Habs Goalie: Price (W)
Opposition Goalie: Bobrovsky (L)
Habs goalscorers: Cammalleri, Plekanec, Gionta
Opposition goalscorers: None
I really loved some of the early saves that Price made as I felt that they set the tone for the win. I also liked Lapierre trying to stick up for his mates, Subban backing down from no one and the team playing a pretty version (non-goon) of hockey. The play of the game, however, was the first goal, scored on the PP. My favourite play on the goal was the effort that Kostitsyn put in to win the puck. He used his body and speed to win a puck back and get it to Gionta. Cammalleri finished it off with the type of goal that he had wished he had scored 6 months ago against this dirty squad.
We'll call this a continuation of Saturday's dome as the 3 forwards are the same as they were 3 days ago. I start with Andrei who was strong throughout the game. He proved that he is tougher than Zherdev and that he can actually do offensive things with the puck. Not bad for a team's token winger from the USSR.
Mike Richards spends the whole game, every game, yapping about something. Whining, yapping, complaining, crying into Carter's lap are all part of the dynamic centre's repertoire. Plekanec, on the other hand never says a word, he instead lets his play do the talking. Tonight it was a goal and an assist more and one penalty less than Philly's leader.
Imagine Claude Giroux focused more on hockey and less on slashing and dirty hits? It would be hard, I guess, to disregard every message from your teammates, coach and management, but I wonder if he would have more than 11 goals if his focus was purely on the finer points of the game. Gionta, our speedy, talented winger, outshot Claude by 4 and scored a goal and added two assists. Amazing what you can accomplish when you play the game.
A game against Philly (when the refs are present (October-March) at least) means penalties galore. Unfortunately we can be 10x less dirty than them, but will still end up with close to the same amount of PIMs. So, we needed the PK (Kill, not Karl) tonight and at the heart of that was Gill. Of our PK'ers he was the strongest (honourable mentions to Spacek, Gorges and Hammer too) and was the #2 (Price) reason that Philly didn't score during their 16 minutes of PP time.
The NHL code says that you can't be feisty as a rookie or else seasoned (bad) veterans (O'Donnell) will make you pay (do something stupid). Well, we here at LIW hate things like the NHL code and the type of stigma that comes with being an NHL rookie. It looks like we, therefore, have a friend in PK. He isn't afraid to go after 'stars' to hit the 'untouchables' or to mix it up with 'respected veterans' and it is much appreciated. PK was our best defender tonight and by enraging the Flyers so much he almost single-handidly threw them off of their game.
Carey Price - Game Puck
All of that PP time and the fact that, at their base, Philly is a talented team meant that Carey was busy tonight. In all there were 41 shots to be stopped. Early on it seemed that they were all challenging stops that he was making look easy - it was quite something. All throughout the night I truly believed that he was going to win us this game, never was I nervous when Philly came knocking. When the fans, the team and the goalie all have confidence it seems that wins are made to look easy.
There are two things that I am reminded of tonight, two things that I hate. The first is that the Flyers are a dirty team that don't seem to have any regard for the safety of other teams' players. Making it worse is the fact that when they are down by a couple of goals things just get dirtier and dirtier and this is how players get hurt and seasons get ruined. The second thing that I hate is that we can make this Philly team look like a joke in mid-November, but come April, when the refs and Philly have decided that we all like the game to be played with no rules or concern for safety, the Habs don't stand a chance against a team that has had 82 games worth of cheapness and cheating practice. After tonight's game, last year's playoffs and the whole Colin Campbell ordeal I am getting tired of this regime, a regime that Philly seems to benefit as much as anyone from. Montreal has a good team that can score and play an exciting game, but a game against Philly leaves us with 2 hits to the head, multiple slashes and a reminder that our team isn't built in that dirty, old-time NHL, manner.
Now, let's focus on the Habs for a minute. This was our first game without Markov and so far, so good. He was missed, but I felt that we adapted well. We may need a little help on D, though as we are now only carrying 6 in the NHL (think Colorado is up for a trade?). Our offence is going, in particular our captain, who now has 11 points, is going. If Price keeps this up and we continue to score 3+ goals a night then I think that it will be another very fun week. I am excited for the game against the Predators, but, for some reason, am really excited to play Toronto on Saturday; time to avenge that opening-night loss!