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There’s nothing like a game against Washington to get a team back on track these days. Montreal struck early and often, and eventually pulled out a 5-3 win despite a sloppy effort… but that’s what happens when the shots are going in for a change. All three lines chipped in a goal, and Souray took care of the rest… in what could be called a team win that the Canadiens really needed.



Montreal 1-0: One minute into the contest, the Habs waste no time and score that all-important first goal. Bulis uses his speed to go around his defender and go in alone on Kolzig… and for one of the few times he actually finishes, beats the goalie under the arm stick side. (see picture above)


Washington 1-1: Late in the period, the Caps tied it up. The Canadiens finally manage to clear the zone, but the puck is still just right outside the blueline. Rivet decides this is a good time to head to the bench for a change, obviously you’re taught in peewee that you better make sure the puck is down the ice before heading to the bench… but this is Rivet we’re talking about. There’s a turnover at the blueline and Jagr comes in and starts stick-handling around Bouillon, between the small defender’s legs and back again.

Luckily Ryder has come back to cover Rivet’s mistake, but then he makes one of his own. He leaves his man Lang to help Bouillon out with Jagr… but wouldn’t you know it the puck the slides to Lang alone in front of the net and he easily beats Garon. That’s another thing your peewee coach will tell you, don’t try to do someone else’s job just take care of your man.


Montreal 2-1:  Thankfully this is Washington, and they’re already in the Christmas spirit… what they take-th, they give-th right back. Gonchar gains possession behind his own net and shoots it around the boards as he should. But the winger who’s supposed to be waiting along the boards, in this case Jagr, isn’t there. So Ribeiro stops the puck at the line, sends it right back to the front of the net where Dagenais one-times it past Kolzig.


Montreal 3-1: But Washington doesn’t stop there… they’re really in a generous mood. So they take a penalty seconds after the Dagenais goal, let Ryder come out from the corner & take a quick shot through a screen that surprises Kolzig between the legs.

The Habs head to the locker room up by two.


Montreal 4-1: Halfway in the 2nd period, the Habs pad their lead. The Ribeiro line, who is having a good game despite little ice-time, applies some good pressure in the offensive zone. They control the puck, eventually move the puck back to the blueline where Souray let’s go a hard one-timer. Kolzig is screened by his own defenseman and doesn’t see a thing, and Sheldon gets his 7th of the season to reclaim the goal scoring lead among NHL defensemen.


Washington 2-4: With that 3 goal cushion Montreal starts taking it easy, and Washington start applying some pressure in a period they will outshoot the Habs 17-8. Out of that they manage to get one goal, from Semin who had a very good game for the Capitals.


Montreal 5-2: Early in the third, Koivu wins a faceoff in the offensive zone back to Souray. He fakes a pass along the blueline to Komisarek but holds onto the puck and just flips it towards the net. Kolzig tries to redirect the puck towards the corner with his blocker but as it sometimes happens he’s fooled by the strength of the shot, Souray didn’t get much on it, and simply misses the puck… and it falls harmlessly into the net.

They’re certainly going in for Sheldon this year, maybe a few forwards should start kissing his stick before games for good luck… hmmm that didn’t sound right now did it   J




          Quintal accepted his demotion for tonight’s game, but he won’t accept it for very long. I still expect a trade to happen soon to open a permanent spot for Komisarek on the right side. He did well in his first game tonight, threw his weight around and finished +2 although that was thanks to his partner Souray’s 2 goals. He played only 13 minutes.

         The Habs seemed to apply some more pressure tonight, finally taking advantage of a team with a weak defense and forcing them into mistakes. They hadn’t been this successful in the counter-attack game since their hot streak at the beginning of the season.

         Souray had his THIRD 2 goal performance of the season, what a year he’s having. Whoever finally repaired his wrist should operate on every Hab if that’s the kind of shot they will come back with. Wow.

        Again tonight I saw Garon get hit behind his net, and nobody reacted… that really irritates me.

         Julien apparently changed up which players room together on the road. Namely, Koivu & Rivet were separated, and Theo will now room with Garon instead of Ribeiro. This is done all in the effort to get some chemistry going, and break some of the clans in the locker room. We’ll see whether this tactic will garner any results. 

         Tomorrow the Habs will have a chance to return to .500, and the opportunity to leapfrog Florida in the race for 8th spot… in what could call a 4pt game even if it’s early in the season.



Habs’ hero: Well it’s hard to ignore Sheldon Souray re-taking the scoring lead, among NHL defensemen and on the Habs team as well. We should point out that his partner, Mike Komisarek, also had a good night. He got physical in the corners, made some nice passes… his only hiccup was getting beaten 1-on-1 and being forced to take a penalty late in the game. I still wish he’d show more of a nasty edge out there, he’s still too even tempered… it’s ok to get mad once in a while Mike!!

The top two lines had their moments, the third chipped in with a goal as well… it was a good all-round effort.


Habs’ zero: There’s no real goat on this night. But if I have to name someone I’d mention the 4th line who were rather quiet tonight, and were not only scored on but Bégin also took a bad cross-checking penalty that could have given Washington a chance to get back in it late in the 2nd period.



Final Thoughts:


It wasn’t that good of a game for the Habs, but they got away with it against a pretty bad Washington team… namely a generous Olaf Kolzig. It won’t be as easy tomorrow night against the Florida Panthers who have been playing well recently… they haven’t lost in their last 3 games.


We can wonder whether Quintal will sit out again tomorrow or if Julien will give someone else a rest using back-to-back games as an excuse. After the way Komisarek played tonight, I think it’s safe to say he won’t be coming out of the lineup.


Theo should be back in nets tomorrow, hopefully rested and ready to go.