With apologies, I can only give an abbreviated recount of tonight’s game. My wife and I were out and my PVR decided that two periods was more than enough. Since the Canadiens didn’t manage any third period heroics, perhaps it’s better in the long run on my heart.
At least for the first two periods, the Canadiens played with the Senators. Playing against one of the top teams in the NHL, the Habs were in it right to the end of the second and were only behind because of some mental errors.
On the first goal, Halak played the puck from behind the net to Dandenault who seemed to take his eye off the puck. This allowed the Sens to regain control, and with the rest of the Canadiens looking for a breakout thinking the team had possession, Halak made his crease only to have the puck whipped past him.
The second goal against was the result of a defensive duo that was soft and allowed Jason Spezza (of all players) to walk in untouched or challenged to the high shot. A weak attempt by Ryder to stick check was the only resistance Spezza faced before he unleashed a partially screened shot by Bouillon and into the top corner. Souray was guilty of not even attempting a poke check as he backed in like a frightened turtle.
Halak caused his own misery on the third goal as a relatively harmless shot was sent back out right on to the stick of Mike Comrie and he made easy work of slotting past the helpless Habs goalie. Tonight, Halak didn’t have nearly the rebound control he had in his last contest, and that was vital on this goal.
Of note from the first two periods:
The Higgins, Plekanec, Kostitsyn line was the most dangerous by a fairly substantial margin. They once again attacked the net directly and their aggressive and dynamic play left Sens defensemen continually baffled. On one particular sequence, Higgins showed all his skill-set when he left a handful of Senators in his dust while attacking the net.
The Koivu line suffered from some back luck in the first, particularly. They were on for all three goals and, other than Ryder on the second, really had no opportunity to make a difference on any.
Kovalev had some wonderful jump for two periods and was winning battles he would have walked away from early in the season. Lapierre was solid again tonight, however Latendresse was more discreet than I would like to see.
Bonk’s line was fairly quiet and Johnson, in particular, didn’t look himself tonight. Begin, for some reason, didn’t lay in the body for the two periods I saw, which was highly disappointing in such an important game.
Markov looked particularly good defensively; he made a couple of superlative plays which potentially stopped significant scoring chances. Komisarek was solid and using the body, if not for massive hits, then at least to punish the opposition. He’s moving the puck much quicker these days.
Hopefully Montreal can reduce the mental errors for tomorrow’s game against the Sabres. Taking two points from this weekend would be a huge bonus in the run to the playoffs. Another bonus would be my PVR not giving up after two. Of course, it’s Saturday night, I’ll probably be right here to watch the game.
A Concerned Fan