Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Habs Beat Bruins!!!

Make it nine in a row, six this year. The Bruins-Habs rivalry is virtually non-existent at this point. It sure is fun to be in the Bell Centre on nights like this.

The crowd was in full force, and it's a toss up between Maxim Lapierre's fantastic forecheck on Zdeno Chara in the third period and Sergei Kostitsyn throwing down with Chuck Kobasew in a scrap for the loudest cheers of the night and possibly, of the year.

It was a real team win. 13 players showed up on the scoresheet. Seven different guys had goals with Andrei K getting two. When the doors to the dressing room opened, the veterans gave way to the role players who showed up huge. No Saku Koivu, Alex Kovalev or Chris Higgins(gasp!) were available but Tom Kostopoulos, who had a Gordie Howe hat trick (a goal, an assist and a fight), Michael Ryder and Bryan Smolinski, who probably had his best game as a Hab were all there.

Guy Carbonneau reiterated that the Habs played well enough to win against the Penguins on Saturday night but some nights you get the bounces and some nights you don't.

They definitely got em tonight, starting with Michael Ryder's goal 14 seconds into the game.

Andrei Markov and Mike Komisarek were unbelievable and each walked away with a +4 rating on the night. Komisaurus had a goal and an assist, five hits and two blocked shots. Markov had only one assist, but was on the ice for six of the Habs eight goals.

During a four on four sequence, the unreal Alex Kovalev held on to the puck for about fifteen seconds, absorbed a slash and dropped his glove, picked it back up and then went right back to skating and stickhandling circles around the Bruins until both teams had five skaters on the ice.

Cristobal Huet was great, no errors in a game where he didn't need to be sharp but was.

The Kostitsyn brothers are terrific. Sergei's time in London playing under Dale Hunter is paying dividends. He gave a visor-wearing Kobasew more than he could handle in their third period scrap. The physical game he brings has been an unexpected and very pleasant surprise. He doesn't back down from anyone and even in a checking role has been impressive. Great feed to his big brother on the Habs last goal.

Ottawa lost, so the Habs actually managed to gain some ground on one of the coldest teams in hockey. How big is Dany Heatley for them?

If there was a negative, it's that Koivu and Higgins didn't show up on the scoresheet. They really seem to have lost a step in the second half. I expect them both to be better during the home stretch of the year.

Josh Gorges continues to improve, he's doing a great job of getting in front of pucks and playing a solid game. He certainly has benefited from the injury to Patrice Brisebois, who shouldn't be out there as far as I'm concerned.

Stat of the day: Habs record without Brisebois is 14-3-3

Other stat of the day: The Habs have lost back-to-back games in regulation only once this year.

It's onto Jersey to face the dreaded Devils on Thursday. Don't get your hopes up.

P.S. Id love to see Novak Djokovic win the Australian Open. This guy's fantastic and hilarious... I'm watching a virtuoso performance right now against Davis Ferrer in the semis. Check out his sweet impersonations of various tennis stars HERE (way less funny if you never watch tennis)

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