In a word, the Habs collapsed last night, at the hands of the not-so-Broadstreet Bully Flyers. This Flyers team is built on speed and skill, and last night they avenged the 3-0 loss at the hands of Carey Price and the Canadiens from last week with a 3-2 come-from-behind victory. The Habs came out strong and grabbed a two-goal lead to start the game, but the Flyers pushed back and pulled this one out.
Things were looking up for the Canadiens after the first period; Brian Boucher conceded two soft goals, both off the stick of Maxim Lapierre, the whole team looked energized and prepared, and P.K Subban hadn't been attacked yet. Thankfully P.K was spared, after "threats" from Mike Richards last week that the rookie had to earn respect; but nothing else went right for the Habs from the second period onward. The Habs were dominated in every aspect of the game, and without Carey Price this one would have been a blowout. Price was bombarded in the second and third periods, in the process giving up three goals to Ville Leino, Claude Giroux, and James van Riemsdyk. He couldn't really be faulted on any of them; Leino and van Riemsdyk had all day to take their shots, and Giroux had to simply deposit the puck into a gaping net, when Price was thrown out of position by a Hal Gill deflection that happened to land right on Giroux's blade. The Habs hit two posts that could have changed the entire outlook of the game, but neither Lapierre nor Roman Hamrlik got the puck past both Boucher and the red metal...in the end, hitting posts is no excuse for getting dominated and giving up a two-goal lead. Perhaps we can let this one slide as this was the first time all year the Habs had lost a game they had been leading going into the third, and they are still the only team in the league that has yet to allow more than three goals in regulation time. Now the Habs will try to bounce back against a strong, young L.A Kings squad that rolls into town tomorrow night, to continue proving what they are truly capable of. A hot start to the year is commendable, but sustaining that effort and getting consistently positive results is the mark of an elite team. For now, the Habs have proven their worth through the first 21 games-now that things are going to start heating up, its time to prove that this level of success can continue.
I was pleasantly surprised when I read today that Carey Price was leading the All-Star voting for all goaltenders with over 71,000 votes through the first two weeks. He isn't on the ballot (a mistake to begin with, but I'll drop that issue for now) but fans have made it clear that they want the top players from so far THIS YEAR at the NHL's glorified shinny game, and Price has certainly been one of them. No doubt Canadiens fans had a large say in the matter, as past ballots had obviously been stuffed by Habs fans hoping to see as many of their heros as possible at the Game, notably in 2009 when it was held in Montreal. This time around is different though, because this time Carey Price deserves it. Other names high on the list are Mike Cammalleri, Tomas Plekanec, Brian Gionta, P.K Subban, and even the injured Andrei Markov, who was on the ballot despite missing the beginning of the year. If these trends continue, it looks like a few Habs could be representing in Carolina this coming January.