If the NHL establishment didn’t know about Carey Price’s talent level, they certainly are realizing it now!! As TSN analysis, Pierre McGuire stated during last night’s game, Price is so calm and unflappable, he makes every save look routine and is always square to the shooter. His rebound control was excellent as well as his composure when Boston had some good scoring chances. He is the real deal and makes a great goaltending tandem with Cristobal Huet. Guy Carbonneau and Roland Melanson are bringing him along slowly, not that he needs the slow progression but he is only 20 years old, something we tend to lose sight of due to his maturity and composure on/off the ice.
As I watched the game last night, I never got the impression the Canadiens would lose or Carey Price would give up a “weak goal”, a far cry from how most Hab fans felt watching last season’s edition (especially with Aebischer in net). There is a confidence surrounding this team that is becoming more and more apparent to Canadiens fans, they are playing Carbonneau’s system to perfection.
Here are some game points:
- We are witnessing the evolution/development of Guy Carbonneau as a coach. Carbo and his coaching staff are making excellent game time adjustments especially in the third period when he placed defensively strong players like Kostopolous, Begin and Chipchura on the top three lines in place of defensively liable players like Grabovski and Ryder. He even had two centers on the ice in the last three minutes of the game in case there was an icing where he couldn’t make a line changes. Smart coaching helps win games!!!
- One of the biggest differences with this edition of the Canadiens is that they use all four lines and are fresh throughout the game. With the exception of Mikhail Grabovski (TOI: 8:09), every player had double digit ice time with Kyle Chipchura being the next lowest TOI at 12:23. Andrei Markov had a game high TOI of 26:27 (Check game Boxscore).
- The Habs finally appear to have a second line which can contribute offensively. The Kostitsyn/Plekanec/Kovalev (KPK) line is starting to build chemistry and can take some of the pressure off of the Koivu line. Kovalev continues to work hard while Kostitsyn and Plekanec have an undeniable chemistry between each other and this can only get better with time. Kostitsyn brings an element of speed and finesse that Latendresse doesn’t have so Carbo better leave the line alone, PLEASE!!!
- I’m sorry Hab fans, but Grabovski just doesn’t standout or belong in the NHL….at least not yet. He certainly has an undeniable skill set but until he fights for the puck with more authority or can win battles along the boards, he will struggle game after game. If a small player like Tomas Plekanec can thrive along the boards then it becomes a question of desire and a willingness to win battles for the puck which I haven’t seen from Grabovski as of yet.
- Michael Ryder worked hard but unfortunately had nothing to show for it with only 2 shots on net. The slump continues,…….
- The three hardest working Habs players (Blue collar award) were: Tom Kostopolous, Kyle Chipchura and Mathieu Dandenault. These guys don’t get the recognition the higher profile players get but certainly have important roles to play, shutting down the other team’s top lines.