A philosophical question: against the Leafs, is it preferable to smash the crap out of them (if such were possible for the Habs, which it does not seem to be), or edge them narrowly? Certainly most Habs fans would say they’d prefer the blowout- better bragging and all that- but this might be the equivalent of a 5-year-old saying he’d prefer to eat nothing but marshmallows for dinner; i.e. the idea is a hell of a lot more pleasurable than the reality would be. Because true, we may always have fantasies that a game against the Leafs will be decided by more than one goal and sometimes an empty-netter, but it’s possible that the close level of play between the two teams, and the resulting close scores of most of the games, are the primary thing that sustains interest in the rivalry. It’s what allowed Habs fans to go into this thinking that, in spite of losing the clear majority of games against
1. Of course, they do have to maintain part of the ritual of games against the Leafs by having at least one horrifically bad period, this time in the 2nd. I could criticize, but at this point it’s basically part of the tradition. I’d probably pine nostalgically for it if they gave it up.
2. Let us all give praise to the ironically-numbered “2nd” line, may they never be separated again. Collectively, Plekanec-Kovalev-Kostitsyn have combined for 16 goals and 37 points. Now, compare that to 12 goals and 33 points for the Koivu-Higgins-Ryder trio. Better, but not a lot better, right? But for the month of November- that is, the last 5 games- the 2nd line has 7 goals and 15 points, while the 1st has 3 and 7, respectively. And bear in mind that Koivu and Higgins, at least, are still getting plenty of high-quality PP minutes. All Kovalev supporters are encouraged to leave cheerful gloating in the comments section, which I shall accept with grace and good humor.
3. While I appreciate Price on many different levels- his sophisticated puckhandling, his frog-tongue-quick glove hand, his total inability to express or perceive human emotion- I still think he’s a bit overhyped. Not that he lacks merit, by any means, but on a practical level I don’t think he’s outplayed Huet. He just looks a hell of a lot more stylish and is, frankly, still a shiny new toy for Habs fans. A lot of the raptures that people go into over him are still based on the fantasy of what he might be in the future rather than what he is now- he’s played quite well so far, but I don’t think many of his games have been particularly arduous. But this one was, at least for the last 40 minutes, and therefore I give him props not so much for flash- he’s shown his abilities to great effect on many previous occasions- but for endurance.
4. We’re going to assume that tonight, somewhere in
5. Apparently, the Canadiens’ PK this year hasn’t been very good, but you’d never have suspected from this game, where they took 9 minors and allowed only 1 goal in all of them. Chipchura and Kostopolous, in spite of being totally new to both the Habs and each other, look like they’ve been slaughtering man-disadvantages together since the dawn of time.
6. And finally, how thrilling is it to see Komisarek of all people get an OT breakaway and beat Raycroft clean through the five-hole? You couldn’t have asked for a more simple, elegant approach to the opportunity. The boy was clearly as shocked and amazed as anyone watching that he’d actually been able to pull off a move so very atypical for him, and it’s always great to end a game on a joyous note, with a big ol’ pile of Habs in a very huge, very excited hug.
The Leafs, it seems, are so cursed by their own building that they tried to change their home-ice luck for this game by wearing their away jerseys, so as to trick the suckage-pixies of the Air Canada Centre. And to give credit where it’s due, it almost worked, it one-point worked. But they got to Raycroft at the right moment. Ahamdulillah.