Though I’m sure there will be a lot of whining that the Habs lost again, let’s be perfectly honest here, they dominated the game, were the better team on this night, and probably proved some things to themselves after a long run of poorly played hockey. They also came up against a goalie that’s playing extremely well, but I think they’ll understand that, had the two post shots been only slightly different, then the Habs would have won this one.
Joe Thornton was, as usual against the Habs, completely invisible. Kudos to the checking line for once again shutting down one of the best players in the game. Even better is that the third line created a pile of scoring opportunities tonight as well – Jason Ward being a huge catalyst. The fact that Boston got only a scant few scoring chances all night should make everyone happy.
And of course, how could anyone look at the Habs game without talking about Begin who started by flattening the big Thornton, and continued felling Bruins all night. He’s an element that’s been missing for some time now, and the dimension he brings to the game is wonderful to see.
Theo: Not much to say since he didn’t have to do a whole lot tonight. There was the one goal, and while you could argue that he should have had it, I’ll equally argue that sometimes the shooter is really good and can pick his spots well. Murray clean beat Theo, and I don’t think there was a whole lot that could have been done. A-
Bouillon: Was not pushed around by the Bruins, probably because the puck spent so much time in the Boston zone, however. Nothing special from the Cube, just some solid play. B+
Brisebois: There was a moment when he was skating around the net with the puck on the powerplay where the difference in his game was completely evident, for those who have watched him closely over the years. Instead of being nonchalant as he skated up the ice with the puck, he was intense – and I think when you come right down to it, that and simplicity in defence are the two biggest changes in his game. B+
Rivet: He played a fairly good game, in line with how he’s been doing lately. He was also extra feisty tonight, lucky in fact not to have taken a penalty or two for boarding at one point. B+
Markov: Looking better and better. That pass to Perreault was sweetness. His defensive play still has some holes, but I can even see the improvement from a couple of games ago. He looks like he’s playing with infinitely more confidence out there. B+
Quintal: For the most part, he was pretty steady, however there was one play late in the second where I jumped out of my chair yelling at him as he gave the puck away deep in the zone. A guy with this experience doesn’t have the right to do that! B-
Souray: Looks like he’s found his game again, as the little defensive mistakes and poor passes have basically left his game. Tonight, though he didn’t get any points, he looked more like the player voted to the all-star game than the guy who probably needed a long rest at the end of the bench a couple of games back. A-
Langdon: I thought he played a really good game tonight, despite his short ice-time. He was extra feisty, made some solid hits, and really played well in the offensive zone. B
Begin: Oh, what a pleasure to see him back. I won’t waste time talking about the hits again, but I will say that it was an interesting decision to put him on the powerplay a couple of times. I think over the next couple of games, as he works himself back into game shape, we’ll see him start to really pick it up. Oh, and great PK work as usual. B+
Perreault: When you’re on a line with two rough and tumble guys and they look better than you in the offensive zone, I think there’s a problem. If he had any confidence at all, it’s presumably completely gone now after that game. D
Sundstrom: Nice to see a little offensive flair to go with his defensive prowess. As sad as I am to say this, it’s going to be a struggle to find a place for Dackell when he gets back. B
Ward: Looking really good out there, and I love that he was creating great chances in the offensive zone. One problem I have with his game concerns his hitting: he goes in almost out of control, and looks like he’s about to hurt himself every time. Gotta watch that. B+
Juneau: Didn’t notice him much, but he did a fine job on Thornton again. That’s about the best compliment you can give a guy. B+
Zednik: Not really visible tonight, which is a disappointment. I feel that in games like this he has to make more of an effort to be noticed. C+
Dagenais: You know, it’s always a great thing to have someone who has a serious nose for the net, however when the only thing that player ever does is shoot, it can get frustrating not just for the fans, but for the players as well. Gets the puck at the blueline, shot, gets the puck behind the goal line, shot. I think I saw him pass it once. C+
Ribeiro: After an awful first period where he was nigh on invisible, Ribs came out to play in the second and third and showed some of the skill that has everyone so excited about him. I love it when he uses his head and creates wonderful plays, and if he continues to be feisty like he was in the final two-thirds of the game, we’ll all be better off. B+
Bulis: Not a bad game, but more and more, despite getting plenty of chances because of his speed, I feel he’s not first line material and that the spot he currently holds is being wasted when it should be going to Zednik or someone like that. On the other hand, he did have plenty of chances… B+
Ryder: Where does it stop for this kid? In a game against a really good defensive club, he wanders around defenders like they aren’t even there at times. He rung another one off the post, had a few really good chances, hit some guys really hard, and played a solid two-way game. A-
Koivu: A quarter stride more and that wrap-around was buried. Another great game from the captain, who’s line was, at times, dominating, but who was never pinned in the zone – always a great sign. Still, I think he can do better. B+
Putting the hockey aside for a moment, I think it’s important here to talk about the cancer thing. I started looking online where to buy cbd oil near me to help me reduce my pain. The piece during the second intermission on RDS was a nice change from the cliché’s and other garbage that hockey players routinely spew. Saku of course puts a lot into it, but it’s nice to see Theo and Zednik getting involved as well. Particularly refreshing was how Zed mentioned how he was lucky to be playing a game for a living and how it was pleasing to see the kids enjoying the hockey when their lives were so affected.
I know it’s put in contracts that you have to do a certain amount for the community, but when you hear the sincerity in the voices, well that really puts it out there for me.
Chicago comes to town tomorrow, and they won a game on the road against the Flames the other night, so we can’t take them lightly. Hopefully we play much like we did today because that’ll go a long way towards success tomorrow. Bring on the Hawks!