Hamrlik Hammers It Home And Team Wins Another In OT

hammerIt’s four straight wins and counting for the suddenly-dangerous Montreal Canadiens as defenceman Roman Hamrlik converted Tomas Plekanec’s impressive end-to-end rush, and Habs take out the pesky New York Islanders 3-2 in overtime.

It was a game that saw the less-heralded come to the forefront. Yes, Mike Cammalleri had abig night, and Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez were all over the place, but it was players like Travis Moen and Glen Metropolit who made big noises tonight. Metropolit has emerged as an extremely important all-round player with his sharp, although less flashy play and blue-collar hard work, and tonight he assisted on the Canadiens first two goals. Metro is the kind of player every team in the league would grab in an instant. He’s been a revelation in a way, although we know Bruins fans were sorry to see him go when the Canadiens picked him up in 2008, so that was the first hint we were getting a special player.

Travis Moen did just what he was brought to Montreal to do – be a forward who won’t be pushed around, who gets his nose dirty, and creates scoring chances through tenacity and grit. Just can’t say enough about good old Saskatchewan boys.

And what about Hamrlik and the defence corps? When Markov went down in the first game, and O’Byrne followed shortly after, many thought the Habs would need miracles and buckets of luck to hang in until January when Markov is expected to return. But Roman Hamrlik has said “excuse me but I’ll take over”, and has become the experienced, steady, patient presence the defence needed in times of trouble. And he even scored the winner tonight.

Hamrlik deserves a lot of respect. And the the rest – Bergeron, Gorges, Mara, Spacek and yes, Gill – do too. We should all be proud of Montreal’s defence.

Have the Canadiens turned it around? I believe they have. The puzzling, mostly-lacklustre play in the first five or six games has all but disappeared, and an exciting, offensive and surprising team is emerging. One thing’s for sure, they’re fun to watch.

Jaroslav Halak was again in goal, with coach Jacques Martin deciding once and for all that as long as one goalie is winning, he’ll keep playing. It won’t ruin Carey Price if he has to sit for awhile. He’s knows that team success is the only thing. And the young fellow can learn from the bench too.

And kudos to Halak. This a guy who hasn’t whined and complained or went to Bob Gainey demanding a trade. Carey Price has always been considered the number one guy until now, and Halak has simply bided his time and worked hard. Now, at least for now, he’s the number one guy until Price can prove otherwise.

That’s as healthy a goaltending situation you can get. Both players pushing each other, and in the end it rubs off on the entire squad.

Random Notes:

If only Latendresse and Kostitsyn could get going. Imagine.

Tomas Plekanec looked like Guy Lafleur out there with his end-to-end rush that led to the winning  goal.

Habs have a big test on Wednesday when they visit the Penguins in Pittsburgh. And although the Penguins are the Stanley Cup champs, and although they’ve flown out of the gate, there’s no reason why the Canadiens can’t win this game. They can certainly win this game.

Penguins so far: 9 wins, 2 losses, Habs are 6 and 5.

17 thoughts on “Hamrlik Hammers It Home And Team Wins Another In OT”

  1. Lafleur takes the puck behind Dryden, makes dazzling rush up the ice, dekes a couple players, lofts a pass across sprawling defence to Shutt who scores over diving goalie. What? That wasn’t a replay? That was today? No way! You must be kidding.

  2. Hey Dennis;I missed the gme tonite(actually it wasn’t on here in port alice)so i just was able to see the replays on tsn.Hamrlic has looked good all season i thought,josh georges has really picked up the play as well and the new guy has played very well.I don’tnow if they are out of the jungle kjust yet but they are moving along nicely.I do hope that Carey Price sees this as a learning situation (I think he is smart enough to understand this)and just goes with the flow.

  3. Derry – It was a much tighter game than the last time these two played each other. But lots of good signs. Even though it was close, it was a solid win. And yes, Hamrlik and Gorges have been rocks. Good win. Now Pittsburgh….

  4. If we keep playing like this, we’re golden. Travis Moen is exactly what the team was lacking last year. he had a great opportunity on a breakaway but couldn’t capitalize.

    and Metropolit’s feed to Spacek was amazing, he’s got great hands for a 4th liner!

    and i hate to be a stickler, but Cammalleri didn’t score, Moen tapped in the loose puck after Cammy’s shot on net, he did get an assist though, which gives him a point in 5 straight games

    As i said before, Plekanec is being extremely productive right now, he had a breakaway but unfortunately shot it wide. But he made it up to the fans by making a pretty saucer right on Hamrlik’s stick to seal the deal.

    Latendresse is doing better than Kostitsyn right now, at least Guillaume almost scored, when he shot right on the post with only a few seconds left in the second period

    John Tavares said after the game, that the Isles deserved the win, but i don’t see it. giving away two breakaways in one game doesn’t seem like a very good performance to me.

    Also Mark Streit says leaving Montreal was best for his career. Oh, the nerve… more on Streit’s backstabbing abilities here:http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=296204

  5. I have to disagree with Phil. Leaving Montreal was the best thing for Streit:

    *He’s the #1 guy there on defence (whereas in Montreal he was fourth line forward and played defence on the powerplay)
    * He can have more privacy away from the rink
    * He doesn’t get chastized every time he makes a mistake;
    * He’s making tons more money, and;
    * He’s seen as a leader, being an assistant captain.

    As for Halak, I’m still not ready to annoint him the #1 goalie. He’s beaten the Islanders twice, Atlanta once, and gave up four goals on 27 shots in an overtime victory against the Rangers. Not exactly the cream of the crop (only one playoff team). Let’s see how he does against the Pens, Bruins, Caps and other great teams first.

    I also find he has a tendency to give up one bad goal a game. Last night was the first Islanders goal (between the legs). Last week against the Islanders was the one he gave away while the Habs were on the powerplay. He’s got to stop that if he wants to be the #1 goalie.

  6. I dont think there is a chance that halak will become the number 1 goalie, but what hes doing right now is exactly what carey prices needs, He’s being pushed and like Dennis said that wears off on everybody. The habs might not be beating the best teams right now but thats not the point. The point is that they are winning and really starting to come together as a team. They have pulled their record over .500 now and put together a nice 4 game winning streak. I bet they knock the pens off on wednesday and push their winnnig streak to 5 games.

  7. Look, the REAL reason we won last night is because ever since we beat the Thrashers my lucky Montreal Canadiens silver dollar coin was placed under my CH cap on my TV shrine. It has remained there ever since and I am not touching it.

  8. This is a good example of not getting the recognition deserved. Everyone thinks it’s just the players who win games. They forget that the fans contribute too. A couple of times I’ve gone to the bathroom and they’ve scored. So I feel my actions have helped too. Don’t remove that coin. It could be the big difference this year.

  9. While we toast Hamrlik I thought this might be a good time to address the whole Komisarek thing. No one can deny that we were excited when we drafted a big defenseman who seemed to have so much up side. When he made the move to the team we recognized the potential and he did not disappoint. We even affectionally referred to him as Komisarous. True, in the last few years we began to notice some deficiencies in his game but we still liked what he brought to the rink until he decided to take his gear and sign with Toronto. We were upset. He was a traitor. Bad enough to leave but for just a little more $ and to Toronto no less. What was he thinking? He then became in our eyes a player with many flaws and good ridence to him. I have compared the whole thing to being like a jilted lover as we slag the one that spurned us. Now here is the point I’d like to make. Is it possible that Komisarek’s deficiencies are the organization’s fault? Who persuasded him to leave university early? Who brought him up from the minors early? And most damning, who failed to provide the necessary instruction on how to play defense? People have complained for years that Mtl needed a defenseman coach well maybe Komo is the living proof of that need. We took a talented palyer and through a lack of proper instruction turned a potential “future Captain” into a second rate plaer. That’s on the Canadiens shoulders and maybe it’s time to get over losing a player we weren’t developing properly anyway.

  10. John: Aside from the fact that Mike Komisarek is a big, physical guy, he blew it too many times for me to have ever been a fan of his. I saw more penalties from this guy at all the wrong times, more terrible passes intercepted, more this and that. I wanted him out of Montreal for the past few years and I’m perfectly happy that he’s gone. Yes, he jilted the team by declining their offer, and I’m glad he did. I laughed when he went to Toronto. I thought it was the perfect place for him. I’m not angry because he jilted, I’m angry becuase he hurt the Habs with his mistakes – mistakes you see him making all over again in Toronto. He was a liability but is defended by many as some kind of big, bruising all-star who had upgraded the Leafs defence. It makes me smile. Never has one player been so over-rated by so many. He’s hoodwinked people because he’s a media darling, and even that makes me grind my teeth. After interviews he always closed with “thanks, buddy” to the interviewer which rubbed me the wrong way too. I’m just really, really happy he’s not a Hab anymore and when he jilted like you say, then he made his bed and opened things up for us to criticize him.

  11. the other team scores EVERYTIME when my mom immediately enters the living room. My sister and I have never let her a watch a game. and also, whenever i flip the channel for a little bit, and i tune back in, someone always scores.
    Fun stuff :p

  12. I understand your view Dennis but I think for Mike’s first few years you were in the minority. Which means it just took the rest of us a little while to catch up to you! However I still think the organization dropped the ball in terms of developing him and other defensemen.

  13. Dennis I’m sorry but for Montreal to better dominate it appears you’ll have to watch the games from the bathroom. On the bright side you’ll be the envy of everyone in town with a large screen TV in there.

  14. Big screen TV and beer fridge. And laz-y-boy toilet! I realize you’re right, Chris. For the good of the team. But what about inviting friends over? And what happens when they need to go to the bathroom? And what about females who want to watch? It’s really complicated, but it’s for the good of the team. Damn.

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