What a day it was as the Heritage Classic was played in front of 56,000 fans who braved the cold for 6 hours in order to experience this historic event. It started with the old-timers game, where the Canadiens surprisingly took it to the younger home team and outshot them 26-11. Ironically enough, the Oilers of old had to rely on what was simply a superb effort by their goaltending duo of Grant Fuhr and Bill Ranford to pull out a 2-0 win. And the goals didn’t come from Gretzky, or Messier, or Kurri… but Ken Linseman and Marty McSorley of all people; it was that kind of day. But for a collection of players in their 40’s and 50’s they gave the crowd a good show.
Then it was the current NHLers’ turn to take the ice. There was concern earlier in the day whether they’d be able to complete the game due to the dropping temperature, but they decided to go ahead and play. Theodore played with a toque over his mask and Souray started with his face so covered up you could barely make out his eyes… but he’d eventually take it off, probably after taking some ribbing from the opposition.
As for the game itself, the ice would get snowy and ripped up pretty quickly and it seemed to play right in the hands of the Montreal Canadiens. It negated the Oilers’ speed game, and the cold weather seemed to have both teams looking to avoid major contact… so the smaller & slower Habs could take advantage. Theodore was very good, especially given the conditions, and the Habs’ two snipers got going on the same night… that was enough for the Habs to come out with a 4-3 win in the NHL’s first outdoor regular season game.
Good job by Ribeiro who managed to create enough interference in front of the net to buy Perreault enough time to complete the play untouched.
A ridiculous goal to allow, Theodore still laying on his back just looks at the referee as if to say “are you kidding me?”. But thankfully it doesn’t affect the outcome of the game as the Habs manage to hang on from there and record the win.
– The Oilers might have done well to keep Fuhr and Ranford in nets, who were just spectacular in the old-timers game. But just as the team with most shots lost that game, the Habs reversed the roles for the one that counted in the standings and came away with the win despite being outshot 34-19. Julien jokingly suggested that getting outshot was part of the game plan to keep Theo warm and freeze up Conklin at the other end… it looks like that was the winning formula on this day.
– Theodore not only had to brave the cold, but once again had to face oncoming traffic all night. One has to be concerned how much of a toll it will take on him over the course of the season. I think this would be a good time to give Garon a start, but they’ll probably wait until the back to back games next Friday and Saturday.
– Ribeiro has now run his point streak to 7 games with an assist on Perreault power-play goal.
– Gainey has hinted in recent days that he’s well aware this team needs some help up front, and suggested he was looking to move a defenseman in order to get that help. With Komisarek waiting in
– The win caps off a successful 4 game road trip for the Habs, who managed to collect 5 of a possible 8 points against the likes of
Habs’ hero: Theodore for being solid all night in impossible conditions. He mentioned after the game how it was impossible to slide from one side of the net to other given the bad ice conditions as the periods wore on. Not to mention having to pick himself up after being knocked down so many times during the game.
Obviously kudos to Perreault and Zednik, who did what they are paid to do… put the puck in the net. It was the team’s second 4 goal performance in the last three games. Let’s hope this means that scary scoring drought is officially over.
Habs’ zero: Today it goes to the Souray-Quintal tandem… who were the team’s top pair just a few weeks ago but have both struggled of late. In Souray’s case he’s still getting the job done physically, but it’s the little plays that he’s getting careless with and it’s costing his team goals. Against
As for Quintal, his lack of mobility and atrociously slow skating is more of a concern. He couldn’t keep up with Bertuzzi in OT and they scored the game winner on that play, then in Calgary Gélinas beat him to the net off the faceoff and netted the rebound with a minute left to win that game. Now tonight he was late covering Stoll and even ran into Theo allowing the Oilers’ 2nd goal. The fact is Quintal hasn’t been the same since missing a few games with an irregular heartbeat. Let’s hope he’ll find his game again soon, the key for him is to rely on good positioning and anticipation in order to make up for his lack of speed.
I’d also like to mention Bulis who continues to be content with carrying the puck into the zone, but then turning it over easily time and time again. As I’ve mentioned before, this guy is getting a free pass playing on the 3rd line where not much offense is expected… he’s capable of being much better than this offensively.
The Canadiens and Oilers split the two games, and I think
All in all it was a great day for hockey in general, a well organized celebration of
But this is no time for an emotional let down, as it will be the Vancouver Canucks who will be back for more after Tuesday’s 5-4 OT win… this time at the