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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Post Game Quick Hits: Habs 2 - Wings 3 (SO)

So the overtime/shootout streak has been broken. Sad, but it was bound to happen. After winning 8 games in either shootout or overtime, this season, the Detroit Red Wings, led by Datsyuk and Zetterberg brought this dramatic night to a close. Looking at this game and the great comeback by the Habs, I really think that if it wasn't for Laraque's useless string of penalties in the 1st, Montreal would likely have won this game. Still though, 3 out of 4 points against Washington and Detroit in a 24 hour period? I'll take it.

1 - Price continues his strong play. For the past 5 games he has let in 2 or less goals per game and again tonight he looked relaxed and confident in the nets. This is a good sign for Montreal, going forward.

2 - Plekanec continues to be the best and most consistent player since the beginning of the season. Not only that, but he seems like he was finally able to wake Andrei Kostitsyn up!

3 - Speaking of AK46....he looks like he is back. Tonight, he was involved in the defensive zone, offensive zone, physically and on the score sheet. There really isn't much more you can ask of him. The timing of his renaissance is perfect considering that we now have no Gionta AND Gomez.

4 - O'Byrne, in his second game back, seems to be a stabilizing force on the blue line. He, like Price, looks calm and poised out there. It is a welcome change from last year. Also, his physical presence was sorely lacking while he was gone.

5 - No Gionta, no Gomez, no Gill, no Markov, no problem. Yesterday and tonight Montreal has been impressing by playing some of their best hockey of the year despite missing a slew of key players.

6 - Laraque lost this game for Montreal. The main storyline in this game was Laraque's 6 mins of penalties that resulted in two Detroit goals, in the first. Montreal had been playing very well until Laraque took two useless penalties in the same shift. That turn the game in Detroits favour and ultimately cost them that extra point. For a guy who has been out of the lineup for a few weeks and who is struggling to show that he has a place in the NHL, Laraque certainly did not help his cause tonight!

I think that, over the last 24(ish) hours, Montreal has shown themselves that they are capable of playing much better hockey than they have over the first 20 games. They have been playing like a well oiled, cohesive team and it has shown with 3 out of 4 points versus two of the best teams in the league. Now, two games does not a season make, but it is a good starting point.

K.

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