A game which ended 4-3 in shootout and helps Montreal only have 1 regulation loss in eleven games. The Candiens now are (8-1-2) earning of 18 out of 22 points. An impressive start indeed for a team who has figured everything out quite yet.
Not a bad First period
Usually, the Montreal periods love to have skipped playing the first period because there always end up making synchronization mistakes, lack of speed and bad turnovers.
Today, I think they had a goal to play a good first period. Even though the first 7-8 minutes were like ‘’Here we go again...’’ The Habs picked up their pace and were on a roll firing shots past rookie goaltender Steve Mason who made a few big saves for his team.
The only penalty in the whole period was an advantage to the Canadiens which was fruitful adding the seventh goal to Tanguay’s scoresheet.
A shaky Halak
Jaroslav Halak got the start today after resting for 12 days and was back in the nets. Although he made some good saves, he gave up a ridiculous amount of rebounds. When you have a player like R.J. Umberger parked in front of your net, it is a merely stupid gesture to let the puck bounce out in the open. More about Halak and the shootout below.
Quiet Second Period
Shots were 8-7 Canadiens and it didn’t pretty much didn’t look good for both teams. The Habs had to put up with defensive play of Hitchcock’s crew. In addition, taking 5 penalties which could have easily been avoided (Koivu right of the first faceoff on a powerplay! Very smart!). Both teams survived and it was time to see what Carbo could rake up between the periods to get his team going.
WOW! Brisebois...A shock
The last person I would have expected to score today would be Brisebois. The defenseman whom most of us complain about for making big mistakes and sometimes even give up goals, hit a slapshot which screened through at least five players and the goalie. But again, whatever he may do, it doesn’t cut it for me. In my eyes, a single goal doesn’t change anything in his way of play.
Third Period Chances
The Canadiens had remarkable open nets and lots of potential goals which missed the mark. However shots we 10-8 Blue Jackets with two goals finding the back of the net for each team. Christopher Higgins and Robert Lang missed a couple of times in front of the net and Andrei Kostitsyn showed glimpses of set-ups which were often destroyed by the Blue Jackets’ defense.
A moment of hope leads to Brotherly love
After all the negative comments directed toward Sergei Kostitsyn this week, I felt bad for him. No one can deny the work he produced and his support to the team last year. With 41 seconds left on the clock, Sergei banked in a shot from his older brother. It sure gave him the boost of confidence because he made sure the Canadiens left the building with a least a point in hand.
The biggest mistake of the 5 minutes was Alex Tanguay’s decision behind his own net. For once, Halak was alert enough to stop the puck on the spot. Then, Koivu missed a big rebound off Mason’s right pad. Then, Brisebois tried another slapshot which was wide. The Canadiens even had to survive short-handed in the overtime due to a hooking penalty taken by Tomas Plekanec.
Man (Men) of the night
As you can probably see through my observation, no one really seems to deserve such credit. However, on the whole, I would have to hand it the fourth line of the Habs. Maxim Lapierre, Georges Laraque and Tom Kostopoulos were undoubtedly the best line out there for me tonight.
Combining a total of eight attempts, the aggresivity of this line ought to be commended. One tip for opposing teams: Don’t ever try to steal the puck away from LaRock because you won’t get it and probably end up injured. Sometimes, I even feel bad for Kostopoulos because of the many misses. He tries really hard and it showed.
Another player who deserves a special mention should be Josh Gorges. Even beside Andrei Markov, he was the best defenseman out there (except on that lame call for interference which was his first of the season). He cleared the puck on most of the penalty killing sequences and absolutely did what was asked of him.
It was a quiet night for Christopher Higgins. Guillaume Latendresse who saw only nine minutes of ice-time was equally dull today.
Last but not the least, Andrei Markov. The reason I put him in this category was simply because he seemed very unsure of himself today. Despite getting a little over 28 minutes of ice-time, he failed to make the mark.
Bottom line: we all know he can play better. Had he fetched a point today, it would have been in the history books (for getting a point on six consecutive road games).
Even though I don’t think Guy Carbonneau should have pulled a Ron Wilson (even though we saw Price jumping up and down on the third goal! that was nice to see!), Halak was not ready for a shootout and it showed through his play in the game.
However, I believe Halak got nervous and started panicking today. It can be seen in his eyes when there was a close-up right before the shootout. And Carbonneaus decision to send Andrei Kostitsyn to shoot second, it would have paid off had he scored.
The coach decision would have been maybe influenced by the fact that Steve Mason (Columbus Blue Jackets Goaltender) is a rookie. So, he must have seen the way Kovalev, Koivu etc. scored. Sending the older Kostitsyn was a new technique because of his rare appearances in such situations.. Unfortunately for us, it didn’t pay off.
On a side note
The play of the Habs make me think ... ‘’Will we be getting lucky everytime?’’ It seems that this team has some support from somewhere unknown because we all know that they haven’t just yet played a full 60 minutes at full potential.
If they are able to fetch points simply by normal play then, we won’t be anything more than a mediocre team. And for the moment that is my only fear. It is that we might not be taking our performance as seriously as we should because we are winning anyways.
Anyhow, Carbo seems to say otherwise. And the Habs sure didn’t look liek they were tired. They tried but they didn’t possibly try hard enough.
‘’Price is the moon, Halak is just a passing-by star, sometimes there, sometimes not.’’ -Me
Hope you all like my recap of the Canadiens-Blue Jackets game. Feel free to leave me any comment. Looking forward to tomorrow’s game and the return of Price versus the Toronto Maple Leafs.