Habs dodge a bullet

dodge-a-bullet

Two good periods, a shitty third, an ugly OT, and a nice shootout. That’s another two points, so I guess I can’t complain too much. Well, I don’t really know what to think of this.

The two first periods were really good. Lang is on fire, and his work with the Tits brothers is unreal. This line is working like a charm. Lang got two great assists, Andrei scored another PP goal. The brothers seem to really enjoy playing together, and it’s a treat to watch.

The Lapierre-Kostopoulos-Latendresse line is also very impressive. Lapierre is having an incredible season. He’s full of confidence right now, and is probably the most improved player of the team. And his two linemates are benefiting a lot from Lapierre’s play. Kostopoulos brings a lot of energy, and Latendresse really clicks with Lapierre.

Finally, it was good to see Greg Stewart contributing, with a nice pass to set up D’agostini’s goal in the second period.

habs-vs-senators-19preview1Lapierre being awesome

But then the third period came, and things began to look bad.

A lack of grit and aggressiveness, some dubious defensive plays, and the momentum shifted right away. The Kostopoulos goal could have killed the game for Montreal. But the habs let the sens to come back quickly. Then it became more and more obvious that Ottawa would tie the game.

In spite of almost 2 minutes of PP, the habs were even worst during the OT. At this point, I was only hoping for the shootout.

The defense was shaky yesterday. Bouillon and Brisebois had a very rough night. I don’t want to be too harsh on Brisebois. He’s a veteran with a lot of experience, he has a great attitude, and is obviously thrilled to play for this team. But he was simply bad yesterday.

This game showed glaringly that what the habs need is first and foremost a defenseman, not a star forward. Obviously, any team could use a Lecavalier, but that’s not the primary need of this team. The difficultes of the habs this season pretty much coincided with the absence of Komisarek. Gorges is playing really great, and everyone who reads this blog knows how much I love this guy, but he’s not an elite defenseman. At least not yet. An injury to Markov or Komisarek would be a huge blow to the habs come playoff time.

Halak played another very good game. He really deserves this W, and can’t be blamed for the third period collapse. I think he deserves a lot of credit for the points the habs are piling up in the absence of a lot of key players. His strong play really allows Montreal to wait until Price is completely healthy. There is clearly no need to rush him back.

I said I did not really know what to do with this game, because there are two ways to see it. On the one hand, the habs found the resources to win a road game where the momentum had completely shifted away from them. And once again, it’s two points for a team missing a lot of key players. But on the other hand, it’s annoying to watch the habs once again play only two good periods of hockey, and barely escape with the two points.

However, given their current record over the last month (11-2-1), it’s hard not to give the habs the benefit of the doubt.

gorges-scores(I forgot to post it after the Nashville game. Gorges, 1A)

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