Win: 2-1 (SO)
Habs Goalie: Price (W)
Opposition Goalie: Thomas (L)
Habs goalscorers: Metropolit, (Cammalleri - SO)
Opposition goalscorers: Bergeron
Price made some dandys and Cammalleri had a nice shot in the shootout, but it was our goal that stood out to me in this one. The goal itself was pretty good, but the fact that it was mostly due to the hard work and effort of Kostitsyn made it that much more significant. Andrei got the puck from White in his own end and flew up the left wing. He had the defender beat to the outside, but chose against the sharp-angle shot that Thomas was expecting. He instead circled the net and lost the keeper in the process. Glen Metropolit arrived at the right time to take a pass and put away an easy one for the Habs.
No points and a -1 rating may have some people questioning this decision, but I can assure you that Tom's play was, once again, first-class. He did very well in his own end as he got stuck in in every sense of the word. He continues to play with a certain edge that I believe was missing from his game most of last year.
Nothing like a trip away from the boo-birds and most of the journalists sometimes, is there? Andrei looked like his old self tonight as he shot the puck, threw hits, battled hard in the offensive zone and created chances for his linemates. His play in our own end was good at times when he came back to break up plays, but his one flaw, tonight, was his inability to get pucks out when he was stationed on our half-boards.
His goal was good and essential, but really all it was was a tap-in. Glen, however, did so much more than that throughout this game. He led a very effective fore-checking line that, at times, seemed like our most dangerous option. He was also quite decent in the other two zones as his defensive coverage was both responsible and effective.
With Bergeron and Carle not being trusted to play more than half of a game between them the other 4 must pick up the slack. That meant pretty big minutes for Josh (23) who seemed to handle it quite well. He had a suprising number of shots on goal (6), but I thought was more effective defensively than offensively. Last year we got into trouble when we asked too much of Gorges and I am just hoping that this 22+ stuff doesn't last for him. He looked good tonight, but ideally he is the type of player who is at his best when he plays 17-20 minutes.
Certain Hammer fans will be happy with this selection - I am indeed one of them. He is one of my favorite D-men on the team, but with that admiration comes of certain amount of expectation for the former #1 draft pick. He was robust tonight and didn't allow much to go on around Price while he was there. He was on for the goal, but after we lost that face-off there was little he could have done. Tonight the two big areas that I am very happy about are his hits (only 3, yet thunderous) and his 29+ minutes of ice.
Carey Price - Game Puck
Price got the win, which he deserved, but he probably also deserved the shutout. He played a very solid game tonight which I believe may be a boost for a team looking for a certain defensive identity. He let off very few rebounds, handled the puck quickly and effectively and made a few spectacular saves. The skill apparently is there and was on display tonight, but I am happy that he nailed the mental game too. The focus and concentration have always been areas that he has struggled in so I am hoping that a win like this will help in that regard. I am not sure who I would play at home on Saturday, but I guess either option at this point would look like a good choice.
Remember when Boston took us to town last year and thought to themselves - 'this is not the team we remember, why were we scared of these guys?'. Well, it is nice to see that the tables, once again, have turned. After 9 straight losses to Boston (4 in the playoffs) it was nice to go into their barn and not get dominated. They are of course missing Savard, Krejci and Lucic (who I don't even think is that good), but are really missing Kessel and the real Chara more. Zdeno was a non-factor in this game as he was outplayed by players like Recchi, Wideman and Begin. Montreal didn't come close to dominating this game themselves, but at least played a decent enough game in my opinion. I felt that defensively we were quite a bit tighter tonight than we had been. Yes there were 43 shots (remember how Price excels when he faces 40+ shots), but I felt it was a case of quantity not quality for Boston. The D did a good job of letting Carey see the puck and I also saw very few deflections, little traffic in front and, for once, no real unlucky bounces. I would label our Saturday game, at home, against Tampa as a must-win given our ambitions and current position in the standings and am confident in saying that if we play like we did tonight we will have a very good shot at getting those 2 points.