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They only played one period of good hockey, but somehow they come out with the victory tonight – one that’s incredibly important in the overall scheme of things.  The Habs push three up over the Isles, nine over the Sabres and ten over the Panthers, and while they have games in hand, there’s no doubt they’ve also got their future in their own hands.


I’m not sure what happened with the defence from the first to the second and onward, but there was a distinct change in the way they played the game.  The first consisted of them being proactive, using the stick check effectively, and moving the puck quickly.  After that, they only moved the puck well, and ceased, as a unit, to complete the other two which had served so well.  Of course, it didn’t help that the intensity level from most of the forwards coming back dropped several notches.






Theo:  Kept us in there when everyone else seemed to be struggling.  The second goal was not a pretty one as he sent the rebound into the heart of the slot, but I think he made up for that in spades with the rest of his solid play.  I found a lot of Bruin shots were hitting him directly in the crest, which tells me that positionally he was spot on tonight.  A-


Bouillon:  Depending on the shift, he struggled down low, but otherwise he was very solid out there.  Against Thornton‘s line, he was pushed around much like a gnat, but everywhere else he was very good, positionally off the puck as well as moving it.  B


Brisebois:  He’s going through a phase, the last couple of games, where his passing just isn’t where it should be.  More than a few times he just missed someone with a pass, either in the skates, or out in front.  Defensively he was good, and that muscle he put on last summer seems to be paying off now against these bigger teams. B


The pair:  Easily the best puck moving duo, however that’s mitigated somewhat when Breezer isn’t as accurate as usual.  There’s good communication between the two, apparent because they were the duo that turned the puck up ice the quickest as well as the duo who wasn’t caught off-guard in their own zone.  B+


Rivet:  Back to the right side and tonight he looked extremely solid.  He was excellent defensively, both using his body well and also positioning himself very well against the hugs Broons.  The fact he popped in the winner was just gravy on this night.  Played like a $3 million defender.  A-


Markov:  Eased back into the lineup, but man was it good to see him back.  When you see him on the ice as compared with Dykhuis of Komi, you just see how much poise he oozes.  Suddenly we had a defensive corps that was good, and not weak, and it was just his addition.  He’s also getting strong and stronger in the use of his body in positional situations:  witness the job he did late in the game against Thornton behind the net when he pinned the behemoth and kept him out of the play.  B+


The pair:  Most satisfying to see them out there, and doubly good that the two worked together like they’d never been apart.  B+


Quintal:  While he played well with his size and his positioning, he was lost when it came to moving and getting where he needed to be; it almost looked like he was confused at times.  It could have been a function of the defender he played with, but it just seemed like he wasn’t nearly as solid as usual.  C+


Dykhuis:  Made one terrible decision when he came off before the puck was sent deep, but that wasn’t all tonight.  He as well seemed to be making poor choices at times, and while he was generally in the right place at the right time, he got overpowered at times by the Bruins.  C+


The pair:  Our weakest duo, yet somehow they were better as a pair than they were individually.  That’s not to say they didn’t cause grey hairs, because there were communication problems and places where each would look at the other quizzically wondering what was going to happen next.  B-


Langdon:  Stellar play, and that hattrick he scored will have him as player of the week for sure.  Naturally, when you spend your time on the bench, you can dream like this.  N/A


Begin:  Mr. Utility since when Julien needed extra defense on one of the first two lines he was the person to go.  A monster hitter and someone that can get a crowd on its feet – even if it is the opposition, his whirling derbish game created havoc for the Bruins.  B+


Ward:  Less and less time and you just have to wonder how long before he finds himself back in Hamilton.  While he has all the desire you can imagine, other than good PK work, he’s all but useless.  And since we have others who can work the PK……   C+


The trio:  Were they out as a trio more than once?  N/A


Sundstrom:  His game was good, not great, though he does have solid offensive instincts which are lost on that line.  Defensively he was good, as usual, though also as usual, his body was not to be violated.  B-


Dackell:  An unusually discreet game for him, I thought.  Whether it was the size of the Bruins or just an off game, I’m not sure, but he didn’t make anything happen up front and defensively he was just okay.  C


Juneau:  The Bruins coach did everything in his power to get Thornton out there against either Koivu or Ribeiro, which should tell you something about what he thinks about Juneau.  They guy may be getting up there in the years, but he still knows his defence.  Now, on this night, he wasn’t required all that often.  However, if you remember carefully, the one time his line was pinned in the zone was the one time that Juneau lost his stick.  B


The trio:  Defensively they were fine, offensively they were non-existent, and unfortunately, there just didn’t have it physically tonight.  C+


Dagenais:  Continuing the downhill slide, this is another player I worry about in terms of staying in Montreal.  There are more than a couple in Hamilton who could take his place and he would do well to remember that.  He threw the occasional hit, but really didn’t get into any useful places.  One thing that has improved is his work on the boards.  When you can hold your own against Boston, you know you’re okay in that regard.  C+


Ryder:  It’s not quite as fast (yet) but his release is reminiscent of Kerr’s.  Or Neely’s for that matter.  What’s even better is that he now makes things happen every night even if his linemates are on a tea break.  His work ethic should be cloned and handed out to the rest of the club – of course, then it wouldn’t be fair because we’d have a dynasty again.  A-


Ribeiro:  He’s really starting to get much more consistent now in his overall game.  While he was severely outmatched in size, he started to use his smarts more to his advantage.  Now, he’s getting rubbed out routinely, but he’s also starting to vary his plays enough that I’m starting to worry less about his future.  B


The trio:  Shame that Ribs and Ryder have to be out there with a 6’5 post, but beggars can’t be choosers.  The two of them are starting to develop a nice chemistry – Ribs knows where Ryder is going to go and Ryder knows where he needs to go to get a pass.  Also special is that Ryder is such a workhorse, and can pass the puck effectively enough so that Ribs doesn’t have to work the boards as much.  If only he had another winger………   B-


Perreault:  Had the game stopped after one period, we could have encapsulated it and called it Perreault’s best ever game.  As it is, there were two more and he disappeared.  In the first he hit, worked twice as hard as ever, and scored a goal (how many missed the next five minutes after passing out?).  In the final two periods he floated more often than not and didn’t take any of those second efforts that rewarded him early.  B-


Zednik:  Two perfect passes from Sex that he whiffs on tells me he’s got just about zero confidence.  Anyone else notice him visibly sag when he missed each of his shots?  I’m telling you though, one goal, be it off his nose, and he’s going to explode.  He’s doing all the right things, and kudos to him for keeping up that effort.  The results may not be there, but he’s doing everything he can to get out of the slump.  B


Koivu:  His first period was amazing.  He had that one assist, but had Zed been on his game, it could have been three or four.  Plus another couple later in the game as well.  And while he wasn’t at his best in the final two period, he was effective enough in his own zone that the team wasn’t hurt.  I think Koivu fell into the trap of holding onto the point rather than working to get more.  B+


The trio:  In the first they dominated the Thornton line, but after that, when there were only two on the line and one of them had no confidence while the other was playing not to lose a point rather than to gain more points, they fell into a defensive rut.  On the one hand that’s unfortunate, however on the other hand you can look at Koivu’s play in overtime and all is forgiven.  B


Julien:  Well, he certainly didn’t get any matches he wanted, but in the end it didn’t matter.  I wish he’d use Langdon just a little bit more, but on the other hand I understand why he doesn’t.  Time to evaluate what Dags and Ward bring to the club and if we might not have something more useful in Hamilton.




Anyone else feel like lying low for a while after that theft?  Let’s hope the intensity against the Canes rises to match the first period here against the Bruins.  If it does, gravy, if not?  Saturday’s going to be a struggle.  Interesting note:  this is our last game against the Canes this year, so if there’s a trade, neither has to fact the other again…


A Concerned Fan