Everybody check your appendages and see if you have any puncture wounds, let’s get the heck outta Boston and pray we don’t have to go back. Brian Rolston guaranteed a victory after pretty much saying Boston was a better team, and he didn’t lie on this night, though it too a whole lot of intimidation and some poor work on the Habs power play to make it come true.
I think, in the end,
Theo: I think the entire team should each take a turn taking him out to supper after being the person to clinch the series.
Bouillon: Some really nice rushes made up for a few times when he was physically thrown from the puck in the defensive zone. Positionally he was good, though, and in the end, despite being out-muscled here and there, he had a good night. A-
Brisebois: Oh that first period was painful. The number of giveaways and terrible plays gave my heart fits. When he put a tape-to-tape pass on
Quintal: Great goal, though it illustrates Ribby’s poor speed when Quintal, of all people, is able to catch up. On the other hand, Q’s speed almost cost us a couple of times in our own zone. Somehow, though, he always seems to play at or near his best against the Bruins. Positionally he was very good and he really let the body fly a few times – something I think we all wish he’d do more. B+
Rivet: He was running around at times and lost his man more than once, including the first goal by Samsonov when he left Markov by himself with two guys around the goal. Interesting that he struggles more when the play gets more physical… C
Komisarek: After he made that hook and took the penalty he never saw the ice again as it was a play where a simple pivot and solid positioning would have been a much better answer. Shame, though, that he wasn’t given a second chance when it was such a physical game and we could have used him down low. It would have been a wonderful test to see him up against Thornton – and a great learning experience. However, when we still needed a point, I guess I can understand. I look for him to get 20+ minutes for the rest of the season. N/A
Markov: Not his best night though not as bad as some might say. He was left out to dry by his partner a couple of times which cost the team, but he also made a few blunders on his own. If he’s going to make the jump to star defender, he’s going to have to minimize those errors when he plays long minutes. B-
Sundstrom: Pretty solid game, particularly defensively, on this night. He did a lot of the little things very well and was strong in neutralizing whomever he was playing against. B+
Juneau: He’s old, the legs don’t do what they once did, and he’s still a crafty and smart defensive player. No doubt every game seems like more of a struggle for him, but when the results are helping to shut down the opposition, I think we can be satisfied. B
Begin: He looked pretty worried as he went off to get that shoulder checked, as I believe that was the shoulder he had reconstructed. Nice to see that, after being checked out he was able to make it back. Then again, was he playing games as he did a few games ago? While you’d never like to say it when someone looks hurt, he is a smart guy. Oh, and great work against Thornton. A-
Ward: When he has no defence (or AHL defence) against him, he’s almost deadly. That penalty shot where he scored and Raycroft *still* hadn’t moved was sweet. A much higher intensity game tonight thankfully, and he looked like the checker we need rather than a guy who floats. B+
Dowd: A typically understated defensive game where it doesn’t look like he’s doing a whole lot but still manages to completely nullify who he’s up against. The best part is that his line was creating nice chances and while they never finished, the best defence is a good offence – and they took that to heart. B+
Bulis: He played a typically good game, though there was nothing flashy about him tonight since his speed wasn’t used as much as usual. Defensively he’s starting to look more and more comfortable after spending half the season on scoring lines, and going into the playoffs, that’s a big positive. B
Kovalev: He’s adapting to the Hab style of play nicely, I feel. Tonight he was doing the little things well, including finishing checks, playing fairly smart defensively, and winning his one-on-one battles. The offence will come in time and only after he gets comfortable within a system completely different from that of the Rag$. B-
Ryder: There were a couple of times he took things into his own hands and almost scored goals. Unfortunately, he was keyed on pretty well tonight so for the rest of the time he had to just play a strong overall game, including finishing his checks (he did), supporting his defence (he did), and ensuring clearances (needs to work on that at times). B
Ribeiro: Aside from the fact he was tossed from the puck and the play like a gnat on a few occasions, I feel he was feisty and pretty solid tonight. His effort was really good and he showed some real maturity and patience out there a few times. This was the best sign for the playoffs yet. B+
Zednik: Much better effort than last game and he really challenged the Bruin defence a few times. He also finished a check or two which is something that’s been missing from his game for a while. Still, he has more to give. B
Perreault: I think he gets a million bonus points in respect from every Hab fan for going up against Thornton even though he did it poorly by bringing his stick up to Joe’s face. When he’s mad, he makes things happen. Someone should high stick him before each game. Other than that he had an off and on night, more often off. C+
Koivu: Didn’t take his man in overtime and Samsonov scored when left alone. He also had to deal with Green all night, including a couple of times from behind when the pest jumped on his back (no penalty, however so it *must* have been legal). It wasn’t his best game either, though he did make a few things happen offensively and almost scored on a couple of occasions. Time for the captain to step it up into the playoffs. Actually, might be time to take a night or two off, *then* step it up. B
Julien: Despite being in Boston, he got his line matchups and that’s the reason Thornton was basically useless again. If he got nothing more out of tonight, then that alone makes him a success.
PP: Dismal. Worse than dismal. A major and I’m not sure we got more than one shot. D-
PK: Not the greatest, though on a couple we cleared the puck out at will. In the end, though, they scored on 25% of their chances, and that’s just not good enough. C-
Team: I just got the feeling that they did enough to get their point and that was it. When they took that two goal lead, it was like they were sitting back hoping they could defend it well enough to at least take the game to overtime. That’s not really any way to play a game, in my opinion. Still, defensively we were pretty good for long stretches. B-
Well, I’m off to the hospital to have my heart restarted. I fail to see why the Habs had to make this playoff-making procedure far more intense than it ever should have been, but that’s the way it is with teams who still fight for that spot with a couple of games left in the year. There’s nothing I hate more than a team that hangs on to a lead, though, and from the moment we got that second goal I just knew that was going to be the way they played. Frustrating.
However, we’re in and when we play the Isles on Wednesday in New York, the team might have a little more loosy-goosy attitude about it, which could be good in some respects. Expect to see another couple rested, or at least played less than usual – which incidentally should please the Isle fan that receives this recap after every game and who was somewhat disgruntled when the Habs lost to the Sabres a couple of games back. Hey, if we can’t even help ourselves, why should we help you? :-)
A Concerned Fan