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Game 60: Habs/Bruins

  • 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?

  1. We had a good start today but it was obvious from the start tht Boston came to play, it was also obvious that they were vulnerable as they made many mistakes uncommon for the usually solid team system. Unfortunately we could not take advantage of those mistakes and when we did Rask seemed to have and answer for our shooters. Boston has had no breaks for the past 10 games, so they were due to have some breaks and unfortunately they got them against us. We scored two goals for them off our players anyway and the other one they got a good bounce and right to their player who put it in the net quickly. The encouraging sign was that the habs were skating and pressing and had many chances to score, and had one gone it it probably would have been a different game.

  2. So lets say the two top lines stay the same, I wonder what a third scoring line would look like with Cammy, Pouliot and AK, Cammy is a natural centre I think?

  3. Here is what I would like to see for next year.
    Gomez, Gionta and Darche or someone nasty who can score. Then Plex AK46, a big power forward. Then Pouliot and Cammy with a big centre or power winger and move Cammy to centre. IS that too much scoring???
    Then creat a 4th line from what we have left or through trades and/or from Hamilton.

    Trade Gil and Mara, and bring up PK Suban and Maybe Belle for size.
    Trade one of our goaltenders and bring up Sanford as our backup and that will let the other young goalies continue to develop in the minors. It will creat the #1 goaltending position to either Price or Halak which should give either one more confidence.

  4. OK a what if scenario. If we continue to play better than the rest of the lower playoff contenders and make the playoffs, there is a good chance Cammy and Ak46 will be back before playoff time. That would recreate our first two lines of Gomez, Gionta and Pouliot. Plek, Cammy and AK46. The team hopefully will be healty which will then allow us to have Metro, Moan and Lapierre and SK along with Darche and Bergeron to fill in the third and fourth lines. To me that should be a good lineup??? I like Hammer and Specek as a pair and Gorges and Gil seem to be developing into a decent pair which leave Obryne and Markov. Before the playoffs I would like to see a good defensive coach added. Some how have to have better communication and positional play from our defence so #1 we do not get caught up ice so oftern and #2 win have to have better defensive zone coverage when on 5 on 5. Our PP and PK are better than most teams, so cannot mess with those. Halak has to be our starting goaltended come playoffs based on what ha happened to date but then again Price might fool us all if he gets a chance to play consistently again.

  5. #5 Mats Naslund says:
    February 8, 2010 at 11:32 am

    What I’m wondering (as most of us have in the past few weeks) is what, if anything, Bob should do at this impending deadline. The team is in a seriously tenuous position. For the moment we hold a playoff position which due to recent wins is fairly safe – for the moment. Teams below us would have to win all of their games in hand to move over us in the standings. Of course a losing streak on our side would quickly negate anything we may have earned last week. It is this reason that Bob frankly has no real idea if we are buyers or sellers. Even if we went on a prolonged losing skid, we wouldn’t fall far enough to get a high draft pick. Boston is a perfect example of this – losing 10 games and still potentially having a shot at the playoffs. The bottom teams are virtually un-catchable.

    On top of this factor there is an emerging roster issue with a group of players who are fighting for too few spots. Continual injuries to our roster have meant that a total of 32 players have suited up for the Habs this season. While there is no doubt that guys like Cammy and Pouliot have roster spots waiting for their return, we cannot say the same for guys like Sergei, Mara or Darche. These guys have played well, but probably not well enough to distinguish themselves from the rest.

    The Canadiens do hold certain trade-able assets that could improve the roster. Although media pundits have fallen on all sides of this argument, I am personally convinced that the time to trade Carey Price is now. Jaro Halak has been good enough this year, and over the course of his career to suggest Carey is expendable. The question is where does Bob get the best deal? Does he trade to a bottom-feeder for roster players, or a contender for prospects? Or could Bob get a better deal for Price by waiting until the draft – when all teams in the league would be open for business? There is bound to be interest from the teams in the league, the ultimate question is when is the best deal going to be available?

    My long-winded question for the group is: Is there a deal out there that you would make that could make the Habs better in the short or long-term? Would you trade Price as a singular entity, or would you package him with guys like Mara or draft-picks to make a real splash? Or do you think the Habs are better served holding on to Price?

  6. #6 Mats Naslund says:
    February 8, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Edit* change Bob for Pierre and continue lol.

  7. #7 Donnie says:
    February 8, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Same old same old….we play great against teams ahead of us, and rotton against teams behind us. Not being able to defeat the teams behind us on a regular basis is whats gonna hurt come seasons end. Don’t understand this teams driving force AT ALL !

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