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It seemed like the Canadiens were making it interesting again, until Eric Staal took control
TSN 990 and MitchMelnick.com
It seemed like the Montreal Canadiens were making it interesting again.
Until Eric Staal took control in the third period Monday night, with some help from a former teammate. Kaberle's most embarrassing moment as a Hab. Two more years. 8.5 million dollars.
Montreal - February 14, 2012 - I thought the Habs were dead when I left for South Beach on Super Bowl Sunday. Honestly had no clue what was going on. No internet. No newspapers. No television. And no twitter feed. Late Thursday night (actually past midnight Friday morning) while finishing up a quick foot tour of Duval Street in Key West, I hopped into a souvenir shop to buy a couple of t-shirts. The guy who runs the store was wearing a white t-shirt with a badly faded Montreal Canadiens logo in the middle. I asked him what he was doing with that shirt on. "What's wrong?", he asked. "We won tonight! Pacioretty scored a hat trick. Even Gomez finally scored".
Turns out the guy is Donald "Dino" Meeker, originally from Montreal who moved down south about 25 years ago. He spent the night listening to the Habs win over the NY Islanders on TSN 990. Turns out he listens to every game, home and away. And listens as often as he can to "Melnick In The Afternoon" and most of the other shows on our station. I felt good for Gomez but still didn't know anything about what else the Habs had done since losing on home ice to Washington. I assumed they had lost to Winnipeg and Pittsburgh as well because when I informed Dino that the Canadiens have not finished in last place since the 1930's he didn't say they were not in the basement.
Have to admit wondering about the fate of the Habs at least a couple of times on the long drive back to Miami Beach but didn't discover they had actually won both those games until I arrived home this past Friday night. I watched the win over the Leafs live from my living room.
It seemed like the Canadiens were making it interesting again.
Until Eric Staal took control in the third period Monday night, with some help from a former teammate.
•Alexei Emelin. Picked up from his nine hit performance Saturday in Toronto with a couple of heavy hits early on, including a beauty of a hip check on Anthony Stewart.
•Montreal power play scoring twice in one game for the first time since November. They're certainly moving the puck around a lot quicker.
•Thomas Plekanec beating Cam Ward while using Rene Bourque as a decoy to get the Habs on the board. Hard to imagine another forward in NHL who gets as many breakaways, partial breaks and two on ones as Plekanec. Imagine what his goal total would be if he had just a little more finish. Led all Montreal skaters with 5 shots on goal on a night when the common cry from the stands was "Shoooot!"
•David Desharnais. Two point night pushes him past the 40 point mark for the season. His plus/minus is now at +9, second best on team behind only Josh Gorges (+15). Was 58% in face off circle.
•Erik Cole. Highlight goal to tie game in second period. Again showing off one of best wrist shots in NHL.
•Mathieu Darche. Give him props. He's playing well.
•Kirk Muller. Hard to cheer against proud former Hab in his first NHL head coaching experience against the team that no longer wanted him. Hurricanes have lost only two of their last 15 games in regulation time. Muller has them moving and skating hard. No passive resistance crap in his game plan. Even with a one goal lead late in the game - and on the road - the Hurricanes sent two guys in to forecheck.
•Raphal Diaz. Still too many give aways. I don't think he's played very well since his appearance at the All Star game in Ottawa.
•Montreal PK Unit. A rare off night as Carolina went 2 for 5 on PP including game winner by Jamie McBain.
•Andrei Kostitsyn. Or is it Randy Cunneyworth? What's going on here? Just 4:20 for AK46? Odd day all the way around with announcement that Habs had recalled Ryan White and Ian Schultz from Hamilton with both taking pre - game skate. Was it an attempt to light a fire under Kostitsyn? Was a trade about to be completed? Frankly, when the Habs trailed in the third I wondered if Gauthier had again traded a player during a game. Then post game team announced that Schultz had been returned to AHL. Would liked to have seen him against Bruins on Wednesday. But if Cunneyworth is not happy with Kostitsyn's play...
•Scott Gomez. ...why was Gomez getting power play time in the third when the Habs number 11 did not exactly distinguish himself in the whopping 8 minutes of ice time he received? And Gomez, Darche and Aaron Palushaj late in the game trailing by a goal instead of AK46? What am I missing?
•Another third period meltdown. Outscored 3-0 after seemingly taking control of game in second period.
•Habs record at Bell Centre drops to 11-12-7. Only the Columbus Blue Jackets have a worse record on home ice. Taking control of their own building must be a priority for a new GM.
•Tomas Kaberle give away that changed the momentum of the game and perhaps the outcome. Soft, half assed turnover against an oncoming opponent, then badly beaten 1 on 1 by a rejuvenated Staal. Kaberle's most embarrassing moment as a Hab. Two more years. 8.5 million dollars. Bring on the Bruins.
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