Monday, October 22, 2007

Game #8

The Canadiens Game in Review

Date: Monday October 22nd, 2007
Opponent: Boston Bruins
Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal, QC


Team Stripes


Final Score: 6-1 - Win

Habs starting goalie: Cristobal Huet (W)
Opposition starting goalie: Manny Fernandez (L)

Habs goalscorers: Christopher Higgins, Alexei Kovalev, Steve Begin, Patrice Brisebois, Mikhail Grabovski, Andrei Markov
Opposition goalscorers: Dennis Wideman



2007/08 first
There's a first time for everything, so they say. What they didn't tell you is that every game, something happens for the first time, you just have to look harder in March...

1st Back-to-Back wins this season
1st Ever Win against Claude Julien
1st Goal in the NHL for Grabovski
1st Goals of the season for Begin and Brisebois
1st Point of the year for Komisarek



Play of the game
The play you're straining to see on the press catwalk monitor...

Huet made 31 saves and at times looked brilliant. During the first 2 periods, while the game was close he made crucial saves that kept us in the lead and never let Boston get in the game. There were, however, a lot of goals that were scored tonight and all of them were pretty. You should really try and see them all if you can, but there is one that stands out.

For the longest time it was Kostopulos' pass for Begin's first of the year that was making it in here as the 'Play of the game'. Those two's play was unfortunately outdone, or fortunate when you think of it, by Streit, Koivu and Markov. On the power-play Streit kept the puck in along the boards, laid off a through-the-legs backhand pass to Sak, he in turn saucered a backhand pass to Markov who proceeded to skate in, drop a D-man with a fake, only to roof it over Fernandez's right shoulder. Very reminiscent of Markov's last second goal versus the Bruins last year.



Game puck
Trophies are for the end of the year, play well in the game, you get a lovely puck...

Cristobal Huet

No one forward or defenceman stood out tonight, but as a group they played fantastically. Despite the odd mistake, the team as a whole was very sharp this game. Cristo, though, tonight was the standout player. He made 31 saves to raise his save percentage to .934. The only goal against him was on the power-play, a shot from the slot on which he was completely screened. He looked so confidant and sure of his play all game, even his puck-handling was good.



Dome hockey team
We're going into the last minute with these 6 (and they're attached to the ice, so they're not coming off)...

Forwards

Alexei Kovalev
- He potted the game-winner as well as adding an assist. Supplied his usual blend of making the defence look like a team of pee-wees and good hard work along the boards

Mikhail Grabovski
- His best game in the NHL by far. He was rewarded with a goal courtesy of Smolinski, playing his 1000th game, who fed Grabovski a perfect pass on a 2 on 1. Very noticeable in both ends all night, he even saw some PP time and got in a bit of a scrap

Tomas Plekanec
- He shouldn't have too many more people to convince now of his second line status. Ever since January he has looked great with Kovalev and that continued tonight. Good passing, good faceoffs and he put a lot of pressure on the Bruins' puck carriers all night

Defencemen

Mike Komisarek
- Each game this guy takes strides towards becoming an excellent D-man. Tonight he added a little offence, but it is for his D that he is being recognized. He was in the face of the Bruins' players all night, provoking them, hitting them, drawing penalties, it was great. To top it off he had no PIM all night. Countless shot-blocks, now number 2 in the league behind only Volchenkov

Andrei Markov
- A beautiful goal for his third of the season was his high point tonight. He also played very well in both ends. The Markov-Komisarek tandem is becoming one of the best in the league and is shutting down opposing top lines on a regular basis

Goaltender

Cristobal Huet
- His best game of the year. Tons of saves, and a lot of great ones too. His play behind the net tonight was very good, he never tried anything beyond his means



Eyes on Kovalev
Did he flit and float? Someone ought to keep track...

Another great game from Alex. One thing I have noticed all year is that his penalty minutes are down. To me there is no coincidence between that and his increased offensive output. Less incidental minors from AK means more power-plays for us and more PP time for him. He wasn't required to lead the forward group tonight, as there were 12 separate leaders. He did get a goal and an assist tonight, however, which is a nice bonus in a game where we didn't need Alex to be Alex.

Kovalev's Assessment - Very Good



Overall Comments

Boston - new coach, new players, new uniforms, same old attitude. The Bruins will always be the 'Big-Bad' Bruins to me. Unfortunately for Julien and co. 'bad' in this sense is not a compliment. Like the Bruins teams of the past 5-10 years this group can be counted on for giving up, taking plenty of retaliatory penalties and trying to hurt opposing players. We play 8 games against this team and should put in a solid effort every time. Getting a lead on the Bs early in the game means more power-plays, more goals and more wins. We saw this tonight, where after our 3rd goal there was no real chance of them mounting a comeback.

32 shots against Huet may be misleading, especially since we as a team only had 20. Fernandez, believe it or not, isn't that bad, he didn't even play that badly. The difference with the shot totals tonight is that we had 20 quality shots and the Bruins threw the puck at the net 32 times. It is interesting that in a game where we had our lowest shot total of the year we managed to score our most goals in a single game. Watching the game it was obvious that the Habs were given, and used, a lot of time to set up the 'right' shot and often it worked. Sometimes a shot just isn't the same as a shot, numbers can sometimes lie.

This was a great start to a tough week. We now have 3 days off to get ready for back-to-back road games in Carolina and Pittsburgh. Let's hope we'll see more of this offence in the coming days, we know that against teams like the 'Canes and Pens' we'll need it.

1 comment:

Topham said...

I'm not sure if I agree that Plekanec has shown since January that he is great with Kovalev. What he has shown to me is that he is second-line material on his own.

With Kovalev getting an attitude transplant from Kovalev (version March/April), he is showing that he he is capable of playing with Plekanec, it just took a little patience on his part.

I really think the no PIM observation is a good one, actually. It shows the discipline Kovy is brining to his work so far this year...