Loss: 2-3 (SO)
Habs Goalie: Price (L)
Opposition Goalie: Enroth (W)
Habs goalscorers: Cole, Pacioretty
Opposition goalscorers: Pominville, Roy (Vanek, Boyes - SO)
Pacioretty's goal demonstrates all that is good with his line, with the hottest line on our team. Desharnais, who is playing some fantastic hockey, started the play at the blue-line and put in a nice little pass for Max. Pacs beat two defenders and then got off a weak shot. Not to be outdone, Cole went hard to the net, as usual. The puck trickled in, but one has to think that it would have gone in somehow as Cole and Desharnais were ready to pounce.
This line did it again and makes you wish that one or maybe even two of the other three lines would have stepped it up too. Desh was on for both goals and probably should have been asked to take a shootout shot instead of the slumping captain.
Max Pacioretty - Game Puck
Saying he is our best player doesn't even feel weird anymore, it seems kind of right. Players like Gomez, Gionta and Cammalleri have made it easy for Max this year as the competition for best forward is really not as hot as it should be. He was all over the Buffalo coverage tonight and could have had a hat-trick had the bounces gone his way. If he keeps playing like he does a 35+ goal and 70+ point season will be reality.
It was too bad that Erik took that penalty in OT, otherwise it would have been the perfect game from him. Nevertheless, he played very well as he used his speed time and time again against a quick Sabre defence. He isn't scared to stay out on a shift if a chance is there, he isn't scared to go to the net and rough it up and most of all isn't scared to take on any defender on the ice.
No Markov or Campoli, no Gill tonight and we were only halfway through the game when Spacek went down. That means a young D and a win (or point in this case) requires certain guys to step up. I thought that Diaz was one of the best out there as he played with poise, patience and creativity. He was used by his coach in all situations and did a formidable job. When all those guys are back will he have a place? At this rate, who am I kidding? When will we ever have all of them back at once.
Yannick was our best defender tonight. One of the best aspects of his play was that it was simple, yet confident. PK, the perennial dome selection, made some poor choices that eventually cost him a selection and in a way the Habs the game. I have no doubt after watching this game, with all of the absnses on D, that Weber has his place as a permanent defender on this team. He is great at even-strength, can play the point nicely on the PP (I am assuming, of course, the results will improve for him and the team when Markov is back) and, boy, can he kill penalties; tonight he was fantastic in that area.
I have certainly been more severe before, but did think that Price played two of his best periods tonight and didn't want to overlook that. He played the puck well and smartly, but more importantly made each and every save and made them look easy. In the third he was average, but that isn't bad considering the first two. He was good again in OT and did enough on our PK to give us a serious chance at the win. In the shootout, however, he was again pathetic. I know that is a harsh word, but he isn't just letting goals in, he is letting in goals that make him look like a much worse goalie than he is. When he moves, he guesses wrong, when he doesn't move he is beaten easily by good shooters. That makes him 0-4 in shootout attempts this year and my suggestion to the Habs would be to win in OT, at all costs. The back-up plan (until Price proves himself against non-Gionta/Plekanec shooters in practice) has to be to put Budaj in if only to confuse opposing shooters who seem to know the book on Carey.
We played a good first two periods and seemed well on our way to a third straight win and to above-.500 territory. The third period, however, started poorly and since we aren't the best (or a good) team at scoring goals we were playing with fire. Our game-plan is to get the lead and to almost hope that we'll hold on; once again, it almost worked. We had our chances in OT, but when that came and went it seemed like an opportunity at gaining on Buffalo had just slipped through our fingers. This result won't matter in the end (if it does we have a lot more than tonight to blame), so it should be lesson learned and move on. We need points this week and if we can manage to get points in our losses then I suppose it isn't all that bad.
Our PP may have scored tonight, but it is really painful to watch. It actually sucks all of the excitement out of the game as we slow it right down waiting for that perfect play. The seconds tick by as we work it around looking for a tap-in. 20, 30 even 40 seconds of controlled (contained?) passing can go by before a shot. Buffalo, on the other hand, seem to get a shot off every 5 seconds and maybe they lose the zone more frequently, but they still have more action than we do. For so many years we worked the puck around until that perfect and pretty play presented itself and it worked, it worked well. It can't however, work with this squad. No offense to the current squad, but there are no Kovalevs, Koivus, Markovs, Sourays, Streits, Schneiders, Bergerons, Wisniewskis out there. The coaches have to adapt because we are losing games because we can't score when most teams can. We need a new plan, one designed for the talent that we have now (and I do believe we have talent). Surely there must be a way that Diaz, Gomez, Gionta, Desharnais and Darche can find a way to score with a bit more regularity.