Oh, I don’t think we can be happy with that one, not one little bit. If we were the better team and didn’t deserve to lose yesterday, today we should have been beaten. Soundly. The Habs showed little passion and only won because the Hawk goaltending is AHL-quality. This was a team that was over-confident and came out to have a relaxing win against a team they figured would roll over and play dead. Hardly.
While the Zedder was the only one benched, there could have been a pile of others riding the pine with him if the Habs didn’t need anyone out on the ice. There were a couple of inspired efforts, but overall it was horrible to watch.
Theo: Can’t blame him for any of the mess that was going on in front. He had a tough afternoon’s work with pucks deflecting and flying all over the place around him while his defenders did everything they could not to clear the crease and forwards let the Hawks skate with wild abandon in the zone. Theo deserves a pat on the back for not skating off the rink late in this one. B+
Bouillon: He played his typical game tonight, and I don’t think anyone should be disappointed with his showing. He wasn’t caught out for anything, and was his usual self with the puck. B
Brisebois: Now that his defensive game is looking better and better, it’s nice to see him adding in the intelligent pinch, which was the reason he scored that first goal. He was a little weaker in front of the net than he’s been recently, but wasn’t victimized because of it. B
Rivet: That last goal by Sullivan saw he and Markov retreating like they were being assaulted with all the firepower in NATO. Having said that, I felt his game was fairly decent as well. and I’m not dissatisfied with his performance. B-
Markov: I think I actually saw him smile out there, and it’s been a long time since he’s enjoyed himself as much as he is recently. His game is still coming along nicely, and except for that one play where he kept falling back, I thought he played a very solid game. B
Quintal: Where to start? The first Sullivan goal had him chasing the puck instead of maintaining his position in front, thereby allowing Sully to round the net and slide the wrap-around home. He stays in position, and there’s no goal because he hammers Sully as he comes out the other side. The second goal on the powerplay with three men in front of the net was frustrating because he seemed to be a spectator rather than someone who was supposed to clear out the front. The third goal was interesting in that he and Ryder was watching Zhamnov bang away, yet neither hammered the guy – which would have completely prevented the goal. Um… D-
Souray: I think we can all understand if he’s in the dressing room still, staring at Quintal with a half frown and shaking his head saying something to the effect of, “Dude…really, that was hurtin’ out there.” As for himself, it was a good game. B+
Langdon: Two points in three games has him looking to improve his place in the team and now eyeing someone’s spot on the third line. He’s an offensive dynamo! Look out people! B
Begin: Thank you for showing a second effort tonight, hopefully everyone will start to feed off you shortly…or we’re dead in the water. As usual, he was everywhere, and that goal was special. A true hustle goal. A-
Kilger: Shrug strikes again. Never know what he’s going to do one shift to the next. Will he fly out and get a break because of a good second effort, or will he whimp out and trip someone because he can’t quite get to the puck. C+
Ward: He played a solid, if quiet game. He certainly wasn’t as good as he’d been the last couple of games, but neither was he as bad as he used to be regularly. Then again, I had to laugh when he was put on Koivu’s wing. C+
Sundstrom: Two brilliant passes ending up in goals and an empty net tally to cap off his evening. Add to that some really great defensive play and another few saves for the team when others had made boo-boos and you have the star of the game. A
Juneau: Unfortunately, until he got deep, Sullivan was his man on the first Hawk goal. Also, when Quintal went chasing, Juneau should have taken the front of the net. However, despite that, he was pretty feisty and a decent player tonight. B
Zednik: Benched, and I think that says a lot right there. Before that he’d produced virtually nothing and hadn’t given a second effort all night. When you’re that good and have that much talent….. Plus, defensively, he was horrid. D+
Dagenais: Well, I stand corrected. Now I know why he doesn’t pass the puck. Zed streaking in alone and Dags’ pass flies about 50 feet in front. I had to laugh, and almost said out loud that he shoulda shot. Other than that one play? I think I smell the AHL. D+
Ribeiro: On the one hand, he was great in the offensive zone whenever he got there. On the other hand, defensively he was dominated. The key to this equation is that he has to get the puck to get into the offensive zone, and when he can’t get that puck, his line looks horrid as does he. Here’s another point to his game that needs work: one of the first shifts in the third had him getting pinned in his zone, but eventually working it out – all’s good so far – but then, when the puck was sent deep into the Hawk zone, instead of getting off like virtually everyone else does, he continues to go in deep. Now, before you say, “Well usually one person on the line forechecks to allow the change to take place,” I’d like to point out that Dagenais was right beside him. LEARN TO GET OFF. He’d be so much more effective it he’d ever actually play the team game. B-
Bulis: That goal aside, it wasn’t his best game. One thing that has been absent almost all the time previously has been a solid effort and usually a really good second effort. Both were mysteriously gone tonight. C+
Ryder: Not his best game either, though he made a few nice plays. Offensively, he’s taking more and more risks and is looking good, however defensively tonight was, well, almost atrocious. As a winger, I saw him running into corners on the opposite side of the rink. Where was the discipline there? B-
Koivu: Yes, he got two points, and yes he played well for most of his shifts, but there were two shifts which were so not Koivu that I was shocked. Both were on turnovers that had the team turning back to defend and both saw Sax … coasting! And that’s not something I’m used to seeing with him at all. The fact the score was 5-1 at that point is absolutely no excuse whatsoever, and he of all people should know that. I know he got third star tonight, but I’d have to disagree. He played well, but when you’re known for giving your all 100% of the time and you don’t? B
Julien: He sat Zed, which takes guts. He promoted Ward to the first line, which takes insanity. He didn’t kill anyone after the game as they headed to the dressing room, which takes discipline. Actually, the worst thing here was that the team just wasn’t ready from the get-go. I know we pulled out a 5-1 lead, but how many goals were crap? This was NOT a 5-1 game by the end of the second; far from it.
Well, the Stupor Bowl weekend has mercifully ended, but it sees the Habs with a few real problems to address before the game on Tuesday. Questions like: Intensity, where is it? System, what happened to it? Coverage, will it be found? Balej, will he (in my opinion) rightfully get another shot instead of Dags? Komi, will he (again, my opinion) get to play a night instead of Quintal?
Pittsburgh will not be a walk in the park – not by far. Particularly if we continue to play like we did today. They may not be the best team in hockey, but, like the Hawks, they work their butts off from the beginning to the end. Let’s hope Montreal figures it out themselves.
A Concerned Fan