Thursday, February 07, 2008

Game #55

Price Costs the Habs 2 Points

The Canadiens Game in Review

Date: Thursday February 7th, 2008
Opponent: Toronto Maple Leafs
Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal, QC


Team Stripes


Final Score: 2-4 - Loss

Habs starting goalie: Carey Price (L)
Opposition starting goalie: Vesa Toskala (W)

Habs goalscorers: Tomas Plekanec, Alexei Kovalev
Opposition goalscorers: Kris Newbury, Darcy Tucker (2), Kyle Wellwood



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 Game for Price since being recalled from Hamilton



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

Our second goal was beautiful - it gave us hope at a time where it looked like we were going to lose by more than 2.

We were in the middle of killing a peanlty when Toronto had the puck. That is when Kovy made a very smart play - he cherry-picked. Seeing that the Leafs were about to shoot Alex skated up the ice. In his mind he was thinking that either they score, there is a whistle or I am in alone. The puck came lose in the slot where Gorges dove and gave a hand pass to Plekanec. Tom then sent a bomb to Kovy who went in alone and had no trouble shelfing it on Toskala. He took a major chance and it worked out, it was the right thing to do as risking going down 1-4 to give yourself a chance at 2-3 is always worth it in the third.



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

Alexei Kovalev

Kovy added yet another 2 points and is now just one point shy of pooint-per-game status as he sits at 54. He was a dominant player all night and was really our only constant offensive threat. He always manages a good game against the slow Leaf defence, but his efforts were not enough for the win on this night.



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

Tomas Plekanec
- Tom had a goal an assist and finished with 15 face-off wins out of 20. He tied his career high tonight with his 20th goal, a mark he surely will surpass. His line created a lot of chances in Toronto's end and came ever so close to tying it at 3

Alexei Kovalev
- The Leafs seemed very intimidated by Kovalev all night long and he had free reign all over the ice. His breakaway was spectacular as was his assist on Plekanec's goal. As long as we don't play on back-to-back nights you can count on him to be in the dome

Saku Koivu
- Saku played a much better game than his past 2 games. He was very active along the boards all night and worked well with Latendresse. He played a good game in our own end despite being -2. Don't let being on the ice for goals that weren't his fault fool you as neither goal could be attributed to him

Defencemen

Mark Streit
- No points tonight which comes as a surprise. He did, however, not surprisingly, have a great game defensively. He, like Sak finished at -2, but I don't think he can be blamed for either of those goals. His transition game was good and he played well on the PP

Josh Gorges
- He played another great game for the Habs tonight. He is slowly moving up in my estimation and may in fact now be our #5. With O'Byrne set to come back soon it will be interesting to see what Carbo does as Gorges has really made a spot for himself. He made a great play to get his 4th assist of the season on Kovy's goal

Goaltender

Cristobal Huet
- Has anyone ever considered that Price may not be a superstar? Or, that he may not even be good? I am not necessarily suggesting that he is bad, but I am yet to be convinced otherwise as of yet. He did not give a very competetive Habs squad the chance to win tonight letting up 3 goals on 27 shots. That wouldn't be so bad against most teams, but when you let the players that he did score on you there is no excuse. He was beaten by Newbury (1st of the year), Tucker (7th, 1st in 7 games) and Wellwood (6th, 1st in 17 games). If you can't stop these types of players in a game that you should win then I don't know if you are the next Brodeur - sorry kid. What amazes me the most is that he got a start within 2 days of his call-up whereas Halak waited a month to get 0 starts - looks like the Breezer isn't the only one getting preferential treatment on this team



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

Alex had another great game, but unfortunately he can't play goal. This was a game that Alex gave us a very good chance to win as Toronto hadn't scored more than 1 in their last 10 road games, but his teammates let him down. The good thing is that when we were losing and we needed some goals he was the player who stepped up the most.

Kovalev's Assessment - Very Good


Overall Comments

This was a game that we should have won, but I won't get too upset about it. We are bound to lose games and as long as we don't lose too many in a row we will be fine. We seemed to outplay Toronto all night; we certainly out-chanced them. The difference tonight was that Toskala stopped our chances and Price couldn't stop the harmless plays. The Habs can't be too upset about this one because had they wanted to win we would have played one of the best goalies in the league, not one of the worst from the AHL (Price's Save % in Hamilton is .896).

The Habs have got it right with so many of their youngsters and picks over the past few years - Markov, Ryder, Higgins, Plekanec, Kostitsyn, Komisarek, Streit etc. - that I am baffled by how they are messing up our goaltending situation right now. Halak fits the mould of all those players listed above as he is under-rated, most teams passed on him and he excelled before coming to the NHL. Price on the other hand is living solely on his reputaion, on his Crosby-like hype. I thought that a man as smart as Gainey and a team as well run as the Habs would be able to see true talent within the orginization and not just jump on a bandwagon when it came along. If we are going to make the playoffs we will need to take every game seriously and that means playing players that have proven themselves for more than a 2 month stretch.

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