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Jaroslav Halak saved the day. Hell, he saved the season.
In a month where any excess confidence seemed to dissipate into thin air, Jaro (whose play in this game should knock down claims that he’d never be a number one goaltender) made 46 saves, mostly without the help of any of his teammates, to lead the Canadiens to a 4 – 2 win over the Av’s Friday night.
This game was important for three main reasons. First, because the Habs needed to realize that they were still able to win (and with that, gave them the ability to have confidence in their goalie). Second, it showed them that they are still able to steal games. And lastly it showed them that they still have much work to do.
Some of the positive points:
- Koivu, as always, is at the top of my list. He sacrifices the body, and makes every effort possible to succeed in his plays.
- Kovalev played a solid game, kept it simple (for once), and made a really nice pass on the Breezer goal.
- Tommy Kostopoulos looked great out there, and I think the line of Kovy-Koivu-Kostopoulos has its merits. And how can you not have been anything but thrilled when he scored his empty netter?! (P.S. I totally called it after he had that great scoring chance with Kovy… He played with fire, and I knew something was coming.)
- Higgins played hard and battled.
- Andrei Kostitsyn slept through most of it… but came up big when he needed to.
- Dandenault played really well, used his speed to create scoring chances, and picked up another assist (hey, it’s 3 points in 2 games… not too bad for a jack-of-all-trades like Dandy!).
- Laraque (yes, that’s not a typo) saved an icing… and I was as shell-shocked as I’m sure everyone else was, even though sadly it lead to a Colorado goal.
- Bouillon scored a beauty, and gave Tucker a wake-up call, so how could I not include him?
- And of course Breezer… well what can I say? Those who were iffy about O’Byrne being scratched (myself included) had a pleasant surprise in store. He had one of his best nights in a long time, and played with the energy of a guy half his age.
Some major problems:
- Markov, Komisarek and Gorges did not look good out there tonight. That’s 3 of our top 4 defenseman. Never a good sign.
- Sergei Kostitsyn was MIA along with his brother… but at least Andrei did something. (Sergei actually got the 1st star of the game – clearly a mix up between the 2 brothers by the Colorado press!)
- Max Lapierre took a really stupid penalty at a really inopportune time. I’m a big Lapierre fan, but that was just not a smart move.
One thing is for sure. The list of pros is way bigger than that of cons. The Habs had an amazing first period, and Jaro did the rest, along with some help from the older Kostitsyn and TK. But Jaro really deserves all the credit for this one. Hopefully the Habs can play off this momentum and take it with them to Vancouver and start building themselves up to where they once were. They still have it in them. It only took 2 awful periods and 46 saves by the young Slovak goaltender to realize it.