About last night …

Over men and horses hoops and garters

and lastly through a hogshead of real fire

In this way Mr. K will challenge the world

Coach Guy  Carbonneau said you could count on the fingers of one hand the number of bad games Alex Kovalev has played this season.

Actually, you could probably count them on the sore (but, let us pray, not broken) thumb of Mr. K. He is having a career season, and Kovalev has become the darling of the Bell Centre.

For all the car races and kissing contests and lame-ass promotions the Canadiens run to keep 21,273 fans amused, the crowd reachest fullest and most authentic frenzy when Kovalev has the puck.

And he has it a lot. If the NHL kept Time of Possession stats, Kovalev would lead the league’s forwards.

Although he shrugged off the notion of cranking it up because Alexander Ovechkin was in town, you’d best believe the aging superstar – snubbed by the Russian hockey federation for its national team – wanted to show the young pup he’s still got some game.

(My God, that sentence ran longer than one of Kovy’s shifts!)

 

 

There was so much to like about the game. A few aspects that caught my eye:

• Cristobal Huet is in the zone. There were no acrobatic or spectacular saves among the 35 stops he made to record the shutout because Huet is seeing everything, he’s square to the shooters, his positioning is superb, as is his rebound control. He even made a few good passes. Huet is giving Canadiens the hottest goaltending I’ve seen since I started blogging.

• How about that D? You expect Mike Komisarek to have a huge game against Ovechkin, but save some kind words for my man Josh Gorges, who held his own against the hulking sniper. All six defencemen did a great job of keeping the slot clear and moving the puck out. Almost all the Caps’ shots were from bad angles.

• Discipline. Two penalties in the game. They overlapped, Canadiens killed the 5-on-3, Sergei came out of the  box to score shorthanded and when his two minutes were up, Steve Bégin  chased down a lead pass and fed Saku Koivu for the third goal.

• The power play. Two more goals last night, and perimeter passing that’s  frustrating to watch if Canadiens are trailing but very pretty when the team is ahead and looking to pad its lead.

• Christopher Higgins didn’t score but was a monster on the boards and in one-on-one battles for loose pucks. That line will explode if Michael Ryder finds his game (which appears increasingly unlikely).

• Bégin, Bryan Smolinski and Tom Kostopoulos are the best fourth line Canadiens have had this year. Three smart veterans who hit and play with energy.

• When some Capitals thought about swarming Sergei K. after his kneeing penalty, Maxim Lapierre got right into it for his linemate.

Now let’s just hope Kovy’s thumb is OK, and it’s on to Washington tomorrow night.

107 Comments

  1. The Teacher says:

    LOL, no way in hell would i do that trade LMAO Pleky is a number one center, same as vinny Higgins is slacking so ….Komi? A player like him comes along once every ten years, just like Vinny.

    Put it this way

    I’d rather have Komi AND Pleky for 8 million then Vinny at 7. And Halak and someone else also? RUBBISH!

  2. howtathor says:

    I’m a big proponent for getting Eric Cole. Mainly because he’s been such a Hab killer in the past. Man he just blows down that wing. I don’t know if Carolina would be in a sellers mode given the wierd division they are in where one day you can be in third in the east and next day out of the playoffs depending on who is leading the wild Southeast. Ryder, Halak, Dandy, and a pick – no problem. I like your deal for Tanguay although I’m not as familiar with him as a player given the exposure we get to the Western teams.

    I think Bob is hoping Ryder gets on fire for Feb., to increase his value. He’s a patient man!

  3. HabsProf says:

    Our old pal Michael Farber had this to report on his SI web site. Habs fans will like the ending line….

    “The NHL recently announced a “green” initiative, which surely is a socially responsible thing to do. Of course, if there were a real commitment to the environment, the league wouldn’t have changed the schedule for next season and increased travel.

    One eco/hockey-suggestion, annually made in this space: all playoff series become 2-3-2 to eliminate excess trips.

    Another less serious eco-suggestion: Let the Boston Bruins mail in their results against the Montreal Canadiens. Boston is 0-6 vs. the Habs this season.”

  4. likehoy says:

    if talks fail with bouwmeester…i’d send a combination of a 2nd rounder and fischer/valentenko/yemelin/subban/matt carle/o’byrne…bouwmeester played in the turin olympics which shows his potential…

    a first rounder would be a steep asking price if valentenko yemelin or fischer are part of the deal…but the latter 3 mentioned…a first rounder may be necessary to pry bouwmeester away.

  5. Mike Boone says:

    Missed it. I was at the game.

  6. likehoy says:

    didn’t kostitsyn score coming out of the box?? so the penalty was beneficial…as did begin setting up koivu moments after his penalty…we came out on top due to those debacles

  7. Kilgore Trout says:

    for the most part, he talked about how the key to his and the team’s recent success was to play a simple game and not get too fancy, as that’s where you tend to make mistakes.

  8. likehoy says:

    no

    maybe back in november i would have done it…

    but the team has blossomed so well that chemistry is pretty high up. Lecavalier Richards St-louis Prospal…great players…poor results…they’re in dead last…soooooooo that says something.

  9. lennon says:

    Heard some yo-yo’s on the radio discussing possible lecavailer trade.

    The proposed package for lecavalier would be 2 of higgins, komisarek and Plekanec
    as well as halak and o’byrne.

    would ya?

  10. nightmare_49 says:

    Follow up : Lafleur will turn himself in on Friday morning accompanied by his lawyer.

  11. frank81 says:

    http://img139.imageshack.us/my.php?image=huetew1.jpg

    Check out this photo of Huet from last night’s game. He’s intense!

  12. 24 Cups says:

    kRob – I’ve got two words for you – Ulf Samuelsson.

    The Original 24 Cups

  13. nightmare_49 says:

    Breaking News on the radio , an arrest warrent has been issued for Guy Lafleur in conjunction with his testimony in his son’s case , hard to believe.

  14. krob1000 says:

    He was definitely going for a hip check although I don’t really mind the penalty being called. I know it shouldn’t have been one but years back there was an epidemic of these type of hits and kneeing penalties and Marchment was at the forefront. IF the hit lands clean and is not knee high it is an awesome weapon (see Scott Stervens) but it doesn’t take much of a miss to end or ruin a career a la Cam Neely via Marchment. IF guys want to try that hit than they maybe would be wary that they will get a penalty if they miss. It is the same idea as the hits from behind and most recently head shots. They are trying to bring the respect back into the game and although we all can agree their was no bad intentions on that one a two minute penalty is o.k. as a wake up call to the players in my opinion. Unfortunately this one went against us and it wasn’t really a penalty but I think the theory behind it makes it as acceptable as it can be given that there really wasn’t an infraction…..if that makes any sense at all. The same thing is happening where right now legal hits are being considered head shots even when a guy drops his head as low as a shoulder. Also when a guy turns into the boards and takes a hit from behind (although they are starting to let more of that go it appears). They have to do something because there are always going to be teams and players who take advantage and actually try to hurt players.


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