Habs Goalie: Price (W)
Opposition Goalie: Elliott (L), Lehner
Habs goalscorers: Gionta, Halpern, Kostitsyn, Plekanec
Opposition goalscorers: Michalek (2), Karlsson
Tonight there were choices. Gionta's first of the season was both timely and impressive, Plekanec's winner showed off our speed and tenacity, but I think you would all agree that the tying goal, Andrei's was the cream of the crop. A great passing play between him and Pleks started just inside of Ottawa's zone - 46 to 14 and back to 46 meant that the defence was confused. Then, Andrei got to the front of the net and in one flick of the wrist the game was tied again. It was a beautiful shot which he managed to roof right into the top of the net.
Andrei Kostitsyn - Game Puck
Another great game from Kostitsyn. In this one he was the hero with a beautiful tying goal and a crucial assist on Plekanec's winner. He has started the season very well and is giving our top line a very good third option. I think that Martin has to be careful not to break this line up in the hope of getting G, G and whoever going as this is working and we should leave it at that.
Tom could have won the game puck on a normal night with play like this, but on this night his excellent play was overshadowed by that of his speedy winger. His goal and assist, however, were of course pretty nice and crucial too and it is great to see that chemistry again between those two players. Two other great things to see from Pleks was a 4 in the hit column (led the game) and a 70% face-off percentage.
Cammalleri's 8 shots and strong offensive play was hard to ignore, but I liked the captain just a touch more in this one. Brian was the life of his line (duo really) and contributed with a very nice, and early, goal. In all he had 5 shots too and led all forwards in PP ice-time. It was during that Power-Play time in which I felt he was at his best as, although we didn't score, the PP looked as good as it has all year.
It certainly wasn't PK's flashiest game, but picking up an assist, going +3 and covering up for Picard for most of the night helped him rise to the top. Markov could be back as early as next game so it will be interesting to see if he'll be PK's new partner which will mean much more freedom for the exciting youngster.
Finally the big guy has a game of note. He and Gorges were our best pairing and I felt that it was Gill on this night that outdid his partner. In all he blocked 4 shots (game-high) as he looked more like the player from last April and not the player from last week.
Carey picked up his first home win in a long, long time and that alone is almost enough for recognition. He didn't, however, do much else tonight to stand out. For me, however, a win is the stat and he did what he had to do. All 3 goals were glove-side which made it look a lot like last year, but he did clean that up with solid play the rest of the time. I wouldn't say we were lucky to win, but when you double the other team in shots (especially when you are the Habs) you must certainly take advantage of it.
This game was a lot more intense that I expected and I was impressed to see the Habs out-tough a team. We may not have a Ruutu (cheap/dirty), but players like Gomez, Gionta and Gill all made sure things didn't get out of hand. For me this win, and dominance (at least of the flow of play) is encouraging as I don't think Ottawa are a bad team. I watched the Sens pick apart a very normal looking 'Canes team on Thursday which has me believing that we are possibly as good as any in the East. Washington, of course, will be strong, but if we can beat the teams we should be beating on a regular basis then I think that we'll have a good chance at getting one of those 4-8 spots.