn't necessarily mean Montreal will be handicapped without him captaining the five on four ship.
The power-play can continue rolling on if they keep actively cycling the puck, screening the goalie and shooting the rubber low for the deflections.
Again, basically, the basics. Failure is almost a certainty when you try to fancy things up on the man advantage. One loose puck and your faced with your worst enemy, a shorthanded goal that goes your opponent's way.
Probably one of the most humiliating goals in all of hockey if you ask me. As a player, you hate giving that one up and your always reminded of it when you look up at that scoreboard.
Here's what the Habs have lined up as we enter the seventh week of the season.
Tuesday November 16th
Philadelphia Flyers @ Montreal Canadiens
Thursday November 18th
Nashville Predators @ Montreal Canadiens
Saturday November 20th
Toronto Maple Leafs @ Montreal Canadiens
There you have it folks, a visit from last years playoff dark-horse, a slumping but always surprising Western conference foe and an original six tilt against our Ontarian rivals.
Looks like it's going to be another interesting week Hab-hounds.
Until next time, you stay classy Montreal.
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