It Wasn’t Pretty But It Was Fun To Watch: Habs Beat Bruins in 7-4 victory

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    Habster:

    It wasn’t the type of game most of us were expecting from a Bruins/Canadiens tilt with wide open, end to end hockey and a touch of goonary here and there. It was a see-saw type of contest with the teams exchanging goals 7 goals (4-3 Habs) in the first 40 minutes. The Canadiens were outshot 20-15 in the first period only to come back even stronger in the last two periods with a 37-16 shot margin. The last time the Habs had 50+ shots in a game was over 11 years ago ( April 1, 1996 vs Buffalo).
    All four lines were playing well and contributing especially the KPK line and the Latendresse/Chipchura/Kostopoulos line which had 4 points. It wasn’t Carey Price’s strongest game of the year but he didn’t need to be at his best as his teammates provided all the offense they needed on this night.

    Here are some game points:

    • We are witnessing the maturation of Mike Komisarek before our very eyes, Hab fans!!! Komisarek is quickly becoming a solid #2 defenseman who is developing into a dominant impact player each game. Mike is no Larry Robinson but he certainly has some of the “Big Bird’s” qualities: Size, good skater, mean streak and physically dominating the opposition. He is even starting to show an offensive side of his game with two goals the last couple of games. Don’t get me wrong, Komisarek will not score 60-80 points a season like Robinson use to do but if he can give Guy Carbonneau 20-25 points and maintain his strong physical/defensive game as a shutdown defenseman, then the Canadiens will be ecstatic.
    • After watching the last two games, I’ve come to the conclusion that Carey Price has practiced the rebound control drill more often than Cristobal Huet. Rarely does Price give up a rebound while Huet has slowly been showing a tendency to give juicy rebounds which led to a couple of goals against the Sabres last night.
    • Does Steve Begin and Guillaume Latendresse have death wishes? Pissing off 6’9″ 250lb Zdeno Chara isn’t a great idea unless you want a broken Orbital facial bone like David Koci when Chara embedded his fist into Koci’s face (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3_ghTTQefI). I admire their heart and guts to step up for their teammates but if they want to give blood then they should wait until the Canadiens have their blood drive.
    • I’m starting to reconsider my strong opposition to wider nets being instituted in the NHL especially after tonight’s game. I counted four empty net scoring chances where Canadiens players missed the net with sure goals on their stick blades: Higgins (x2), Streit and Kostitsyn.
    • The KPK line is back on track and played another solid offensive game. I thought Andrei Kostitsyn played his best game of the year and made some nice rushes up the ice. He showed me another gear tonight and is starting to feel more comfortable each game. If the consistency is there every night, there is no reason why this guy can’t score 30-35 goals in the not too distant future.
    • The Higgins/Koivu/Ryder line played a solid game as well and hopefully have broken out of their mini-slump. Michael Ryder didn’t score tonight but had 13 shots on net and assisted on the Koivu and Kovalev goals. He was involved in the play throughout the game and played really well…..hopefully this is the begin of a typical Ryder scoring streak.
    • Guillaume Latendresse looked pretty good on the fourth line with Kostopoulos and Chipchura. The line combined for 4 points and were a combined +2 on the night. Latendresse didn’t have much choice but to work hard and hustle like his linemates. If you remember last season, Bob Gainey suggested to Guy Carbonneau to put a hard working player on each line to jump start the team when they had their mid season slump. Well, I think Carbonneau needs to put young Mr. Latendresse with players like Chipchura or/and Kostopoulos to thrive…….maybe we are expecting too much from the 20 year old at this stage of his hockey career. Everything has come to him too easily and maybe playing on the 3rd or 4th lines will allow him to develop slowly with lower expectations and hard work.
    • Is it just my imagination or do you find the NHL refereeing is getting worst. I find there are more and more phantom or borderline penalties that slow the game down. Yes, I agree the referees need to call the clutching, hooking and grabbing type infractions but let’s not go over board here. Dean Warren is fast gaining a reputation as one of the worst refs in the NHL along with a few other younger newcomers. I understand it’s a tough job to do and split second decisions have to be made but please leave the non-calls where they belong as non-entities!!!
    • Three more goals for the league leading Power Play unit which now has 27 PP goals on 90 power play opportunities or a success rate of 30%!!! That’s approximately 6% better than the next best PP team which is Carolina is at a 24% success rate (including tonight’s game against Florida). The Habs also scored a Short Handed goal to boot……not to be unnoticed as well is that they scored three even strength goals (2 goals 5 on 5 and 1 goal 4 on 4). An all-round attack!!!!