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Game 46: Habs/Panthers

  • The Habs face the Panthers tonight. The question as always is: who starts? My guess is Jaro. One day when I have time I want to find out in how many of Carey Price’s starts have the Canadiens scored 1 or less goals? He seems to be disproportionately unlucky in that regard. Neither Sergei or Andrei will be in the lineup. Sergei reportedly skated breifly at Brossard yesterday. Ryan O’Byrne continues to be away from the team for family reasons.

    Go Habs Go!!!

    edit* Unsuprisingly, Jaro has been named the starter for tonight’s game.

  1. #1 Senet1 says:
    January 7, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Matts I was wondering the same thing, when Halak has a bad game the habs score 4 or 5 goals, and he get s the win. When Price has a weak game, the habs never seem to score more than two goals. Halak gets the start again against a lower level team that we should beat with a decent game from Halak as well as the team.

  2. #2 Mats Naslund says:
    January 8, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Fairly solid game for the Habs from my perspective (at least from when I started watching half-way through the first). A few things that I noticed and liked was the contribution of 4 lines. Even though Laraque has been mostly useless since he arrived in Montreal, I’m not a fan of dressing a guy only to sit him on the bench. Its a complete waste of the player’s energy. I was happy to see Martin roll 4 lines last night pretty effectively, and while Laraques 5 minutes of ice time was less than he would like, it is considerably more than he has seen in the past. It is especially important to get contributions from all 12 forwards when you have injuries like we have with the Kostitsyns. Laraque had a good game controlling the puck in the offensive zone and a dandy pass that nearly created a Metropolit goal.

    I also loved seeing the continued spark of energy that Benoit Pouliot brings to the Gomez and Gionta line. He is the prototypical player that we need for that line with his mix of size and skill. He is getting an opportunity to revitalize his young career, and is cashing in the way we always had hoped that Latendresse would. He gets his nose dirty, but still has the hands to control the puck and to get good scoring chances. Playing with Gomez his only concern should be firing shots – because you know Gomez wont. More on that in a minute.

    Jaro was fantastic again. The goalie “controversy” aside, it has been fantastic to watch Halak get the opportunity to play starter’s minutes over the past month. He has shown what a fantastic late round draft pick he was. I would prefer if he continued to be a Montreal Canadien next year, but you know he’s going to land a good contract and a lengthy pro career based on his numbers regardless of whether he’s in Montreal or not.

    It wouldn’t be honest of me if I didn’t mention at least a couple areas that are still concerning in our game. Benoit Pouliot has been a steal for us because he’s willing to try to get past a defender for a shot. Michael Cammalleri and Brian Gionta, and Andrei Kostitsyn are the other three players on our roster who will think shoot first. While noone can deny that Gomez, who has 11 points in his last 8 games is playing fantastic hockey, I cringe every time I watch him carry the puck around everyone through the neutral zone only to shy away and look to pass once he gets near the hash marks. It causes too many turnovers to count and serves to limit the offensive chances of his line. I fully believe that is the only thing that holds him from being an 80 point guy in this league. Defenders can cheat on him knowing that he wont try to take the puck by them. If he would attempt even a few times a game to take the puck hard to the net he would buy himself SUBSTANTIALLY more real estate to work with out there. He’s a guy who reminds me in some ways of Kovalev in terms of vision of the ice, but he doesn’t have the same instinct of when to shoot and when to pass. I’m very happy with his play of late, but if he could get going with some shots, Gionta and Pouliot would have an absolute field day with jucy rebounds.

    The other area that is troubling is the pairing of Josh Gorges and Andrei Markov. Markov is at his best when he can ‘chip in’ physically but focus on his strong defensive positioning, speed and puckhandling ability. He was a beast with Souray and Komisarek because he didn’t have to be a warrior. Gorges isn’t big enough to take any of the physical load off of Markov, even though he has the heart of a warrior. I would much prefer to see Markov with Hamrlik or (even better) O’Byrne when he returns. Having the best defender on the team beside him would do wonders for O’Byrne’s game, and would make his job far simpler. Crash and Bang and support when Markov joins the rush.

  3. #3 Senet1 says:
    January 8, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Well tomorrow night we play one of the top teams so lets hope that Halak starts and then we can see whether he is capable of playing this way against a good team and pull out a win. If he does then I will be the first to suggest that he gets more playing time than Price. In that case maybe we play him against the tops teams and Price against the bottom feeders, because so far, it has been the reverse, and to me it has made Price’s record look bad while Halak’s record has looked good.Fact is that Halak has 12 wins and only won has come against a team with a record above 500. He has played 7 games against the better teams and has a record of 1 win and 6 losses.
    Price has played 15 games against the top teams and as a 5-10 records and he has played 11 games against teams below 500 and has a 5 and 6 record. So it seems that out of 21 games not including OT Loses, Carey has played 15 of those games and Halak only 6. Neither goalie has a good record against these better teams which tells us that the team as a whole is not playing well against these good teams. Halak seems to have a better recorda against the poorer teams. 11 of those 16 Price losses were by bascially one goal. So I have a hard time saying that one goalie is any better than the other, Price has a better record against the good teams and Halak has a better record against the poor teams. You cannot compare save percentage due to the quality of the teams each has played against. So I would like to see Halak play a few more games against the better teams to see what kind of a record he would have against them.If he can win consistently against the better teams then and only then will I admit he is the better goaltender. We forget that Price won the Molson’s Cup back in November as the best Habs player of the month. Likewise Halak won it in December.
    That is how I see it anyway.

  4. #4 Lopes33 says:
    January 9, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Habs played a solid game against the panthers, they were ALL over them the entire game, i would love to see more clutch finishes, and of course Halak comes through with a big shut out.

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