Friday, October 26, 2007

Teeing Up the Canes

It's gameday. The Habs have beaten the Hurricanes once in regulation in their last 12 meetings. They've also beaten them twice in overtime during that span. That means the Hurricanes are 9-1-2 against the Canadiens during that stretch. I'm scared.

The Habs are riding a modest 2 game winning streak, with both wins coming by more than a goal. It's been a well-deserved week of accolades for the team, as everyone besides PJ Stock seems to think they're on the right track. As we all know, this could change rapidly. If the Habs are unable to get any points this weekend, people will jump off the bandwagon faster than Josh Beckett strikes out the side.

The Hurricanes seem to own the Habs the same way the Habs own the Bruins. It's as if something happened during that fateful playoff series a few years ago when the Canes stormed back to beat the Habs and Cam Ward emerged as the elite goaltender he seems to be now. It may even go further back than that.

Eric Staal and company need to be contained and frustrated in order to be beaten. As happy as I've been with the Habs performance so far, I miss Maxim Lapierre. He was just so good at drawing the ire of opposing players, getting them to take bad penalties and take them off of their game. He'll be back, it's just a question of when.

How long can Andrei Kostitsyn sit in the pressbox? He hasn't played in a few games, you'd think he might come out there with something to prove. I'd rather have him in the lineup than Grabovski. His size and hands make him a more viable option than the little German.

It's with a sense of dread that Habs fans approach this weekend, as the city lives and dies with each game. Keep it in perspective: The Canes are quickly showing that they're back to being the elite team that won the Stanley Cup two years ago. There's a lot of firepower in that lineup. The Habs have to stay out of the box and not let them get too comfortable in front of the net.

Bon match.

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