I feel dirty.
Sure, we got the two points we needed to retake the division lead, and helped keep one of the teams which gives us reasonably consistent trouble out of the playoffs. But let’s face it, the Habs did not earn this win. They continued the suckage with which they’d ended Monday’s game unabated for the first two periods, then scraped into OT with some heroics by two desperate players in the last 3 minutes of the game, and then won. It was hideously unfair, an injustice of mammoth proportions wherein the hockey gods yanked a well-earned win out from under the superior team at the very last second for no good reason whatsoever. And, saints preserve me, I loved it. I’m still savoring the luscious taste of hockey’s inherent capriciousness. It tastes like victory.
1. The first two periods, however, tasted like synthetic cheese food product that had been microwaved too long. Communication was terrible, and therefore passes were missed, which led to soggy, ineffectual rushes and very few scoring chances. Personally, I think this might have something to do with the upheavals on D since Komisarek’s injury. Bouillon and Streit, in particular, were terrible in the neutral zone and defensively.
2. Way too many penalties, but then again, the reffing was pretty bad and they do need to practice their PK for the playoffs, so we’ll let it go.
3. So Kovalev got one goal, and Plekanec two, but I’d have given a star for the night to Gorges, who played some tough minutes in the early going and (other than Price) was a big part of the reason it stayed within one goal for most of the game, despite the Canadiens having been outshot 29-9 at the half. Is it the lad really coming into his own? Or just the legendary Markov effect?
4. Once upon a time, Streit was the Habs secret weapon- a responsible, reliable, multipurpose team player who could be used in all sorts of situations, a classic example of the kind of flexibility in role that Carbonneau seems to wish all his players had. Then, somewhere along the line, he turned into Sheldon Souray’s playmaking doppelganger, and now he’s an assist-generating machine who ‘quarterbacks’ (I hate sports metaphors) the powerplay and is third in points among all NHL defensemen. Even though he’s not really a defenseman. Most of the time. Anyway, the point is that it’s his contract year, and he’s not a secret anymore. Back in the day he seemed to be the perfect example of an undervalued, anonymous guy that you could afford to pick up and keep around as long as possible for moderate salary and the occasional pat on the head. Come summertime, I don’t think he will be anymore.
5. Dear Chris Higgins: Thank you for proving my point. Sincerely, E.
6. Smolinski/Kostopolous/Begin played pretty much the same way they do every night, but tonight that made them the best line on the ice a lot of the time. Praise be to consistency. Lapierre and S. Kostitsyn were, however, invisible, and Ryder had nothing whatsoever going for him all night other than a peculiar vendetta against Miller- I don’t think Michael is generally this much of a goalie-harasser, is he?
Poor Sabres. Like the plucky heroine of a 19th century novel, they suffer setback after setback, challenge after challenge, loss after loss, and yet persist against all logic with a determined can-do attitude. If there’s any hockey team I’d like to improbably win the affections of well-off country gentleman with a title and a mellifluously-named estate in which they could live happily ever after, it’d be them. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that they’re going to waste away in ever-direr poverty, tatting lace handkerchiefs by candlelight until they go blind and die of influenza in the gutter. By which I mean, miss the playoffs. Which actually isn’t nearly as bad as dying of influenza in a gutter. So take heart, Sabre fans! It could be worse!
[Sorry for the delay. My computer and I are not living in full harmony today.]