Habs Victorious Over Capitals 5-2 Despite Disturbing Trends

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    Habster:

    It wasn’t pretty at times but the Canadiens were able to come out on top with a 5-2 squeaker. Yes, I said squeaker, Hab fans!!! The score certainly flatters the Canadiens who were outplayed for most of the game while also being outshot by a 37-21 margin (when Latendresse scored his 2nd goal of the game at 17:06 of the second period, the Habs only had 8 shots on goal but held a 3-1 lead).
    There are a lot disturbing trends creeping back into the Canadiens game the past few games: not competing every shift, difficulties getting the puck out of the defensive zone and an innate number of giveaways. I don’t want to sound too negative or critical after a Canadiens’ victory, it’s still another “W” in the win column but we’re watching the Canadiens transform back into last year’s team that badly slumped around this time of the year. The excuse last season was the flu virus that ravaged the team not once but twice, what is the excuse this season?
    Let’s be honest Hab fans, there are a few players who are not competing hard enough and better start working harder for the rest of the season otherwise we will be on the losing end of these one sided games with more regularity, guaranteed!!!

    Game points:
    • The Canadiens have been outshot the last four games by a 107 -94 margin which isn’t a big difference but they have only managed 25 shots or less in these games. Scoring chances are also down.
    • Maxim Lapierre was tied for second place as the Hamilton Bulldogs “workhorse of the game” this season which goes to the hardest working player each game……..I have not seen that hard working player since he was recalled and during the first 40 minutes of tonight’s game, he was not competing hard enough along the defensive zone boards to get pucks out of his zone. This isn’t the same Maxim Lapierre that worked very hard for the 46 games he played for the Habs last season!!!!
    • Latendresse or Ryder?,……..Hmmmmm!!!! I like what I’m seeing from Guillaume Latendresse these days, a player who isn’t afraid to get in front of the net and stand his ground……or should I say ice. He isn’t trying to make the pretty deke plays or outskate anyone (highly improbable), he’s just using his size, strength and strong/quick shot to his advantage…….it’s about time, Guy!!!!!!
    • Ryan O’Byrne had a solid game and was laying the body with a team high 4 hits. He was particularly strong winning the battles along the boards using his size and strength to his advantage. He made a nice play against Alex Ovechkin who tried to make a fancy move which O’Byrne didn’t fall for. The ice time he is getting with the team’s most consistent defenseman, Roman Hamrlik is invaluable and will only speed up his development over the season.
    • While we’re talking about good young defensemen, how impressive is Caps defenseman, Mike Green. He is a solid two way player who has a lot of offensive upside, can skate like the wind and isn’t afraid to jump into the rush to create offense. He has the total package and should further develop into something special…..don’t forget he was the last defenseman cut from Team Canada junior team that won gold at the 2005 WJC.
    • I still like the Gorges/Bouillon duo even though they struggled a bit tonight. Hey, when the team’s #1 tandem of Komisarek/Markov struggles then you know you had a difficult game, win or lose.
    • APARTMENT VACANCIES: Sergei Kostitsyn isn’t blowing anybody away with his offensive game just yet (though he does have 2 points in 4 games) but he is competing and playing a responsible two way game. He has a knack of finding the open spaces in the offensive zone and isn’t afraid to go to the net when there is a scoring chance. The younger “Kost” still hasn’t shown us his physical side or his great on ice vision especially on the powerplay………in time, he will……..I would rent his apartment in Hamilton to Bulldogs newcomer, Daniel Corso!!! You can also rent out O’Byrne’s apartment as well…….I wouldn’t rent Lapierre’s apartment just yet!!!
    • #1 and #1a: Cristobal Huet played a solid game after being sidelined for six games with a strained groin. He looked remarkably sharp and didn’t appear to be tired after facing 37 shots. It’s a nice luxury to have two #1 caliber goalies on your roster, for how long remains a mystery only Bob Gainey can solve???