Article written by Tristan
For all the bad losses we’ve been seeing, this was a helluva turnaround! Pretty
much everyone was on their game, and a lot of things just went right for a
change. But having a game like this against Philadelphia, a team pretty much
hated everywhere but Philadelphia? That tingly feeling you’re getting is normal.
Jaroslav Halak: A I
thought he looked a bit shaky all game, but why question positive results? He
can’t be faulted for either goal and came away with a W. I did notice his
puckhandling is simpler than Price’s, and the D-men seem to react better to his
style. Perhaps Price should hold off with being fancy when he gets back from
Josh Gorges: B+ Tonight
was the night Gorges had to prove he could maintain the game he had elevated
during Komisarek’s absence, now with Komisarek back in the lineup. He did. Yes,
there was the weak pass-up-the-middle gaffe, but it was a lone exception to
otherwise poised play. That’s the word I like to define him: poise. He reads
plays fantastically well, pinches smartly, knows when to challenge and usually
wins those battles.
Mike Komisarek: B He threw
the body a bit, but not many with force. Being that it’s his first game back
from an injury, Komisarek will get a pass on that for a few games. He did lead
the team in blocked shots (6), and had some stalwart defensive play.
Francis Bouillon: B+ Tough break on the
deflection. Tonight he brought the physicality that Komisarek didn’t (couldn’t?)
really bring, and it was needed against Philly.
Patrice Brisebois: B- When
you don’t notice Brisebois in his own end, he’s playing a good game. His offense
wasn’t there tonight, but it wasn’t a liability.
Roman Hamrlik: B- A fairly quiet game from
the Hammer. I’d prefer more offense from him (no shots tonight) but you can’t
complain about mistake free hockey.
Andrei Markov: B- Looked non-existent on
the PP until the latter half. At least his defensive game was sound, but you
want to see more from your #1 defenseman.
Maxim Lapierre: A+ He’s
really coming into his own with pressuring the opposition in their end. No
matter who he was lined up with, he led the charge into Philly’s zone and kept
Guillaume Latendresse: A+
I’m going with the A+ and I’ll tell you why: tonight, Latendresse was a power
forward. He was physical, he cut to the net and then he crashed it. It was his
butt in Niittymaki’s face when Sergei scored on the PP, and it was Guillaume
going hard to the net and grabbing a rebound for his fantastically ugly goal.
Stay the course!
Matt D’Agostini: A Is there any doubt he’s in
Montreal to stay? His shot is flat out dangerous looking, but it’s what he did
without the puck that was most impressive. D’Agostini gave Philly no time or
space in their own end, making them earn every second with the puck, and he even
went down to block a shot with a few minutes left in the game, much to my
Steve Begin: A Things went very well tonight
for Begin: a fantastic deflection and a bullet pass to Kovalev for a breakaway
are welcome aberrations, combined with the game he’s supposed to bring. Begin
played with jump. With 5 hits on the night to lead the team, he brought composed
energy to a team that needed it.
Alexei Kovalev: A A big
hit in the 1st period started Kovalev’s best game in awhile. He read the
breakaway opportunity beautifully, and appeared to be playing with a little bit
of piss and vinegar. Oh the smooth skating! The deft touch! The turnovers at the
blueline! Well it can’t all be good, but more games like this will go a long way
to a rediscovered season for Alex.
Sergei Kostitsyn: B+ What
a bullet from the point! I didn’t think he could handle playing the point on the
PP (Juniors is one thing, NHL is another) but he appeared to hold it together.
It was nice to see him jab back at some Flyers after the whistle and create a
fracas. Some selfish play started to creep in, doing a few Kovalev
impersonations while holding the puck too long, but I’ll take that as a sign of
growing confidence after a couple weeks without any.
Robert Lang: B We saw some
veteran play by Lang tonight: sneaky stickwork, passing lanes covered… I’m not
sure what it is exactly, but Lang has a calming influence on this team. Is it a
coincidence that Kovalev’s play started to turn around after he was paired with
Tom Kostopoulos: B- Was another big part of
the offensive zone pressure, and his shot/pass to Begin for the deflection goal
was right on the money. Kostopoulos was all over the ice, and unfortunately was
absolutely robbed by Niittymaki.
Alex Tanguay: B- A better game tonight than
his effort against Carolina. He’s creating scoring opportunities for others and
gave the Flyers’ defensemen fits all night, but the puck just isn’t finding the
net. It may be time for Tanguay to shoot more often and try to create his own
Tomas Plekanec: B- His
speed makes him dangerous any time he’s on the ice, but ultimately he quickly
ends up doing nothing offensively with the puck. It would be nice to see him
break out and bank a few points for a few games, but he’s hardly looking like a
threat this season.
Andrei Kostitsyn: C He just wasn’t noticeable
until the big hit on Ossi Vaananen, then left the game with an injury.
Georges Laraque: D+ Looked slow and still
injured. I understand bringing him in to keep Philly from taking liberties, but
at some point he’s just got to sit out till he’s 100%. At least he threw a
Powerplay: A- At first it
looked like a new PP strategy should be taking an immediate penalty and playing
4 on 4 instead. However, by golly they looked good out there. There was puck
movement, skating, and butts in front of the net. Oddly enough, the only time I
thought the powerplay slowed down was when Kovalev or Markov touched the puck.
Penalty Kill: A+ Thankfully, we saw less of
them this game. The aggressive check was there, shots were being blocked, and
players collapsed to the net to clear the puck. Perfect kills.