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I’ll be honest, this loss has
left me rather unenthused to write anything. So, perhaps appropriately to the
game I just witnessed, I’m totally half-assing this article. Apologies in
advance. Montreal came out flat. With the first period ending with Montreal
managing a meager 5 shots, two posts, and a terribly weak goal allowed by Price,
you almost had to know that it wasn’t going to Montreal’s night… and yet there
was hope. But then there were 3 more weak goals allowed by Carey Price. It can
be said that the Habs will never win after missing as many offensive chances as
they did, but with every soft goal Price let in, the Canadiens’ confidence in a
comeback appeared to drop.


Carey Price:
Sure, you can make excuses.
He was screened, the puck was tipped, he was screened, it was a bad pinch, etc.
etc. But that really just avoids the truth of it all… Price did not play well.
Except for robbing Antropov twice early, Price did nothing to keep his team in
the game. Hopefully Jaroslav Halak can win on the road, because it’s time to sit
Carey for a game or two.    


Roman Hamrlik:

Playing confidently with the puck
(even tried a dangle or two) after a scoring outburst this week. I would have
liked to see him on the 1st PP unit over Gorges, as he’s had the hot hand

Andrei Markov:

Sold a shot on the PP that
had everyone fooled except D’Agostini. Some may blame him for a bad pinch that
led to Jason Blake’s 2nd goal of the night, but the Canadiens needed offense and
had to take a risk, and I don’t mind Markov taking those risks.

Ryan O’Byrne:

Another good, if unspectacular, game of his continued learning to play big. He
and Hamrlik were the only plus players on the Habs.

Francis Bouillon:

A yawning cage begging to
be scored on, and it just had to be Bouillon shooting it. Still, he gets points
from me for a huge (and clean hit) on Grabovski.  

Mike Komisarek:

Little has been gained after some of his worst play of the season the last
couple games. But at least there was some gain.

Josh Gorges:

 Tipped a puck past Price
just like he did last game against Buffalo. I’m having trouble formulating a
sentence on just how frustrating that is.


Sergei Kostitsyn:

Sergei always brings the sandpaper against Toronto. I don’t understand
Carbonneau’s strategy of keeping him away from Grabovski. I have no problem with
that matchup on the ice, and if it creates a sideshow, who cares? Habs fans (and
possibly the Habs themselves) could use the distraction. I think Carbonneau
dropped the ball on that one.

Max Pacioretty:

His battles for position
drew a penalty and made things happen. My favourite shift was when he blocked a
shot and lost his stick, but kicked the puck to Kostopoulos for a rush. The fans
appreciated the effort.

Tom Kostopoulos:

Speaking of effort, Tom
cared tonight. Without diving for the puck, that goal doesn’t happen, and it was
nice to see that kind of desperation to stay in the game. 

Saku Koivu:
does he find Chris Higgins well. I also like when he plays a little rough. A
coincidental roughing penalty and misconduct from your captain? Perhaps he would
have been better served being on the ice, but I thought it fit the emotion of
the game.  

Chris Higgins:
Yet another breakaway. We’re
seeing flashes of the Higgins of last season;
the one that gets a lot of chances but doesn’t finish often. Just kidding! It’s
good to see him rounding back into shape.

Maxim Lapierre:

Had a weak giveaway early,
but played hard the rest of the way.

Georges Laraque:
almost forgot what a Habs player winning a fight looked like! Laraque got a bit
of powerplay time and it seems like a good idea. He’s hard to move in front of
the net, that’s for sure. Georges is looking like he’s playing healthy, which,
as I noted in my recent
, is key to Laraque being an asset to Montreal. I never said I was
above shameless promotion. 

Matt D’Agostini:

Right hand shot on the left side, and he gets an easy goal. Unfortunately, after
his goal, Matt regressed to Montreal’s usual "stand around and wait for
something to happen" powerplay philosophy. Also, it appears he’s forgotten how
to drive for the net. A couple of times he had a step on the Toronto defensemen,
but instead chose to shoot from the top of the circle. I like that he’s shooting
more, but he’s got to take the space that’s given to him and then work for a
little more.

Andrei Kostitsyn:

Very weak on the puck. He couldn‘t
get anything going offensively. If he and Kovalev are both playing badly,
Montreal has a hard time winning.

Alex Kovalev:

Well, his first periods
are good, lately. For three games in a row he’s played physical in the first,
and skated like he cared. Unfortunately, it seems if he misses a few chances
offensively, the rest of the game is a complete wash. 20 minutes out of 60 won’t
cut it.

Tomas Plekanec:

He dressed?

Steve Begin:
He dressed too?



I’m not sure Montreal could score a
PP goal if the faceoff after a penalty wasn’t in the offensive zone. This team
can’t consistently gain the zone! And when the planets align and they actually
do gain the zone, there is no puck support. Any kind of pressure on the puck
carrier generally leaves him with no options. 1 for 8 against the worst penalty
kill in the league, and it took a 5 on 3 to score it. Pathetic.

Penalty Kill:

The penalty kill is about the only thing you can rely on about this team. It’s
kind of fitting, actually, that the PK is so much better than their PP. The team
does well when they are the underdog, when the expectations are on the other
team to score. But once they get on the powerplay and get the spotlight on them,
they suddenly can’t quite seem to handle it. It’s an in-game reflection of a
team identity that’s clung to Montreal for years.