Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Grab that bull, Jaro

Guy Carbonneau refused to flat out admit that Jaroslav Halak stole his team a win Tuesday night, and in a way he's right.

The Habs did kill off a two minute 5-on-3 disadvantage in the first and turned that into an advantage of their own when Tomas Plekanec came out of the box and scored on a breakaway created by a great hustle play from Saku Koivu (a play that Canucks coach Alain Vigneault was a clear trip by the Habs captain, but that's what you call point of view).

Montreal also capitalized on a five-minute major given to Alex Burrows, a penalty that probably shouldn't have been so severe, but the Canadiens took advantage of the opportunity regardless.

However, the real motivation for Carbonneau refusing to say his goalie stole one for him in that 3-0 shutout of the Canucks, in my eyes, is that the coach knows the psyche of his team is not completely out of the woods yet. All that talk of the team being fragile still lingers, and frankly the Habs were thoroughly outplayed by the Canucks in practically every area of the game.

If Carbonneau were to admit that Halak stole the game, it would also be an admission that his 18 skaters stunk out the joint.

But that's kind of the truth, and I'm pretty sure Carbonneau knows it.

Still, the Habs won their second straight game for the first time in over a month by riding a hot goalie, and that's a positive thing. Not only the two straight wins, but the fact they have a hot goalie. And Carbonneau hopes he stays that way for quite some time.

"That's the reaction you want," Carbonneau said when asked if he thought Halak's 34-save effort was triggered by the coach's win-and-you-play policy. "I think he's been waiting for an occasiuon like this. It might be tough for Carey, but hopefully (Halak) can grab the bull by the horns and win us five or six or seven in a row."

Why don't we start with three first, huh Guy? Because playing the way they did Tuesday night, I'm not sure the Habs will leave Philadelphia with a win Friday night.

I was covering the Canucks side of the story, and their coach Alain Vigneault had no trouble at all giving Halak all the credit for the Habs win.

"Obviously the difference in this game was their goaltender played an outstanding game," said the former Habs coach and defending coach of the year. "I think they might have had three chances 5-on-5 in the whole game, and they had a couple on the power play. They didn’t generate much, we generated quite a few but we weren’t able to score.

"Our goaltender’s done that many times to other teams. Tonight, we had it done to us."

Indeed, that goaltender he's referring to is Roberto Luongo, who almost unintentionally took a pretty major dig at the way the habs played in this game.

"It was really an uneventful night for me" he said. "I was pretty bored."



Arjun said...

You said if the Habs played the way they did against Ottawa, they would lose against Vancouver. And now you're saying the same thing about Philly. You're right, but it's amazing what even happens to *media* when the goalies have been subpar for so long. Vigneault on the other hand, knows all too well that a goalie will steal you a bunch of games during the season if you're lucky. Because we haven't seen it here this season, we don't even know what to call it. If Halak keeps this up, sooner or later the team will respond. Another question: what's up with Laraque? They would rather play Stewart than Laraque? Interesting.

Sliver24 said...

Hey Arjun, here's apartial answer to your question. Interesting: