Thursday, October 18, 2007

Getting Ready for the Sens

The Canadiens are taking on the Sens in Ottawa tonight. Carey Price is not getting the same hype he got last week before his start against the Penguins due to the Carbo-Kovalev "dispute". Too bad. If Price does the unthinkable and shuts down Ottawa's high-octane offense he will have beaten two of the Eastern Conferences top offenses in just over a week.

Is it a coincidence that Price is again starting on the road? It seems that Carbo has a plan for the kid, and that plan seems to be to start him in middle-of-the-week road games against strong teams. Not sure how it looked on TV Tuesday night against the Panthers, but there were a few things that stood out for me as I watched from the Pressbox.

1. Cristobal Huet leaned onto his net and hung his head for a good ten seconds following the Panthers goal with 11 seconds remaining in the game. I have never seen him so demoralized. Huet is a competitor. He could taste the victory and the shutout before having it unceremoniously yanked away. There was no doubt in my mind that the Panthers would tie the game when Komisarek got called for slashing. An unfortunate call but it was definitely a penalty.

2. During the shootout, Carey Price moved from his usual spot in the tunnel leading to the Habs dressing room and got onto the edge of the Bench, leaning over the boards and taking in every moment of the first NHL shootout in his young career. He was cheering his teammates, banging on the boards and looking about as enthusiastic as I've ever seen him. Here's a guy whose monotone delivery will become a trademark. The kid is cool as a cucumber and seems to thrive under pressure. Can't wait to see the fans greet him for his first home start.

3. The Canadiens may have gotten a lot of shots, but that doesn't mean they're generating a ton of chances. The Habs haven't been there to finish, whether it's pouncing on rebounds or generating turnovers and odd-man rushes. Michael Ryder has been playing well but seems more reluctant to take shots than last year. The first line is due for a strong offensive performance, they've been playing great and making life difficult for opposing teams with very little to show for it. Not sure if it'll be against Anton Volchenkov and the Sens, but you never know...

Speaking of the Sens, how about Marty Gerber? The Swiss goaltender has been unbelievable so far this year, going 5-1 and with a .941 save percentage. I'd bet my press pass that the Habs are hoping to see the Gerber they lit up against the Hurricanes in the first round a few years ago before Cam Ward won the job and the series got turned around on Justin Williams' high stick almost turning Saku Koivu into Long John Silver (with no call).

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