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If they play the rest of the series like they played the first two periods, this is going to be a long and rewarding series for the fans.  With the heart and emotion they showed, they can surely compete with anyone in the league, and with a depleted Boston squad – Nylander and Thornton at the very least – they will cause no end of trouble.  Gainey was certainly vindicated tonight as his deadline acquisition was all over the ice and dominated long stretches of play, but it was also Begin, Dowd, and Langdon who were equally useful to the cause.






Theo:  Our great saviour has been our worst player in the last two games, without doubt.  From the moment the puck was dropped you could tell he didn’t have the confidence he usually has, and he’s been fighting the puck all series.  The first goal was abysmal and the second was atrocious.  Two words that don’t normally go with him.  D+


Bouillon:  Decent game, though a few times he had a little too much confidence and over-handled the puck – which he is prone to do on occasion.  He was solid other than that, however, and his puck moving abilities are very important.  B


Brisebois:  A couple of poor decisions here and there, which was disappointing to see.  He tried to be proactive in intercepting plays and pucks, but he doesn’t have the same ability to read the play that Markov has.  A good game overall, nonetheless.  B-


Rivet:  He wasn’t caught running around and in fact played a very simple, very smart game.  He used his body effectively and was smart moving the puck.  B+


Markov:  He was great all around, was proactive and cut out many plays before they could develop.  He moved the puck quickly and effectively and was smart everywhere on the rink.  Our best defender by far.  A-


Quintal:  Too slow and it’s painfully obvious.  Rolston made him look silly.  The fact that he’s playing less and less tells me that Julien realizes it, but doesn’t have the heart to take him out and give Komi the spot – as he should.  D


Souray:  Sometimes he tries to do too much, and sometimes he suffers from brain cramps.  The first goal is evidence of the latter, for sure.  He was very good at times, but at other times probably had all Hab fans praying for miracles.  Not the way you want to see him play at all.  C


Langdon:  He did his job.  Once he came at Lapointe early in the game, the Boston player was somewhat less effective the rest of the way.  Can’t argue with that.  B+


Ward:  Solid game.  He made his hits, worked the boards, and was solid defensively.  B


Dowd:  Great work at both ends.  He knows what his job is and he does it.  He may not hit much, but he knows where to put his body.  B+


Juneau:  Age and withering legs will not stop him yet.  He played solid defensively and made a couple of offensive forays.  B-


Begin:  Fantastic play all over the rink.  He’s hitting, playing solid defence, and does a great job in the offensive zone, his constant movement and high energy drawing penalties.  A-


Bulis:  He used his speed again well and made a few very fine defensive plays.  It took him a few games back on the checking line to find himself, but he’s looking very strong in that role now.  He adds that offensive dimension as well, and while he might not finish as much as we’d all like, at least he makes the plays to get those chances – and the longer we have the puck, the less the opposition does.  B+


Dagenais:  Inconsistent, but at least he’s putting in more good than bad effort.  He’s getting a few chances, though you have to wonder if Perreault might even be better in his spot – at least you’d have him for faceoffs.  C


Ribeiro:  He’s frustrated by all the attention he’s getting and it shows.  While he made a few more plays this game that showed what he can do, too many times he was pushed around and pushed out of the play.  I’m not sure what he did at the end of the game – was his shoulder really out?  I know that when you do pop it out, sometimes it all comes good the moment it goes back in, but it’s happening more and more frequently and I wonder if he did it to get the whistle to go.  I’m beginning to believe that the latter is true, and if it is, he’s a classless little punk and I’ll cheer like the rest of the Boston fans when he gets pasted.  I don’t want to win because someone fakes an injury, I want to win because we deserved it.  C+


Ryder:  Simply dominant at times.  He had about 24 shots and you can just tell it’s only a matter of time before one goes in for him.  He was great on the boards, was good defensively, and was fantastic with the puck.  A rookie in name only, this kid is on the verge of being a true sniper.  A-


Zednik:  Better overall play tonight, though at times it was a little inconsistent again.  He’s got to learn to always go in hard rather than occasionally taking a shift off.  Still, he was making things happen.  B


Kovalev:  Ah, so this is what it’s like to have a superstar on the team.  His hands are simply dynamite and he’s easily the most skilled guy on the team, and when he decides to play as a team guy, he can be deadly as he proved in the first.  Those two goals were star variety goals and he played the rest of the game very well as well.  With confidence on the upswing as well as him getting used to playing (where he belongs) on the first line, he could become an even bigger force.  A-


Koivu:  Since Kovalev got here he became the second most talented guy, but after tonight there should be no question as to who the leader is.  He was simply dominant all night long, making play after play for his linemates.  When he works like he did tonight, when he makes everyone that much better around him, he’s one of the best in the game.  A-


Julien:  The thing I liked the best was that he saw that his team completed and almost won last game, so he stuck with them for this game.  And while I’d prefer to see Komi in there, I’ll defer when the team is successful like they were.


PP/PK:  The power play looked better and maintained puck possession for more than a few seconds at a time.  The PK was even better, and while Boston did have control, at least we were able to keep them to the outside for the most part.  B-/B+


Team:  The first two periods were stellar, though the third was just about hanging on.  Still, they played within the system and it was only individual errors that cost them on this night.  A-




Is there anyone out there who isn’t looking forward to game four?  Now, if the crowd would just be classy though the American anthem instead of booing, it could be perfect.


From vacation in sunny but cool London, Ontario (too many Leaf fans here!!)…