Win: 6-5 (OT)
Habs Goalie: Price (W)
Opposition Goalie: Neuvirth, Theodore (L)
Habs goalscorers: Gomez, Pyatt, Metropolit, Lapierre, Plekanec (2)
Opposition goalscorers: Laich (3), Backstrom, Green
I had a few choices for this play, but, I am happy to say, that I kept being surprised by each new goal. The play that takes the cake for me, though, has to be the OT goal. I bet everyone in the world (except Habs fans of course) thought that, once they went to OT, Washington would be a lock. Our winner, however, proved a lot of things and showed me that we can beat any team, on any night. The play itself started with more hard work up the boards by Sergei; as he had done most of the night. He then made a great move and an even better pass to Pleks in front of the net. Tom had no trouble tapping the perfect feed past a well out-of-positioned Theodore.
Sergei Kostitsyn - Game Puck
Cammalleri, Andrei and Pouliot gone, who will step up? How about Sergei, how about the boy who had so much promise 2 years ago? Well, if tonight was any indication, he is certainly up to the task. To play such an important role (3 great assists on goals 4, 5, 6) on 3 such big goals meant that we were able to knock off a team that no one thought would fall tonight.
I could have given this spot to Pyatt, Gomez's winger, but settled on Scott as I felt it was his goal, within the first minute of the game, that set the tone that we needed to overcome this team. He followed up on that goal with more hard work at the start of the next period by assisting on Pyatt's first career goal. Aside from the 2 points he led the team in face-offs at 59% and logged over 25 minutes of ice.
Wow! 8 shots and 2 goals from a player who is very interested in being considered elite in this league. There is, therefore, no better stage than against the league's best to show that you belong. Tonight he worked so well with Sergei which is very encouraging as both of those players, right now, are critical to our success. Scoring that goal in OT, his 17th, blew the roof off the building and has Habs fans everywhere thinking more than just playoffs.
It was horrible to see Gorges go down with what looked like a potentially devastating shot to the head. He was having a good game till then and had even been working with Andrei in various situations (including when he got hit). It was, however, up to players like Markov to pick up the slack in Josh's absence and I felt that Marky, in particular, answered the call. He played over 30 minutes tonight (including almost 10 minutes of special teams) and ended at +2. Surprisingly he was held off the scoresheet, but I am happy that he focused more on his own end once Gorges went down.
Hammer, again, jumped up into the attack tonight with quite a bit of effectiveness. He managed a single assist, but I felt that it was his transition play that was key to the attack. Like Markov he played an obscene amount of minutes (28+); exactly what you need from your top 2 in a time of need. A special mention has to go to Hal Gill who, I thought, played a great game, especially on the PK. 11 blocked-shots and an assist meant that this was a very, very tough choice to make.
I can't ask for more than beating the best team in the league. I don't care how many goals he let in, how they went in (let's face it though, most were great as that team is ridiculously talented) or what he really looked like. What I am looking for in a game that should have been a loss is some fight. He showed all this by never putting us behind in the game and by giving us that chance to win. Sure it would have been nice to hold onto the 5-2 lead and see some dominance down the stretch, but, for once, dominance wasn't needed, and that is fine by me.
The Habs started well, but so did Washington. This game really could have gone either way in the end as both teams got very creative and exciting offence and non-dominant goaltending. The good news for the Habs has to be, though, that we even were in this game in the first place. After the game on Sunday most people thought that a loss tonight was a certainty. People, more interested in being right than supporting their team, were writing the Habs off and predicting 2 points, max, from this week. I can't, however, stress it enough how the Habs are the type of team that can do this. They can lose to the worst and can beat the best. I have preached this time and time again and this is one of the reasons I will always love this team - so I am not that surprised. When you break down the Caps you see stunning offence, average D and below-average goaltending. When you make a game-plan against a team like that you must exploit those weaknesses - and that is what the Habs did. They found the chink in the armour and exploited it very well. What the Canadiens realized is that you can't really stop the Caps' offence. You can get up by 3, but you can't stop them. You can have Brodeur in nets, but they will not cease. So, the only way to beat a team like that is to open up and to try and out-score them. Kudos then to the Habs who went for it, right away. They opened this game up and showed how talented they can be. We have 2 more games before the break and 2 points would be great. I think that we have a large group of players that, despite the results, have worked hard and deserve a break. Let's have a great weekend and then we can all cheer for Halak, Pleks, Markov, Weber and the brothers.