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While we wait for Big Ben to suit up, a few takes on last night’s win:

Quotes from the room

Arpon Basu

Last season, Price would have lost this game – François Gagnon

Pierre Ladouceur

J.T.

• Larry Brooks on the uselessness of enforcers

And from the Commentariat, some interestng observations by JF:

That was a far more exciting game than Friday
night against Buffalo and, with the exception of a brief lapse in the
second period, the Habs were full value.  But, as the RDS guys pointed
out, the two quick Ottawa goals were the result of individual errors
rather than of poor team play.  For the most part we dominated the
Senators, outshooting and outworking them in the second and third
periods and, suddenly facing a deficit of two goals, the team showed no
quit.  Nor did Price wilt as he certainly would have last year.

I
love what I’m seeing so far from this team.  I think that as a group
they learned a great deal from the playoff run.  That experience showed
them how to play for each other, how to overcome obstacles, and how to
believe in themselves.  They don’t quit, they stand up for each other,
and they never stop believing they can win.

 

Two facets of the game
that so far look vastly improved from last year: faceoffs and defensive
zone play. Last year we were usually under 50% on faceoffs, but the
addition of Halpern has pushed us well over that, and I think Plekanec
is also doing better on faceoffs this year.  Winning more faceoffs makes
quite a difference in terms of puck possession.  Also, we no longer
seem to be spending long stretches hemmed in our own zone.  There are
still turnovers and mistakes of course, but for the most part we clear
the zone more efficiently than last year and move the puck up-ice more
purposefully.  I’m seeing less dump-and-chase, more well-constructed
attacking.  Jacques Martin said at the beginning of the season that last
year he concentrated heavily on defence because it was his first year
with the team and he wanted to ensure the players learned the system
thoroughly and were able to execute it well.  It took a year, but it
might have worked.  Our defence looks quite solid and the team is
playing a lot less passively than last year, particularly when
protecting a 1-goal lead.  We no longer turn into a shell and let our
opponents pound our goaltender.  This should translate into more
victories, particularly in close games, than last year.  We started
2009-2010 with two OT wins. then, after the blowout in Vancouver, four
1-goal losses.  I think that over the season we were among the league
leaders in 1-goal losses.  Turning some of those into wins will
certainly help our playoff hopes.

AK46′s goal was the highlight of
the night but Plekanec’s, which he set up by driving hard to the net,
ran it a close second.  We’ve only ever seen glimpses of the Kostitsyn
we’re seeing now – strong, intense, physical, going to the net, and
shooting the puck.  Not only is he in better shape than last year, but
he must have done a lot of work on his defensive game.  He backchecks
well and he is not beaten so regularly along the boards.  It was great
to see him get the first star and then skate around offering pucks to
the fans.

I’m glad Gionta got a goal, and such a spectacular one, but we need to see more from that line.

 

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