The Montreal Canadiens domination of the Boston Bruins continues this season as they were full value in a 4-2 victory. The Canadiens extended their season record against the Bruin to 7-0 and have also won 10 straight games against Boston dating back exactly one year ago (March 20th, 2008: 1-0 Habs’ win). They have outscored the Bruin this season by a margin of 36-14…..can you say total domination!!!
The offensive push was supplied by the ever amazing and rejuvenated Alex Kovalev who was a human highlight reel with two beautiful goals and a pretty pass to set up Andrei Kostitsyn’s 22nd goal to make it a 4-1 game.
The Canadiens also got their third goal of the game on another pretty play when Guillaume Latendresse did a great job getting the puck along the Bruins boards then sent the puck to Saku Koivu behind the net who quickly set up Michael Ryder in front of the net with his 14th goal of the season.
The victory wasn’t all joy and happiness as the Canadiens lost Mike Komisarek to a leg/hip injury in the first period when he was hit hard against the end boards by a Bruin player. Gainey, Carbonneau and all Canadiens fans will be hold out hope that Komisarek’s injury isn’t too serious and he won’t miss too many games………at least not many playoff games!!! He is such a huge part of the Habs blueline and would leave a gaping hole in the backend going into the playoffs.
Here are some of my game points:
- As I mentioned in my game lineup updates, I was concerned about the seven days between starts for Carey Price and how it would affect his performance for tonight’s game. Carey Price looked rusty and shaky to start the game with almost every aspect of his game. He mishandled the puck, his rebound control was terrible and his puck tracking was not sharp. He certainly got better as the game moved into the second period where he made a spectacular glove save on David Krejci. His puckhandling also greatly improved and he made it a lot easier on his defense. Basically every aspect of his game improved as the game rolled along……..Carbonneau has to give Price the remaining seven games to get into a groove before the playoffs start.
- The Alex Kovalev show was on full display tonight with two beautiful highlight reel goals. He now has 11 points (G-7 A-4) against the Bruins this season. His coach certainly thinks he deserves to get some MVP votes for his great season, “If he (Kovalev) doesn’t have any votes for MVP, I will be really upset,” Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said. “We are at the top of the conference and he is a big part of it.” Kovalev is a game breaker type of player who can change a game on one shift…..granted Tim Thomas wasn’t very sharp on those goals with both squeaked through his five hole. The Bruins defense wasn’t very good as well particularly the duo of Chara/Wideman who were -2 on the night and looked disinterested or like two deers looking into the headlights of an 18 wheeler. Kovalev will be the hands down winner of the comeback player of the year…….sorry Jose Theodore!!! MVP is another matter…..though he should get some consideration.
- If only Christopher Higgins had better hands/touch around the net, he would have close to 30 goals by now………..he was gift wrapped a beautiful pass from Saku Koivu, only to send it wide of the open net………frustrating for us and I’m sure terribly frustrating to Mr. Higgins!!!!
- Nobody can question the heart or dedication that Tom Kostopoulos displays on a nightly basis…….he is a gamer and a true teammate in every sense of the word. He stands up for his teammates when he is outmatched physically and always hustles every game. He will be a great playoff performer this year…..mark my words, folks!!!
- While we are discussing “standing up” for your teammates, doesn’t this fuel the debate concerning Guy Carbonneau’s decision not to dress a tough guy or someone who would be more of a heavy weight than Kostopoulos. I realize most teams won’t dress their enforcers during the playoffs but the Canadiens will need to readdress this issue before next season because the Bruins once again took physical liberties against the Canadiens most of the night. They need a Chris Neil or a Milan Lucic type of player who would be more than simply an enforcer, they would also contribute in other aspect of the game…….yes, I know they don’t grow on trees and are a hot NHL commodity but maybe Bob Gainey could trade or draft someone…..maybe Greg Stewart or Jimmy Bonneau could be a short term solution to start next season????
- The penalty killing was excellent tonight and even had some good scoring chances to boot. I loved Carbo’s decision to use Sergei Kostitsyn and Josh Gorges on the PK as they deserved the extra ice time. The PK is ranked 26th in the NHL so the coaching staff has to think outside the box…….good coaching by them. Sergei was used on the PK in Hamilton and with the London Knights where he scored not one but two shorthanded goals to win the game for the Knights while the other team had a 5 on 3 powerplay!!!. SK-74 has such great anticipation and skill that he will thrive on the PK and could even score some shorthanded goals. Josh Gorges had yet another solid game logging 22:55 (second only to Markov).
- The entire Habs defense deserves a lot of credit with a gutsy performance. They could have folded when Mike Komisarek was lost to an injury in the first period but they didn’t and played a good game. Roman Hamrlik was his usual solid self while Andrei Markov logged a ton of quality minutes (team high 25:28) without his regular defense partner. It’s times like these when it’s beneficial to have a defenseman playing forward………at times we complain about this situation but wasn’t it great to have Mark Streit playing on the blueline in Komisarek’s absence.
- Here’s a question for you: Was Mikhail Grabovski in the lineup tonight??? The sarcasm is still dripping from that question but I truly believe young Mr. Grabovski will be a non-factor in the playoffs when the intensity and physical level of play will greatly intensify. He was almost non-existent tonight and was physically man handled by the Bruins on a few occasions……..I love his skill set and great wheels but there needs to be more!!!
- In conclusion, let’s keep our fingers crossed and perform a few Hail Mary’s for Mike Komisarek’s quick return to the lineup…………needless to say, it will be a huge loss if he is gone for an extended period of time……”Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.Thy Kingdom come…….”. Just pray Canadiens fans……….just pray!!!!!!