Opponent: Maple Leafs
Habs Goalie: Auld (L)
Opposition Goalie: Giguere (W)
Habs goalscorers: Cammalleri
Opposition goalscorers: Kessel, Kaberle, Versteeg
Not much to choose from here. It has to be our goal, really. I liked the work that Kostitsyn did to get the puck towards the Leafs line. From there Pleks did a nice job to cause confusion and then Camms cleaned up the play nicely with a very well-placed shot.
Michael Cammalleri - Game Puck
Mike scored our only goal tonight and looked semi-good at other times during the game. It is hard to say that anyone played well when a team like the Leafs beats you, but amongst the group Camms was the best.
Max was noticeable tonight, more so than usual. He seems to like games that mean something and a game against Toronto always does. It would be nice if he was a pest in all 82 games, though, as otherwise he doesn't bring much.
Pleks, by default really, is in the dome again. He wasn't at his best, but did play better than any other centre that we have (which actually doesn't say much, but does earn domes). There were moments tonight that were good, but there certainly wasn't enough sustained effort to make this game noteworthy.
Again, when people play badly all you have to do is look to someone who didn't play as bad. Usually those players are your best to begin with and that is the case with Hammer tonight. There was nothing special, but to be +1 when your team loses 1-3 and you play 22+ minutes must count for something.
Once Spacek went down it was most likely going to be between Gill or Gorges as the other 3 played themselves out of the dome pretty early. I liked Gill tonight as I felt his positioning and timing were pretty good. He was another D-Man (Hammer, Spacek) who wasn't on the ice for a goal against.
Based on tonight's play I can't take this dome away from Auld. The goals were on the weak side, but he only let in two and his team had plenty of opportunity to win had they wanted. Going into the weekend, however, I may have played the goalies differently (assuming I wanted Price to have a day off). I think that winning in Detroit (a team that is now 35-9-5 since the Olympics) was always going to be near impossible. I may have accepted that loss (with the hope that Auld could win) and focus on getting at least 2 points from the games with a win in Toronto. We all know that the Leafs, no matter how bad they are, is always a tough game and for that reason I think Price could have been the difference. Easy to say afterward, but I do think that planning like that could sometimes help in these situations.
Three things that I noticed tonight.
1 - We need Gomez. Does it have to be Gomez? No, but someone of the top-2 variety is essential. We can't have Eller, Lapierre and Halpern as our 2-4 centres, it is just too weak. Maybe it would be nice to have someone other than Scott in there, but with his salary he isn't going anywhere, so I do wish that he could have been there tonight. When he isn't there you realize that he is your depth and that he plays a much better game than any of the others. Maybe he doesn't get the points that we all hope, but the team is a better, more competitive team when he is in and that is all I care about; he could get 5 points all year for all I care so long as we have a good year.
2 - Why can MacArthur assault Spacek for no reason? Well, you will all say that he was retaliating to Spacek's hit on the boards. Yes he was. But, this is the same hit that the refs judged was legal. But then the refs lets MacArthur take the law into his own hands and they accept that? What the hell is that? How can a player skate at someone like that, throw off his gloves, assault a player and end up with the same penalty that our player got? All Jaro was trying to do was defend himself. It was a brutal play and it cost us a very good player. In an ideal world that is a suspension for MacArthur as that type of action is totally unacceptable. In the NHL it is applauded as toughness, grit and ballsy. The league's and refs' attitudes allow this to happen. That is why we are now down a good player.
3 - PK's backswing cost us. I don't think that there is any player or goalie in the NHL that can't stop a shot when they have a 215° warning that it is coming. That shot which got blocked ended with an empty-net goal and made PK drop to -3 in the game. I still have a lot of faith in the kid, but I may be careful using him at such crucial times as the 'learn-from-your-mistakes' method can be taught when we are up by more than 1 or in minutes 0-58 believe it or not.