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Habs Report

by Archives March 25, 2008

The Habs fell to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night . . . yes, you heard me, the Blues.
Everything was set up for the Habs to take the win; the Blues were coming off a 10-game losing skid – they’re not making the playoffs – they are the second least scoring team in the NHL, they have the worst power play, and they dropped $39,000 at their rookie dinner on the weekend, which as you probably already guessed, contained several bottles of wine and champagne.
Now, anyone who’s had their share of parties can imagine that it takes a couple days to recover from $39,000-worth of food and booze, so the Blues should’ve been slow and easily defeated. Maybe that was the problem; maybe the Habs didn’t anticipate the Blues having any fight in them. Well, that wasn’t the case, and simply put the Habs failed to match St. Louis’ energy and game play.
The game’s best moment was the goal from rookie Mikhail Grabovski that was assisted by Sergei Kostitsyn. The play itself was beautiful, but right afterwards when they jumped into each other’s arms and fell to the ice; it was a perfect hockey moment. The night’s other two goals came from Christopher Higgins and Saku Koivu.
On a not-so-magical note, Jaroslav Halak’s winning streak at the Bell Centre was cut short, even though he still hasn’t lost in regulation – it’s just not the same. He stopped 25 shots, but it wasn’t enough to get the two points, as the Habs fell in a shoot out.
The rest of the week went exactly as planned as the Habs completed their season sweep of the Boston Bruins.
Tuesday’s game was the Alexei Kovalev show as he totally schooled the Boston defense (including monster defenceman Zdeno Chara) with a neat spin move on one goal, and a smooth walk-through on the second.
Michael Ryder scored on a beautiful behind-the-net pass from Koivu. Guillaume Latendresse, who is currently out with neck spasms, started the entire play. Rookie sensation Kostitsyn capped off the scoring with a goal just past the halfway mark of the third period to finish the game 4-2.
Carey Price was awesome in goals and stopped 24 shots to lead the Canadiens to their 10th straight victory over the Habs, spanning two seasons.
Saturday was the second leg of the home-and-home series against Boston. Fans in Montreal were crying sweep before the game even started. The Habs didn’t disappoint; with goals from Andrei Markov and Andrei Kostitsyn, and a shoot out winner from Koivu, the Canadiens were able to make it a perfect 8-0 season against the Bruins and now have an 11 game winning streak vs. Beantown.
The four points against Boston this week also helped to put the Habs atop the Eastern conference, and five points ahead of the Ottawa Senators, who they beat Monday evening 7-5.
With last night’s win over Ottawa and with another matchup against them later in the week, the Habs look to extend their lead over the Sens. But they’ll have to do it without defenseman Mike Komisarek, who’s been a huge physical presence for the team. Not only does he lead the league in blocked shots, but he is also ranked No. 2 in hits and his physical play night after night contributes to the team’s morale and energy. He’s slated to be out for roughly three weeks, meaning the Habs will have to finish off the season without him.
Be sure to check back next week for continuing coverage and analysis as the season winds down.

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