After a hard fought draw last night in New Jersey, the Habs head home to face the Devils for the second time in as many nights. Many people in the hockey world are citing that a New Jersey win would give Martin Brodeur his 400th career victory, but Jose Theodore and the Habs are thinking the total opposite.
Theodore returns to the cage tonight, after feeling fully recovered from a minor injury he sustained in practice. Mathieu Garon helped out in a huge way last night to preserve the tie, and his play is yet again showing that he is a very, very capable netminder.
One of the men expected to some day play a big role in front of the Habs netminders is Mike Komisarek. There is no need to describe him, as his hulking frame more or less paints the picture of what sort of player he can be. He has stood tall since his draft day, but at last he appears to be turning the corner and using some of that size. Just ask the extremely underrated Patrik Elias, one of the league’s top scorers, what he thinks of big Komi after the young blueliner sent Elias sprawling through the air yesterday evening. Of all the players floating throughout the Canadiens system, it is said by many that Komisarek has the most potential. And, believe me, we’re starting to see some of that potential just in time for the big show.
Another player who is stepping it up in time for the post season is Richard Zednik. The Zednification meter is riding high, and even after a semi-off night on Friday, Zednik still managed to grab an assist on a beautiful first period play in which he cut sharply to the inside on Colin White. His production has sky-rocketed, and he appears ticketed for career highs in assists, plus-minus, and points, if not goals, too. The Z-Man has 49 points on the campaign, one shy of last years total (a career best 50).
The 49 points are comprised of 25 goals, a mark that sits but six tallies behind last years 31, and 24 assists, a surprising total for a player who is often labelled as he who can’t pass. And, with Montreal sitting in the 7th spot in the East and currently looking at a first round matchup with Boston, I think it’s joyfully obvious that we have a player who is returning to the mark he once reached during his shortened series against those Bruins in 2002.
While we are currently sitting pretty in that seventh spot, I’m sure we’d all like something a little bit more cozy. After all, would anyone be complaining if our Habs were able to fly into the postseason ahead of the defending Cup Champion Devils? The way things currently shake down, a win tonight would give us the sixth spot, seeing as we would have won more games than the Devils.
I’m sure the Devils would be more than happy to possess the sixth spot in the East, but let it be known that the Habs aren’t going to die down. The boys have said time and time again that they aren’t happy with just sliding into the post-season — they want to compete. If the Devils aren’t ready to come out tonight and outwork us, they’ll find themselves riding Pat Burns’ highway to hell all the way home.