Game 30 Recap: Habs Turning The Corner?

Yes we're a little off of late with post game stuff with the day jobs to get up for, exams to write, and post afternoon game soccer games (indoors of course) to take the kids to.

You've likely read the stat sheets, seen the highlights a few times over, so I'll just add a couple minor details.

There was an interesting comment, made by our Andrew Berkshire, during yesterday's game thread,"Am I alone in thinking this game could be a turning point?" Mike Boone echoed the exact same thing minutes later in his post-game thoughts.

Truth be told, a road trip to New Jersey is not as bad as it once was. The Canadiens won both games at the Prudential Center last season and added a 2-1 win over the Devils Saturday afternoon. But why is it that every trip to the "Jersey Shore" starts off as such a dull game?

Turning point? Maybe a bit premature, as we'll see this same team this coming weekend again at the Bell Centre. That game is sandwiched between visits from the Islanders and Flyers, on Tuesday and Thursday, and road visits to the Bruins and Blackhawks the following week. The latter two games are the start of a six-game road trip to close out 2011. Fortunately our boys have a good road record. At home, not so much. A solid record through this stretch and we can say, "Yes, that game was a turning point." Personally a pair of back-to-back home games would be strong reinforcement for it.

Two things were under the microscope in Saturday's win. The first is that we have someone to anchor the power play over the next few weeks and, until Andrei Markov returns, possibly the rest of the season.

Yes it was only one game, but Tomas Kaberle made a huge difference on the point. It's something that we haven't had all season, and I don't think we wanted to see any more Tomas Plekanec/Andrei Kostitsyn experiments on the blue line. Do you think the Habs would have had a chance against the number one PK unit in the league without him? Probably not.

Kaberle was on the ice for the Devils lone goal of the day, but that was more of a missed coverage issue by his D partner, Alexei Emelin.

It will be interesting to see who stays and who goes, once Chris Campoli and eventually Markov return. Emelin didn't play his best game (no hits), but he's already becoming a dominant physical defenseman. I'll cut him some slack, given it was an afternoon game and he was playing his first game on his off side. That would leave Raphael Diaz and Yannick Weber as odd men out.

The second factor was the play of Carey Price, who was brilliant in goal, especially in the first period. His BC buddy, Josh Gorges, certainly owes him a steak dinner, after the Habs rearguard covered the puck with his glove in the crease. That cued a penalty shot for Zach Parise, the league's top shootout man (6 for 7) on the season. We can now make that 6 for 8 after Price made a great pad save to preserve the win.

The Habs goaltender has been disastrous in shootouts this season, but came up strong when needed. Chris Boyle noted the depth that Price played against Parise, and that he's possibly made some adjustments as the shooter approaches.

Honorable mentions to Erik Cole (another day at the office), and David Desharnais.

I can't go Gung-Ho over the Habs 59% dominance in the face-offs, as the Devils are a league second worst in the dots.

More post game links after the jump.

Advanced Stats: Shift Charts / Head to Head / Corsi & Fenwick

Kaberle taks to HabsTV

Pierre Ladoceur's report card

Bubble Hockey team

Losing reaction from In Lou We Trust

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