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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Nailbiters Will Be the Norm

It's tough to win games when you're only scoring 2-3 goals a game.

But the Canadiens were able to pull out 2 wins doing just that, with subsequent OT winners first in Phoenix then in Nashville last night. The Habs finally ended their scoring futility against Predators goalie Pekka Rinne and got out of Nashville with 2 big points because of a nice wrister by Max Pacioretty in OT.

For the second game in a row the Habs had to battle through adversity with players coming back into the game after spending time in the dressing room, only to then come back and be difference players.

You da winning goalie!? You get the Subban low-five. Peter Budaj continues the tradition with P.K. after a solid 2-1 OT win last night in Nashville. (Photo: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
In Phoenix it was Plekanec who took a bad a fall only to then ignite the Habs' offense, while last night P.K. Subban came back to the game after a big hit to then set up MaxPac for the game winner with some nifty puck control in the Nashville zone.

Once again, the Canadiens powerplay went 0-fer, but there was good puck movement and some nice opportunities so if the team continues this way it's only a matter of time it begins to break through with some regularity. Coach Martin has to be a bit concerned though especially with the fact that the team gave up another shorthanded goal last night.

Nailbiters will be the norm if the Canadiens can't score a bit more moving forward. It makes for exciting ends of games but I'd prefer a bit more cushion, thank you very much. In any case it's always positive for a team to win OT games.

Kudos also to the Habs defense for tightening things up for their goalies; Price was great in Phoenix and last night backup Peter Budaj was solid -- which has to be somewhat comforting for Coach Martin especially after Budaj's previous shaky performances.

And the return of Scott Gomez didn't seem to hurt at least. Played on the 4th line and powerplay, perhaps the Habs and Gomez are committed to make that move last. It's not a bad thing...if he can help the 4th line generate some speed and chances, it really makes them that much tougher to play against. Evolving to the 4th line is not the end of the world and it's something the Habs weren't able to do with Saku Koivu as his productivity started to slow. We just can't have a void on the first few lines like Gomez has been giving us. Meanwhile he was still a -1 last night.

Much needed wins help the Canadiens keep pace with their other rivals as things slowly begin to tighten up in the middle of the conference. Now back to playing 500 hockey, the Habs get the chance to build upon that when they play the Buffalo Sabres at the Bell Centre on Monday night. A big game to keep things moving in the right direction and pick up a big 2 points on their division rivals.

The Sabres will be coming in hot and angry after they took a beating from the Bruins last night, highlighted by head goon Milan Lucic's hit on Buffalo goaltender Miller.

1 comment:

  1. This is the way life should be: Montreal besting both Phoenix and Nashville, two cities where hockey is an import, not a natural, "back yard" sport. I like the HABS recent play, and extra effort pays off eventually...