I dont know about you guys but I’m still feeling great after yesterday’s refreshing win over the defending champs. From the start Montreal took the game to Pittsburgh with speed and determination. They used an aggressive forecheck, and for the first time since Martin uttered the words “puck possession”, the Canadiens delivered with crisp passes in the neutral zone, and bodies crashing the net looking for rebounds. The result was what we’ve been looking for from day 1. The Canadiens battled for rebounds that they never seem to win, and controlled long stretches of the game in the opposition end. The happiest guy in the rink was probably Jaro Halak who for once was allowed to be average for a win (although he made some incredibly timely saves).
The Canadiens got an incredible game from Hal Gill and Josh Gorges. I have been increasingly impressed with this duo since Martin moved O’Byrne up with Markov. O’Byrne himself had another stellar night, and has played with incredible courage and maturity since the loss of his mother to cancer only days ago. If ever there was a poster boy for the importance of patience with young players, it is O’Byrne. He has rewarded his coaches trust with reliable support, and loads of grit which suits his partner Markov perfectly.
After the game everybody on CBC and elsewhere was talking about the kids (Desharnais, Trotter and White) who were a force for the Canadiens. What impressed me the most was their ability to do the kind of work that is necessary to draw penalties. The Habs have been brutal at this so far this season. The kids were able to rob Pittsburgh of momentum almost at will by moving their feet and out-working their opponents for loose pucks. The resulting powerplays allowed the team to dominate puck possession and chase Fleury from the game. Lets hope the kids can keep it up today.
I also wanted to mention the fantastic play of the two scoring lines. Plex, Darche, and Sergei were very impressive, generating many scoring chances (and a goal) early on that afforded Montreal with some confidence. There is clearly some chemistry developing between these three as they were very dynamic in their passing, and the addition of Darche has meant a steady supply of traffic in the goaltender’s crease. The Gomez, Gionta, Moen trio were also fantastic yesterday. I was happy to see goals for Gionta and Gomez as Montreal will need these guys to continue to supply tallies with Cammilleri and Pouliot on the IR.
Today the Canadiens will face a desperate opponent. The Bruins have now lost 10 strait games. In both of their previous two games they have blown 2 goal leads to loose in shootouts. If ever their was a team that they would want to beat to snap their streak it would be us. Given how they outplayed Montreal for long stretches on Thursday night, Montreal had better bring the same effort they brought last night. Fatigue will be an issue, but no excuse as both teams played yesterday.
Its Superbowl Sunday! I can’t wait for Penguins/Caps at 12. I’ll be perfectly geared up for our 3pm start. Who do you want to win tonight – Saints or Colts? I’m personally hoping for a close game and a Dolphins suprise win. It could happen.. right?