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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Start Weak Finish Strong?

Start weak finish strong? A metaphor for the Canadiens' 2011-2012 season?

But it was exactly just that with last night's 4-3 shootout win in Carolina over the struggling Hurricanes.

Carey Price and his team started slow, fell behind early 2-0 but fought back to tie the game on two separate occasions to eventually win in a shootout.

A few positives from this game:
a) Nice to see the team come back from behind to win, especially in the third period;
b) The team finally won a shootout on Brian Gionta's goal (even if he was -3 on the night);
c) The team won a game when Carey Price didn't have his A-game;
d) Lars Eller scored a short-handed goal in the 2nd period which gave the team some momentum;
e) Scott Gomez injured!?

Travis Moen tips the puck past Cam Ward last night in Raleigh. Canadiens won the game 4-3 in a shootout.

Yes Gomez did not finish the game with a supposed lower-body injury...good or bad my friends!?

Minus Brian Gionta, who really misses the guy? He hasn't been an impact player at all for the Habs, and frankly takes up valuable playing time away from guys like Eller who was slowly coming into his own when Gomez was out previously.

One game out of 15 in Gomez's case is not good enough. We know that. Jacques Martin knows that. Pierre Gauthier must certainly know that. So why is he playing so much??

For the last few seasons the Habs have kind of limped into the playoffs. I wouldn't mind them getting on a roll late in the season for a change. Maybe this will be the year. After passing the quarter mark, the team is out of a playoff position, but only a few points back. So lots can happen.

And what are the positives thus far?

The emergence of Max Pacioretty as a Johnny Leclair type power-forward for the Canadiens.
The acquisition of Erik Cole, who has finally given the team power and speed on the wing and a net presence.
The ever-present, consistent play of Tomas Plekanec, our best all-around player and one of the NHL's most underrated players.
Josh Gorges regaining his previous form after a tough start -- proving he's the real deal and playing himself into a nice contract starting next season.
Travis Moen scoring more goals in 21 games than all of last season, with 7? Now that's a bonus. He must really want to stay with the Habs for next season.
The young defence play of Yannick Weber, Raphael Diaz and to a lesser extent Alexei Emelin, showing they can play and be effective on the backend in this league. Now you can add Frederic St. Denis to the mix.

And finally ...

Andrei Markov skating with the team... and set to make his return. Soooooon, we hope.


There's plenty of room for improvement, including more consistency from Price; more production from Gionta and Cammelari; more production from the powerplay; and more consistency from Subban.

Tough game in Philly on Friday afternoon. Habs need to put together a winning streak to keep pace with the other teams in their division, especially if the Toronto Kesseleafs keep fluking off wins...

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