Huet plays a strong game to back stop Habs to a 2-0 victory

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Habster:

The Canadiens 2-0 victory against the Sabres wasn’t pretty but it counts in the win column which is the bottom line, isn’t it!!! The slow starts are becoming a bit of a concern and the Canadiens are starting to show some bad traits from last year’s edition. I realize it’s only two games and overall the Habs have played very well with a much stronger work ethic, I just hope they don’t fall into the bad habit of last season where they allowed their opposition to dictate the pace of the game.
Cristobal Huet had a great bounce back game, making 29 saves for the 2-0 shotout and Tomas Plekanec played a much better game scoring his 4th goal of the season (his first even strength goal of the season). Plekanec has provided good offensive production on the powerplay but needs to continue that production during 5 on 5 situations or risks being labelled a “powerplay specialist”. When Plekanec is on top of his game, he has the potential to be a 60-70 point player and contribute at both ends of the ice.
With the next four games on the road against Northeast division rivals ( Boston, Ottawa, Toronto and Buffalo), the Canadiens will need Huet, Plekanec and the rest of the players to continue working hard and start setting the pace of the game from the onset of the game.
Game Points:
  • Give Guy Carbonneau credit for taking Latendresse off the second line and replacing him with Andrei Kostitsyn who had another solid game and hopefully will start to show some consistency that he displayed during his late season call up last year. He brings a more offensively dynamic game to the second line with more speed and a better shot than Guillaume Latendresse.
  • Speaking of the young Mr. Latendresse, I’m starting to get concerned about the “sophomore jinx” situation. Sore back withstanding, he was off balance all night and hasn’t been able to put a string of game together which would lead us to believe that belongs at the NHL level. To put it simply, he looks out of his element as far as his playing ability is concerned. I understand he is only 20 years old and could develop into a decent player but the unfair expectations that people have heaped onto him are unattainable at this stage of his career or ever for that matter. If Latendresse continues to struggle, Gainey and Carbonneau will have to seriously consider what is best for his confidence and development: to spend the entire season struggling with the Habs or allow him to develop his game in Hamilton? Wouldn’t Sergei Kostitsyn or Maxim Lapierre be a better fit in the Canadiens lineup? I think we all know the answer to that question, Hab fans.
  • Gainey is looking like a genius with the additions of Hamrlik, Kostopolous and Smolinski. They have been very consistent from game to game and are upgrades from Souray, Johnson and even Bonk who is having a decent year with Nashville. They all had solid games against Buffalo especially Smolinski who was all over the ice and appears to have found an extra gear since the start of the season.
  • Carbonneau did the right thing by starting Huet over Price (Yes, hindsight is 20-20!!!)and was rewarded with Huet’s solid game. Price will probably get the start against the Bruins on Thursday but you never know with the way Carbo handles his goaltenders. Huet plays well against the Bruins????!!!!
  • I’m starting to like Mathieu Dandenault more and more as a hard working forward with terrific speed who is even laying the body. Why couldn’t he do the same as a defenseman? Hmmmmm!!!!! I wonder………..
  • Alex Kovalev is still working hard even though he didn’t get on the score sheet last night. Great work along the boards where he used his strength and terrific stickhandling. The guy is even back checking for goodness sake. He was guilty of some giveaways but we have come to expect that from him periodically.