Poor Mark Streit. He couldn’t have imagined that a wayward stick he sent into Kovalev’s face would insight 4 goals in 8 minutes for the Canadiens, as they skated away with two points that belonged to the Islanders.
-The Islanders, who spent the majority of their night in Montreal’s zone.
-The Islanders, who ranked last in the NHL going into the game.
-The Islanders, who outshot Montreal 27-16 in the first two periods.
-The Islanders, who are the lowest-scoring team in the East.
-The Islanders, who took a 4-1 lead, and choked on it like it was bad Shwarma.
And what of the play that seemed to have Kovalev incensed, as he bled his way to the bench, cursing the officials for blowing the call? Simple: The NHL does not assess penalties on high sticks that connect during the follow-through of a shot or pass—It’s ruled as unintentional.
It’s a good thing no one told Kovalev, because he was furious, and when he gets furious, he starts scoring. While the cameras were pursuing wave, after wave of the Canadiens offense double-clutching from 2nd, to 4th gear, Kovalev must have told his linemates: “Enough is Enough”. Tell me you didn’t see it coming when Plekanec’s first of the period snuck by Danis, to make it 4-2 with roughly 12:00 to go?
It was just a matter of time before Carbo shuffled the deck, and as soon as Chris Higgins skated his first shift with Tanguay, and Koivu, wouldn’t you know it? Goal! Higgins’ first of the season couldn’t have come at a better time, in front of all his friends and family, to even the score in a game the Canadiens had no business being in. Tell me you didn’t think they were going to win it in regulation after that?
Markov to Kovalev was all it took to put the nail in this one, as anger turned to bliss, and frustration to relief. Two points in the bag, for your NorthEast-leading franchise, and for once, the Habs bail out Carey Price in a game where he wasn’t at his best.
With that, the first ten-game block of the season has the Canadiens ripping it out of the gate. 8-1-1, for a team that hasn’t put together a complete effort in any contest thus far.
They look like a golfer trying to break 90; one day the driver is going amazing, the irons are putting the ball within feet of the pin, but the putting is off. The next day the driver’s in the woods, the irons are off the green, and the putter’s on fire.
How long will it be before it all comes together? How long before Price gets a shutout, after the Canadiens score 5 or more goals, and they limit the opposition to 30 or less shots? How long before the powerplay (currently at 19th in the league, operating at 16.3%) ascends to the top 5?
One game isn’t enough to brag about the mighty return of Plekanec-Kovalev-Kostitsyn, but with ten points on the night, we might not have to ask how long it’ll be before they’re scoring on a consistent basis.
A few numbers for you:
-Saku Koivu is still leading the league in +/-, with a rating of +9.
-The Canadiens have scored 21 goals 5 on 5 this year, and 7 on the powerplay, 3 in 4 on 4 situations, 1 shorthanded.
-The Ducks, Canucks, Wings, Sharks, Preds, Flyers, Flames,
and Rangers have all scored more goals than the Canadiens so far this season. They’ve also all played more games. Averaging 3.5 goals/game gives the Canadiens the second best scoring % in the league, tied with the Wings, who have played 2 more games, behind the Flyers who average 3.91 goals/game.
-Averaging 31 shots against, the Canadiens rank 19th
in the league. They have a better record than all 11 teams below them in the
category. The Sharks, who have the best record in the league at 10-2-0, have allowed the least amount of shots/game, averaging 24.4.
-Montreal has played a game or two less than all of their
competition in the NorthEast division, but lead the Sabres by 1 point, the Bruins by 2, the Leafs by 4, and the Sens by 7.