Habs Look Good In Southern Florida

Nice, juicy, 4-0 blanking of the home team Florida Panthers by the Habs this fine Thursday evening as Carey Price recorded his seventh shutout of the season, the Canadiens won their third straight, and…….how many times does one get to say this……Hal Gill opened the scoring with what proved to be the game winner!

Best of all, Andrei Kostitsyn and his linemates Lars Eller and Travis Moen combined for six points to do much of the damage up front and the threesome is oozing chemistry at the moment. Eller is getting better and better. Kostitsyn is playing like we’d hoped. And Moen is chipping in with the odd set-up and some nastiness in heavy traffic.

As trigger-happy as coach Martin has been this year in breaking up lines, surely he can keep these three together, at least for the time being. They’ve really added some new-found pizazz to what has mostly been a very lacklustre offence this season. 

In nets, picking up the slack when things got dangerous, was Price, again as solid as can be, stopping 30 shots to notch his 30th win of the season.

Geez, all these great things! It’s just so much nicer when things go well for a change.

Roman Hamrlik on this night played with poise found only with experience, and several times set his forwards loose with heads-ups passes. James Wisniewski had a strong game. And late in the third period, Max Pacioretty and Kostitsyn both rang pucks off the post about ten seconds apart. If the game had been close, we would have moaned in agony. Instead, at least for me, it put a smile on my face.

What a contrast between this three-game southern road trip and the three-game western trip the boys made recently. In Edmonton they stunk, and in Calgary they stunk and also froze. This trip began with a 3-1 win in the land of magnolias – Atlanta, and then Thursday’s 4-0 shut out in Sunrise with palm trees swaying outside.

Oh, I hope Gary Bettman doesn’t read this. He’ll think we like hockey in the deep south.

Random Notes:

Montreal scorers on this night were Gill, Kostitsyn, David Desharnais, and Lars Eller. Nope, none from Scott Gomez.

Shots on goal – 31-30 Montreal.

Maybe Jacques Martin read the riot act about penalty-taking as the boys only skated slowly to the penalty box three times. That’s more like it.

Next up – Saturday against a good team, Tampa Bay. But Montreal doesn’t need to take a back seat to anyone and is perfectly capable of enjoying some fine southern hospitality by blitzing the Lightning and keeping their somewhat modest win streak alive.

16 thoughts on “Habs Look Good In Southern Florida”

  1. Who is this Kostitsyn who has 7 points in his last 5 games? Where did he come from? Did he or his agent look at a calendar and realize that his contract expires at the end of the year? Did someone tell him a point total in the high thirties would not get him a new contract at $3.25M /year? Is he trying to avoid the horror of having to make do with only $2M /year?

    If he maintains this pace, he’ll finally meet the standard we expected when he signed his current contract. Of course the best way to raise his worth for a new contract will be to win the Conn Smythe while Montreal wins the Stanley Cup. I hope he goes it.

  2. It was a good win and you’re right Mayo, a depth win. If some of the others aren’t going it’s nice to see that line especially picking it up. We have to be happy with this.

  3. Hey, Christopher, Kostitsyn seems like he likes Eller and Moen with him. But maybe you’re right – maybe it’s about the money. Whatever – imagine him winning the Conn Smythe? Wow!!

  4. Hey Dennis,Great win,happy for Carey as much as the two points.This guy faces a pile of shots each nite and deserves a shutout almost every nite.I’m also happy that we have Scott Gomez,at times.This guy is very unselfish as we saw tonite and other nites,yes maybe he should shoot more,but he still carries the puck into the opposing end quite well and sets up more goals then he is giving points for.

  5. Dennis did you see the two new stories today showing why hockey should not be in the south?

    A student in DC protested the potential NFL strike with a yellow “Don’t Make Me Watch Hockey” sign. I’ve been looking but can’t find a picture.
    The Glendale mayor doesn’t understand why some are upset the city is giving $200M to the new Coyotes’ owner to offset the $25M /year losses.

  6. Derry, did you see the inside look at Carey Price, the half hour thing? They went bowling and it was interesting. Yes Gomez does some things well like carrying the puck up the ice. But on a team that doesn’t score a lot, we need more than seven goals from him. He’s supposed to be one of our offensive guys, and he’s supposed to much more for what he’s getting paid. If he was just a 2 million dollar guy, people wouldn’t be nearly as hard on him. But he’s 7.3 or thereabouts and we expect him to almost earn it. At least I do.

  7. Mayor irked by slow-moving sale of Coyotes
    http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/story/2011/03/03/sp-scruggs-coyotes-sale.html

    The last sentence of an AP article about the NFL lockout
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/F/FBN_NFL_LABOR
    A George Washington University student held up a yellow homemade sign: “Don’t Make Me Watch Hockey,” it read.

    For Ottawa @ Atlanta game tonight
    http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/story/2011/03/03/sp-ott-atl.html
    The crowd was announced at 10,461, but there appeared to be no more than 5,000 in Philips Arena.

    Yet somehow Hamilton, Quebec City, Winnipeg, and Waterloo don’t merit a NHL team.

  8. Christopher, just over 5000 was for the Habs game as well, although 11000 was announced. Just ridiculous. Some day I wish Mr. Bettman would explain the thinking behind all this – that there’s no new team in hockey-mad Canada and there are these disgraces in the states. It’s too much to fathom. The question and answer is so simple – What’s better – a rink that gets 19,000 every night, or one that gets 5 or 10 thousand? Even a dummy like me can figure this one out. It just makes me speechless. Please come back Jim Balsillie.

  9. Dennis, everything’s coming up roses.

    Pierre Gauthier is starting to look like a genius now. He’s proof that sometimes doing nothing is way better than doing anything.

    The trade deadline was a ripoff trap that could have taken Kostitsyn away from us for little in return. And now look at him. It seems the enigma called Andrei is solved, at least for now.

    It was a convincing road win and now we’re on a hot streak with three in a row.

    Things are really looking up again.

  10. Nice point, Danno. We could have got much less than what Kostitsyn is giving us now. I’m wondering too if much of it is because of Eller and Moen. Is this chemistry at its finest or just fluke. Eller is making some fine plays now and although the numbers aren’t there, is showing he’s a smart player with finesse. And although he looks like s choir boy he has an edge to him. Moen’s been everywhere, tried with everyone. But with Kostitsyn and Eller he’s raised his play. You’re right – the trade deadline could have been a ripoff trap and Gauthier did the right thing. I don’t think any of us would have been all that crazy to see them give up a ton of talent for one power forward etc. Man if they can handle the Lightning tomorrow night we’ll be a happy bunch.

  11. The theme of the last practice on Wednesday was all about communicating. It seems to have paid dividends as everyone’s seems to be on the same page now.

    Lars Eller has slowly but surely become the Great Dane we all hoped he would be. And I think you’re right about the chemistry. Eller’s communicating just fine with Kostitsyn and Moen. Last night they were just a thing of beauty to watch.

    NOTE TO JACQUES MARTIN– Do not bugger up the Kostitsyn-Eller-Moen line. It is fine. Leave it alone. Get your pen out and write that down on your little note pad.

    Eller is a natural centre and he wasn’t at his best playing wing. Now he’s in the position where he can really shine. He’s tough too and I’ve seen him take some huge hits and get right back at it.

    Eller scored a really nice goal by outskating three Panthers and deflecting a quick pass from Moen. And not only that he won most of his faceoffs which makes a world of difference when you are supposed to be a puck-posession type of team.

    http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20102011/FC020963.HTM

    The good part about Eller is he’s only going to get better. Remember we got him form St. Louis in the Halak deal. The Blues were reluctant to let him go and now we’re finding out why…

  12. And Danno, those Blues with Halak are out of the playoffs. Eller next year should be a treat. I believe this. He played a fine game last night and kudos to the staff for being patient with him. But we still need more. We need more points from him which will come. Looks to me like he’s a really smart player too and makes some beauty decisions with the puck. If he can keep it going, along with Kostitsyn, the team becomes so much better. I love what Carbonneau said – we’ve got the goaltending. And if the PP gets going, they can go deep in the playoffs. Usually we hear doom and gloom but Carbo was the opposite.

  13. Man, I’m really feeling good about this team all of a sudden. How the hell do we go from agony to ecstasy only to start all over again? It is beyond comprehension.

  14. It’s called being a true-blue Habs fan, Danno, which is what your are. When things have gotten better after a bad slump, it’s like the sun comes out.

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