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After one of the worst
defensive games of the year, Carbonneau decided to go with… the exact same
lineup. Well, it paid off, as the Canadiens fought their way to a 6-3 win in New
York. Robert Lang led the way in the 3rd with a natural hat trick, with one
goal on the powerplay, one even strength (4 on 4) and one shorthanded. Montreal
benefitted early from some weak goaltending by New York’s Henrik Lundqvist, as
Max Pacioretty and Guillaume Latendresse will be sending him Thank You cards
after the gifts he handed them in the 1st period. After that, Lundqvist didn’t
matter as Markov and Lang scored goals no one was going to stop. But aside from
a few players carrying the team (take a bow, Robert Lang, but please don’t drop
the team from your back) there were generally average performances against the
Rangers. Though 6 goals is to be celebrated, the individual performances of many
of the forwards left a lot to be desired. It should be continually reminded that
this is the kind of win the Habs will get with an entire offensive line and a
starting goalie out to injury: exciting but mistake filled games. Enjoy it when
it works, be tolerant when it doesn’t.                    


Jaroslav Halak:
Night and day from Sunday’s
outing. Halak made the big saves when he needed to and saved the game on a few
occasions. Early on you could see he was more settled than his last two games,
and withstood NYR’s momentum changing rushes. There were still some juicy
rebounds, but he saved the day more than he caused the need for the saving, and
I think his teammates appreciated that.   


Roman Hamrlik:

Ended the night with 3
assists, and after sending the puck towards the net 6 times (3 shots, 1 blocked
and 2 missed) I’d say it’s well deserved. Better still, the offense didn’t come
at the expense of his defence (bad pinches have been a problem of his) and it
was an upstanding all-around game from the veteran. 

Josh Gorges:

He’s either the most under-the-radar player on the
Canadiens, or I just don’t
know what to look for. Yet another evening of stickchecks, blocked shots and
battles won. There’s rarely a night you don’t know what’s coming from Josh

Andrei Markov:

Oh my, did Markov actually
shoot on the powerplay? And it went in? Wonderful! Here’s hoping he does that
more often.

Mike Komisarek:

Lost some battles early but seemed to get better as the game went on.
He was caught retaliating after a Gomez spear but was fairly composed otherwise.
I still want the physical Monster from last season. 

Patrice Brisebois:

 It’s an odd game when
Brisebois is the better defensive presence on the ice than his partner. He
didn’t bring much offense tonight, which limits his usefulness, but he wasn’t a
defensive sieve either so why complain?

Francis Bouillon:

Looked like a minor
leaguer at times. When paired with Brisebois, he’s supposed to be everything
that Patrice isn’t: physical, tough on the boards, and a defensive anchor. The
hits were there, the rest wasn’t. There was a terribly weak turnover without
being pressured at all, and he didn’t seem particularly focused most of his
shifts on the ice.   


Robert Lang:

It takes Lang awhile to get warmed up, but he can be clutch when the game is
ending. How many times
this season has he been invisible until the 3rd period? First he drew the
penalty that led to Markov’s goal, then he picked the corner on a 5 on 3. He
made Staal look foolish with his individual rush, and capped off the hat trick
(get it? capped off?) with a shorthanded empty netter.   

Guillaume Latendresse:

It was a lucky goal, but
kudos to Guillaume being the first man in the zone and to the puck. He’s always
willing to take the body, though I look forward to when he develops a bit of a
mean streak and starts throwing hits with power behind them. Latendresse is
playing with assuredness and understands he’s the one that has to create the
offense for the line of grinders.

Maxim Lapierre:

I don’t think he was deserving of being "Maguire’s Monster"
but Lapierre did his pest
job tonight trying to take Scott Gomez off his game. He was hustling and
hitting, and that’s his job. Only winning 23% of his faceoffs is ridiculously
bad. Was he going in without a stick? Komisarek mentioned in a pre-game
interview that their best line has been the Latendresse – Lapierre – Kostopoulos
trio, and while they weren’t the game changers they have been, they did do their
job and it’s usually Lapierre leading the charge.

Max Pacioretty:

Max showed tremendous
patience with the puck after catching Lundqvist with his pants down. Other
rookies would have thrown it at the net without thinking, but he waited for
Kovalev to get open for the easy goal. He’s still got the exuberance of thinking
all offense all the time, which has helped him and hurt him. He’s got to learn
that sometimes you have to chip it in and forget the pretty rushes.

Tomas Plekanec:

Yet another game where you can’t point to anything being a problem except his fleeting
presence on the boxscore. He takes his shots, he makes clean passes, he uses his
speed and… nothing happens. His lone assist came off a faceoff win that
directly resulted in Markov’s powerplay goal. The points should soon follow his
play, should he stay the course.

Tom Kostopoulos:

I thought it was downright
hilarious watching him run the powerplay in Kovalev’s usual spot. Even funnier
was after bumbling away with the puck for 10 seconds, he actually managed to set
up a more dangerous looking play than anything the usual units did all game.
Outside of his part in the Canadiens brilliant forecheck by the 3rd and 4th line
nearing the end of the 2nd, I thought he didn’t do much to be noticed. His
physical game was certainly lacking.        

Kyle Chipchura:

It’s been Chipchura’s low faceoff percentage
that has continually kept him from nailing down a spot on the NHL roster. Going
30% against NYR is not helping his cause. This is unfortunate, as the rest of
his play is well suited to the big club. His playmaking is good for a 4th liner,
and he protects the puck well. 

Sergei Kostitsyn:

Mostly invisible. No
shots, no points, but also no mistakes. He got saddled with a -2 on the night
that he didn’t deserve. He’s been noticed for all the wrong reasons lately, and
if making no mistakes is the start to the transition of making good plays then I
don’t mind it.

Alex Kovalev:

It was a "thank you and
goodnight" kind of game for Alex, as he vanished after his goal in the first (giftwrapped
by Henrik Lundqvist, signed by Max Pacioretty). I did like his frustrated rush
during the powerplay, after watching some dismal attempts at claiming the zone.
You hate to see him go into "do it himself" mode, but it works better than the
ridiculously bad dump-ins.

Matt D’Agostini:

His backcheck helped stop a goal, which shows he’s skating more than his last
few games, but the demotion to the 4th line appears to have affected his
confidence. He’s not playing with the pluck or vigour that created the
offensive opportunities he impressed everyone with in his first few games with
the team. A little hard work could see him replace Sergei on the 2nd line.
Continued efforts like this will see his butt back on a minor league bus.    

Andrei Kostitsyn:

He made bad shot choices,
missed the net numerous times and had an exploding stick during a great scoring
chance. Add to that missing his cover on Michal Rozsival’s goal, and pretty much
anything that can go wrong did go wrong for Andrei. And yet, he left the game
with an assist. He must be thankful to still get a point while having the
offensive game from hell, and hopefully he thanks the Hockey Gods and turns his
play around next game.

Steve Begin:

I’m wondering if he needs to sit a game or two to recharge his battery.
Perhaps give his spot on the bench to Yannick Weber and double shift Kovalev and
Andrei Kostitsyn?



The team still can’t gain
the zone. If they won’t hustle down their dump-ins, then Kovalev might as well
carry it in every time. It will work just as well, if not better, and at least
we’ll all be treated to his puckhandling showcase. Also, the 5 on 3 goal
happened from a missed shot by Andrei Kostitsyn, and not a set play. So how has
the powerplay improved? Markov shot the puck, which is good to see. Lang showed
why having a righthanded shot on the off-wing can work well (and hopefully they
utilize that more), and PP checking line crashed the net and created chances
down low which isn’t the Habs usual strategy. I like change, and it may slowly
be coming.

Penalty Kill:

Didn’t have much to do, but a perfect night and a 6 on 4 shorthanded goal into
an empty net works for me.