Habs Goalie: Price (L)
Opposition Goalie: Ward (W)
Habs goalscorers: Plekanec, Cole, Desharnais
Opposition goalscorers: Tlusty, Spacek, Staal (2), McBain
Tomas Plekanec - Game Puck
Continued his impressive points streak against Carolina and ignited a sleeping crowd (and team) with his goal after a disappointing 30 minutes of hockey. More importantly, continued to provide quiet leadership by setting the example and touched off the half-period of strong play we did see from the Habs tonight. Played well in both ends and fired 8 shots, 5 of which made it to the net.
Erik had basically already made the dome before scoring a great goal in the second on the power play. His physical play through the first period was vital in keeping any offensive hope alive, and he followed through on it with a power-play goal in the second.
Showed us just how good his hands are on our second power-play goal. Played feisty, creative hockey and helped rekindle some hope that maybe we do, in fact, have a power play that can possibly score. Wish he'd shot on that power play with about 3 minutes left, though, looked like he had a lot of net...
Played extremely well on the penalty kill and broke up some key scoring opportunities early on to keep it close over the first 30 minutes while the most of the team napped or maybe checked their iPhones or something. With Campoli, 1 of only 2 players that ended up plus-anything on the night.
Good old reliable Gorges. On a night where Kaberle is even worse than usual and Subban is making more mistakes than he should, Gorges has to be good. He was even on the plus-minus through almost 22:30 and did a lot to keep the team in this contest. I'm glad we can rely so consistently on him to face long, tough minutes and have him do the most important things: not panic, stick to the plan, and not make dumb mistakes.
The only thing that kept us even close for the first 30 minutes, Price did a lot of things right. The Tlusty goal was a lucky redirect, and Spacek's goal was just a great hockey play and Price never had a chance. He seemed almost nervous at times in the 3rd, which is rare; but given the way the skaters in front of him were playing in their own end and allowing second- and third-chance opportunities it was understandable.
At the end of the first, I was thinking—hoping—to myself that maybe we were up to our old trick of only playing 2 periods of the hockey game. Then the second period started and I started to lose hope for this one. We seemed to be able to gain the zone, but we never crossed with much momentum and our puck movement was weak. As a result, the Habs mustered few shots on Ward, let alone quality chances. Tlusky's goal was lucky, but Spacek's was a picture-perfect execution of a classic hockey play that it made me wish we'd tried him a couple times as a power play quarterback. That's right, we looked bad enough that I was wishing for the "good old days," when Spacek played with us. I was dreading trying to pick a play of the game.
Then, just after the halfway mark of the 2nd period, Plekanec almost single-handedly turned the game around with a great transition goal. We then proceeded to score 2 goals on the power play, which put us to an astounding 5 goals in our last 13 or 14 power plays. Leading 3-2 going into the dressing room, it seemed like things were looking up.
Unfortunately, we started the 3rd period as if this were a done deal, as if we were up by 4 goals in Toronto on Saturday. We were lazy and overconfident on the power play 3 minutes in, and Kaberle made a soft pass that was intercepted at the blue line. He got caught flat-footed by Eric Staal, who breezed by him easily and scored a short-handed breakaway goal. The wind out of our sails (and Moen for some reason not handing Gorges his stick on a penalty kill), a hard power-play effort secured McBain's game-winner and we never got our momentum back.
Simply put, it was a disappointing effort on a night where we really needed the 2 points. A lot of the team looked flat and just weren't moving their feet or keeping their heads up. The passing was sloppy and we weren't forceful enough in taking and keeping the offensive zone. I think that was a very "winnable" game, but we were completely out-hustled and out-worked by a lowly Hurricanes squad. I get unhappy enough when I see us only playing 2 periods of good hockey, and tonight it felt more like about 8 minutes.