Habs Goalie: Price (W)
Opposition Goalie: Mason (L)
Habs goalscorers: Pacioretty, Wisniewski, Gionta
Opposition goalscorers: Antropov
Price played fantastic and kept us in this game throughout, but I couldn't think of one single stop by him that won this one for us. So, I have to go with the empty-netter, the goal that essentially gave us 2 points and them none. Gomez made a great play to knock the puck out of the zone and into Gionta's path. The captain then showed great speed and determination to get to the puck before Bogosian. A quick chip at it looked easy enough and gave the Habs their third.
Max was the quickest Hab out there tonight and exposed the Thrashers D on a few separate occasions. He scored his twelfth of the season on a shot that wasn't his best chance of the game, but that seemed to have eyes. He should bag 15 this year and it should be interesting to see how close to 20 he'll get.
Brian played the most of any forward tonight and I felt that he deserved his ice-time. It was a bit of an off-game for Pleks and his crew, so it was nice to see Gio's line answer the call. That goal was his 23rd and he may very well hit 30 this year which would be quite something considering the start that he had.
I am happy that David stood out tonight. The fourth line is kind of getting left behind, but it seems that if you play well you will be rewarded; case and point was his PP ice-time. Martin put Pleks at the point on the first wave and that freed up the centre spot for David. He made his presence felt by notching a crucial assist on the Wis' goal. He was also very strong at face-offs, going 11-2.
Very strong on the PK and stayed out of trouble all game in his own end. He is playing very soundly right now and seems to be the perfect fit for our boy PK.
I am really happy that we didn't trade James yesterday as some had predicted. He not only can shoot, but, as we saw tonight, also has some serious moves. I also feel that his physical play and positioning are good enough to take a regular shift at even-strength. Along with PK and the Hammer we have a decent top-4 as we head down the stretch. Sopel, Mara, Weber, Spacek and Picard should give us some options and assurance too, for what will hopefully be at least another 2 full months of hockey.
Carey Price - Game Puck
It was throw back night in Atlanta. Back to a time when the Habs used to play in front of 500 people and another time (last year) when we used to let up 40+ shots with regularity. Just like Halak did for us last year Price seemed to welcome the added shot-load. He looked so good in his net that I was very shocked to see one go in. This game was a nice bounce back after being sick for a couple of days.
Atlanta played like a team desperate to make the playoffs; we played like a team that belongs in them. Sure, they had more chances and shots, but we seemed to be the team that handles the pressure better. Had it not been for Price we would have lost. That is a true statement, but we have Price, we have him, like that, in almost every game. That is like saying that the Caps without Ovechkin couldn't win or the Sens with a goalie could. Our team is built to rely on solid goaltending and tonight we exercised that right. For some reason we never play that well in Atlanta (I think it may be due to the lack of emotion or excitement in that building) so it was nice to take the win. We have two very winnable games coming up this week in Florida and I would like to get the 4 points. 2 wouldn't be a disaster, but now could be the time to really solidify our spot as I feel that we are clicking enough to make the full 4 a reality.