Loss: 2-3 (OT)
Habs Goalie: Halak (L)
Opposition Goalie: Elliott (W)
Habs goalscorers: Pouliot, Gionta
Opposition goalscorers: Kovalev, Spezza, Fisher
2 Power-Plays all game, 2 goals all game and almost 2 identical plays. For me, however, I was able to distinguish our second goal from our first as I felt the passing involved was more decisive and the timing was impeccable. This play was ended by Gionta, but I felt that all of the players on the ice played a role. Bergeron, in particular, didn't get a point on the play, but had just made a great play at the blue-line to keep the puck alive. The goal itself was the result of great passing which, to no one's surprise, involved Markov. He was the one who took a cross-ice feed from Pleks before sending a perfect pass of his own, through the crease, to Gionta. The goal made Scotiabank Place erupt and enabled the Habs to get a much needed point.
Pleks picked up 2 assists tonight as he, and the PP were very effective. It was a shame that he happened to be on the ice at 3-on-3 in OT when Fisher scored, though, as I felt it tarnished a pretty decent defensive game. I am hoping not, but this may be the last game Tom picks up 2 points in a game for a while. I'm not sure if Cammalleri is hurt bad, but if he is, the loss of #13 would affect Pleks as much, probably more, than when he lost his other winger.
Brian Gionta - Game Puck
I was waiting for a game-puck recipient for a long time to show up and finally, towards the end of the third I was sold on Brian. I was hoping that an OT hero would supplant him, but it wasn't to be. The funny thing was that until Gionta scored the pick for me was Halak, but because we scored, and then went to OT, he no longer looked so good - normally a goalie getting you to OT is better than not. Anyway, on top of the game-tying goal there were 5 shots and a strong desire to go to the net; it was duly noted.
Ben scored his 13th of the year to give the Habs life and, once again, it was scored in close, while he was standing right in front of the net. That type of play is key for the Habs and I can only hope he keeps it up on the PP and brings more of it to his even-strength play. One would have to think that 20 goals is very possible in Pouliot's case which, if I'm not mistaken, is a barrier we had all hoped Latendresse would hit, but didn't. Can't you all see it people? We now have the player we hoped and thought that Gui would be...and all it cost us was Gui. Aside from his goal he led the team with 4 hits which is a part of his game that I was glad to see.
Markov was fantastic for the most part tonight as he was, once again, very effective offensively. Defensively, however, it slipped towards the end of the game and it all culminated with him getting caught on the game-winning goal. Still, he was our best choice on the blue-line, and so it was no surprise to see him out there for 27+.
Josh was not only our best defenceman early on, but likely our best player in the first period. I counted no less than 3 great plays in that frame alone where he either made a great defensive play or laid a timely hit. He did play well after the first period as well, but didn't stand out as much because by then the rest of the team was waking up. I am assuming that his ice-time will skyrocket with Spacek out, so I wasn't surprised with his 24 minutes today.
This was a very solid game from Jaro and I can only really count one major mistake - the OT goal. Until that point, however, he had been outstanding and was particularly strong in the third and early in OT. He definitely gave our team a chance to win tonight as 2 goals, on the road, to the NHL's hottest team is respectable to say the least. One thing that I did notice was that his 37 shots against were much harder than most of Elliott's 29. This game was a good example of how a shot isn't always a shot.
I made the trip to Scotiabank today and, for the most, part, liked what I saw. Now, for the most part doesn't, obviously mean everything, so here are the negatives. First where on earth is our 5-on-5 play? Would it kill us to dominate a team at even-strength and perhaps, heaven forbid, score a goal once in a while? Second, how come we always skate to the outside of defenders and then hope to generate offence from behind the net or from the corners? Ottawa doesn't do this and, come to think of it, I don't think any other team really does it either. We have to get more creative and I know that we have the skill. Maybe it is time that the coaches think of a strategy other than 'wait for the PP'. That strategy seems to work to get us goals, but not, unfortunately, to win us games. There were also positives from this one and the main one has to be the spirit of the team to comeback and of the fans who never lost hope. The second and third periods were actually quite entertaining and coming back wasn't just a thing of luck. We played better today than we did in Florida this week, but we still have to be better than this to win more often. Losing Camms would hurt us badly, but if we can get the odd 5-on-5 goal and if we can continue to rely on the PP and Halak then maybe, just maybe we'll be able to survive till after the Olympics. That, in my mind, is when this 82-game round-robin really gets going and when the time for slipping by in games will be over.