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This could have
been the game Montreal needed to win while the opportunity presented itself.
This could have been the game Montreal needed to win to jump on a tentative
Bruins club trepid of the underdog. This could have been the game Montreal
needed to win to send a message to everybody that the Canadiens are for real,
they can keep up with the Bruins, and they can win the series. Montreal lost.
All hope isn’t lost though, but any conceivable advantage they had before is now
gone. A greater effort will be needed by all players, and a little bit of luck
wouldn’t hurt either. Early mistakes by the young’uns didn’t help set the tone,
but Montreal controlled the pace of the game for long stretches, and Bruins
players and fans were worried. This is a good game to build on for the Habs, but
opportunity may have been lost to wreck the confidence of the Bruins… and a
confident Bruins squad is a dangerous thing.

Playoff hockey. Simple concept for the themes:
Black and white. Left or Right. Positive or negative. There’s no middle ground
in the second season, so let’s look at who is "In It," and who is "Out
of It.

In It:

Laraque for Tanguay?:  If you had said to me before
this game, "Gainey will break up the top line, move Tanguay to the 4th and
promote Laraque to the 1st," I’d have laughed in your face, called you an idiot,
given you a wedgie and taken your lunch money… I’m a bit of a childish bully.
But Gainey did switch Laraque and Tanguay, and both players excelled in their
new positions.

Say It With Me Now:  From scapegoat spare-part to
everyday hockey beast! Mathieu Dandenaut has had an down and up season; started
down, finishing up, and has really helped calm a jittery defense squad that lost
Markov. Credit is given where credit is due… without Mathieu, this team would
have fallen apart completely. To that I don’t say Dandenaut… I say Dande-yes!

Thumbs Up:  Roman Hamrlik, Alex Kovalev, Alex
Tanguay, Georges Laraque, Chris Higgins, Mike Komisarek, Mathieu Dande-yes. These players
understood the effort needed to win the game. If everyone was pulling the
direction these guys are pulling, Montreal would win every game. Special
consideration goes to Glen Metropolit. He’s gotten better every game and makes
things happen, but the puck needs to go in the net more.

Out of It:

Stretch Pass:  A stretch pass with an empty net? Really? Might as
well launch it down the ice and try to beat out the icing – it’s just as
ineffective and a lot less risky. But even Montreal’s long passes the rest of
the game weren’t quite working. Bad ice or bad hands, the passes were choppy.

The Invisible Trio:  A new superhero team that I have imagined?
Yes… but also Montreal’s 3rd line. They were unnoticed until the end of the
game scrums. Well guess what guys! If Laraque and Tanguay change places in the
lineup, guess which line is expected to be the most physical? I expected big
things from Latendresse, Lapierre and Kostopoulos. Instead they were
non-factors, neither positive or negative. More is needed.

Rearranging Chairs on the Titanic: As mentioned above, switching up the
1st and 4th lines was a stroke of genius. However, the main problem was left
alone: the nonexistent 2nd line. Kostitsyn did look like the fog was lifting (I
thought the bloody nose would help awaken the beast… we’ll find out Saturday),
but Plekanec and D’Agostini were liabilities. If you’re going to move Tanguay
off the top line, why not put him with Plekanec and Kostitsyn? At least then a
problem might be fixed, but neither the 4th or the 1st were a problem.

Thumbs Down:  Matt D’Agostini, Tomas Plekanec, Patrice Brisebois,
Carey Price, Tom Kostopoulos. Price’s dainty puck cover early wasn’t a playoff
effort, D’Agostini’s poor defensive coverage led to the Bruins 2nd goal, and
Plekanec’s play insists on Koivu being re-signed.




 Carey Price B+  Saku Koivu B+
     Alex Kovalev A
 Patrice Brisebois C+  Alex Tanguay A
 Josh Gorges B  Tomas Plekanec C
 Mathieu Dandenault A  Chris Higgins A-
 Mathieu Schneider B-  Andrei Kostitsyn B-
 Roman Hamrlik B  Maxim Lapierre B-
 Mike Komisarek A  Guillaume Latendresse B-
     Tom Kostopoulos  C+
 Powerplay B-  Glen Metropolit B-
 Penalty Kill A  Georges Laraque A
     Matt D’Agostini C-


This article was written

by Tristan Tapscott with an
article ending scrum. *facewash*