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Game 75: Habs/Panthers

  • I wont get too into the emotion of last night because everyone who watched clearly understands what a painful loss that was. The loser point really doesn’t begin to soothe the burn of losing a game in which we held a two goal, shut-out advantage late in the third period. Rocky said it best last night: Carey Price should sue this team. If we were in the US, he may even have a case. The kid makes 40 stops and is within 4 minutes of an incredible bounce back win after a prolonged sit on the bench. I wont even speculate the benefit to our team a win would have been last night – to re-energize BOTH goalies, as well as the rest of the club.
    IF we had won we’d be talking about the influence Mike Cammalleri had in stabilizing the Plekanec line. We’d be talking about maybe the streakyest player ever: Andrei Kostitsyn who ONLY scores in bunches. We’d be talking about the fantastic defensive play of many forwards including but not exclusive of : Gomez, Gionta, and Moore. We’d be talking about how the team played an effective, simple road game that witnessed our defenders play big time minutes and successfully stifle division rivals.
    Instead we watched in abject horror as a parade of Canadiens marched into the penalty box in the third/overtime which left the Canadiens killing off 1 and 2 man advantages (once Miller was pulled) for extended periods of the final minutes. I have to commend Price for doing all that he could to keep the puck out of the net, but there is only so much that a guy can do when pucks are pin-balling their way through sticks and legs and are left sitting on the doorstep for open players.
    Last night I watched the game online, and had the fortune of seeing a European feed of TSN which did not cut to commercials. I was able to hear the comments and set up that Pierre Mcguire, and Gord Miller made once the cameras and mics were “off”. It was interesting to hear what you normally wouldn’t. McGuire remarked in the third that the Habs were playing a solid road game and that if they could stay out of the penalty box they really deserved to win. Before overtime started, Miller exclaimed “this may be the least deserved point in the history of the Buffalo Sabres!”
    Maybe so, but you don’t always get what you deserve in the NHL. For 57 minutes the Habs did exactly what was necessary to win the hockey game (save for two knucle-head penalties by O’B and SK74). I wont get too into the emotion of last night because everyone who watched clearly understands what a painful loss that was. The loser point really doesn’t begin to soothe the burn of losing a game in which we held a two goal, shut-out advantage late in the third period. Rocky said it best last night: Carey Price should sue this team. If we were in the US, he may even have a case. The kid makes 40 stops and is within 4 minutes of an incredible bounce back win after a prolonged sit on the bench. I wont even speculate the benefit to our team a win would have been last night – to re-energize BOTH goalies, as well as the rest of the club.
    IF we had won we’d be talking about the influence Mike Cammalleri had in stabilizing the Plekanec line. We’d be talking about maybe the streakyest player ever: Andrei Kostitsyn who ONLY scores in bunches. We’d be talking about the fantastic defensive play of many forwards including but not exclusive of : Gomez, Gionta, and Moore. We’d be talking about how the team played an effective, simple road game that witnessed our defenders play big time minutes and successfully stifle division rivals.
    Instead we watched in abject horror as a parade of Canadiens marched into the penalty box in the third/overtime which left the Canadiens killing off 1 and 2 man advantages (once Miller was pulled) for extended periods of the final minutes. I have to commend Price for doing all that he could to keep the puck out of the net, but there is only so much that a guy can do when pucks are pin-balling their way through sticks and legs and are left sitting on the doorstep for open players.
    Last night I watched the game online, and had the fortune of seeing a European feed of TSN which did not cut to commercials. I was able to hear the comments and set up that Pierre Mcguire, and Gord Miller made once the cameras and mics were “off”. It was interesting to hear what you normally wouldn’t. McGuire remarked in the third that the Habs were playing a solid road game and that if they could stay out of the penalty box they really deserved to win. Before overtime started, Miller exclaimed “this may be the least deserved point in the history of the Buffalo Sabres!”
    Maybe so, but you don’t always get what you deserve in the NHL. For 57 minutes the Habs did exactly what was necessary to win the hockey game (save for two knucle-head penalties by O’B and SK74).

    I wont get too into the emotion of last night because everyone who watched clearly understands what a painful loss that was. The loser point really doesn’t begin to soothe the burn of losing a game in which we held a two goal, shut-out advantage late in the third period. Rocky said it best last night: Carey Price should sue this team. If we were in the US, he may even have a case. The kid makes 40 stops and is within 4 minutes of an incredible bounce back win after a prolonged sit on the bench. I wont even speculate the benefit to our team a win would have been last night – to re-energize BOTH goalies, as well as the rest of the club.

    IF we had won we’d be talking about the influence Mike Cammalleri had in stabilizing the Plekanec line. We’d be talking about maybe the streakyest player ever: Andrei Kostitsyn who ONLY scores in bunches. We’d be talking about the fantastic defensive play of many forwards including but not exclusive of : Gomez, Gionta, and Moore. We’d be talking about how the team played an effective, simple road game that witnessed our defenders play big time minutes and successfully stifle division rivals.

    Instead we watched in abject horror as a parade of Canadiens marched into the penalty box in the third/overtime which left the Canadiens killing off 1 and 2 man advantages (once Miller was pulled) for extended periods of the final minutes. I have to commend Price for doing all that he could to keep the puck out of the net, but there is only so much that a guy can do when pucks are pin-balling their way through sticks and legs and are left sitting on the doorstep for open players.

    Last night I watched the game online, and had the fortune of seeing a European feed of TSN which did not cut to commercials. I was able to hear the comments and set up that Pierre Mcguire, and Gord Miller made once the cameras and mics were “off”. It was interesting to hear what you normally wouldn’t. McGuire remarked in the third that the Habs were playing a solid road game and that if they could stay out of the penalty box they really deserved to win. Before overtime started, Miller exclaimed “this may be the least deserved point in the history of the Buffalo Sabres!”

    Maybe so, but you don’t always get what you deserve in the NHL. For 57 minutes the Habs did exactly what was necessary to win the hockey game (save for two knucle-head penalties by O’B and SK74).  They kept the game simple and for the most part were the better team. Thats where the positives stop. They gained a point, but have left the door open for Boston to pass them if they continue their (recent) good play. Atlanta is still 5 points back, so the playoffs are still ours to lose, but we all know that they are no guarantee.

    Tonight we have a critical game against the Panthers in Montreal.  It was a stinker against the Panthers before the Olympic break that sent shrieks of panic through the Habs’ blogosphere about the team’s post-season chances. You only hope that last night ticked the Habs off enough that they come out strong against a team that is out of playoff contention, but has played well of late.

  1. #1 Mats Naslund says:
    March 26, 2010 at 10:19 am

    A good night last night for all Habs players, although some benefited more than others. First, a huge congratulations to an emerging superstar Thomas Plekanec. Last night he scored his 100th NHL goal into an empty Florida net to ice the game for the Habs which I’m sure in his mind puts an exclamation point on an already incredible season. But I wanted to mention Plex for more than just his points which have him in the top 25 in NHL scoring. Last night Thomas led all forwards (as always) with 19:39 in TOI, led the PK unit to 5 successful kills, blocked 5 shots, and forced countless turnovers by his active stick and fantastic defensive awareness. Its a slow rumble, but I’m hearing that PLex is being considered as a Selke candidate. Certainly he is a long shot, but when you think about the guy who has won it the past few years: Pavel Datsyuk, you can really see some similarities in the way these two players play the game. It has been a pleasure to watch Plex do his thing this year and you can definitely count me among the throng of Habs fans who are pleading with Pierre Gauthier to sign him back next season. I know money is tight – but that didn’t stop Detroit or Chicago from locking down players that they felt they needed. People worry that Plex’s game will regress, but I really don’t see that happening the way he has played this entire year. His point totals might be lower, but you can count on him to play HUGE minutes and to be as solid a defender as there is in the game. For that he needs to be paid. I say at 27 years old, you lock him up long term whether that is using the Kesler model – 6 years at $5 million, or a Johan Franzen type long-term, front loaded deal to keep the cap hit down. It doesn’t matter to me. He is too valuable to lose next season and is absolutely a building block for future success.

    The other player I wanted to mention was Brian Gionta. I will be the first to admit that I went off the rails when Bob Gainey signed him last summer. I didn’t see him as the kind of FA splash that Montreal needed at all. In 54 games this season Gio has 25 goals. If you work that pace out to an 82 game schedule he would have 37 goals. That is fantastic work by the smallest guy in the league. He is unbelievable and has entirely erased every (wrong) notion I had about him this past off-season.

    The final guy I want to mention is Travis Moen. The guy is a warrior plain and simple. Gainey signed him this past summer because he knew Moen was a tough guy who can skate, defend and contribute on the offensive end. We saw how valuable he could be to our third line early in the year with Glenn Metropolit, but he has seen a revitalization of his game with SK74 and Dominic Moore. The line has recently been a perfect combination of grit, speed, skill and control. Each guy brings something different to the table, but Moen has been incredible, especially considering the gruesome gash he took the other night to his face and eye. The third line has been the catalyst for our puck possession in the offensive zone which on most nights has been the key to our success.

    The Habs have a day off in the schedule which they will use to practice. Saturday brings a new challenge, and opportunity in Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils. It should be a fun one to watch. Go Habs Go!!

  2. Hey Mats,

    I’m new here but I really like what I see. Seems like you take a pretty level-headed approach to the Habs, which is rather refreshing in this city. Anyway, on the Plek deal, I think we need to get this done also. I wouldn’t go as far to say he’s an emerging superstar, but he’s definitely priority #1 for the Habs this offseason, even more so than the goalies since he can walk away without compensation as a UFA. I don’t see a drop off from him next year either. This has been his most complete season to date and he hasn’t had Kovalev to generate points for him like 2 years ago; for the most part he’s been the catalyst on his line. He’s also our best penalty killer and I think at one point he was near the league lead in PPP. Long story short: he needs to get re-signed. There’s no viable replacement for him from within or on the UFA market. From what I understand Gauthier is not keen on offering big money, long-term deals, so I expect a contract similar to Kesler’s. I think he’s proven that he’s a $5 million player so I’d be happy with that. How many guys are there in the league that bring strong 2-way play at 5 on 5, 60-70 points and top flight penalty killing? Not all that many.

    Anyway, keep up the good work. I’ll be checking in. :)

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