Tuesday, January 09, 2007

1-9-07: Canadiens 4, Thrashers 2

Everything’s gonna be alright.

  1. Koivu gets his 500th career point, on a nifty power play assist on Ryder’s 2nd goal of the night, and the Bell Center goes for what seems like 5 solid minutes of cheering and applause. The RDS camera hovers for a while over our hero looking conspicuously embarrassed, as if he’s not sure what everyone is so worked up about. Look, habibi, modesty is great, and we’re all aware that 500 isn’t nearly enough for you, but you’re possibly the most beloved human being in Montreal and this is a milestone of sorts. Take a damn bow.
  2. Oh yeah, and Koivu also won 20 out of 24 face-offs, which is pretty impressive in its own right, particularly for a guy with a lingering blind spot.
  3. Speaking of Ryder, 3 point night. I’m not even going to begin to try to figure out what made everything click into place for him in the 3rd period of this game. Maybe it was hard work. Maybe it was the line-juggling. Maybe it was the alignment of the moons of Saturn. Whatever it was, I hope he can put it in a bottle and take it with him on the road.
  4. However, as great a night (or 25 minutes of a night) as this was for everybody, I’m going to give highest props to Plekanec, The Bringer of Even-Strength Goals and Restorer of Momentum. One of the few who managed to maintain some energy through the worst-pain-ever slump, this was his 4th goal in the past 4 games he’s played (he missed the Devils game with the accursed disease).
  5. Other specifics: Latendresse finally makes a breakaway work for the Canadiens, ahamdulillah. Markov saves the day repeatedly, while Komisarek makes various Thrashers sincerely regret having been the last person to touch the puck. Higgins is playing like a guy with something to prove, which I suppose he is at this point, to himself if not to the rest of us. Samsonov and Kovalev actually seem to work pretty well with Grabovski, but I’m going to hold off on dubbing him the 2nd line miracle we’ve been waiting for. Still, the potential there is highly attractive. And Huet is, in fact, the Lao-Tzu of hockey.
  6. But ultimately here, the best thing is that the Canadiens didn’t have to rely on power plays for their scoring, although the PK remained impermeable. The Thrashers did not play an off-game by any means. They were every bit as fast, coordinated, and aggressive as expected, and the Habs weren’t playing particularly badly for their non-scoring first half- it just looked, early on, very much as though the Thrashers were the better team. But our faith has not been misplaced, our eyes have not deceived us, ahbabna have a fast, coordinated, aggressive game of their own to play, and they can in fact play it 5-on-5 when the mood strikes them to do so. We don’t get to see it as often as we should, but it really is a thing of beauty when it happens. More than beauty, dare I say it, fun.

Not much more needs to be said, although passers-by are welcome to add whatever I’ve missed. Great game, well-earned win, one that leaves not so much a feeling of elation as one of contentment. God’s in his heaven, the Habs get 2 points, and all is once again right with the world.

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