Win: 5-4 (OT)
Habs Goalie: Halak (W)
Opposition Goalie: Lundqvist (L)
Habs goalscorers: Cammalleri (3), D'Agostini, Bergeron
Opposition goalscorers: Anisimov, Kotalik, Gilroy, Gaborik
I was hoping for this type of finish tonight, but after the end of the first period I wasn't expecting it. The whole game, however, seemed to be leading to what I would eventually call the play of the game. Almost as though Cammalleri knew he was to be the OT hero he also knew there was work to do to get there. So, when we were down 2-4 he went to work and was instrumental in our final 3 goals. The third, and my choice for in here, was the nicest to me. Mike did this one all himself and reacted as though he knew this was an inevitability. Weaving in his own zone as both teams changed Mike was finalizing his plan. He then skated up the right wing and made quick work of any Rangers in the way. The last step was the goal, but he made that look so easy as he placed another perfect shot from his off wing past the keeper. To top it off there was the same look on his face as he had on Thursday: ya, I knew I was going to score then, didn't you?
Mike Cammalleri - Game Puck
What a game from Mike! This game, at last, gives me the proof I needed that he is indeed an elite goal-scorer. In fact his 5 goals all came this week and that means he has 5 in 10, but more impressivly, 5 in his last 4. All 3 goals, and the assist, were due to his hard work and patience and the work of some pretty good teammates. Mike is teaching us that when higher-end talent plays with higher-end effort we, as a team, will always have a chance.
Brian, I felt, was one of our best players early on in this game when we were dominating the Rangers. He, along with his linemates, were way too much for New York to handle and that culminated with our first goal - one of the nicest you'll see all year. In the end Brian picked up 2 assists and was, again, very effective offensively.
Matt played his best game of the season tonight and so did his centre Chipchura. I wasn't the only one to notice either as Martin kept coming back with this duo (with an assortment of wingers) in the latter stages of the game. I really liked his goal (which was essentially scored while we were shorthanded) as the way he stole the puck was amazing, If D'Ags keeps working as hard as he did in this one then we'll be very happy to have him on a lower line and on the PK.
Tonight I noticed Hamrlik's mistakes, Beregeron's goal (and brutal giveaways), Spacek's inability to get the puck out and Gill's usual play. What I didn't really notice, however, was Gorges on the ice. In fact in the third I stated, after seeing him out for a shift, that I had forgotten he was even playing. In all he played 19 minutes of mistake-free hockey (yes, he was on for Kotalik's goal, but Gill should know better than to chase behind the net, where Josh already was, to leave a man open in the slot) and that is enough for me on this night.
The other defenceman who stayed out of defensive trouble was Paul Mara. I did notice Paul on the ice (unlike Josh), but what I saw from him was good enough. He was also on for a goal-against, but was really not to blame on the play. He moved the puck pretty well and did a decent job on special-teams. Our D will have to be better than they were, but at least two of them played near their potential.
Halak put us in a bit of a hole, but I think that the last 3 goals have deeper roots in defensive mistakes than in his own (man left alone in slot, impossible to see screen shot and breakaway by superstar). That said, a great goalie would have had the first one and at least one of those 3, so why did I choose him? Well, for one he got us the win, but for another it was the fact that he never slipped up after that 4th goal (he didn't turn this into a 2-7 game - he remained focused). He gave the Habs a serious chance to win by playing a decent 3rd period (albeit only 5 shots against). This wasn't Halak's best effort, but it wasn't his worst either. I think we'll see Price again soon, but I also think that the spot of #1 is still up for debate and, if this season (and last), is any indication Jaro has as good, if not a better, shot at it than Carey.
Montreal started this game very well, but by the middle of the first period it was all New York. It looked, for a time, that our winning streak would come to a close and that the reality of playing a strong team was setting in. Then, out of nowhere, the Habs went to work to convince us that they too were a good team. To me it was D'Agostini's goal (thanks to Max Lapierre too) that really got the ball rolling. That goal made it 2-3, but we could all sense the life they had. A Gaborik breakaway didn't really steal our momentum away as we just saw that as a slightly bigger challenge to overcome. In fact two more goals would come by the end of the second (Bergeron and Cammalleri - thanks to a beautiful pass from Plekanec) and all of as a sudden it was tied heading into the break. The third period was a more calm affair with neither team going for it too much. Both teams, therefore, were happy to get to OT where each would again try to score. Martin deployed Plekanec and Cammalleri (a very interesting combo that could be the basis of a new second line?) and they performed very well. In the end it was Mike, all by himself, who managed to score quite a goal for the winner.
We have a big week ahead of us which includes 4 games and our first road games after 2 1/2 weeks at home. We play the Islanders, Penguins, Blackhawks and Leafs. My goals for the week, therefore, are 4 points and to not be Toronto's first victim. I doubt Toronto will win before we play them on Saturday so that means a win, at home, against the league's worst is a must.