Habs Goalie: Price (L)
Opposition Goalie: Backstrom (W)
Habs goalscorers: A. Kostitsyn
Opposition goalscorers: Earl, Koivu, Clutterbuck
No beating around the bush tonight, let's call a spade a spade, shall we? We had one good play all game which works well for this section of the report at least; that play of course is Andrei's goal. The goal itself started with a swift pass from Gomez near the offensive blue-line. Kostitsyn then went up the right-side, on his backhand and was only thinking 'shot'. The sniper now has confidence which means that he will try backhands from beside the net, and tonight that is what worked for us. It was a quick reply to Minny's opener, but we couldn't keep the game tied for long.
An assist and some pretty decent play earns Scott our top-centre award. It is nice to see him playing well, but I do fear that the Habs don't seem to be playing as well since his return - coincidence? I hope. He chipped in with a team-high 5 shots which, although some were NOT scoring chances, shows that he is at least trying to get things going.
I was happy to see that Martin went back to Glen tonight and I actually thought that he did an alright job. He wasn't our best centre, but he did bring some diversity to our attack with bouts of inspiring play. The two things that I really liked were his ability to bounce back from a couple of rough games and his face-off abilities; he went 9-3.
Andrei Kostitsyn - Game Puck
Someone said that they would like to see Andrei do well in wins and not just losses and I tend to agree. He is, however, on quite a roll and I believe that he just happened to get hot while the team was slumping. For now I will refuse to admit the two are related, but I really hope that we can see both happen at once in the near future. Tonight he scored his 9th and had a very impressive 4 take-aways.
Our reluctant #1 did a pretty good job tonight. I doubt when he signed with us he thought that #3 would become #1 so fast, but, I suppose, you gotta do what you gotta do. The Habs only let up 21 shots and you have to thank Jaro for some of that. Sound play in his own end and no-risk hockey meant that he was giving our goalie a chance to be good to great for an easy win. Of course the result was different, but at least he tried. Jaro ended at +1, he was on the ice for nearly 26 minutes.
I wasn't ecstatic to see Mara back, but I did realize tonight that he is a decent piece to the puzzle. In an all healthy environment one has to think that he has his place while Bergeron and O'Byrne move over to the 4th line and press-box respectively. He was our other D-man to end at +1 and played 22+ minutes of calamity-free hockey.
I can't blame Carey for the team's shortcomings, but he really wasn't that great tonight. That said the offence is welcome to win us a game from time to time. How about a 7-4 win? 6-5 perhaps? How come Edmonton and Phoenix and all these other 'weak' teams can do this and we can't. Our D did the job tonight by letting up less than 25 shots, Price gave us a decent chance at OT with 3 goals against, but when you never score a big amount those efforts seem to get forgotten.
We live through these streaks every year, sometimes more than once and, you know what, we aren't the only team to do it. Playoff teams do it, Cup champions do it and so we can do it and we'll be aright. It isn't fun to lose, it isn't fun to not score, but that is sports, the important part is the learning to be better than you've been. Tonight could have been period 4-6 of the Devils game as far as I was concerned, it was a defensive battle in which neither team really attacked the net. There were chances here and there, but this was far different from a Caps or Pens type game. There are 3 things that I picked out tonight that I would like to share. Latendresse - he was better than he was this year with us, but not better than he once was. He is still slow and lacks creativity, I believe he had no place on our team and, although he may be slightly better than some of our current players, I stand by that as we aren't at full capacity right now. The Habs are too clean of a team to win - we got two calls all night and one against. I am not suggesting that we take more penalties, and am glad that we didn't, but we really have to get a little grittier to draw some. We have to force the opposition to take their own dumb penalties instead of allowing them to play us clean. Martin - it was a great call to have Price out with 2:30 to go in the third. You don't see that much in the NHL so I applaud him for giving it a shot. Plus, all of the Wild's wayward attempts on goal should show that an empty net doesn't necessarily equate to a goal. I believe it gives you a much bigger advantage than it is thought to and that it really doesn't make the situation as bad as some would have you believe.