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» 2010 » October

  • Game 9: Habs/Isles

    Carey Price gets the nod again tonight as the Habs face the young, but dangerous NY Islanders. Only a point separate these two Eastern Conference teams and as admittedly foolish as it is to put too much stock in the early-season standings, it is not foolish to say that there is already mid-season tension between these two clubs. The last time they met Michael Cammalleri was possessed by the ghost of Todd Bertuzzi (wait he still lives?) while he chased after Isles rookie Nino Niederreiter. You can bet there will be some residual hate left over from the final pre-season match tonight. Montreal will need to be weary of taking any dumb penalties early on in the game. They will also need to be weary of John Tavares who is coming off of a hat-trick in his last game in a losing cause against the Panthers last Saturday. Getting out on the attack against a team returning from a longer layoff would help.

    Many will be watching Alex Picard tonight in one of his final opportunities to cement a spot on the NHL roster before Andrei Markov returns from his injury this weekend. I’ve thought that Picard has been rather lucky that a few of his mistakes haven’t ended up in the back of the net – although to be fair, he has been involved in some good play on the offensive side of things. Still, with Markov, PK, Spacek, and Hamrlik in the lineup – it will be defensive steadiness that wins the job for either Picard or O’Byrne.

    I’ll also be looking to see if Jaques Martin finally juggles his lines to the one configuration just about everyone in the Habs’ universe has been calling for : Gomez, Gionta, Eller. Sure its not the perfect fit in that Eller is more comfortable as a centre, but is there any doubt as to what Eller would bring to that line? He has all of the skills that martin is looking for: confidence with the puck, the ability to distribute in traffic, the ability to go to the front of the net, defensive responsibility. In my eyes, if its not Pouliot – its Eller.

    Thats all for now. Go Habs Go!!!!

  • Game 8: Habs/’Yotes

    The Phoenix Coyotes will visit tonight following a great win on Saturday night against a struggling Senators team that managed 0 shots in the first 13 minutes of the game. The win was a good one for Carey Price who recorded his first shutout in a very long time. It was good one for Benoit Pouliot who was the current “I just need a goal so badly” title holder. It was a fantastic game as well as for the red-hot Andrei Kostitsyn who along with his line-mates Tomas Plekanec and Michael Cammalleri are putting together an early season-to-remember. We’ve all been saying a lot of ifs when referencing the Habs this season. If Carey plays well… If Kostitsyn can score some goals… If Pouliot could be of use to Gomez and Gionta. On Saturday night the Canadiens were visited by the if fairy in the form of the Ottawa Senators. It was just what the doctor ordered for a team that struggled to get anything going against the Devils one game prior.

    Word is that Andrei Markov has been cleared for physical contact and could be in the lineup as early as this weekend which will undoubtedly be a huge boost to a struggling powerplay that is woefully inept despite most of the same players from last year’s unit being in the lineup. Markov won’t fix all of our problems, but he will provide the stability on the back-end that should snap our funk. He will make the best pass and will keep the puck in the offensive zone. It will be great for PK Subban to take a step back in order to learn from one of the game’s elite powerplay defensemen.

    Lots of intriguing story-lines to watch out for tonight. The Habs have a respectable 9 points through 7 games, and can set themselves up for a great first month by giving a good showing against Pheonix, 2 games against the Islanders and the Panther’s on Devil’s night. The party gets started just after 7:30pm tonight.

    Go Habs Go!!!!