The Canadiens bounced back from their 3-0 shutout loss against the Senators Thursday night by serving the same medicine to the Islanders on a night when the visitors had nothing to lose and the Habs had everything to gain.
So the game started like almost every Canadiens game of late..somewhere near the middle of the 2nd period when the #1 powerplay in the league potted one as Roman Hamrlik got what proved to be the game winner.
As far as all fans at the game and at home were concerned, it was about time ! The Islanders were playing a loosey-goosey game as their playoff chances are all but numerically cancelled so there was no pressure on them coming into this game. The first 27 minutes of the game left us wondering if the Canadiens were ever going to take advantage of the home ice crowd and the not too motivated Islanders. They finally did.
Other goals were scored by Alex Kovalev from a sweet 2 on 1 feed from Tomas Plekanec that should make the highlight reel this week, as well as Guillaume Latendresse's goal from a nifty cross ice pass fro Koivu in the final minutes to eliminate any chance the Isles might have had for a comeback.
Jaroslav Halak has again proven that he belongs in the NHL and the major league save he made on Richard Park's semi-breakaway should also make the sports show reels this week.
Let's call it another team effort but if there was an award for most effort with nothing to show for it, the winner is Christopher Higgins. While he has been criticized of late for his lack of production, I say, cut the guy some slack, he has 21 goals this year (tied for 3rd on the team) and he got them the old fashioned way: Hard work.
Tonight for instance, was a perfect example of the types of games Higgins has been coming up against, and I don't care who you are, it has to start playing with your psyche. Higgins hit two posts and Rick DiPietro made an amazing save to stop Higgins on a third attempt- DiPietro even looked behind himself thinking Higgins got it past him. The cherry on the cake of Higgins day? A fourth chance to put it past Dipietro that resulted in his stick exploding in his hands as the blade went one way and the puck went the other. He's got to be talking to himself !
With this win, the Canadiens are back in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference, two points higher than the idle Senators who play Carolina tomorrow afternoon. Carbo's camp's next game is Tuesday against St Louis and I'm sure the Senators, Penguins, Canadiens and Devils will have moved around in the standings 6 times by then. This is not the time of year for the faint of heart !