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Oh there’s got to be a relieved bunch heading back to Montreal after that
game. For the longest time, it looked no better than any of the previous three,
at least until about midway through the second when they finally started putting
together some solid play. There were still far too many mistakes for anyone to
sit back and be happy about this one, however the fact they came back from a two
goal deficit and won the game after an exciting overtime period is enough to
offer encouragement for the future.

While I believe it was done for defensive reasons, I was disappointed in how
Balej was used towards the end of the game. Julien took him off the second line
and instead had Ward out there. Oy. Kilger was given a spot on the checking line
and Balej didn’t see the ice again. At least I can understand that, despite the
fact Balej had played yet another solid game. What I could not understand, and
never will, is playing Ward over Balej on the powerplay. After watching for the
second game running some sweet play from Balej, for some reason he got to sit on
the bench when players like him should be out there showing what they can really
do, and in his place a defensive player.



Garon: Kept us in there until the rest of the team could wake up. The first
goal he never even saw – probably still hasn’t, and the second was a laser from
a guy bursting through the slot. My one bone of contention? STAY IN YOUR NET!

Bouillon: He played a typical game, did his usual with the puck and played
solidly without. You can’t really expect much more from him on a regular basis.

Brisebois: Scored a goal on one of the most inoffensive shots he’s had –
which just goes to show good things happen when you put the puck on the net.
That second goal could, however, be laid at his feet. I think everyone in the
arena was expecting him to keep it in, so when he didn’t, the Habs were caught
flat-footed. B+

Rivet: The turnaround continues. Three weeks ago I think most would have
traded him for a Langdon rookie card, however tonight’s strong defensive
performance continues the string of better games he’s had over the last while.
There was only one really bad play I saw, and that was when he let Daigle
victimize him with speed zooming down the middle of the rink. However, it was
equally Markov’s fault. B

Markov: It’s like coming out of a nightmare. Man his game has turned around
since coming back from injury. It’s like a weight has been lifted off his
shoulders. He’s doing intelligent pinches, making slick passes and winning his
battles again. Sure, he wasn’t perfect, but it’s still going to take a little
time, if progression continues, to get to where he was last year. B

Quintal: Tonight he struggled, there’s no doubt about it. He was fighting the
puck all night and had more than a few go by him allowing Minny players to make
something happen. His coverage was less than at its best as well. Hopefully he
comes back with a typically quiet and effective game Saturday afternoon. C

Souray: Well, he wasn’t at his best, but it certainly wasn’t like the past
few games either. His defence was much better tonight and, while he made
mistakes with the puck, he looked much more like the All-Star than the Goat.

Langdon: His fight tonight was at a good time, and while it didn’t get the
team going so much, he did the right thing by picking it. And as for the assist?
When’s the party? B

Perreault: A little more jump than usual tonight, which was nice to see. He
wasn’t rewarded on the ice for that good work in terms of points, but it was
appreciated nonetheless. B-

Kilger: They were saying during the game that he’s easily the most impressive
Hab at practice, but for some reason can’t translate that to game situations. I
find that a shocking statement, and yet I have no real reason to disbelieve it.
Perhaps he’s having some mental issues when it comes to games. Tonight he wasn’t
terrible, but he certainly wasn’t stunning out their either. C+

Sundstrom: Continues to be less than impressive offensively, but also
continues to save his teammates with slick and timely defensive plays. I wish
he’d put in more of a second effort, though, because there’s so much that’s
hidden in there. B

Juneau: Not a bad game, but nothing special either. He did his job in the
defensive end, and at this point, I think we can all say that’s the best we’re
going to get out of him on most nights. B-

Ward: I’m really glad to see him back there and being the energy guy on the
third line. I think he brings a lot and I hope he stays there for the
foreseeable future. HOWEVER. The powerplay? The second line? B

Zednik: He’s making things happen consistently now, even when his linemates
aren’t up to the task. I feel his confidence is riding high at this moment and
he’s thinking like a scorer – sometimes shooting when he should be passing, but
that’s what you get when you have someone who’s a potential 30-goal man. B+

Balej: I fail to see why he was yanked off the line in the third, even if
this game was slightly less impressive than last. When he’s got the puck, he’s
exciting and makes things happen. A few times it looked like he was just about
to get his first points in the NHL. Admittedly, though, off the puck he still
needs work at this level. Not insofar as hitting or defence goes, because he’s
no worse than half the team (though he definitely needs work on positioning in
his own zone), but he doesn’t always know where to go to compliment his
linemates. B-

Ribeiro: Oh, the flack I’m going to get on this one. Yes, he got two points
including a wonderful play for the game winner and a delicious little tip in
front of the net, but other than that, he was dominated most of the night. You
can see that his game is now understood. Instead of letting him dangle behind
the net, they come in and hit him hard. Defensively it was a large struggle
tonight, and if his line was caught down low, it was often because his coverage
was marginally off. I love that he’s producing, don’t get me wrong, but he’s
still got to work on the other aspects of his game and not be invisible for most
of the night barring two plays. C+

Ryder: Hey, he’s even turning into Mr. Consistency. He may not have produced
tonight, but man he makes things happen. You can tell he’s 23 and not 18,
though. He’s got so much more poise than the younger rookies. B

Bulis: When he has shifts where he is more concerned about not getting
burned, he’s far less effective than when he goes in deep, hits guys, and makes
things happen. It was a good, not great night for him. Really, not that he’s on
the first line, he’s just not nearly as impressive as he was on the third.

Koivu: The first half of the game saw him playing good, but uninspired
hockey. After that, though, he was once again creating all over the place. And
when he’s on, that line gets chance after chance – which they did in the third.

Julien: I can understand moving to a more defensive stance so as to maintain
a point for a road game and for the sake of confidence, however I’m really
disappointed that he didn’t put Balej on the powerplay. I feel that was a large
error tonight.


Anyone remember who was on the doorstep when Zednik scored the winner? Yes,
that was Andrei Markov pinching in and making things happen. Tonight was the
third in a series of games were we saw his play continue to improve, and this
bodes really well for the Habs. If he can get back on his game, I see us as a
much improved club.

Hone we go for the first game on Stupor Bowl weekend as the Bruins come to
town. Let’s hope we continue as we did in the third tonight with spirited play
because we’ll give ‘em a good battle then. Rumour has it Begin might be back,
and if he is, I suspect we’ll see a team more fired up than it’s been in quite a

A Concerned Fan