Sunday, January 6, 2008

Habs earn point in tough loss to Washington

The Habs had the offense rolling, again, yet they were unable to come away with another desperately needed win on home ice...was Carey Price to blame?

Washington won the game in overtime by a 5-4 scoreline. Alex Ovechkin found a way to score his first career goals at the Bell Centre, scoring two on two seperate but equally wicked wrist shots from long range. The Caps are able to score goals, and them scoring 5 shouldn't be considered surprising, as in recent games they defeated Ottawa twice, tallying at least 6 goals in both of those games. The key to Washington's new found success has been the use of Mike Green as an offensive powerhouse. The 22 year-old has flourished upon the announcement of Bruce Boudreau as head coach. He now leads all defensemen with 11 goals, and also picked up two assists in the contest. For those who don't know him, Green was a 29th overall selection in 2004. Bruce Boudreau said "He's a great young player and I don't know too many defensemen his age that can do what he can do at the NHL level." Green has really been the come-out-of-nowhere story of the year so far, and if he can continue to do what he is doing so efficiently, the Caps might win a lot more games.

Nicklas Backstrom and Boyd Gordon were also able to beat Price tonight. Backstrom kept and shot on a 3-on-2, and was able to beat Price from a good way out high glove side with a wrister. That goal, despite the quality of the shot, could have been deemed 'weak' on Price's behalf, but it was nothing compared to Boyd Gordon's. Gordon broke the blue line as he carried the puck in from his own zone, and unloaded a slapshot from the right wing that simply handcuffed and beat Carey Price. Price was looking to the stars immediately after the puck hit the mesh, knowing that he REALLY should have had that one.

The Habs, however, never said die. They started the game with a two goal lead, with the first coming off a beautiful slap pass from Kovalev cross ice to Plekanec, who saw nothing but net with Kolzig down and sprawling to adjust from the surprise Kovalev had created for him. Then, we were able to see a candidate for goal of the week, and possibly goal of the year for the Habs. Andrei Kostitsyn went one on one with Mike Green. He shifted left, then, just as Green bit the bait and focused on playing the puck rather than the man, Andrei made a beautiful drag-through play, passing the puck between Green's skates, and blew past him on the right side. That left Andrei with a tight angle and little time to do anything, with Green recovering and hounding him down. Kostitsyn coraled the puck, made a quick backhand-forehand stickhandle, and released a bomb of a wrister (if you have read ANY of my other articles regarding Andrei, you'll know that the wrist shot is his bread & butter) that beat Kolzing cleanly to hit the far left corner. What a goal...

The Caps went on to score 3 unanswered, and the Habs played catch-up from then on. They tied the game at 3, on a PP goal from Hamrlik, who was able to slam home a deflected point shot that had gone off the backboards. And, after Ovechkin scored his 2nd of the night to put the caps up 4-3, Kovalev came in one-on-two, dragged the puck into his body, and used that momentum to release a beautiful wrister from well out, mirroring goals previously seen in this game courtesy of Ovechkin and Backstrom. Then, in OT, poor coverage from the Kositsyn brothers allowed Fleischmann to get around Sergei, dish off to Nylander, who EASILY got around Andrei, moved in on goal, and passed a beauty over to Mike Green, who had to do well to tap in the puck before Price recovered.

It's safe to say Price did not have a great game, or even a good game, and I will go so far as to say he didn't have a decent game either. Price was weak. That's it. But, as we know, the Caps are rolling right now, and scoring 5 goals or more has been the theme lately. What's important is that the Habs are continuing to play with their new run & gun/creative style, and scoring 4 goals in a game is no bad thing. They maybe didn't get the W, but they didn't get a flat out L either, and that's what they have to tell themselves before they host Chicago on Tuesday. The Habs will see Washington in a home-and-home at the end of the month, with revenge on the menu as the main course.

4 comments:

Crispy said...

Agree that Price maybe had his worst game of the year. Though it seemed to be the right time for Carbonneau to put him in after 3 straight starts by Huet but it didn't really work out. I guess it's safe to say Huet is back in nets tuesday but I expect Price to have a solid next game to redeem himself. If the offence keeps coming and goaltending keeps up (or improves) they should be alright to make les series eliminatoires.

sasabainga said...

chu d'accord mon chum...

but, let's get something straight. Huet was hurt prior to the Caps game, apparently with a groin injury if I recall...Which is why Carey got the nod, obviously. I believe that had Huet been healthy and ready to go, he would have had the start, as he would have started vs. Chicago tuesday, and of course, Boston thursday, seeing how he always does well against them.

Price came in, took a loss, and had an overall bad night. But, through that, we Price fans were brought back to reality, and we realized that CAREY PRICE IS HUMAN AFTER ALL!!!! At least his poor performance came in a game where we took a point home! I'm glad he got beaten badly, and we got the OTL at least, because, in agreeance with your statement, Price will have that extra motivation to stonewall the opponent on his next start, something we know he is capable of...too bad the Leafs aren't on the agenda in the near future!

The Habs can definitely make the series elim's., so long as the offence keeps flowing, and Cristobal continues as the Cristowall. Also, the Habs need to bank as many points as possible now, with potential playoff teams Carolina, Tampa Bay, and Buffalo doing so poorly as of late.

jerrytuts said...

Sal on the team 990 Pj Stock has been talking about Montreal probably making a trade since they seem pretty serious about making the playoffs in 2008 (taking into account that they are tied in 5th after 41 games).
Names like Marian Hossa and Lecavalier have been mentioned.
I was hoping that maybe you can confirm or reject any of these rumours and also if you have read about any possible ("serious") trades with the Canadiens, i would be interested in reading about it.

Jerry

sasabainga said...

Jer,

Forget about Lecavalier. No matter how badly all of us want to see him come over this year, it's not going to happen. With the Lightning in the midst of an ownership change, the Bolts' interest will be keeping frachise talents rather then moving them to re-build. The only players I can see moving would be Prospal or Richards. Prospal would attarct attention from a lot of cup contenders, who would probably be willing to move quality prospects/draft picks for his services. Richards will be harder, as he has the biggest contract on the team.

Hossa is definitely a possibility to be moved. Expect him to stay with the Thrashers until the deadline though. Management would like to re-sign him, even though his play is significantly down from last season. His play at both ends and on every situation is key to that franchise, as it would be to any. But, should the Thrashers fall out of playoff contention come deadline week, expect Hossa to be moved for a really solid package of draft picks & prospects...Rumours have Hossa attached with the Penguins though, as Crosby's winger...

No other Habs rumours to report so far...but you can probably take the rumour of Ryder to Carolina off for now, as the Canes' are gambling on Sergei Samsonov.