Sunday, March 15, 2009

NJ v MTL - Lose 3-1 - Summary

So Martin Brodeur ended up having to be pretty sharp last night -- he played a good game, and tied the all-time win record of Patrick Roy.

So rub it in why don'cha?

The New Jersey win last night was a bit bittersweet for me. Although I don't begrudge Martin Brodeur like some of his detractors, the fact remains he plays for the wrong team. He's a constant reminder of what Montreal used to have, and thrive on: solid consistent goaltending.

New Jersey as a franchise is sitting there with 3 Stanley Cups over the 15 years, and at least 1 more appearance; and are once agan a contender. The Canadiens? Nothing in that time.

New Jersey went through a rebuilding year a couple years ago, after they lost Neidermyer and Rafalski and Daneko and all them; but it didn't phase them one bit.

New Jersey plays a strong trap system (pretty boring) combined with an explosive offense to win their games... Like the Canadiens used to do.

New Jersey has had one of the greatest Canadiens of all time as their coach, Larry Robinson, who took them to a Stanley Cup, and then to the finals the next year... Only to be replaced by another Canadiens coach Pat Burns, who won them another cup.

In other words, New Jersey seems to be able to take the model Montreal built, and make it work in today's NHL -- whereas the Canadiens are prepetually drawn to 10th place. Its our system! Why can't we make it work?!?

Sigh, ok, enough about that.

The Good
I thought Higgins had a good game, and Kostitsyn definitely had a few good shifts. Pleks got the goal, obviously, and a few other good chances. Komisarek seemed to wake up towards the end of the game also: he was hitting and blocking shots again, and stopped his lumberjack routine. Max Pac asserted himself behind the net, and set up about 3 great chances -- I hope to see more of that. And the second period was not a complete disaster (it was actully pretty good for the Habs!)

The Bad
Tommy K had a terrible game: he was in the box for both New Jersey goals (although one was a 5-on-3) -- and when you do that you normally feel like you owe the team some revenge; he drove the net a few times, but couldn't finish. And he only got those because Max Pac was working so well behind the Devil's net.

The Ugly
It took Halak a period to work off the rust from his flu / 7 day break. The first goal was stoppable, but it snuck under his arm. The second goal was off an unlucky bounce from the boards, but it was a clear shot that Halak had to have. Can't blame him too much, because he kept the team in the game for the next 40 mins. And although the defence played a good game, their skilled players still made a mess of them, dodging and weaving their way through. The winning goal was simply Les Boys getting Les Outplayed by Parise, Zajak and Langenbrunner.

And Brisebois had his 1000th game - he got the 2nd star for his efforts. He made one brain dead play in the first (where he gave it away on the Power Play) and then made an amazing play in the third with a diving poke check to defend a 2-on-1. So it was pretty usual stuff from him :)

Next game is a direct battle for playoff positioning: the New York Rangers on Tuesday. Who wants it?

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