Burned by the Fourth Line: October 6th Player
Calgary 4: Montreal 3. The winning
streak is over. Although Montreal arguably played their best game of the
season, there were no last-minute heroics to deliver the 2 points in Calgary.
It was an entertaining game to watch, with end-to-end action and a couple of
fights to boot. Eric Nystrom, Staffan Kronwall and Jarome Iginla scored
for Calgary, while Scott Gomez, Guillaume Latendresse and Tomas Plekanec scored
for Montreal. Jaroslav Halak made 24 saves is a losing effort
while Miikka Kiprusoff made 27 saves for the win.
Quick Start: The Habs broke the cycle of coming
out sluggish and weathering the storm for the first 20 minutes. Whether
this was Jacques Martin’s doing, or perhaps simply because it wasn’t Calgary’s
home opener, the Habs played their best 1st period thus far. Emotion,
hustle and order were all present as the Canadiens finally outshot an opponent,
The Scoring Touch: Scott Gomez buried his
first goal in a Canadiens’ jersey, on a bullet one-timer from the top of the
circle. This must surely have lifted a weight off of Gomez’s shoulders,
and is also indicative of some blossoming chemistry with Mike Cammalleri.
Chemistry 101: The Habs appear to be getting
to know how their linemates play, and the result (mostly seen in the 3rd) was a
lot of pretty, tape-to-tape passing all over the ice. This marked
improvement bodes well for the Habs, as they’ve seemed out of sync the previous
Sloppy Second: As good as the first period
was for Montreal, the same was true for Calgary in the second period.
Montreal sleepwalked through the first 16 minutes of the 2nd, only to have Tomas
Plekanec salvage the period with a superb goal.
Floundering 4th line: The 4th line trio of
Kyle Chipchura, Georges Laraque and Greg Stewart was horrible, combining for a
-8 on the night, and ultimately led to the Habs losing. With the exception
of 7 seconds (which resulted in a goal), these three never saw the ice during
the 3rd period. How long is Metropolit out again?
Whistle Shortage: There were a few blatant
calls for both sides that the referees missed in an otherwise well-officiated
|A solid game from Halak, but he
failed to make the big saves when required. Still, for his first game,
he looked sharp and was positionally sound. His rebound control was in
|Mike Cammalleri||B+||Cammalleri displayed bouts of
brilliance, and assisted on an amazing goal by Gomez. He played much
bigger than he is, and was a constant source of takeaways in the Flames’
zone. Nevertheless, we will need Mike to score, and he failed to do
Gomez was all of the ice, creating chances, and giving the Calgary D fits.
He scored a beauty of a goal, and played his best game in a Montreal jersey.
He seems to have shaken off his disinterest, and showed a lot of emotion
throughout the game.
|B||This was Gionta’s quietest game.
He created the majority of his chances in the 3rd, and demonstrated his
ability to elevate his game when it really matters… but still fell short.
He led all shooters with 6 shots on net.
|B-||Gui seemed to
alternate between good and not-so good shifts. At times he played
physically, and punished many opponents along the boards. The other
times he seemed slow and weak. He does seems to be clicking well with
Lapierre and Moen, and potted a goal by finally driving to the net.
|A||Unquestionably the Habs’ first
star. Pleks did everything that was required of him and more. He
was fearless in traffic, scoring a beauty of a goal, dragging along his
linemates and even outskating Jay Bouwmeester at one point. Pleks
seems to have regained his confidence and looks poised to break out.
Andrei’s best game this season, but that doesn’t say much.
Nevertheless, he played physical at times, leading the team in hits, and
created a few good chances. He was more involved this game, and this
hopefully signifies a return to form in the near future.
|Max was really trying, that much
was evident. But much remains for Patches to learn at the NHL level.
He does seem to improve on a game-by-game basis; he’ll just need to gain
some more NHL experience. Unfortunately, his hooking penalty resulted
in a Calgary goal.
|B||Max did what
Max does best, and didn’t really deviate from his checking role. His
efforts were crucial in Latendresse’s goal.
|A-||Although Moen’s goal-scoring
streak ended, Moen was one of the best Canadiens tonight. From
punishing opponents with hits, creating offense and playing smart two-way
hockey, Moen did it all. What’s more, Lapierre and Latendresse seem to
be learning from his example.
|D-||Stewart was a
turnover machine and a -3 on the night. He was rightfully benched for
the 3rd and needs improve significantly if he’s going to keep getting
ice-time. Kudos for dropping the gloves, but otherwise a frustrating
night for Stewart.
|D-||Chips is slowly running out of
chances to stick with the Habs. Although his skating seems to have
improved, he was a defensive liability even against the Flames’ 4th line,
going -3 on the night. The only plus was that he went 4 for 4 on
faceoffs and held his own in a fight.
made a few good hits and had a few good shifts on the forecheck, but was
otherwise invisible. Definitely his worse game this season.
|B+||The Hammer did
what was expected of him, and played a solid, stable game.
|B||Spacek was slightly invisible
tonight, which isn’t good for someone you expect to generate offense.
This was likely due to zero PP time. It was an otherwise uneventful
game for Spacek,
|Paul Mara||A-||Mara played a
solid game on the backend, and contributed with 2 assists.
|B+||Gorges is doing well with the
additional responsibilities. He carried the rush on several occasions,
pinched when appropriate and laid out a few good checks.
|Hal Gill||C+||Gill was guilty
of a few gaffes and giveaways. His failure to cover Iginla led to the
only PP goal.
|B||Weber didn’t look out of place in
his first NHL game this season. He created a few chances with his
blistering shot and good vision. He’s earned another game in the
|Powerplay||N/A||The refs missed the few penalties
that should have been called against the Flames.
complete disorganization and a goal against. Need I say more?
This article was written by Matt