About last night …

Some people – perhaps including Guy Carbonneau – will be lamenting the third-period letdown that allowed Carolina to climb back into the game.
Hey, the players are human … and human beings tend to ease up when an issue is decided.
And the issue was decided in Carolina after 20 minutes, by which time the Canadiens had a 5-1 lead on the Hurricanes. It was natural to ease up on the throttle.
And the letdown was not a meltdown.
It’s early in the season, but the Canadiens have two many positives – including four effective lines and three good defence pairings – to suffer the sort of calamitous collapse we saw last April in Toronto.

Interesting move by Carbo.
After Saku Koivu fell asleep on coverage and his lapse resulted in Carolina’s third goal, the captain found himself centring the fourth line. The coach had Kyle Chipchura on with Christopher Higgins and Michael Ryder to shore up the top line’s D for a shift.
Here’s how I read the message:
If the Canadiens are going to win – even in laughers like last night – EVERY forward has to be conscious of defensive responsibilities.
Saku has been great this season. But seeing their captain briefly demoted will keep the other guys honest.
Ultimate accolade for the coach: it’s something Scotty Bowman would have done.

• • •

Are you loving that second line?
My man, Tomas Plekanec, is finally rolling. And it seems that contrary to what happened last season, Alex Kovalev likes playing with the young centre.
using his size to bang around and fight for loose pucks, Guillaume Latendresse is an ideal complement to his more skillful linemates.

• • •

Are you loving the fourth line?
Kyle Chipchura looks like he’ll be in the lineup for 10 years.
Steve Bégin is Steve Bégin.
And how about Tom Won’t-stopoulos?
Makes a bad pass that costs a game in Ottawa, then plays great against Buffalo, Boston and Carolina.
Non-stop motor. Good skater. Plays till the whistle.
Okay, I’m not comparing Kostopoulos’s skill level to Chris Chelios’s.
But if you’ll excuse an ethnic stereotype based on guys I knew in high school, the phrase “tough Greek” is redundant.
And while I didn’t take my university degree in Classics, I bet there’s no Greek word for “lazy.”

• • •

Can it be that the power play is BETTER without Sheldon Souray?
Canadiens’ 16 PP goals lead the league. They’re getting quality chances on every man-advantage opportunity.
I think with the big cannon at the right point, the power play became predictable – and thus defendable – last season.
Now there’s more creativity among the forwards. And while no defenceman has Souray’s howitzer, Andrei Markov, Mark Streit, Patrice Brisebois, Francis Bouillon, Roman Hamrlik and occasionally Mike Komisarek are capable of directing point shots toward the net, where interesting things can happen.

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