Montreal 4 Ottawa 3 (Bell Centre)
MONTREAL, QC. –Did you read the boxscore? Yeah, I did too. I see that Andrei Kostitsyn took an early penalty, only 3:48 into the game. An interference call. It’s one of those lazy kind of penalties. Bet he’s really in the doghouse with the coach.
Tomas Plekanec led the Canadiens with four hits. Thankfully, we have a Chris Neil-type player on our team.
It was a very easy night for Carey Price though. He only had to make 16 saves for the win.
Lars Eller had a minus-2 rating. Poor kid. A night full of rookie mistakes, I guess. But look at Alexandre Picard. Seems that he had an excellent game with a plus-3.
(with apologies to Michael, Spencer, Lyse and Elizabeth)
When he reads the above passage, my good friend Michael will be disappointed in me. On Twitter he has a list of ‘Math geeks’ who are also Habs fans. I’m a member of that group although you’d never know it by what I just wrote.
It was just so tempting. Others do it all the time. I hear guys on the radio making warped claims followed by the line “the numbers don’t lie.” The truth is that people sometimes use factual numbers to tell their lie.
Statistics taken in isolation are worse than meaningless. They can be misleading.
You already know, if you watched the game, that despite the early penalty, Kostitsyn was the best player on the ice. He created Ottawa turnovers, drove to the net, and tallied a goal and an assist.
Kostitsyn also scored in the charm offensive category too, by tossing pucks to the Bell Centre fans after being named the game’s first star.
Plekanec indeed ran up the total on the hits tote board, but his contributions at both ends of the ice were far more valuable. He had a goal, an assist and was a remarkable 70 per cent successful at the faceoff dot.
Picard had a decent game but a plus-3 rating concealed bad pinches, misreads and being caught out of position. He has Price to thank for bailing him out and preserving his lofty number.
Price may have had fewer than 20 shots against but had to be sharp as the Senators created quality scoring chances. He made a few game-saving stops in the final frame.
Perhaps coach Jacques Martin was using tunnel vision on a single statistic when he chose to bench Eller after only 4:21 of ice-time. The Danish rookie wasn’t able to pick up Eric Karlsson on the Senator’s second goal but the scoring chance resulted from a Jaroslav Spacek giveaway. Interestingly Spacek and Roman Hamrlik were on the ice for all three Ottawa goals.
Prior to the sit-down, Eller had been playing well with and without the puck. Perhaps part of the reason his efforts have gone unrewarded so far this season is his linemates. He is offensively creative and would benefit from being matched with teammates who better fit his style of play.
Martin explained his decision this way, “It’s a learning process for him. Not that it was his fault tonight, but he was a minus-2 and he just seemed to be struggling.”
Martin’s so-called teaching methods with young players haven’t proved successful in the past. It’s not obvious what learning can take by sitting on the bench for a period and a half.
Meanwhile, the patience for Benoit Pouliot seems endless. Statistically, he was better than Eller at an even rating but his play was far worse. Pouliot’s effort away from the puck provides a clue to the reasons he is struggling so much with the puck.
Pouliot is skating well and recording hits but to what end? There is no drive, and no willingness to engage. He backs away from puck battles and waits for teammates to retrieve the disc. The pilot light is out and nothing the coaching staff has tried has been the spark to reignite him.
Plus and minus:
▲ After five games the Canadiens have a record of 3-1-1, taking seven of a possible ten points.
▲ Tomas Plekanec leads all scorers with two goals and three assists for five points.
▲ Josh Gorges has clocked the most ice-time with an average of 23:48 per game.
▲ Penalty killing has been a bright spot with the Canadiens being successful 90 per cent of the time they are short-handed. That ranks fourth in the league.
▼ The Habs power-play is 1-for-17. That’s a pitiful 5.9 per cent efficiency and ranked 29th overall. By comparison, the power-play was successful 21.8 per cent of the time last season.
Coach Martin has given his players two days off as they don’t play again until they host the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.
Quote of the post-game:
“They don’t have time to tell me these things.”–Andrei Kostitsyn when asked if the coaches are happy with his game.
All Habs game stars:
1. Andrei Kostitsyn
2. Tomas Plekanec
3. Brian Gionta
Ryan O’Byrne and Tom Pyatt were healthy scratches. Andrei Markov was out with a knee injury.
(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)
Category: Game review
About the Author (Author Profile)Rick is the Editor-in-Chief, lead contributor, and owner of the All Habs network of websites. His mission is to build a community of Canadiens fans who are informed, engaged and connected. He is the vision behind all four sites within the network - All Habs, Habs Tweetup, We Are Canadiens, and The Montreal Forum - and is responsible for the design and layout of each. In concert with the strong belief that "Habs fans are everywhere!", Rick is pleased that people use All Habs as a conduit to find and connect with other Habs fans worldwide. He is also proud that Habs Tweetups have allowed fans to meet in person and develop long lasting friendships.
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- Habs Week at a Glance: Devils and Senators | All Habs | October 18, 2010