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Habs Report

by Archives March 4, 2008

Huet? Gone. Hossa? Didn’t happen. Price? Number one! Atlanta, Buffalo and New Jersey? All beaten.
After parting of ways with net minder Cristobal Huet, and failing to execute the rumored blockbuster Hossa trade, the Habs players found themselves wiping the sweat from their foreheads and breathing a sigh of relief to still be a Canadien.
With Price taking over the number one spot, and Jaroslav Halak as his backup, it’s safe to say that the Price-era has officially begun. And, going 3 for 3 since the Huet trade is not a bad way to kick things off. Moreover, Price’s performance, in combination with a sparkplug offense and tight defense, has allowed the Habs to overtake top spot in the Eastern Conference – a feat that hasn’t been obtained this late in the season since 1993, when then-team captain and current head coach Guy Carbonneau led the team to its last Stanley Cup.
Most fans simply wanted the Habs to have a good solid year and hopefully make the playoffs. Even the team’s management, including Carbonneau, is on record as saying the team’s objective this season was simply to make the playoffs. No one could have imagined that in March, les Canadiens would be leading the race in the East.
Just check out these stats:
-The Habs have a league leading seven players with over 40 points.
-The Habs are third in league scoring, behind only Ottawa and Detroit.
-Montreal is tied for second with Dallas for most road victories this season.
-They boast a league leading power play with a 25.3 per cent efficiency rating.
-Defenseman Mike Komisarek (a.k.a. Komisaurus) leads the NHL in hits and blocked shots.
-Andrei Markov is having a career season with 50 points.
-The Habs have scored five goals or more in 11 games this season; that’s a lot of free chicken wings at le Cage aux Sports!
Last Tuesday’s game against Atlanta, with Price watching over the team from his crease, the Habs scored five goals. Forward Christopher Higgins had a huge night with two goals and an assist.
Maxime Lapierre, Andrei Markov and Sergei Kostitsyn also scored and Captain Saku Koivu had two assists in the 5-1 victory.
During Friday night’s game against the Buffalo Sabres, the solid play continued. Tomas Plekanec got his first career hat trick and an assist to lead the team to a 6-2 victory. The other goals came from Mark Streit (who also had two assists) and the Kostitsyn brothers; while Alexei Kovalev had an impressive four assists on the night.
New Jersey games are always worrisome; but this one was for all the marbles: first spot in the East. With such a tight defensive play and efficient goal scorers, a game against New Jersey is always a challenge. Thankfully, during Saturday night’s romp against the Devils, the Habs were up to the task.
In a victory that was, well, Devilish in style, the Canadiens took the win 2-1 with goals from Mark Streit and Andrei Kostitsyn.
Much of the victory is owed to the defence, which did a great job of guarding the blue line and blocking shots; and of course, to net minder Carey Price, who stood tall to stop 31 shots in his third consecutive victory, bringing the Habs into top spot in the Eastern Conference.
It’s a tight race though. With Pittsburgh, Ottawa and New Jersey nipping at their heels, the Habs will have to come up big this week during their brutal Western Conference road trip which includes games against the Sharks (yesterday), the Coyotes on Thursday, the Kings on Saturday and the Ducks on Sunday.

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