Habs Goalie: Price (L)
Opposition Goalie: Halak (W)
Opposition goalscorers: Arnott, Backes, Stewart
Helped create some of tonight's most dangerous chances, even if they were futile efforts. Took a bit of a dumb penalty, but at least it was early. Didn't drop the ball on defence.
The other half of what is likely our most effective on-ice duo right now. These guys play well together, I've said it before. Hopefully they'll be given the chance to do so a bit more over the coming weeks and we'll see some success come from whatever line forms around them.
Some nights, it's really tough to fill out the dome. This one. Pleks makes it in tonight basically because he was about the only forward who seemed to smell any offence over the first period. He opened the second with some nice pressure with linemates Gionta and Cammalleri, but they were consistently shut down through the duration. As always, his penalty-killing remains outstanding.
Yeah, I know he shouldn't have let Reeves beat him on the outside like that on the first goal. However, that was the only one he was on for despite playing over 22 minutes. He also delivered the hit of the night (and what a hit it was!) and led the team in shot attempts.
Josh Gorges - Game Puck
While the rest of the defence seemed to be experimenting with their skating and puck-handling (was that a Subban-style spin from Hal Gill in the first period?), Gorges quietly went about his business, as per usual. He was on for almost 22 minutes and kept the puck out of the net while setting the tone for the other defenders, even if it went unheard. It was exactly the kind of simple, effective, blue-collar hockey we want from Gorges, and that's why he doesn't get many game pucks. He delivered tonight, and that's why he gets this one. Plus those hip-check clinics he's been giving, that Subban hit had Gorges written all over it!
I wanted to put Halak in here for old times' sake, and he did make some spectacular saves in his shutout bid. Price did make some good saves, and I felt like he was let down by the guys in front of him a couple times. The Blues were handed some good opportunities to score, and they executed. Budaj wouldn't have helped us tonight, and even the best goalie in the world can't steal one for you if you can't put the puck in the net.
While we had a couple good-looking moments, they were few enough and often far between. A strong Blues squad showed us why they moved into first overall in the West with this win by playing some smart, possession-based hockey. They did a great job of working the body and clogging up the neutral zone to take away our speed and transition game. Their forecheck was aggressive and caused problems for us the whole way through, and they won the majority of the battles in their own end.
This was a tough game to watch, as we were simply and thoroughly outplayed. There weren't many positives to take away from this one. We came out of the locker room very strong in both the 2nd and 3rd periods, but we were unsuccessful in building any kind of momentum. One of our few strong points was the penalty kill, which shut down a red-hot Blues power play (9 of last 26 coming into this game; 0/4 tonight) and arguably had 2 of our best scoring chances tonight. I'm sure this game just goes to show something, but I'm not sure what yet.
Fun fact: Halak has the best all-time record in the history of the Bell Centre: 38-15-3 including tonight.