Habs Play A Solid Game But Lose To Thrashers In SO 3-2

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    Habster:

    The Canadiens got a point out of this game but certainly deserved a better fate as they played a solid game and outshot the Trashers by a 39-28 margin. As usual, Cristobal Huet was terrible in the shootout allowing both Marian Hossa and Vyacheslav Kozlov to score. Huet didn’t even move his body or arms on the Hossa shot and looked foolish when Kozlov decked him completely out of position.
    “I was surprised he (Hossa) shot so quick,” Huet told AP after the game. “I’m not very confident in our shootouts, but it was nice to get one more point (in the standings).”
    It’s not very reassuring to hear your goaltender saying he isn’t very confident in shootouts especially if it’s at the end of the season and it come down to a shootout to make the playoffs.
    I know the players practice the shootouts throughout the year as I’ve seen them working on it……Huet needs a lot of extra work in these situations as he’s 3/8 this year, brutal!!!!!

    Here are some game points from tonight’s game. Tell me what you think??!! :
    • Can someone please tell Saku Koivu that NHL goalies are watching tape of his patent yet beautiful shootout deck move (forehand to backhand to forehand). Kari Lehtonen poke checked the puck from Koivu and made it look easy, almost like he knew what was come. Tomas Vokoun also made the save against Koivu in the Panthers game though he barely stopped it. I love Koivu but he has to try something different.
    • Pick on Huet part II: Cristobal wasn’t very strong on Atlanta’s first goal by Kozlov with barely a screen in front of him. Kozlov shot the puck from the far left boards, an NHL goalie has to stop those type of shots.
    • The KPK line played another strong game and should be considered the top line. Andrei Kostitsyn had a couple of open net misses and 0 shots. The Koivu line played a decent game though Christopher Higgins seems to have slowed down a bit and hasn’t been his usual hustling self the last two games. Hopefully, he isn’t nursing an injury….it wouldn’t surprise me as he played the last few games of last season with a badly injured shoulder.
    • I’m officially nicknaming Sergei Kostitsyn “The Belarusian Puck Magnet” as he always finds a way to retrieve the puck in open spaces. He doesn’t look out of place on the Koivu line and will need to help his brother pay for the rent.
    • I thought Maxim Lapierre had his best game since he was called up from the Bulldogs: 6 shots, 2 hits, won 10 of 13 face-off (77%) and played 16:51. He competed on every shift, skated hard with his linemates and did some excellent work on the PK.
    • What a difference a year makes: Alex Kovalev is working hard in every game situation: PP, PK and 5 on 5. Kovalev played another strong game and made the Thrashers defense look weak/foolish on some plays. He deserves to be commended for the turn around in his game and attitude……..way to go AK!!!
    • The Hab players (Koivu x 2 and Lapierre) have to keep their feet moving when the opposition breaks out of their own zone. On three seperate ocassions, Canadiens players took stupid/lazy hooking or holding penalties in the offensive zone, 150-160 feet from their own net. I don’t know too many players who can score from that far away though with the type of game Huet was playing, I guess anything is possible!!!!
    • The Atlanta Thrasher will not make the playoff with their soft back end/defensemen. They struggled in one on one containment along the boards and in the center of the ice. I was impressed with the offensive skill of Swedish rookie defensman Tobias Enstrom who can fly and really excels on the powerplay unit. He has been a pleasant surprise for a 8th round pick (239th) in the 2003 NHL draft (GP-34 G-3 A-16 PT-19 +6)

    2 COMMENTS

    1. i totally agree with your commentary on koivu (shootout) and huet (overall). but huet made some saves that other goalies couldn’t because of their style. so there’s pluses and minuses. im just concerned he won’t last a season dude to injury.

      the KPK should be the top line but that would be a bit of an insult to koivu or just make the habs look bad in terms of their offensive potential, and also the stigma of having a big ol’ slavic line of pleks, kovy and A-KOST in french Montreal. it’s a business, it’s marketing.

      go Sergei!!!

    2. Conrad,

      I just hope the Canadiens and Huet are not in the same situation that faced the NY Islander last season when they needed to win the shootout against the NJ Devils in the last game of the season to make the playoffs. If that happens and Huet is in nets then kiss your chances of making the playoffs goodbye!!!
      I would be surprised to still see Huet in a Habs uniform by that time but anything is possible.
      As far as Saku Koivu’s line is concerned, don’t get me wrong, their line is still producing points but I’m concerned about Christopher Higgins play of late…..I hope he isn’t injured!!!

      Thanks for your comments and thoughtful insights. Have a great holiday season!!!

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