Habs Tinkle On Flames
My apologies....originality in adjectives for defining a win over the Flames are in short supply. "Douse", "extinguish", "fan"...they were all used somewhere for this game. Still, it's better than the alternative when losing to them!
I have so much to say all at once about last night's beauty against the Flames, that I can barely collect cohesive thoughts. I wanted to write about players who played well, but it includes practically every member of the team. Without a common thread of thought other than total team effort, I'm settling for random ramblings today.
First off, the game was so entertaining, I watched it twice. You gotta love RDS Express!
I've held my breath where it concerns Matt D'Agostini so far, but I'm blue in the face now. The kid has game, it's ridiculous. Never mind that he has an impressive 4 goals in his first five games since his callup, the kid does all kinds of smart things with the puck and away from it. There are natural instincts in him, a hockey sense that just cannot be taught.
D'Agostini's breakaway goal tonight, where he literally tapped the puck down before dribbling it down the ice and yanking Kiprusoff from his jock strap was surely the nicest individual effort I've seen since a pair of Andrei Kostitsyn tallies last season. Did anyone else notice the wheels he had, breaking loose from two checkers?
I recall him being compared to Michael Ryder in the past. So far, there's no comparison.
Alex Kovalev is still snakebitten, but doing a bunch of good things other than scoring. A pointless draught is a much better sign than a goalless draught that a player is struggling. This season, Kovalev might have to settle for being an assist machine. He'll always do those infuriating things he does, but no one noticed he was doing them last season as he played the hero many nights. His power play scripting aside, he's not doing near as badly as some have been suggesting.
Robert Lang...I'm lost for words. I'll try again later!
What was up with Tomas Plekanec blowing his Bauer's out on a great scoring chance? He's another player putting too much pressure on himself. It's as if he's thinking out there, and too much of that ain't good.
Josh Gorges and Max Pacioretty for Craig Rivet - steal! Josh Gorges, a million per year for three years - grand larceny!
Similarly, Roman Hamrlik is a jewel. If he was any more composed, he'd be a Beethoven symphony! Hamrlik defines the tern "experienced defenseman", and gets his job done without about as much fanfare as a light rain.
Sergei Kostitsyn seems to have gotten the
message. As a fourth liner until Higgins went out, and afterwards, he was extremely sound defensively. Even better was that he was disciplined out there.
I'm usually about as nervous as a long tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs when Jaroslav Halak plays goal. After one period, he'd settled me down completely. It was mentioned before the game that he'd lost his last three starts, and I started thinking that it was quite a gamble by Carbonneau to expect his backup to steal a game against a strong Flames club. One more performance like this from Halak, and I just might forgive him for blowing the only game I've seen live this year.
Robert Lang. Is he sending a message to Bob Gainey or what? "Forget Mats, Bob. I'm up to the task!"
Lang might have size, but he'll never be a physical presence. One thing we've learned about him in 27 games - he's damn hard to move off the puck. Lang is quite comfortable in the slot. Often he goes unseen, and then BOOM! Where did he come from, and how did the puck get in the net. On his first goal, he cut to the net like a train rounding a curve. He had his track, and no one was about to shove him off it.
I marginalized his acquisition at the beginning of the season, figuring Gainey's Plan B was a dead end. Oh, how wrong you can be! Lang is playing like a guy who desperately wants back into Montreal next season. I'm starting to think at times that it could happen.
Chris Higgins and Mathieu Dandenault, two guys without an ounce of luck between them! The lucky guy might just be Ryan O'Byrne, who might hang around a little longer now that spots have opened for him. Patrice Brisebois, who played an okay game, is on the verge of needing a rest soon.
Placing Alex Tanguay alongside the Kovalev Lang duo looks like a stroke of brilliance after just onegame.
I don't think Andrei Markov kneed Dion Phaneuf the third. I though he'd caught him with his hip mostly. Something about the way the guy went airborn. Nonethelss, Markov got roughed up for the hit, which wasn't called a penalty until he was attacked by Mark Giordano. One game he takes a puck in the face, and now this. Mr. Bean is becoming Beanbag!
Did you see the blocker shot in the chops Carey Price gave Halak after the game? On RDS during the game, rink side commentator Joel Bouchard stood next to him in the hallway, and allowed that Price was quite the joker. At the end of each win, he has some kind of fun thing going on with team mates. Switching helmets and mask with Gorges, ducking pats on the puck, poking players with his paddle, and now this. By season's end, look for a You Tube composite of all his hijinks and Josh joshings.
Jarome Iginla is one of my favorite players. Didn't get to see much of him tonight.
The game officials had a pretty rough night. What else is new? A Calgary player flagrantly shoves the net off nanoseconds before Lang pops a goal in, and the refs don't even flinch. My thinking tells me that when it is deliberate, an official has an option to award a goal. This didn't even merit a penalty for some reason.
The Flames also saw a goal disallowed when a puck skittered past Halak in a three player bowling strike to the net.
Back to D'Agnostini - nice move to cradle the puck in backwards over the blueline, and onside, in traffic.
Nothing to with this particular game, but I told a Bruins fan this today: Michael Ryder is 28 years old. If he can stick around the NHL another 10 years, he has a good chance to be 38 years old.
I'm gonna start an Eyes On The Prize tradition here. When Montreal wins, I'll post a photo of a Habs girl. Any explanation needed?
That's it for now. I kind of like these rambling post game thoughts. Much easier on a tired noggin. For more on this game, check out these links:
Fly On The Wall, Bang, Bang, Here Comes Lang, The Numbers Game, Photo Gallery, About last night..., HIO Photos