Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Game #33

Habs' Home Winning Steak Halted at One

The Canadiens Game in Review

Date: Tuesday December 18th, 2007
Opponent: Florida Panthers
Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal, QC


Team Stripes


Final Score: 2-3 - Loss

Habs starting goalie: Carey Price (L)
Opposition starting goalie: Tomas Vokoun (W)

Habs goalscorers: Andrei Markov (2)
Opposition goalscorers: Jozef Stumpel, Brett McLean, Stephen Weiss



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 2+ Goal Game vs. Florida since the 2005-2006 season
1st Multiple Goal Game of the season for Markov



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

The play of the game basically comes down to a choice of 2 plays, both by the same player. I can tell you right now there were no highlights in the goaltending, defensive nor passing departments tonight.

So, the play of the game of course goes to Markov and I'll choose his second goal. Both goals were shots from 60'+ out and should have really been stopped now that I think of it. The second goal to me was a little sweeter as for a minute I believed we may have a chance. I thought on a night when the Leafs blew a 2 goal lead with a minute left that karma may just save the Habs and play the same trick on Florida.



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

Andrei Markov

His 2 goals were both good shots, they were from far, but both were accurate. Usually versus Florida no Habs show up, tonight we got at least one as Markov played a great game in both ends.



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

Maxim Lapierre
- He played just under 13 minutes, but seemed to make the most of ice time. He is currently being asked to be a good solid 4th line checker and penalty-killer and tonight he excelled in both of those areas - he was basically the player that Steve Begin used to be

Christopher Higgins
- Until the third period Higgins was quite invisible, but then again so were most of the team. Once the Habs went for a goal or two Higgins was indeed noticeable. He was playing on a line with Sak and Kovy in the third and I thought they looked good, the only problem is whether we can then have an effective 2nd line when that combo takes form

Saku Koivu
- He won a key face-off with just about 30 seconds left, the assist led to Markov's second goal and gave the fans who actually stayed at the Bell Centre something to cheer about. He won 11 of his 17 face-offs and like Higgins was only really visible in the latter half of the 3rd

Defencemen

Roman Hamrlik
- We didn't see him out there with O'Byrne much so his teaching will have to wait. He was playing with everyone and anyone as Carbo went to his best players tonight for the answer. Had a glorious chance in the 3rd that almost went in and would have made this a totally different game

Andrei Markov
- 2 goals and good solid offensive play. He got slightly burned on a 2-on-1 where he was definitely not at fault - that blame lies with Komi and Saku. Other than being on the ice for 2 huge blunders (neither his fault) he played a great game in his own end as well

Goaltender

Cristobal Huet
- Why must we always wait to lose to change things up? Why can't we try and win 3 straight, followed by 3 straight. Price has been over-used as of late and should have got the night off. Huet would have been hungry to get back in and it may have been what we needed to win this game. Not changing your lineup because you are winning is a very media-friendly approach for a coach to make, the problem is that when you have better players that are ready to play there is no sense having them sit. Carey made one huge mistake when he came out of his net to make sure the puck didn't go in to the corner, thus saving his defenceman of one routine clearance. I have said many times that leaving your net will cost you more goals and basically games than not - just watch the highlights



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

A good game for Alex, but nothing special. This is the type of game I can tolerate from our star once in a while. The problem, as it has been most of the year, is that when Kovy is off, the Habs are off. He had a couple of decent passes, moves and shots and was even good on the PK, but tonight was a night where he wasn't able to bail us out.

Kovalev's Assessment - Good


Overall Comments

First of all a special birthday greeting to quite possibly the biggest girl Habs fan around. I know that a loss on her birthday will be upsetting for her, but only because it's a loss and every loss is upsetting.

The Habs just couldn't seem to get going tonight. Every time we made a pass it was mishandled by the receiving player, every time we tried to skate fast or make a pivot we wiped out and each time it looked like we going to make a rush we got stopped in the neutral zone. These games happen the key becomes to make sure that you don't let too many happen in a row.

One thing that bothers me about tonight and just in general is the chirping for those extra 2 seconds at the end of the game - Carbo was all over the ref at the end when he didn't add any time. With every whistle that goes there is a delayed reaction for the score-keeper to stop the clock. It is implied that you will lose 1 -2 seconds with each stoppage and I am fine with that. That is part of the game, it probably happens about 100 times a game. It always annoys me when teams are granted an extra few seconds and was happy tonight that we didn't get them. I don't see why if you do it at the end of the game you wouldn't think to do it all game long. Come on Carbo, you probably could have gotten over 2 minutes extra if you worked hard for it.

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