Kostitsyn's Heroics Send Carbonneau To ASG
There is perhaps no player on the Canadiens club this season that Habs coach Guy Carbonneau has been harder on than Sergei Kostitsyn.
Earlier in the first half, when things weren't going smoothly for the younger Kostitsyn, or the team for that matter, he was sat out for three games in what was perceived as a disciplinary measure.
Two things were irking the coach about Sergei's behavior at the time, and the coach made a rare public allusion to it when he mentioned that the player had been conducting himself more like a veteran player than a sophomore. It wasn't meant to be taken as a compliment.
Also of concern to the coach, were a sequence of bad penalties taken by Kostitsyn that were deemed to be the result of a lack of discipline and focus.
Since returning to the lineup. Kostitsyn has returned to his ways of last season, offering solid performances in both ends of the rink, as well as being a gamebreaker for the team in many ways.
Against the Capitals on Saturday, Kostitsyn was called for a hook late in the third period, and Washington cpitalized on the ensuing powerplay, to tie the game at four. The call was as borderline as such things can get, especially late in a game, but Kostitsyn did not brood over it.
In a sure sign of maturity and focus, Kostitsyn played a hard final few shifts, and his efforts resulted in the game winner with just 21.2 seconds on the clock. As untypical as the goal was, it was typical Sergei to be so completely aware of his surroundings that he could pull a puck caught in a defenders skates and fire at the net in one motion as the clock wound down.
As Sergei rolled on the ice in celebration, his team mates were obviously thrilled for him. Some good natured jostling and jabs ensued for Kostitsyn, who has surely had an eventful week.
There has been a lot of ink spilled over the play of Maxim Lapierre and Guillaume Latendresse of late, and rightfully so, but Sergei Kostitsyn has put his game back together since sitting out those three contests. He has five points over the Canadiens current four game win streak.
His latest effort has just repaid his coach's confidence in him. Thanks to Sergei, Carbonneau is now off to join four of his players in the 2009 All Star Game.