The St Louis Blues, fresh off their $36,000 rookie supper, proved that they can party hard and play hard as they earned their win against a Habs team that might have been mentally already in Boston. By their own admission and as if rehearsed, Christopher Higgins, Saku Koivi and coach Guy Carbonneau all lamented on how it was disappointing to lose that oh so important point and that although they didn't play all that badly, they didn't play well enough to beat the Blues.
Maybe the Canadiens should not have found out about the fact that the Blues had their rookie supper. Maybe they took them too lightly. Maybe they were looking ahead to the big game against Boston on Thursday. Maybe someone should tell them that there are no more gimmes between now and the end of the season!
Although an argument can be made for the fact that anything can happen in the new "My NHL" there should not have been any excuse for the Canadiens not only winning, but winning convincingly at home against the lowest scoring team in the NHL.
Granted, starting the first 5 minutes of the game with a 5 on 3 disadvantage and getting scored on is not the explosive start the Habs were looking for, but give the Habs credit for always coming back.
They came back from that goal (Tkachuk's 22nd) to tie it up when Christopher Higgins putted in a pass from Sergei Kostitsyn and Mikhail Grabovski (Higgin's 22nd). The young Habs team also took the lead at the mid-point of the 2nd on Saku Koivu's (16) poweplay goal, but less than a minute later, Jaroslav Halak let in an easy one from the blue line on an Andy McDonald (15) slapper that Halak would surely have liked back.
The Habs also came back to tie it at 3 at the 6:36 mark of the 3rd when an ecstatic Grabovski (2) put one past a solid Manny Lagace. ( The Blues had gone ahead to end the 2nd period on Brad Boyes' 38th which found Boyes all alone in front of Halak where Paul Kariya threaded him the perfect pass.
The good news: The Habs got a point out of it and are in 2nd place in the East
The bad news: They lost a game they should have never lost
The good news: Great efforts (and results) from Higgins (1G 1A), Grabovski (1G 1A) and Sergei Kostitsyn (2A)
The bad news: Kostopoulos (zzZZZzzzZZ) almost a non factor and Smolinski, it's maybe time to hang 'em up my friend, your lack of speed on this fast skating team is showing... and by the way, a veteran like you should know better than to try and shoot a puck through centre ice when you are killing a 5 on 3 ! Even I know to just ring it off the boards ! Result: Blues 1 Habs 0.
The Canadiens' bodies will soon be joining their minds in Beantown tomorrow when they face the Bruins in a home and home stint this Thursday and Saturday night.
My locks for the coming games? Carey Price will be in nets for both games as well as Maxim Lapierre and potentially Steve Begin (if he is game ready) to crack the lineup. (I don't think I need to tell you who should sit out...)