Loss: 3-4 (SO)
Habs Goalie: Price (L)
Opposition Goalie: Varlamov (W)
Habs goalscorers: Spacek, Plecanec, Moen
Opposition goalscorers: Fehr (2), Ovechkin, (Backstrom - SO)
The second period was very exciting to watch and no play, in my opinion, was better than Plekanec's tying goal. The Habs had been owning the Caps for quite some time and one could sense another goal coming on. Pleks' line was on the ice and all 5 players were buzzing. Cammalleri was the one who got this particular play going with great work behind the net. He got the puck to Hammer at the point who then sent it over to the left-point, to Spacek. Jaro took a good shot that resulted in a scramble in front. A lot of players were there to have a good look at the puck, but it was Tom that beat them all to it as he potted his 6th of the year.
Mike didn't score tonight, but he played a huge role on 2 of our goals. He worked very hard and created quite a few chances for himself and his linemates. The knocks on him tonight are that he didn't score in the shootout (didn't really like his move) and he was very weak on a clearance attempt right before Washington tied it up. Those two plays, however, weren't enough to detract from his solid, overall play.
I was very pleased with the way Max played tonight. He seemed to be the quickest Hab out there and he actually used his speed in the right way. He also stunned me with some pretty decent stickhandling; something that I didn't know he had in him. All of these are signs that he is becoming more and more confident in the NHL. I am really looking forward to the day that we are healthy and that he'll be on a third line playing against easier opposition.
Pleks had another dismal night in the face-off circle, but that had to be the only blemish on his game tonight. He was fantastic at both ends as he once again carried a lot of the load for our team. I think Gomez will be back next week, but when he does return I think he should be warned that his ice-time and status as #1 centre may be have all of sudden been taken by Pleks. One last thing - why do we keep using him in the shootout? 1/13 lifetime isn't going to win us many games, so I think next time he must sit.
Roman Hamrlik - Game Puck
Hammer played a good portion of his 25+ minutes against Ovechkin and I thought did a good job of minimizing his chances. In fact, the only goal of Washington's that he was on the ice for was the tying goal which, once the face-off was lost, would have been hard to prevent. He ended up being the only player to end the game with a positive rating and also chipped in with 2 assists.
Spacek coming back not only brings us a great defender, but also provides us with an upgrade from Jay Leach. Sometimes you don't know someone's true worth until they are gone and I think that was the case this week while Jaro was away. Tonight he looked like he had missed no time at all as he put forth a solid game both defensively (mostly against Ovechkin's line) and offensively with a goal and an assist.
I feel bad for Halak as he has sat for 8 straight games, but how could you question the call to have Carey in there? I can't see anyone doing too much better than he has done. Tonight, however, I would have liked to have seen a save on goal #2 or #3, but, as he has done lately, he made up for it with some great saves - especially the stop on Ovechkin's breakaway. He took first shots well, controlled rebounds decently (apart from the 3rd goal), but I can't give him a free pass for his puck-handling. On a few occasions he almost cost us with some bad giveaways including one with about 30 seconds to go which allowed the Caps to keep the puck in the zone, get a face-off and inevitably score.
The first period could have been the fourth of the Pittsburgh game. We looked tired, out of ideas and destined for a loss. The second period, however, was probably our best of the week (better than the third against Columbus by a hair I'd say) as we were too much for the Caps to handle. We carried that momentum into the third and drew a couple of penalties thanks to our strong play. We failed to score on a 5-on-3, but did get one before the second man came out of the box. Then we decided to see if we could hold on for the win. Gone was the strong offensive play only to be substituted by 'hope-we-can-stop-Ovechkin' defensive play. Letting a team like Washington see if they can score never seems to be a good plan. Add to that 2 penalties (10 minutes to go and 15 seconds to go) and some brutal giveaways and it started to seem like we too were playing for OT. We had a couple of good chances in the extra frame, but couldn't get one by the kid. Our shootout attempts all looked pretty pitiful so it was, once again, on Carey Price that we pinned our hopes. You can't fault him in the end for letting in 1 of 3 (Backstrom) as that was quite the shot.
In all the week wasn't too bad. We got 3 points from 3 games which, considering the line-up we have iced and the opposition we have faced, is quite decent. It is now onto December and 17 games in 31 nights. Looking at our competition I still think that 20 points is doable, despite our injury concerns. I will, therefore, set that as the goal for the month. That amount happens to be the equivalent rate to a 96-point season which; those are playoff type numbers. So, 20 is the magic number this month and, oh ya, so are 79 and 100.