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Sunday, December 4, 2011

500 Hockey = No Playoffs

The Habs picked up a big two points yesterday afternoon in Los Angeles with a 2-1 win over the Kings.

That's good.

Louis Leblanc picked up his first point in the NHL on a sweet play with Kostitsyn and Eller, and now has more points than Aaron Palushaj -- who was sent back to Hamilton today.

That was really good.

The Habs ended their western swing with 3 out of a possible 6 points.

That's not good enough.

The team averted a total disaster by winning yesterday but threw away valuable points in San Jose the previous game. The late 3rd period tying goal by the Sharks was certainly one Carey Price would like back. But we're not going to play the blame game today. All we can hope is the Habs keep working hard and try to get better, because right now -- as I mentioned above -- it's not good enough.

Louis Leblanc and Andrei Kostitsyn fight for the puck in Los Angeles yesterday afternoon. The Habs beat the Kings 2-1, salvaging 3 out of 6 points on their western swing. Photo: Harry How/Getty.

Let's look at yesterday's game. Mike Richards was out and probably helped Montreal's cause as the team came out flat and was lucky to take a 1-0 lead to the 1st intermission on Tomas Plekanec's powerplay goal. Finally the team broke through on the powerplay which has practically flatlined.

Price made a terrific reaction save after a really weird bounce off the glass almost found its way to the back of the net.

Andrei Kostitsyn had a great game and made a great play on Plekanec's goal by taking the hit in front of the net and somehow passing it back to Plekanec at the same time. Then he converted for the winning goal on a terrific play started by Louis Leblanc and finished by Kostitsyn after a nifty give-and-go with Lars Eller.

Obviously, it's easy to already see that Louis Leblanc is an upgrade to Palushaj so it's no surprise he's staying with the team for at least the short-term. The Habs need goal production and hopefully he can help out with his strong work ethic.

Keeping with Leblanc, his parents were able to see him play in Anaheim because of the extreme generosity of Erik Cole. What a class guy... Leblanc's parents had trouble finding last minute flights, and Cole stepped in to make sure it happened. A great example how this guy is a total leader and class act for the team off of the ice.

With the win, the team at least could head home on the 5 hour flight with a lot of positive energy and reload for a must win against Columbus. Max Pacioretty will be back after completing his 3 game suspension for his hit on Kris Letang last Saturday.

And, the update on Mr. Andrei Markov as provided by Mr. Pierre Gauthier is that Mr. Markov is out at least another 3 weeks because he needs to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his surgically repaired knee. Hoo boy...

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