It may be filed under the shootout loss column in the standings, but the Canadiens should feel pretty good about themselves for escaping Columbus with a point last night. The six-day layoff was evident and Columbus is exactly the type of tight-checking, boring team that usually gives the Canadiens fits.
Just a few points on the game here as I have to rush out to have my winter tires installed (have you done it yet? Dec. 15 is around the corner folks). First off, I'm not sure how much more proof Guy Carbonneau needs that the Kostitsyn brothers should be playing together. Again last night, they get an important late-game shift on the ice together, and they combine forces to score the equalizer. It's as if they share the same brain.
A line of Andrei, Sergei and Tomas Plekanec would be lights out, and a Robert Lang, Alex Kovalev, Guillaume Latendresse combination would be pretty darned good as well. Especially considering all the flak Sergei has been taking for his "slow start" (I'm not sure what people expected out of the guy, but I think he's been fine), this move makes more than good sense to me. Tonight in Toronto represents a perfect opportunity to give it a shot.
Latendresse, by the way, was the least used of Carbonneau's skaters with 9:20 of ice time, again a victim of the Habs handing Columbus eight power plays. Kudos to the penalty killers for keeping the Jackets off the board, and getting two goals from the power play could be a sign that the unit has come to life. Again, running into the Maple Leafs and their 29th-ranked penalty killing tonight could be an excellent cure for whatever's ailing the power play.
Finally, Andrei Markov spent 28:32 on the ice last night in Columbus after playing only 21:54 against the Islanders last Saturday. I see absolutely no reason why Markov should be playing fewer than 28 minutes a night, throw him out there with Hamrlik every now and then if you have to. When you have one of the top five defencemen in the league, you should ride that horse as much as you can.