I’m going to start a petition to the Candiens Hockey Club to supply someone with CPR training to each Montreal fan. While I love close hockey games, this consistent come from behind or hanging on-type victory is giving me heart palpitations, and I think it’s only a matter of time before I keel over. I love the victories, but at this rate I won’t be able to celebrate their next Cup unless it’s from Cloud 9 with Richard and the rest of the Ghosts.
Unless something is done to address it, here is our biggest problem: stupid penalties. There were unfortunate ones, like the player stepping on Ryder’s skate, and the necessary ones, like Dandenault taking down his man before he had a great chance on Theo. But then there are the bonehead ones, like Komisarek putting the puck into the popcorn on aisle 51, and Markov putting St.Louis into the Canadiens net at the end of the game when the puck wasn’t even close.
Someday soon, one of those penalties is going to burn us big time.
Theodore: Stellar. Yeah, rebound wasn’t pretty on the first goal, and the second goal only emphasizes why he should stay in his net, but without him tonight, massive loss. Not only did the Bolts have plenty of shots, they had quality shots. You want to know just how good Theo was tonight? He made it look easy because he was always in the right position. *This* was Theo at his best. A
Komisarek: Too many penalties for starters. He’s got to stop taking Souray lessons and start being smart in his coverage. He also showed significant indecision in the second period (because he didn’t want to chip the puck over the glass and get caught for another two minutes) and that almost cost us. All is not bad, however, as by and large his 16+ minutes were played well defensively. B-
Souray: He’s getting painful to watch with the puck, actually. He had three very bad giveaways, including two on the power play, and soon he’s going to start costing us goals. There’s no doubt that he plays well in his own zone positionally for the most part, and he uses his body well to maintain position, but I fear the worst. B-
Bouillon: Very strong game for the Cube. He was positionally very good and cut out the passing lanes quite well tonight. B
Streit: He didn’t play a whole lot, but where he did play was decent. A couple of times he saved Souray’s butt, but he also made a meal out of a couple of plays himself. Confidence is an issue here since he’s been riding the pine so much. C+
Rivet: Forget his magnificent positional play late in the game and his goal to even the score. Forget that he’s earning every time he’s being paid. Let’s talk about the only defender who can really clear the front of Theo’s net. Too often our defenders are a little soft on players coming in hard, but if Rivet is on the ice, they’re going to pay. Regardless of how the refs seem to be calling more goalie interference, opponents still need to be held accountable. A-
Markov: A solid game, but not nearly his best. He did all of the things that make him excellent defensively, but he wasn’t in the attack quite as much and did make that silly play at the end of the game. B+
Dagenais: I think under that helmet he might have nice hair. N/A
Perezhogin: Um. He skates fast. (Pssst, hey Claude, we DO have a fourth line, you know, and they played well early on. Don’t give up on them yet!) N/A
Plekanec: Strong work on the PK and a couple of strong shifts otherwise. He looks to be regaining the confidence lost when he goofed about eight games ago. (Not that he’s had the ice time to redeem himself.) B-
Dandenault: It’s never easy going from defender to attacker, but he played both tonight. I appreciated his hustle on attack and the fact that he used his speed very well. As a defensive forward, he’s pretty solid. B
Begin: A good night’s work, though not nearly his best. I would guess he’s still suffering from the after effects of the flu, and is therefore not at 100% yet. As usual, his work on the PK was his best. B-
Sundstrom: Typical night once again. He made some dandy defensive plays and was good enough to cause turnovers in the offensive zone as well. B
Higgins: An excellent game. In over 19 minutes of work, Higgs was even for the night and aside from being very solid in his own end, he made a few excellent offensive plays. He took shifts on two lines, Ribeiro’s and Begin’s, and fit in well in both places. He gives that second line some much needed speed, as well. B+
Ryder: You know he’s feeling comfortable when he starts taking everyone on. Tonight he took an opportunity one against two and he went through the two defenders to go in alone on Eklund. He also worked hard in the corners. His achilles heel, however, is still his defensive coverage. B
Ribeiro: He had a few occasions to score, which is good, but he didn’t manage to capitalize on any. Worrisome for me, though, is the fact that he can’t keep up with Ryder and Higgins at all. Worse is when his line gets buried in their own end. While Ryder isn’t great defensively, the simple fact is that when the puck is down low, Ribeiro just can’t win it back. His plan of attack is all stick and no body, and he’ll rarely win those. He was badly outmuscled there tonight. B-
Zednik: Much more solid performance tonight. He finished checks, fought on the boards and scored a nice goal. He’s another who still struggles in his own end, but more often than not, it’s from making the wrong decision when he has the chance to clear the puck. B
Kovalev: We saw two sides of him tonight. Sure, he was electric at times, and he made lots happen. His passing was usually excellent and he even worked fairly hard defensively – not his forte! However a few times he tried to do WAY too much on his own and that’s a dangerous game. There’s no doubt he was a standout, but I’m sure he’s being spoken to about trying to beat the entire opposition on his own. A-
Koivu: A typical solid game from the captain. He worked hard, made some excellent plays at both ends of the rink, particularly the offensive end, and didn’t make any glaring errors. B+
Julien: I’m disappointed that we’re not rolling four lines like we were early in the season, quite honestly. Especially early in games, I’d like to see those kids out there getting more time. He also doesn’t stick with any kid for more than a game or two, but instead refuses to show them long-term confidence. I worry about that.
PP: Good things happen when you shoot and good things happen when you go to the net. Combine that and you get 2/7 on the night. That’s solid.
PK: If you can keep the opposition to the perimeter with a solid box that’s aggressive on the puck carrier, then you’re going to be successful a lot of the time. 8/8 is a testament to that.
Fan’s Game Puck: No question at all it goes to Theodore who was stellar. This game is a loss every day of the week if the Habs netminder is anything less than fabulous.
On to a highly anticipated match against Lemieux, Crosby and the Pens: a team that looks to finally be working its way out of the doldrums. It should be a very high-tempo game since both teams like to attack and skate hard. It’ll be interesting to see who Julien gets to match against the Pens top line, and even more interesting will be how Markov handles Lemieux. If you remember, last season he got Mario to start swinging a couple of times.
A Concerned Fan