Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Weathering The Storm (Barely...)

The Habs eeked out a 3-2 shootout victory vs. the Carolina Hurricanes last night, wrapping up a very successful home stand which saw them go 4-1.

The Habs were very fortunate to earn the full 2 points last night, as it can easily be agrued that the Hurricanes played a much better all-around game than the Habs. Montreal was outshot 33-25, and seemed to have a lot of trouble clicking as a team in passing.

The Habs seemed a little dazed and confused on the ice for the better part of the evening. Miscommunication was to blame, and at some times, failure to communicate at all.

The Habs will certainly need to put out a much better effort if they expect to beat an unbeaten Minnesota side (6-0-1) on the road on Thursday.

Montreal was able to ice a fully healthy lineup for the first time of the season. Apart from the apparent lack of chemistry displayed last night, it is possible that the lineup will have a hole once again. Roman Hamrlik blocked a shot with his knee, and hobbled off the ice, not to reutrn. Reports, however, suggest 'Hammer' could be ready for tomorrow night's tilt.

Montreal got two goals after Carolina opened the scoring. Alex Kovalev scored with 4:04 to play in the first, coming in on an angle from the right wing on Canes G Cam Ward and outwaiting him to go top shelf on a wrister. The Habs then profited on a 5-on-3 powerplay situation...just not as one would expect.

Canes D Dennis Seidenberg gloved the puck in the crease in a scramble to score, and the referee saw the incident and immediately awarded a penalty shot. Alex Tanguay stepped up and released a perfect wrister low-blocker side to beat Ward for the goal.

The Canes tied the game under a minute into the third, on a flukey goal scored by Matt Cullen with almost no room for error. Price may have been partly to blame, but he surely made up for it on many occasions, dazzling the crowd with some great saves.

Price, however, almost cost the Habs with 2:01 remaining in regulation by lobbing the puck over the glass and taking a delay of game penalty in the process. The Habs stepped up for their goaltender, killed off the penalty, and took it into OT.

In OT, the Habs had another great opportunity on a late powerplay, but Robert Lang was robbed by Ward on a rebound. Important to note: Lang missed a few GOLDEN opportunities throughout the night.

In the shootout, Saku Koivu sealed the win for Montreal, scoring the only goal of the shootout by opening up Ward on the backhand and sliding it through his legs, a la Andrei Markov.

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