At least they got a point out of it.
Goerges Laraque said before the game that it would be a low-scoring affair, just by the nature of the Devils’ game – tight, neutral zone trapping, few goals – and Georges was absolutely right.
The problem was, snakebitten Alex Kovalev, instead of breaking out of his 15 game scoreless streak, took an ill-timed penalty with 28 seconds left in the third period, and the Devils’ Zach Parise, on the power play in overtime, scored to win it 2-1.
And that’s that. They could’ve won but didn’t. Earlier, Tomas Plekanec took a penalty to start a Habs power play, which killed that of course, and who knows, it could’ve been the difference.
Carey Price was solid. The grinders were good. The team had their chances and all in all, continue their good play which they started about four games ago.
Mostly though, I want to talk about Alex Kovalev. Everyone says he’s underachieving, he should be traded but it’s too late because the team wouldn’t get anything for him now, etc. etc.
But Kovalev is still a strong force out there. He’s not dogging it, he’s working hard. He sets up his linemates on a regular basis. He has certain leadership qualities. He does things with the puck most others can’t do. And he’s coming oh so close.
And it’s not like he’d done nothing. He sits third in team points with five goals and 14 assists for 19 points in 25 games, two behind Andrei Markov and three behind Saku Koivu.
I believe in Kovalev. I believe he’s a crucial member of the team, and I take with a grain of salt everything I read in hockey forums about what a non-factor he’s become. If I saw him dogging it, with lacklustre and uninterested play, I’d be in these forums to, calling for Gainey to trade the guy.
But I think he’s going to snap out of this soon. It’s not for lack of trying, and seriously, the guy must be losing sleep over what’s going on now for him.
Of course it’s not only Kovalev that fans have been screaming blue murder about. Guillaume Latendresse and Patrice Brisebois are favourite whipping boys. So is Sergei Kostitsyn and Mathieu Dandenault. And of course Ryan O’Byrne.
Maybe some of these fans can lighten up on Kovalev for awhile and concentrate on tying Plekanec to the stake instead. I think it’s his turn.
Matt D’Agostini scored the lone Habs goal for his fourth in three games since being called up. I looked up the name D’Agostini in my Italian dictionary and it means “air freshener being sprayed in a drab, musty room that needed to be freshened up.”
Zach Parise, who scored the winner in OT for the Devils, is the son of Team Canada ’72 role player JP Parise. Parise Sr. made a name for himself when he was called for a penalty in game eight of the series in Moscow, lost his mind, and raised his stick like he was going to decapitate officials Rudy Batja and Josef Kompalla. He didn’t follow through but it was quite a sight.