Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Plekanec Scores 2, Cracks 40; Habs Win 3-1

Plekanec (center) has a two-goal outing at Nassau Coliseum. Photo from The Canadian Press, courtesy Tsn.ca.

Where Chris Higgins failed to continue his success against his hometown team, Plekanec filled in in fine form.

Tomas Plekanec got it done for the Habs tonight, registering his 39th and 40th points of the season with goals, opening the scoring at even strength and then adding to it with a shorthanded tally as the Habs cruised to a 3-1 victory over the Islanders on Long Island.

Plaky's first goal came shortly passed midway through the 1st period, when Isles forward Andy Hilbert failed to collect an outlet pass from Bruno Gervais. Plekanec picked up the loose puck, faked-and-then-released a slapshot to beat DiPietro glove-high. Plekanec then added his 16th of the year, shorthanded. After Huet robbed Miroslav Satan on the doorstep, Kovalev beat Mike Comrie to the loose puck, eliminated Comrie with a bodycheck, and flipped the puck forward, managing to get it passed Chris Campoli to create a 2-on-1 for Plekanec with Markov. Plaky held and released a wrister, beating DiPietro low-glove this time around to notch his 40th point of the season, 7 shy of his career high of 47 posted just last season.

The Isles heated up midway through the second, generating a solid 5 minutes of attacking hockey. The save of the game occured in this span, as Mike Comrie picked up a loose puck at the Habs' blue line, and, due to a poorly timed line-change, Mike had himself a clean-cut breakaway. Streaking in from the right wing, Comrie cut inside and through the crease in an attempt to go wide on Huet, but Cristobal read the play perfectly and followed through with Comrie, eventually stopping the shot with his right pad.

But the Isles would not be shut-out on this night. Midway through the 3rd, Cristobal Huet played a dump-in from behind his net which was then intercepted along the boards by captain Bill Guerin. Guerin wasted little to no time at all getting that puck on goal, forcing Huet to get down to try and freeze it. Unfortunately, the puck was jarred loose, and a crease-crashing Richard Park was able to chop at it and get it to float in. The Habs were able to hold off all remaining attacks, and with under a minute left and goaltender Rick DiPietro on the bench in favor of an extra attacker, Chris Campoli turned the puck over to Alex Kovalev in Montreal's zone. Kovalev had a streaking Plekanec up ice, near New York's blueline, waiting for a pass to earn the chance to pot the empty-netter for the hat-trick, but Kovalev decided he would take the puck zone-to-zone, and he easily skated around a desperately-diving Campoli to bury his 20th of the season.

Huet had 17 saves in the win. The Habs outshot the Islanders 21-18 in a low-shooting, low-scoring affair. Montreal went 0-for-2 on the PP, but did have the short-handed Plekanec marker.

The Canadiens improve to 2-1 on this 4 game road-swing, with the final stop coming Thursday in Atlanta.

The Thrashers cashed in on a Marian Hossa hat-trick tonight to land a rare & decisive 5-1 win in Detroit.

3 comments:

k_cardi said...

i truly hate Brisbois and the team is better off without him...he is old and injury prone and quite simply takes up place...when he is in the lineup..Streit gets moved to forward, although he is very capable in that position it is not his natural position...and Kostopoulos gets scratched...so basically its a decision between Breezer and Kostop...i think the choice is clear..Kostopoulos will drop his gloves against most people in the league and Brisbois won't even go in the corners...its time we get rid of him...we see how well Gorges is playing with the ice time he receives...the same would be true with O'Byrne..there's no room for an olg bag thats worth nothing, when there is depth in the minors...

frankly i was disappointed when i found out that Breezers foot was not fractured...i liked this team a little more a couple of weeks back when Smolinski, Begin and Brisbois were injured...i'm hoping Smolinski's experience will do some good for the team as the playoffs approach,cuz lets face it, on the ice he's useless...as for Begin, i can't remember the last time he threw a hit the way he did before the lockout...we are surrounded by a french media who loves their french players,and they love to show it (RDS had Marc-Andre Bergeron and Bruno Gervais in intermission interviews) but in reality the only francophones who deserve merit on this team are Carbonneau, Bouillon & Huet (both not even Quebecois), and Lapierre...and no I didn't forget our "Saviour"..Guimauve Latendresse...im with P. Roy when he sais that if not for his last name he wouldn't be on this team...

as for the game tonight i'm happy with the win tonight and we're on the right path as we have been since Dec. 23rd...i'm a bit scared at the Koivu/Higgins problem...as we cannot become a one-line team, currently Kovy's line is pulling the weight...however i do believe having Higs and Koivu together w/ S. Kostitsyn is the best way to go, leaving Latendresse w/ Lapierre and Ryder...i truly believe Ryder's days in Mtl are limited as he no longer as his place on the team...

January 16, 2008 12:34 AM

sasabainga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sasabainga said...

Karl,

I'm going to have to agree with you...as you already know, I am no fan of the Breezer either. I believe that the crowd has been won over by the energetic Kostopoulos, not only for his willingness to fight, but for the overall energy he brings to the game. He seems to be a quiet guy, focussed only on getting the job done with each shift he's given.

I argued the fact that bringing Breezer back was a mistake, and I haven't changed my mind, no matter how much Guy from Bellerose tries to persuade me/everyone else otherwise. According to things I've heard here and there, Gainey brought Breezer back for this season because he felt that O'Byrne needed another year of seasoning on the farm. I think it's safe to say that O'Byrne is as ready as he'll ever be.

I also have to agree with you on liking the team more without Breezer and Smolinski in the lineup. The added youth exponentially brought in added speed, drive and excitement, and we have taken a subtle step backward since their returns. I still have a welcome spot for Begin, though, and am anxious for him to return. I see Smolinski as a fringe player, barely needed if needed at all.

As for La-Tender-Ness (since we're into name calling), his lack of speed is more and more aggravating. It's not that he's slow (that I would be able to deal with), it's that he's SUPER SLOW, and it's affecting his linemates in the sense that plays are failing to be created due to one player's foot-speed, or lack there-of. Get him on a power-skating regimen and keep him on it until next October, please.

Ryder will most likely be moved, but it's a matter of when and where, and for what in return. I'm gonna have to say though that if Latendresse sticks with the team from here on out (as he probably will), he shouldn't play on a line that doesn't have Koivu in it, as he is almost useless with him, and completely useless without him. It's just a shame for Koivu and Sergei, and Higgins, and EVEN Ryder...that's all.