Scott Gomez in particular, who had by far his best game in a Habs uniform, held court with reporters and elicited a lot of laughs, which you will no doubt be reading about in the papers.
Yes, winning feels good, and no one in that room should be focusing on the negative side of the game because there's been way too many negatives to focus on of late.
So I'll do it for them.
Despite thoroughly outplaying Atlanta, despite spending probably two thirds of the game in their zone, despite attempting 74 shots and having 35 of those hit the target, the Habs still scored one goal. One measly goal.
For those who are counting (and I obviously am), that's 10 goals in the last six games. Pas fort, as my French brethren would say. Not for a team with this kind of offensive talent, at least on the top two lines.
Yes, the team created a ton of chances, especially that line of Gomez, Brian Gionta and Mike Cammalleri, a combination that accounted for 15 shots on goal, had another nine blocked and missed the net another five times. When you have 29 attempted shots as a unit, that means you're spending most of your time in the offensive end with the puck. And that's most definitely a good thing.
It's just the production that's lacking.
“We had a lot of great chances, and I think that’s a good measure of how you’re playing," Gionta said. "If you’re getting those chances then you’re doing something right, so it’s a matter of sticking with it and trying to be patient. In the past five games we had flurries like that where we had momentum, but we let it slip a little bit because we got frustrated.”
If that line plays another 10 games like the one they played Tuesday, they'll probably rack up 15 or 20 goals. But so far we've seen a lot of great chances, but very few goals. Still, the alternative is far worse, so the fact the Canadiens are indeed spending a lot of time with the puck in the offensive zone is definitely a good thing.
Just one more negative before I get to Gomez's little comedy session with the media, and that would be the continued disappointing play of Maxim Lapierre and Guillaume Latendresse. The pair were credited with three hits combined Tuesday night, and that's from stat guys who are usually pretty generous with the homegrown products. That's not nearly enough.
I don't know what's wrong with Lapierre, but he's just not forechecking like he used to, and if he's not doing that his value to the team is greatly diminished. As for Latendresse, he's showing flashes of what he can do, but it varies so much from shift to shift. He needs to do it consistently.
Finally, I'm wondering if the Habs would be willing to call Sergei Kostitsyn back up to the team, because Max Pacioretty is simply not ready to play a second line role on the team. Jacques Martin sat him for much of the second period Tuesday night, and he's having trouble finding a delicate balance between intensity and trying too hard.
In my eyes, the Black Sheep Kostitsyn deserves a shot at filling that role on this team, particularly since his brother appears to thrive when he's on the opposite wing. Sergei's been held off the scoresheet his last two games with Hamilton, but he had four points in his previous three games. Am I alone in thinking the left wing role on the second line is best suited for him, considering the personnel on hand?
OK, to end things on a lighter note, Gomez was in fine form with the media following the game. He said he had just played his best game as a member of the Canadiens, and when asked why he thought that, Gomez credited his wardrobe.
“I wore a nice suit today," he said. "My mom and dad are here, and they commented on it. It was a Canali suit, even my neighbour commented on it. So if that’s the case, maybe I’ll go with it again. I'll try and attribute it to that.”
When asked if he'll have to wear that suit to every game the rest of the year he said, “Then I’ll start looking like some of you guys and dressing the same way every night. I don’t want to go there.”
Admittedly, I have a sport coat I often wear to games, and since I was the one asking him that question, I guess Gomez has noticed. Maybe it's time for me to go shopping.
On his parents being around to witness his best game as a Hab: “They’ve been here all week. It’s the Mexican way, they’ll probably be here all year. It was almost time for them to leave, we’ve lost so much since they’ve been here. They can stay a little longer now, but they were getting a little nervous too.”
Finally, on his shootout goal off a beautiful wrister to the top corner: “It’s not a good feeling when you come back to the bench and your teammates are surprised that you have a shot like that. It kind of hurts your feelings a little bit. I got a little lucky, I don’t know if I could do that again, but I’ll take it.”