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Habs Report

by Archives January 22, 2008

After over a month’s hiatus, the Habs report is back, offering readers a weekly recap and analysis of their Montreal Canadiens.
Last week Montreal started out by playing a great game against the New York Islanders. They were tight, made great passes and the game just flowed really well.
Tomas Plekanec really stood out during this game. Aside from scoring two goals, he had great presence on the ice and had several other scoring chances.
If we look back to one of the earlier Habs Reports of this year, Plekanec was named as being one of the developing greats this team has. His unmatched consistency and unwavering drive are only improving with age and experience. He is undoubtedly one of the Habs’ most valuable assets; he’s currently second on the team’s roster with 16 goals, 25 assists, a plus/minus rating of 6 and a total of 41 points. Three cheers to him for playing an awesome game and having a career season.
Thursday’s game against Atlanta was much more exciting than the victory over the Islanders. It was old school hockey; quick plays, great chances, good goaltending and just plain entertaining.
The good goaltending aspect of the game was almost wiped out when Cristobal Huet made an inexcusable error. He wandered off way out of his crease and couldn’t decide whether to pass the puck or clear it. He ultimately lost the puck and gave up a freebie goal to the Thrashers, who eventually tied the game up to go to overtime and shootouts.
Andrei Kostitsyn and Michael Ryder had the two regular-time goals for Montreal. Kostitsyn’s goal was highlight-reel quality, while Ryder’s was a little sloppier; but hey, at this point, Ryder should take any goal he can get.
In the shootout, Huet was eager to make up for his third period blunder. Mission accomplished. Blocking both Atlanta shooters, Huet lead the way for Andrei Kostitsyn and Saku Koivu to put away the game as the Habs’ shooters.
Despite these wins, Saturday night did not go as well. The Habs couldn’t buy a goal against the Penguins, even without the likes of superstar Sidney Crosby. It’s not that they played horribly, but the effort needed was just not there. Once Pittsburgh got up by one goal, they started playing really defensive hockey and shut the Canadiens out. The second goal for Pittsburgh came in the last minute of the game on an empty net. All and all, it just didn’t go well. The loss spoiled the birthday of Canadiens’ defenseman Mike Komisarek, who turned 26 on Saturday.
The Habs should pay attention to games such as these. The loss to Pittsburgh was very similar to the loss against the New York Rangers the week before. They need to find a way to solve these teams that play exceptionally defensive hockey once getting the lead. Hopefully they’ll learn from their mistakes and work it out as a team.
With Boston and New Jersey coming up this week, we’re all hoping the Habs’ can go into the All-Star break on a high note. Check back next week for continuing coverage of your Montreal Canadiens.

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