Saku Koivu , lining up with Chris Higgins and S. Kostitsyn scored his teams first two goals as the Habs hand the Leafs a 4-1 defeat at the Bell Centre.
The Habs entered the contest having accumulated 35 points in 31 games. The Leafs were sitting at 34 points having played two more games before this visit. The Habs were on a playoff pace, barely, but the Leafs had won 6 of their previous 7 and were looking like trouble for the Habs.
Kostitsyn Jr, playing in his 2nd game since being called up from Hamilton, had one assist, but more importantly energized the Habs 1st line (and the Bell Centre crowd) with his speed and slick passing, as well a take no prisoners approach. A memorable hit on Tomas Steen behind the Habs goal late in the 3rd drove an already raucous crowd into a frenzy, expecially since it was immediately preceded by Ryan O’Byrne pulverizing Jason Blake along the half boards as the latter attempted to enter the zone.
The line of Plekanec, Kovalev and Andrei Kostitsyn were showing signs of putting it together as a unit. Kostitsyn (who redirected a 2nd period point shot from Komisarek for a goal) looked to have something to prove with his brother on the bench. Often though though, pretty individual plays went unrewarded due to misreads by linemates. Kovalev gets credit for a third period goal due to his rebound being pushed into the net by a Leafs defender. Carey Price’s shutout is ruined by a Boyd Devereaux shot from above the circle with less than 5 minutes to play.
Flash forward nearly 8 weeks: Carbonneau has been rewarded for keeping the Plekanec trio together by having the line evolve into arguably one of the best attack lines in the league. The Habs have gone 14-5-4 (32 points) since that game, while the Leafs have a record of 7-12-3 (17 points) and are just 6 or 7 regulation losses away from being a footnote to the season.