Sunday, February 18, 2007

2-18-07: Canadiens 3, Blue Jackets 2

Winning always feels good. It doesn’t matter how it happens, blowout or close game. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are, whether it’s part of a streak or an isolated bright spot in an otherwise bleak slump. The moments of victory are moments of pure exhilaration, pure goodness. There will always be time for analysis later, but after a loss, analysis begins immediately as everyone strives to figure out what went wrong. After a win, you get a few minutes just to enjoy the feeling. Mmmmm…..winning….

1. I’m sorry, but I really didn’t pay much attention to the Blue Jackets. I’d never seen them before, like most people in Montreal, and don’t really know anything about them other than what I read on the blogs. I was, frankly, just too worried about the Canadiens to spend much time trying to match names to numbers to bodies for a team I’m not going to get many opportunities to watch again. For what it’s worth, I did see one of those get-to-know-your-hockey-players videos featuring Nash once, but all I remember is that he lives in a big, lonely house that looks sort of unfinished and almost uninhabited. Note to hockey players: just because you can buy it doesn’t mean you should.

2. Overall, the Habs still only had one really good period, just as in the past two games, but their bad periods were improved enough to keep them in the thing, and their good period was truly good. Really, amazingly bounce-up-and-down-on-the-couch-and-scream good. I’ve missed doing that.

3. The new Montreal goalie, Halak, may not be the second coming of anyone, but in his first game in the big time, he played fantastically, making a few big eye-catching saves and many ordinary-but-necessary ones. He seemed confident and balanced, kept his focus when things got messy. Also, he plays the puck well, which we tend to look for here in Habistan, because it was Huet’s only egregious weakness. All in all, he might well live up to his hype. He’ll have to.

4. Everyone said that Milroy was brought up to give the Canadiens some scoring. He hasn’t done that yet, but the new 4th line with him, Lapierre and Perezhogin does some interesting things, mostly just skating like crazy in all sorts of directions, grabbing the puck off the Jackets, and generally tossing out manic, demanding energy like they haven’t gotten laid in a month, which I would assume they have, but it’s the best simile I could come up with. I suppose this is what they mean when they say that sometimes you just need ‘new blood’ on a team.

5. Other bits: You won’t believe me, if you didn’t see this game, but Souray actually made several great defensive plays. Really, he did. Ryder looks like he’s been working on his stickhandling, thank God. Samsonov gets a prize for taking the most unjust call of the season, for ‘tripping’ a guy with whom neither he nor his stick made any physical contact whatsoever. Nobody needs me to mention that Markov and Bonk are at least 18 different kinds of wonderful, but I will anyway.

6. And finally, allow me to briefly channel the spirit of the Canadiens’ Message Board: SAKU!! SAKU!! SAKU!!

I don’t think anyone knows what this means for the Habs, me least of all. But it is enough that it has happened, that ahbabi and all their devotees get at least a few moments of relief in this busy rush towards the playoffs. The terrible count of the streak- two losses, than three, than eventually six- is finally broken, and it almost feels like a clean slate. Whatever happens next, we at least get to start counting from 1 again.


Lyle Richardson said...

Huzzah! A victory at long last. Let the joy bells ring. Quite frankly, this was a team they should've beaten and if they hadn't, well, the funk would've only gotten darker.

Halak looked good in this one and hopefully he's earned the next start against the Caps.

Nice to finally see Koivu and Ryder on the scoresheet. Here's hoping we'll see more offence from these two this week, because if they don't, it'll be more of the same.

Consistency remains a problem. They played well in the first period, were dominating in the second, but then hung on by their fingernails in the final frame.

Anyway, on to Washington and let's see if they can build on this.

Drew said...

I watched most of the first two periods (from the Columbus side of the fence, of course), and it was quite depressing.

As Lyle mentioned, this was a team you should've beat and did. As opposed in the last six weeks to teams such as Anaheim, Detroit, Buffalo, and San Jose who gave up games to the Jackets.

As always, it's good to watch the Canadiens play against the Jackets even if it doesn't happen that often. Hopefully, the NHL will get rid of the unbalanced schedule. I know Montreal fans don't particularly care to have their team play Columbus, but here in Ohio we need those matchups to grow the game.

Good luck as the season continues.


E said...

lyle- no thinking about the future! really, i badly need to enjoy this.

drew- everyone says it, but its true: when you're on a losing streak, there are no easy games. so 'should have won' doesn't really mean much these days- the habs have lost a lot of games they ought to win, and given that ya'll just shut out the sharks and were more rested, i wasn't counting on anything. and as to the schedule, an rds survey during the game found that more than 60% of respondents wanted to see the habs play more games against the western conference. so we're on your side, for whatever that's worth. now you've just got to convince the people who matter.

kazmojo said...

Better be Halak against the Caps. The kid done good. I want to see Abby and his bad haircut at the end of the bench tomorrow.

Hegemo said...

Re: Nash's big empty house

I never have understood why a young, rich single hockey player would buy a big house way out in the 'burbs when he could have a very nice loft/condo/apartment much closer to both the nightlife and the arena. A number of Jackets have taken up residence in some of the expensive condos around the arena, but Nash bought his house out in New Albany or wherever it is.

My main working theory on this is that it reminds him of a more upscale version of Brampton, which is where he grew up.