Sharpshooters Nokelainen and Gill Come Through

Andrei Kostitsyn is responsible for the Canadiens’ 5-3 win over the visiting New York Islanders.

Not because Kostitsyn played a fine and dangerous game, which he did. He’s responsible because he dashed off the ice with just over six minutes remaining and Petteri Nokelainen jumped on.

But first, what led up to the Nokes (which is probably his nickname) heroics.

The Canadiens had fallen behind 1-0 to the Islanders when PK Subban, in a temporary brain-freeze, put a perfect pass on the stick of the enemy who hopefully said thank you as the puck found its way behind Carey Price. But Kostitsyn evened it by retrieving his banked shot off the boards to fool N.Y. goaltender Al Montoya. If only Kostitsyn could play like this every night.

Al Montoya sounds like he should be a lounge singer, a crooner at the Copacabana, but I’m getting off track here.

Late in the first, Mathieu Darche bounced one over Al Martini, er, Montoya, and the Canadiens went to their dressing room with a slim 2-1 lead.

The second period saw no scoring, but I jotted down, so I wouldn’t forget, that the power play is definitely looking sharper and smarter. The puck is being moved around with more precision, even though the boys went just 1 for 5, which isn’t great but I see signs. Maybe Tomas Kaberle showed them a few basic plays that the coaching staff forgot about.

The Habs’ one power play marker, which made the score 3-1 at this point, came at the hands of Erik Cole, another who played a very strong game. Compare Cole to Mike Cammalleri. Cammy has become just another face in the crowd. It’s very disappointing. Cole, on most nights, is a standout, a real threat.

Of course as expected, the other team made a late-game charge. We’re almost used to it. It’s like it’s part of the natural flow to any Habs game. The Islanders scored once, then twice, and the game was tied, but that’s when Andrei Kostitsyn made his way to the bench, thus providing the Nokelainen story, a blast from inside the blueline that was the game winner.

But I’m saving the best for last.

Hal Gill’s big goal. Here’s how it happened. Gill circled behind his net, grabbed the puck, and picked up a head of stream as he streaked down the ice. Around one he danced, then another. A give-and-go with David Desharnais, and back to the big fellow where he deked a third forward, then, in a last gasp, split the defence and put it top shelf for the insurance marker before he crashed into the boards.

Actually he rolled it 200 feet into an empty net but what’s the difference?

Random Notes:

Islanders outshot Montreal 32-29.

As far as I could see, Chris Campoli in his return tonight did his job without being fancy. He’s no Hal Gill, that’s for sure.

Thursday it’s the Flyers in town. I’m hoping Alexei Emelin suits up for this game. Schmuck a few of those ^%#$%.


19 thoughts on “Sharpshooters Nokelainen and Gill Come Through”

  1. Dennis, I had a comment but it disappeared with “Sorry, comments are closed for this item.” I’ll try again from memory.

    I only saw the third period, was surprised to see us extend the lead. Then we fell asleep as we’ve done far too often. I’ve mentioned how much I hate watching a game and only thinking hurry up and end, it’s torture. The best part of losing the two goal lead so quickly was that it gave us the opportunity to wake up and play for a win. Nokes’ goal was another surprise, I was convinced it would be called back for too many men. That was the wake-up we needed, after that goal I thought we played well. Score two goals, we play drowsy, score three we fall asleep, score four we wake up again.

  2. Hey Dennis, Well the game was half over when I returned home from work,but 2-1 for the good guys,which I thought was good.They then scored a third and I figured,hey they arent going to let this one get away from them as watching the Habs lately is something like watching the biggest loser(which I detest by the way).The contestants rack up their score on the scales and then spend the rest of the game trying to lose it,well kinda the same I thought.I was happy to see Nokelainin net one from just inside the blueline with a horrific blast and I figured wow,we cant let this one go and then an irregularity took place ,Hal Gill got a beautty. But I was wondering something Dennis , could the cage Hal scored on be classed as a Gill net?

  3. Martin benched Emelin because he had a “bad game” in Jersey. Naturally, Emelin was playing out of position the last game yet he’s at fault. Martin is such a dodo head.

    Eller is really starting to look really good. He’s still rusty, but he’s going to be something else. If he had scored that goal it wouldn’t have been a highlight goal for sure.

    I don’t know what’s wrong with Cammy but he’s really terrible this year. I know some people think it may be his leg, but he’s just getting nothing going.

    Cole is just awesome though. I almost feel like I’m watching the 70s Habs when he plays. It’s so nice having him on the team!

  4. I have to give credit to Jacques Martin.

    I blasted him for sitting Emelin and not Gill.

    Now Gill is off on another one of his goal-scoring tears and has already surpassed Scott Gomez.

    It take it all back.

    J-Mart is a genius.


    I went to bed last night (when the Islanders had narrowed the gap to 3-2) thinking, “Here we go again.”

    I figured if I went to bed right then and there I might be able to end the third-period jinx.

    It worked. I woke up to read Dennis Kane’s excellent (and really funny) recap.

    We’re on a big two-game win streak now – after winning at home no less.

    December is starting to look like a pretty decent month after all. So far we’ve won nine out of a possible 12 points and remain undefeated in regulation time – believe it or not!

    I hope Emelin crushes the Flyers into a fine powder tomorrow night.

  5. Cammalleri has looked quiet so far, I agree. But to be honest, he has done this same thing the last few years. He’s been quite streaky in his time with the Habs, but when he streaks he does it in style. I will say nothing more beyond the legendary Halak-Cammalleri playoff run. I think we should give him a chance. I fully expect him, if not to turn his season around, to at least make some solid contributions to the team.

    The Habs don’t have super-star goal scorers, it’s simply not how the league works anymore for the best teams. Solid team efforts win games these days. The Habs showed that last night. 13 players got points and Price was consistent. We scored 5 goals, and we won. Cole is looking great. I don’t think anyone is questioning that acquisition anymore. Nor the Kaberle trade for that matter. If guys like Eller, Kostitsyn, Plekky, Cole and pretty much everyone else can keep producing like this, we may not have a 50 goal scorer, but we may have 10 25 goal scorers which isn’t half bad.

    I concerned about Moen. He’s been a big part of the team this year. Here’s wishing him and Gio a speedy recovery. If Gomez returns I doubt we will notice, and who knows if we’ll ever see Markov skate again.

    Side note: didn’t actually watch the game live, I was lucky enough to be at the Air Canada Center to see Uncle Ted’s newest toy lay a beating on Kirk Muller’s boys. But I have watched the highlights several times now, and if they keep it up, we could definitely make this streak carry us to the new year; knock on wood.

  6. if emelin had taken the same low percentage shot as gill, with the chance of icing the puck in the last minute, a cardinal sin by the way, would he be eligible for a benching?

  7. Even after that win, some things just don’t seem right. Tiny-llerri (#13) continues to piss me off. I think he is too small to compete and he is too busy being fukin arrogant and doing his off-icve business shit. Focus on hockey Cammy because with your size and lack of fight, you don’t have much going for you! #13 sucks right now and the money we’re paying him, he’s on the level of Gomez. Maybe it has to do with Pleks because he is slumping too.

    Subban continues to be scarey on D. Bring Emilin back and sit Subban or Diaz.

    I like our new PP because now there is excitement and dominance. #22 brings confidence that we didn’t have before. Don’t believeme? Compare to second PP unit. Once 2nd unit comes on, we lose the momentum and becomes very normal.

    Cole rocks. That is the first time I have seen him play angry.

    Price continues to be price but he did screw up on their 3rd goal by not holding the post.

    Eller is exciting and is exciting but more importantly, he plays with an edge which not enough of our veterans do. On the downside, he takes too many silly penalties.

    But we are moving up and playing better. Campolli is a good defender and contributes offensively, smartly. I even rant when we win. I’m turning into my Dad?

  8. Cammy is doing his usual stuff but it seems like goalies are just stumping him, or his shot is just off recently. He’s been trying and has had tons of opportunities it’s just not going in the net. I’m pretty sure he’ll be able to shake it off, we’ve seen what he can deliver so this is just a cold streak in my opinion.

  9. Chris, a couple of times my comments have been turned off but I don’t know why. I’m just happy when I catch it soon. I couldn’t believe it when the Islanders came back. Montreal could easily have blown this game.

  10. Martin, maybe he’ll do it again against the Flyers. It was great to see how genuinely happy his teammates were when they were hugging him. Just great. And the important insurance marker. You know, for me, Gill would’ve made a good captain.

  11. Darth, it would be interesting to see Emelin interviewed. I’d love to know his thoughts about playing and living in Montreal, and whether he’s enjoying it or not.

  12. Danno, I guess J-Mart just thought Gill was ready to start scoring, the way Bowman could feel it about Lafleur.
    The Habs almost let it slip away and we can only take so much of this kind of thing. So thanks to Nokelainen and Gill for boosting our spirits.

  13. David, Cammy better start contributing. The team needs him, and he’s pulling in 6 million. Yes he can play better, we’ve seen him be very dangerous at times in the past, so all I’m saying is, he needs to pick it up a lot. I don’t want to say he’s been coasting, but he’s been very ineffective and it needs to change. I know he can be a good player. We just haven’t seen much of it lately.

  14. And it is a cardinal sin, Hobo. I never thought of it at the time. I was just enjoying seeing Gill score. But imagine if it was icing and NY scored with seconds left?

  15. Mayo, when Eller went in and out on a couple of defenceman, it reminded me of the Habs of old. Too bad he didn’t score. it would have been one of the prettiest goals in a long time.

  16. Phil his shots from quite a ways out will never go in. He doesn’t have that kind of shot. Cammy has to get his nose dirtier.

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