First off, another good win for the Habs tonight. Nice to see Hamrlik getting to goal on OT. He's been really stepping it up since Markov's injury.
I apologize for the lack of live game blogs lately and should be back for the next game against the Pens on Wednesday! Prediction: Price get the start.
So ... 11 games down and the Habs are 6-5-0 (12 pts) after winning 4 straight at home. They are currently 2nd in the division, 1 point behind Buffalo, and 7th overall in the Conference.
Goals: Cammaleri - 5
Assists: Plekanec - 8
Scoring: Cammaleri - 12 points (5G, 7A)
Penalty Minutes: Mara - 23
Plus/Minus: Spacek - +5
TOI: Hamrlik - 24:58
PP Goals: Bergeron - 2
SH Goals: Moen - 1
Goalie Wins: Halak - 4
GAA: Halak - 2.28
SV %: Halak - .910
It appears that the "Jacques Martin" system of playing is starting to take shape and the Habs playing is getting more consistent with every game. I am very impressed with the tenacity of the Habs forwards on the forecheck and their aggressiveness on the back check. They have caused key turnovers at both ends and are starting to cash in on their chances on a more consistent basis.
The defense still needs some work but is definitely improving with the addition of Bergeron. I stand by my word that Gill will be the odd man out when both O'Byrne and Markov have returned.
The PP & PK continue to get better and better. Both were ranked dead last and are now in the high teens, not to bad after 10 games ... Expect to see our ranks in these two categories to continue to rise.
The Habs are riding a 4 game win streak on the back of some fantastic goaltending from Jaroslav Halak! With a record of 4-1 he seems to be Martins go-to-guy for now and rightly so. Carey Price has looked much steadier in his play this year but still needs some polishing before being given the reins full time again ... but it will happen.
The New Comers:
Travis Moen .... what can I say about this guy? He just keeps going and going but tonight he got rewarded for his efforts with a goal and an assist! Is it just me or do him and Lapierre remind you of each other?
Mike Cammallari .... Another gritty effort, especially the assist on Moens goal tonight. He has 5 goals in 10 games. If he keeps that pace up he would have 41 goals for the year. How long has it been since someone scored 40 goals in a season for Montreal? Let me see ... Vincent Damphousse got 40 in 1993/1994 and Brian Bellows had 40 in 1992/1993 .... either way, I think it's been quite long enough.
Interesting Fact: Mike Cammalleri has more points (12) then Kovalev, Koivu, Higgins and Tanguay combined. (Thanks to Boone from www.HabsInsideOut.com
for this Quip)
Scott Gomez .... One of the fastest skaters the Habs have had in a long time. This guy charges through the neutral zone into the offensive zone causing the others teams D to back-up and be out of position more times then I can count. Watching this guy pass pucks to Gionta & Cammy is simply magic.
Brian Gionta .... Definintely the next Captain of the Montreal Canadiens. This guys plays hard and gives 110% night after night. Though he may be small (5'7"
, he plays like a monster. His aggressiveness in the corners and uncanny puck control allow him to both create chances and get some of his own.
Jaroslav Spacek/Paul Mara/Hal Gill/MA Bergeron .... With the exception of Hal Gill, I give a tip of the hat to the newcomers on the D. They have all progressed quite nicely under Martin and have taken well to their roles. Now, it's not that I don't like Gill! I do give him credit when credit is due. However, in my opinion, Ryan O'Byrne is a much better choice to fill that role.
Plekanec - Back to the machine he was 2 years ago.
Metropolit - Best waiver acquisition Gainey has ever made
Hamrlik - Playing better this year even with increased minutes
Lapierre - Finally regaining his Gritty Bulldog form, looked good on the 2nd line
Pacioretty - Still not quite ready, to inconsistent, but has shown some promise
Gorges - Steady as a rock, provides needed energy shifts night after night
D'Agostini - Starting to regain the form that won him a job last year
Latendresse - Not scoring yet, but not due to lack of chances, love his aggressiveness
Laraque - Served his purposes so far, not doing well in the +/- though
Chipchura - Finally showing he has the tools to be an effective NHL player
Stewart - Not aggressive enough, take a lesson from Moen
Kostitsyn - I see signs of brilliance but not the aggression it takes to be brilliant
There you have it folks. My take on the Habs so far. Feel free to comment. I look forward to reading them