Kukla's Korner

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What a difference a year makes

The Montreal Canadiens looked very good Tuesday night. They played a complete game, start to finish. Carey Price was sensational at times, making 33 saves, and everyone from Tomas Plekanec on down to Tom Pyatt had scoring chances.

More importantly, somewhere in the world last night, a pig must have taken flight, because not only were both Canadiens goals scored by defencemen, the second one was – brace yourself – scored on the power play. By Roman Hamrlik. Assisted by Jaroslav Spacek.

That’s right folks, the Canadiens have a power play. Sure, the first wave might be Benoit Pouliot, Mathieu Darche and Jeff Halpern (where else but Montreal could Mathieu Darche be on the power play?) but who cares, a goal was scored. Regardless of what you may think of the long-term potential of the PhD line, they work really, really hard. Some other Habs need to enroll in the same program if the team wants to keep winning.

Carey Price deserves a lot of credit for this one. Last time he was in BC, he gave up seven goals to the Canucks. Tonight, he recorded his second shutout of the season in style, making a flurry of great saves at the end before he took a cheeky shot at the Vancouver net (he didn’t come close).

Otherwise, Lars Eller continued his frustrating play, looking great at times and disinterested at others. This may have been his best game since the start of the year, but he was still held off the scoresheet. I am reticent to issue a real opinion on the Jaroslav Halak trade until Eller actually gets a chance to play on a scoring line, but given Halak’s play, it’s probably fair to say at this point that the Habs got hosed.

However, given Carey Price’s propensity to suddenly make big saves and win games, maybe it won’t matter too much down the line? The truth is we won’t know who won the Halak trade for another three or four years. True, Eller needs to develop, but we also need to see how Halak holds up. He’s been as hot as can be for six months of hockey, but we’ve seen that before, from the likes of Patrick Lalime, Ray Emery and many others. I believe Halak is a great goalie, but we really won’t know whether he is for another few seasons.

Boyd to the box

So Ryan O’Byrne has a press-box mate for the foreseeable future in Dustin Boyd. That was driven home by his being waived on Monday afternoon. While no one picked Boyd up, the Canadiens can still send him down to the AHL to save cap room. This would allow for a small signing, or perhaps could pave the way for a trade. No concrete rumours or word on who the Canadiens may be interested in, but logic would dictate the shopping list includes either a big defenceman who can shoot and run a power play, or a big forward to stand in front of the net on said power play. Regardless, it seems illogical to have $1.5 million in cap space sitting in the press-box on a daily basis for the foreseeable future. I’m sure Pierre Gauthier is thinking the same thing.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carey+price, dustin+boyd, roman+hamrlik

Comments

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Let’s not celebrate this run for anything more than it is. This team is going nowhere as long as it is paying elite money to a center than shouldn’t be payed more than a 4th line player. Gomez is a disaster. That’s all there is to it. He is small, and has no drive. When he is on the ice, the Habs are playing with 4 players not 5. You want to solve this PP, Gomez is supposed to generate the scoring chances! How did Gainey ever think acquiring this waste of flesh was a good idea?!@?!#?

Posted by BlackXinu on 11/10/10 at 12:30 PM ET

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Gomez won’t be this bad for the entire season, but he isn’t going to get 70-80 points either. He had 59 last year. I’d be surprised if he hits 50 this year. That’s an awful lot of money for so few points.

That being said, it’s not all gloom and doom in Montreal. The PP finally got one last night and Price played well. Price is giving them a chance to win just about every night. That’s tremendously important when the offense is struggling. If the first 15 games is any indication, I think he’ll be called on to steal a few more games this year.

Bottom line: their forwards need to get going. You won’t get two goals from your back end every night. And if your defensemen are the only ones contributing on the scoresheet…

Posted by Briney on 11/10/10 at 03:51 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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