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Game 66: Habs/Stars

  1. #1 groundworking says:
    March 8, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Maybe the same guy who supplies the blow and the girls? Hard to say.

  2. #2 Magpies says:
    March 8, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Off to another dismal start, Habs look really bad playing in the first period. They’re chasing the starts around and not commanding iny play, will it ever end, it seems as though every team we play has a vendeta against us. We need to start getting ugly with the oposition. Take no prisoners…

  3. #3 groundworking says:
    March 8, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Ironic that Ott gave the team the adrenaline shot that they so badly needed. Good game since the Ott fiasco.

  4. #4 Magpies says:
    March 8, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    An awakening!!! Habs Kovy go up by one, it’s a long night folks can they hang on and win.

  5. #5 Senet1 says:
    March 8, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    To me we have got good starts every game but then we seem to start taking stupid penalties and we loose any momentum we start with and the next thing we know we are down by a goal and have to play catchup.

    Tonight we got into trouble with penalties right off the start and we had 9 penalties in the first period and four before the first 8 minutes. Now I am the first guy to complain about the stupid penalties we are taking but how can a team play half the first period shorthanded and produce any offence. And again we take to late first period penalties and start the second period down 5 on 3.

    If there is anything good coming out of this whole mess it is that our PK has been great and the last two games Price has played like we all knew he could. Once we settled down after killing that 5 on 3 in the second we started to put a game together. So maybe we are expecting too much in the first especially with the penalty minutes. I don’t know, but did you see the goal that Kovy got, when was the last time you saw him take that shot? He really looked like he meant business. Hopefully that is a sign of better things to come. Guess I still looking for the silver line in all of this because I do not believe that this team is as bad it has played. Looking for some momentum and maybe this game was it, a win away from home, when was the last time we did that? Now heading home for four games hopefully we can win all four but I would take 3 of 4 and be very happy.

  6. #6 Mats Naslund says:
    March 9, 2009 at 12:48 am

    If you look at this game after the 1st period there was a lot to be pleased about. We got the puck in deep on the fore-check and moved the puck out of our zone well. Carey had a great game and was only beat by a re-direction on a 5-3 PK. You can’t ask for much more than that. That being said, Dallas is not the greatest team, and this game could easily have been a blow out if it weren’t for some key saves and bounces in the first. With any luck we can get both goalies playing well headed into the playoffs. It would change the team’s self image greatly if they could string together a good last 15 games.

    I liked what I saw out of Andrei Kostitsyn tonight. He’s a guy who has been invisible over the past few, and even if you forget his goal, he had many chances using his speed and even threw the odd body check from time to time. We are all aware of the skills he has, now it is all about consistency. That trio was very effective on the fore-check and gives a much better balance to our top two lines. When D’Agostini was on the Koivu line there was all sorts of jump, but noone who can finish. Andrei has that skill and I like him on that line better than with Kovy and Plex. The reason I think its easy for Carbo to keep the lines is also the play of Max Pacioretti. He gives Plex and Kovy the big, fore-checking presence that they need, but has the touch to score a goal and make an intelligent pass. I say this all of the time, but when you put your players in the position to play to their skills you will be far more successful than if you try to fight their natural abilities.

    Another thought I have after today’s game is how much I love Greg Stewart on the 4th line. We’ve always had guys who will grind – Dandy, Kostopolous, Lapierre etc, but finally we have a player who can actually back up his aggressive play with his fists. The others do make an admirable attempt, but Stewart can skate, be a pest and play well defensively. I love what he brings to the fourth line, and would love to see him back on the big club for all of next year.

    I also wanted to note the good game by Ryan O’Byrne. The big goof has been playing well defensively as of late, and seems to have learned how to use his huge body to be an effective defender. I MUCH prefer to have him in the line-up to Brisebois: at least when O’Byrne makes a brutal mistake, there is the potential he’ll learn from it.

    This year has been sickening at times. It has been amazing to me how many players have been slumping at the exact same time. If we could get all of these guys playing well at the same time we could still have a decent playoff season. More importantly for me, I want to see some of the young players have the opportunity to grow into the roles that they need to fill if this team is ever going to become a contender.

  7. #7 groundworking says:
    March 9, 2009 at 1:57 am

    I was surprised at how well O’Byrne can fight – he kind of reminds me of Larry Robinson. He never fights, but when he does, watch out!ts

    I think O’Byrne could implicate himself more in that respect by laying some solid beat downs on unsuspecting pests and fighters on the other team.

  8. #8 Mats Naslund says:
    March 9, 2009 at 4:29 am

    He’s definately a big, strong guy. He’s not a heavy weight fighter, but when guys like O’Byrne and Stewart are in the lineup, the days of running smaller players is over. These guys are what Carbo has called “team toughness”. If O’Byrne gets a little more ice time as we near the post season he could really bolster our size on D. He is infinitely harder to play against than a guy like Brisebois.

  9. #9 Mats Naslund says:
    March 9, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Over the past few months watching the Habs, I have noticed just how important it is to find the right mix for the lineup. During our bad stretches of play our team weaknesses have become glaringly apparent. Throughout the lineup the team seems to lack physicality. At times we have lacked primary scoring and relied on players who are unlikely sources (Lapierre, Kostopoulos etc). Goaltending which has been inconsistent which has in turn led to the loss of confidence in the team’s ability to defend.

    And yet, with so many areas of concern emerging in a roster that many believed would be among the best in the Eastern Conference, we are seeing first hand how a team finds its identity. All season long Carbonneau has shuffled the deck trying to “accidentally” find the right combination of players that can consistently produce, leading to head-scratching lines such as Kostopoulos with Plekanec and Kovalev. As infuriating as these combos have been to those of us who watch the team night in and out, it would be fair to acknowledge that injuries have played a large role in this instability. But now that Carbo largely has his roster in tact (with the exception of BGL who is likely out for the remainder of the season, and Latendresse who is rumored to be close to a return), Guy is finally able to create the line combinations that will give us the most success.

    I am extremely excited about the prospect of seeing Koivu-Tanguay-A.Kostitsyn play together for an extended period of time. This is what you hope for when you build a lne on paper. Koivu is not the most gifted offensive player in the world, but you cannot deny that he is a virulent fore-checker, and a solid face-off man. Add to the line the playmaking and skating ability of Alex Tanguay and the finishing capabilities possessed by Andrei Kostitsyn and you have a balanced, and dangerous top line. Each player provides something different to the trio, and each player’s waeknesses are bolstered by the strengths of the guy skating next to him. When these guys played on seperate lines, you couldn’t say that. Kostitsyn was dangerous with Plekanec and Kovalev, but none of those three were the type of player to really pressure on the fore-check, and as such there were full games when the line looked to be asleep at the wheel.

    Plekanec and Kovalev themselves are also served better by their newer line-mate in Max Pacioretti. Max brings exactly the kind of speed and presence that the Kovy-Plex line need to be successful. Again, a guy who will work his tail off to get possession of the puck (and the size to make a difference in front of the net) in Pacioretti, a guy (Kovy) who can create incredible opportunities for himself as well as others, and a guy in Plekanec who is not afraid to fire shots on net (with the accuracy to actually finish the play).

    The top two lines finally make sense which is exciting for all Habs fans to see. To be a dangerous team in the NHL you need to have balance. You need to have guys that can fill their role. The addition of Gregory Stewart and Ryan O’Byrne have also bolstered their respective lines. Stewart is absolutely the physical force that has been missing from our lineup. He is a guy who can fight, but more importantly he can punish the other team with hard hits and physical play. While Laraque can fight as well as anyone in the league, Stewart brings the balance that the 4th line truly needs. His treatment of the Dallas roster on Sunday night is the perfect example of a guy who changes games by excelling IN his role instead of what we had witnessed earlier in the year with grinders on the top lines.

    The play of these new young guns has happened at the expense of Sergei Kostitsyn and Mathieu Dandenault. In a perfect world, I would like to see Sergei back with the club on the third line. Ultimately I think a line combo of Sergei Kostitsyn, Maxime Lapierre and Guillame Latendresse could be another powerful line in that Sergei is at his best when he plays with guys who can skate and hit. It is a mute point however, considering the log jam of third line players that Carbo will have once Latendresse returns (D’Agostini, Higgins, Lapierre, Latendresse etc.) It is always a benefit to have depth, but when a team has too many players like Higgins who does many things well, but none amazing, you can find trouble scoring (which has been Higgins’ problem for a couple seasons now).

    It is amazing what having a little goaltending will do to a team’s confidence. Now that both Halak and Price have had positive games, the team can focus on the other aspects of their game. We’re finally seeing the team play full games (minus the myraid of penalties) and each player doing ONLY what they are supposed to do to be successful. I can’t wait for Tuesday. Oh the roller-coaster that is Le Tricolore.

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