Big Night For Kostitsyn As Habs Edge Canes

Andrei Kostitsyn didn’t fly down the wing tonight the way Guy Lafleur did all those years ago, and he didn’t scoot and skate miles the way someone like Tomas Plekanec might, and he didn’t lift fans out of their seats whenever he had the puck the way I did when I was a smallish-yet-shifty right winger for Orillia’s Byers Bulldozers bantam squad. (Hah!)

But did he ever contribute anyway.

Kostitsyn, on the forecheck in the first period, fought and won a big battle behind the net and spotted Lars Eller for a nice delightful set-up. And in the third period, it was Kostitsyn popping the game winner on the Habs’ one power play chance as the boys win a crucial game against the Carolina Hurricanes and in doing so sort of put themselves back in our good books again.

And not only did they regain some breathing room in the playoff battle, but they also won this 4-3 game with Alex Auld in goal in place of a flu-ridden Carey Price. 

How’s that for a bonus win? A big game, with Auld in nets, and Kostitsyn doing his best Rocket Richard impression.

I think the league should give the Canadiens three points just for these things.

Certainly Auld had his weak moments tonight but his team won the game and he chipped in in the crunch. That’s good enough for me. Auld stopped 28 of 31 shots but I have to admit, he’s not helping my nervous system a whole lot.

Scott Gomez had….nope, no goals, although he did receive a four minute high-sticking penalty in the first period, so at least he got his name on the stats sheet. Scott has all of seven goals so far this year.

Huge win, and now they don’t play until Tuesday when they travel to the home of Coca-Cola – Atlanta.

Random Notes:

Brent Sopel, in his first night of wearing the CH, was fine but not outstanding. But this can be expected. New teammates, new dressing room, new system. It reminds me of when I played my first……..never mind.

PK Subban is playing more and more like a veteran. It seems like a long time ago when PK was making us laugh, cry, and hold our breath. Now he’s into the solid, workmanlike mode.

Habs scorers, besides Eller and Kostitsyn, were Mike Cammalleri and Tomas Plekanec.

Montreal sits in 6th spot in the east with 73 points while Buffalo in 9th and just out of a playoff spot, has 65.

22 thoughts on “Big Night For Kostitsyn As Habs Edge Canes”

  1. I’m thinking Kostitsyn wants to remain in Montreal now and has decided to unleash his Belarusian Beast.
    He is such an amazing player when he is playing at his best. I think it would be a mistake to trade him even though it has been really frustrating watching him just float around a lot of the time.
    Hopefully, the Habs coaching team have found a way to make the necessary adjustments to keep Kostitsyn playing to his full potential.
    And PK Subban should have gotten a star for his great performance tonight.
    Vancouver just scored on Boston Dennis.
    Things are looking up my friend.

  2. Danno, if only somehow Kostitsyn can do this a little more often. He does have talent, I just think his mind is elsewhere sometimes. PK was excellent and I still believe he should be considered for Rookie honours. He’s been so important. And just when some start to count them out, back in they come. Yes indeed, a big night and things are looking up. But we need two, or three, or four in a row now. Maybe five or six. I’m such a greedy guy.

  3. Hey Dennis,Wel let me say this game was not dictated by the refs.Alex Auld played well as did the defense of the Habs.Brent Sopel saw limited ice,what the hell was with that|?Kostitsyn now has two game winners in the last three games.

  4. For the first 2 periods I thought Montreal played very well and could easily have been up a couple goals. But in the 3rd period I started to get worried. It seemed to me that they were a step slower which is surprising as it was the Canes that played yesterday.

    Gomez wasn’t great, but I think he was due an assist on Gionta’s goal that was called back because the ref fell asleep watching the puck. The Eller line played like they really wanted to be the #2 line. Hopefully they can keep it up.

  5. Well that was two lines going, if we could just get some consistent production from the Gomez, Gionta line. We know that MaxPac had chemistry with DD down in Hamilton so would it be too much to ask to see DD centering MPac and Gionta? Maybe if Gomez could get hurt, you know just a little to make him miss a couple of games, or maybe Price could share his infected Gatorade or maybe Kostitsyn could introduce him to some Belarussian Mobsters? You know it would just take a little creativity.

  6. One other note, that’s 12 goals in the last three games. Of course two of those were losses but we don’t need to talk about that.

  7. Awesome game and not my usual negative comments tonight. I was impressed. Not by reffing which almost sucked. They missed the Gionta goal. I thought Sopel played well, no big mistakes. I really like Gill for some reason, no flash, pizzazz, just steady puck clearing ability. Subban should be a top 5 rookie candidate. He is becoming a stud back there. He is amazing with the puck. Paccioretty is becoming a good power forward as well. Montreal is playing more consistent than January and early part February which is nice to see. AK46 was better tonight and was good to see his arms in the air and a smile on his face. When he is on, we should keep him but he becomes invisible too often so this is a nice change for him. Auld I thought played a good game but looked weak on two goals but he did his share. Nice to have two more points. Playoffs here we come. Hopefully Boston had some major injuries tonight.

  8. Christopher, more and more Eller seems to be getting confidence. I think next year we’ll see a new and improved Eller. And yes, it wasn’t the Habs greatest game, but four goals and a two points is nice. Lately we haven’t seen any two-game winning streaks so now’s the time.

  9. Good, creative stuff, DJ. I say Jean Beliveau and Dickie Moore take Mr. Gomez out to the woodshed and beat him with sticks.

  10. But at least it’s 12 goals, DJ, and it’s good to point that out. For the longest time it was zero or one. Maybe two.

  11. Mayo, excellent review and your last sentence more than deserves quote of the day. I believe you now hold the distinction of having two in a row in Quote of the Day.

  12. Haha, thanks Dennis. Kewl. Unfortunately, ‘Big Nose’ (17) scored late to beat the Canucks. Not sure how ‘Big, Big Nose’ (33) did but Ruins got the two points. What’s going on with the Canucks? Rhetorical. Who cares.

  13. French speakers? Did RDS really report this could be Hamrlik’s last game as a Hab? Hmmm, could be. That is interesting. Would be nice to get a 2nd rounder for him, but likely a third or a big forward. Doubt anyone would pay a pick for a 36 year old making $5.5 M. Hate Mondays but trade deadline will make it more bearable. I sorta like Hamrlik but his salary pisses me off. He does play big minutes so is susceptible to being a -minus player. Maybe I am being too hard on him as he does put up some points. He has as many points as Gomez.

  14. It is nice to see Kost doing so well right now as the team really needs players to step up at this time of year. He has been more consistant this year and the most physical of Montrea’ls players. I have to question how his season could have been if him, Plek’s, and Cammy hadn’t had their line broken up by Martin when they were so hot to start the year.
    In all fairness to a number of players when they play with Gomez as their centre they stagnate and it shows up on the score sheet and the plus?minus stats.
    Only 4 of Gomez’s 7 goals are at even strength and I can’t find an answer for how many of his twenty three assists have been on the PP. Not great stats for a secound line centre. I am sure in hindsite Gainey would’nt have traded for him had he known Plek’s would emerge as the player he has.

  15. Dennis, Scott Gomez’s stock took another tumble last night. He took a dumbass penalty and continues to disappoint in so many ways.

    It’s been said the Gomez line is where wingers go to die. Just look at Andrei Kostitsyn who has suddenly come alive (with two goals and two assists in three games) since he’s been removed from his line. Is it a coincidence? Arpon Basu reports on “the black hole of production”…

    http://montreal.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20110226/mtl_habshub_habit_freed_110226/20110226/?hub=MontrealSports

    Christopher Cordahi mentioned on the other page that Gomez was -1 for the game, and has sunk down to the #838 level in the +/- stats. And he correctly points out that he is the lowest ranked player of any team currently in playoff position…

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/app?service=page&page=playerstats&fetchKey=20112ALLAASAll&viewName=summary&sort=plusMinus&pg=28

    But sometimes when you’re down you just can’t get a break.

    To be fair, Gomez was robbed of a point when that goal by Brian Gionta was disallowed when the ref blew his whistle prematurely. Cam Ward did not have control of the puck and it still was in play when Gionta popped it in. But justice was served when Kostitsyn scored moments later in the last seconds of the same power play.

    Combine that disallowed goal with the open net goal that Pleckanec should have gotten (but instead decided to be a nice guy and pass the puck to Halpern who missed) and the final score could have and should have been 6-3.

    But the Habs prefer high drama in the dying minutes of play. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Auld held the fort after all. But Gomez remains a big annoying $8 million question mark.

  16. It’s hard to know how the signings affected each other back in the summer of the “gutting”. Did signing Gomez encourage Gionta and Cammalleri to make the jump? This is the team that always had a hard time signing top free agents so…. Anyway I’m sure someone could look up the signing dates but by now it’s kind of a moot point. Right now the team has to decide what to do with Gomez. Can you really put him on the fourth line? Have the other players on the team realized the effect playing with Gomez has on their own play?
    JM “Okay Gionta, you’re playing with Gomer tonight.”
    Gionta ” Ah come on coach! I said I was sorry for hitting you with the puck in practice!”
    JM ” Yeah well maybe after a game or two with Gomez you”ll be more careful eh?”

  17. Agree about Gomez. Point I would also like to make regarding productivity of the players concerns JM’s style. I have watched a number of games over the last few years where the new call-ups. That is ones who have not been up to the Habs before played good strong games and were noted in the media as being a promising sign of the talent we have. Yet with-in a game (usually) or two they were not producing and were considered to be just so so players. The players when they came up were playing Boucher’s style – aggressive forechecking and they were causing turn-overs in the other teams zones and creating scoring chances. They quickly learnt JM’s system and bang; everyone collapse and let the other team come at you. This year Cunnyworth has the Bull Dogs playing more of a similar style so the players can mesh with the big club but the best games Montreal played last year and the most exciting were with an aggressive forcheck.
    Against teams with a slow D it would give us an advantage ie. Boston before Kabs.

  18. Thanks for the info. Makes his contribution to his line-mates even scarier when you see those stats. Four goals and ten assists with all the ice time he has been getting this season.

  19. Looking at all the nhl.com statistics the one that stands out for me is the +42 difference in +/- by PK Subban between games Montreal won and lost. He’s a combined +18 in wins and -24 in losses. All players show a similar asymmetry in these numbers, but Subban’s is one of the largest among all players in the league not just rookies. I could only find a few players with more; Lidstrom tops the list with a +55 difference.

  20. Just a correction to my comment #16 above.

    For the record, Plecky’s open-net pass was to Cammy and not Halpern. Joe Corvo knocked it down and prevented what should have been a sure goal.

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