Ugh, reading all of the hype about the Habs recent regular season "dominance" against the Flyers is starting to make me think about the Bruins game. The Flyers have some great young players that play with pride and even their useless players play with an edge, let's see what we get tonight.
Time for A Kost to get his name on the scoresheet. I know he's always a slow starter and Kovalev must be just impossible to play with at times, but enough is enough. He can make something out of nothing by himself, time to make some plays and score some goals.
I want Andrei to fill up the opponent's net tonight. Time for him to have a great night. He can do it. I just don't get why Carbo doesn't use both brothers on the same line. Alain Vigneault is not that much of a genius, and even he understands that when you've got two players with that big of a chemestry, who are brothers above all, you try to exploit it the best you can.
As for how I feel for tonight, well I've got the feeling it's going to be an exciting game. Many players have go a couple of things to prove, and if the guys have some pride, they'll battle hard. Good thing we play a physical team right after the massacre against Boston. The guys will be able to prove everybody, if they mean it, that they are not scared of getting in the traffic if it's necessary.
I call 4-1 for the Habs. Halak will rebound, Tanguay, Higgins, Markov and Lapierre will all score a goal. I wish Andrei could bury on one of his shots though...
Despite our record and the fact that we have played a grand total of 15 games...This game is a big one.
It will be an important test for our boys, much like the Ottawa game was, only moreso since we then have to go again tomorrow against St. Louis and won't be able to enjoy our victory/wallow in our misery for more than a few hours. In the NHL, there is no room for excuses when it comes to playing a rival team. Toronto, Boston and even Philly are all big games that the Habs need to start showing up for, because there's no better preparation for playoff-type intensity than regular season games where pride is on the line. Sure you want those victories against Columbus and Atlanta too...but the true measure of a team is how they compete and fight against a team that won't give them an inch. Philly is one of those teams. They've struggled out of the gate, and will be hungry to grab 2 points against a conference leader. They play physical, they play aggressive and there is a decent amount of bad blood among both players and fans of both cities...for a November game, it doesn't get more heated than this.
Unfortunately, we've seen so far how poorly the Habs of 08-09 have responded when matching up against physical, hard forechecking teams but the good news is that its early. Will this team learn and grow from the problems they've encountered early? Will they figure out that you can't win a stanley cup on hype alone? Out of the 15 games the Canadiens have played, they've come out of the gate strong in exactly 3 of them (I count Boston game 1, Phoenix, and Ottawa)...that just won't do! Whether the blame falls exclusively on our coaching staff or our players is uncertain, but it goes without saying that unless we start and finish strong, there will be little hope of coming out of this game with a W.
I have faith in this team, mostly because last year they showed me that they are a team filled with character, and one that responds to adversity with grit and determination despite a tendency to put themselves in uncomfortable situations more than you would hope from such a talented team. The loss of Komi is a big one, but its also a chance for some younger D to take the reigns and grow as players, which will be a key for this team come April.
Let's hope by then we figure out how to play a full 60 minute game on a night-in night-out basis as well.