It’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.
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.