No April Fool’s Joke Here: Habs Are Kings Of The Northeast Kingdom!!!

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    Habster:

    CHAMPIONS OF THE NORTHEAST DIVISION!!!!!……….music to every Canadiens fans ears!!! Who would have predicted the Canadiens winning the division before the start of the season? It’s truly been an extraordinary season thus far and Habs fans around the globe are thoroughly enjoying the ride.,,,,,,let’s hope it doesn’t end for a while, folks.

    The Canadiens played one of their best games of the season and were full value for the 3-0 victory over the Senators. They were first to most of the pucks and executed the game plan to perfection without key players like Saku Koivu, Francis Bouillon and Mike Komisarek in the lineup.

    With the Canadiens guaranteed a playoff spot and the Senators still fighting for their playoff lives, the Canadiens could have easily let their guard down and not shown up for the game. I’m not saying that the players didn’t have anything to play for with the Eastern Conference still up for grabs but there could have been a letdown. The hard fought victory showed a lot of character which has been on display throughout the season with numerous comeback wins, playing strong games after losses and playing consistent hockey the entire season.

    The Senators on the other hand, are a sorry bunch and there are some serious issues with this team after such a promising start to their season. On and off the ice (the off ice stuff is well document and not worth rehashing), the Senators are a very dysfunctional bunch. Their defensive zone coverage is downright terrible and their breakout passes are slow to develop which was one of their strengths last season. The goaltending is barely average most of the time while the offensive production is limited to the Alfredsson/ Spezza/Heatley line.

    The Sens have now lost three in a row and five of their past six games. They have also been shutout the past two games. To put it simply, the Ottawa Senators could miss the playoffs and even if they do make the playoffs, does anybody really think they will get far?

    Here are some of my game points:

    • Are you getting the feeling that Carey Price is starting to get into a playing grove or zone. He played another solid game and made it look easy in the process. He made some spectacular saves tonight and wasn’t out of position the entire game. It looks eerily similar to the way he played during the Calder Cup championship run of last season with the Hamilton Bulldogs……maybe he can help the Habs to the NHL version called Lord Stanley!!
    • Carbonneau has to be happy with all his players but I’m sure he is really glad to see the resemblance of a checking line taking shape in the way of Begin/Smolinski/Kostopoulos. They have really gelled and built some serious chemistry the last few games. If the Canadiens are to advance far into the playoffs, they’ll need a shutdown line to play a key role…..hopefully they’ll be that type of line.
    • Special teams have been great of late especially the PK. The Canadiens have moved up to the 16th position in the league for the PK efficiency (they were 22nd a few games ago) at 82.4%. Over the last 8 games, the Canadiens have only given up 2 powerplay goals in 40 chances or a 95% PK success rate. Lapierre, Higgins, Begin, Kovalev, Plekanec and Smolinski have been lights out (as in no goal lights) with their PK work.
    • The Sergei Kostitsyn playing center experiment appeared to limit his offensive creativity/chances. It’s a work in progress and he will get more comfortable as time goes on but you have to wonder if the defensive responsibilities will weigh too heavily on his mind when he take a chance in the offensive zone. Hopefully, Saku Koivu will be able to play sooner rather than later.
    • It looks like Mathieu Dandenault doesn’t want to return to the press box anytime soon as he has played well since his insertion into the lineup. He was flying out there tonight and did a nice job playing with Latendresse and Lapierre whom also had solid games especially Guillaume.

    • Great Bounce Back Game (or otherwise known as GBBG): Josh Gorges would be the first to admit that he had a terrible game against the Maple Leafs last Saturday when he was a -4 and was caught out position a few times. What a difference a couple of days of reflection and self-evaluation will do to a player’s performance especially one who is as proud and a character guy like Josh. Gorges had a “GBBG” and was rightfully selected as the game’s third star as he played a solid game with Andrei Markov, in 5 on 5 situations as well as on PK duties. He gave hits, took hits to make plays and was involved in the play throughout the game……..great game!!! Craig Rivet for Josh Gorges and Max Pacioretty is looking more and more like a steal, doesn’t it Habs fans?
    • Like the Rocket has stated in the past, I wish Carbonneau would wake up and smell the flowers concerning Patrice Brisebois play. Ryan O’Byrne has played really well and was a big contributor in last night’s win with hits and 5 blocked shots. He logged 16:49 minutes of ice time while Brisebois had 19:05 TOI with no hits (in a very physical game) and one blocked shot………that’s not enough sacrificing if you ask me!!!
    • Is anyone taking note that AK-46 has 26 goals and 53 points with a plus/minus rating of +14……a star is born, folks!!! Andrei Kostitsyn will only get better in the years to come and has gained so much confidence throughout the season. He looks like a younger version of Alex Kovalev when he handle the puck especially when he sets up along the boards next to the face-off circle on the powerplay. The entire KPK line has been truly amazing and a joy to watch every game with their artistry on display……….I can’t remember having as many “jaw dropping , in awe” moments during a season than I’ve had this season. At least not since Guy Lafleur was playing for the Habs.

    4 COMMENTS

    1. I’m kind of surprised that after beating Ottawa with a Shut-out and clinching there division, you leave such a negative review.The Habs are playing without there Captain and there biggest defensive man. They’re also playing in Ottawa which the hadn’t won in in 2 years. Sure there was mistakes, but give them some congrats and quit calling it ugly.

    2. Hey there Don,

      I’m a little confused about your comments about my article since I was really positive about the game and couldn’t agree more with you. I think you may have posted this comment on the wrong article.
      It was a real statement game by the Habs which showed the character and resolve this team has displayed throughout the season…….regardless what a “so-called” hockey analyst like PJ Stock thinks!!!
      Thanks for the comment and your readership

    3. Don,

      No need to apologize…..we’re on the same page concerning the way they played against the hapless Sens!!!
      GO HABS GO!!

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