Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ottawa or Nottawa?

Max Lapierre puts those boxing lessons to good use

Which Alex Kovalev will we see tonight at the Bell Centre?

Fresh off of their 2-1 win in Buffalo, the Habs will continue with their first of 15 back-to-back games as they host the Ottawa Senators tonight at in Montreal. Ottawa will me missing the services of Pascal Leclaire, who will probably be out for another week with a tweaked groin. They may also be without the services of the enigma wrapped in a riddle, Alex Kovalev. Oh, he'll be in the lineup; whether or not he chooses to contribute in any meaningful way is another matter.  

The Senators have discovered what the Habs already knew from Kovy's stint in Montreal: though immensely skilled, he's prone to floating like a body in New York's East River. Kovalev loves the city of Montreal, and has made no secret that he'd love to come back to play for the Habs. Tonight he might be on a mission to show Hab management that he should be on their wish list when considering the makeup of next year's team. That said, a little birdie tells me that Kovy could be starting the game on the fourth line.

The "stream of consciousness" entry from the game against Tampa was fun, so what the hell... let's do it again tonight.

2010-2011 Regular Season, Game Five: Ottawa vs. Montreal

First Period:
  • Why does the CBC always get a shot of hot Montreal women on the screen during the anthems? Not that I'm complaining...
  • Gionta with killer wheels to break in alone 1:06 in. Great deke and backhand. 1-0 Habs!
  • AK46 backchecks to foil a 2-on-1. He's playing great without having to worry about little brother
  • Good penalty killing as the Habs kill off a 5-on-3
  • Some chances on the powerplay at the midway point of the period. No goal, though
  • 4-on-2 rush, Price with the glove save, off the crossbar, Michalek gets the easy tap in. Tied at 1.
  • Gionta almost cashes an easy one from in close. No dice.
  • Entertaining period. Dens had the edge, though...

Second Period:

  • Sens starting the period carrying the play where they left off in the 1st
  • Wife rattling dishes in the kitchen. Might have to turn up the volume.
  • Pouliot almost cashes one. Man, a goal would be great for his confidence
  • Subban's got to start getting that point shot on goal
  • Gomez drops 'em with Ruutu. More of a wrestling match than anything. He should stick to playmaking.
  • Sens first shot comes halfway into the period. Bullet shot up under the crossbar. 2-1 Senaturds.
  • Second shot, second goal. 3-1 Ottawa. Habs need to start doing the little things right.
  • Halpern throws one out from behind the net, off a defenseman and in. Now 3-2...
  • AK46 with hands of silk. The guy's come to play this year. 3-3!

Third Period:

  • Ottawa's back-up to start the 3rd?
  • Lots of weird bounces tonight, both from the boards and ice
  • Elliott back in goal. Skate problem, methinks
  • Some chances on the powerplay, but their goalie is seeing everything and no one to cash a rebound
  • Did I just see Kovy backcheck? I've got to lay off of the hard stuff
  • Pleks cashes a rebound of an AK46 shot. 4-3 Habs!
  • Never mind the goal, Pleks has also been dominating in the faceoff circle
  • Sens with an empty net, but the Habs do a great job of killing the clock. Habs win 4-3!!!


Nice. Don Cherry on the post-game bit called Plekanec "platonic". Or at least that's what I heard. Does someone what to give him vocal lessons, or is it too late to teach that dog a new trick?

Good signs: Habs dominated in shots and possession; the Sens mustered only 8 shots after the first period, with only two in the third. Habs outshot them by a better than 2-1 margin. After taking the lead with four minutes to play, Habs played hard on the puck and didn't allow a shot for the rest of the game, even after the Sens pulled their goalie in favour of the extra attacker. They didn't get discouraged when down by two goals and showed a lot of mustard with the comeback win. Picard and Subban were both +3 on the night. Subban didn't make as many ill-advised forced plays this game, either. Carey Price won his first regular-season game at the Bell Centre since February.

And how about our new captain? Talk about leading by example... was ANYONE going to dog it after seeing Gionta's huge burst of speed to break in alone for that first goal early in the game? He certainly set the tone for the team effort that followed.

Price gets ready to rob The Enigma. Photo courtesy Habs Inside/Out

After five games, the Habs have now earned points in four straight games (3-1-1) for seven points, with a four day rest before meeting the Devils at the Bell Centre Thursday night. And there's a possibility that Andrei Markov could return that night (that sound you heard was the powerplay saying thank-you). A big concern was how the team would weather his absence. Save for the powerplay, so far they've done fine. Maybe they can practice it with Markov during their off days so that they can hit the ground ice running when he returns.

As for The Countinuing Saga of Kovy, well, he was pretty non-existent for most of the game. He managed a couple of shots on goal, but looked like he was skating in mud and did nothing to silence his critics. Was tonight an audition for a possible return to Montreal next season? He'd hardly be worth the $1 that he said he'd play for. Give me the 'Kovy who Kares', and we'll talk.

Yikes... the "Leafisation" of the CBC continues. First Bob Cole is introduced as a Leaf during their opening night ceremonies, now they're going to be airing Toronto Marlies games. To be fair, they must have some dead air to fill because even the bigwigs at Mother Corp must realize that NOBODY goes to Marlies games. What makes them think that they'll watch on TV? 

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