You don’t have to be Einstein to know that Montreal really needs this game against Pittsburgh Thursday night. The Habs have been on fire ever since the O’Byrne fiasco in Tampa Bay, and this game against the Penguins will re-affirm to the hockey world that Les Canadiens are for real, and are a serious contender.
It’s important to keep it going, and a win will put Habs fans over the top with glee.
Pittsburgh, in the Atlantic Division, sits at 34-21-5 for 73 points. Montreal, in the Northeast, are proud owners of a 33-19-9 record, for 75 points. Montreal needs this game to keep up with Ottawa.
The other thing is this. Evgeny Malkin, the good young Russian Penguin, is now being touted as league MVP for the season. The bugger’s got 34 goals, 45 assists, for 79 points. These are good numbers.
But Montreal’s Alex Kovalev, albeit older, is the engine that runs his team, and is not only deadly with 29 goals, 32 assists, for 61 points, but has also emerged as the Habs leader in many ways. He’s often unstoppable on the power play, and is the unofficial godfather to the Kostitsyn twins.
Maybe Kovalev deserved boos from time to time in years past, but not this year, not by a country mile. He’s exciting, crafty, maybe the best puckhandler in the league, has great vision, and is astonishingly creative. If Malkin wins MVP, at least Kovalev should be given honourable mention.