Habs Fever: A Confidence Builder
By Brian Wilde, ctvmontreal.ca
Published Thursday, December 2, 2010 11:20PM EST
In every single way that win was about confidence. Not only as a team, but the individuals who shone, almost to a man, were the ones who needed it. Scott Gomez scored once and had two other chances that he should have buried. He missed, but he will take heart that he scored in his second consecutive game and he will also sleep easier knowing he had two other chances that he could have converted. Players will always tell you that if they are getting the chances, then they are feeling good about themselves. Gomez gets to feel good for the first time in a while.
The first star of the game was Lars Eller as voted by the fans. He had a good assist in taking a hit to make a play and he scored a wrap around that should have been stopped by Hedberg, but Eller doesn't care about that. He is just happy to have counted his second of the season and be among the players who needed a little something and got it.
Ditto for Benoit Pouliot who seemed to be heading back into the abyss again after a flurry of goals a couple weeks ago. Pouliot with a very important goal for him on an absolute rocket. As wrist shots go, that one was as good as it gets. However, again, Pouliot is a funny fellow. There never seems to be a lot of happiness in that reaction after he scores. Pouliot has the skills and this night will remind him of them which he seems to constantly need.
Yannick Weber went into the game playing for PK Subban who got punished for mistakes late in the contest to cost the Habs against the Oilers. Subban might have a little difficulty getting back in the line-up considering how good Weber was. Weber let a nice shot go from the point on the powerplay to lead to an assist. The shot was deflectable and Darche did, and then Gomez finished. As solid as that shot was, the moment that stands out for Weber was on a 3 on 1 break for the Devils. Weber could not have played it more perfectly as he took away the pass first and then he took away the shot. He met the forward high and gave away nothing. Weber was helped by the fierce backchecking of Max Lapierre who went coast to coast busting his hump for 160 feet to make sure that he helped Weber out. One of the best plays on a 3 on 1 that you will see a defenceman make. Weber looked very comfortable and you have to know that Pierre Gauthier was watching and thinking that maybe next year's defensive corps is more solid than he thought. If Weber can be that good, then Gauthier has a bit more cap freedom that he worried he might.
And the confidence building for the ones who needed it continued with Tom Pyatt scoring. Such a steady player, but snakebitten near the goal, one finally bounced Pyatt's way. Just barely. Over the net by inches, they all count and Pyatt will head to the net the next time more relaxed as a result of a one in the goal column instead of the goose egg. Every player who is in the NHL was at some time in his career a goal scorer, so for not one of them does it sit lightly when they have a big fat zero.
Those were all of the individuals who needed to have a good game for the confidence and they did. As a team, the confidence built immensely too. New Jersey has not only been Jimmy Hoffa's graveyard over the years, but the Habs too. They have some of their worst moments ever in that state, so for the Habs to win so convincingly, it puts the memory of the Oilers loss in the rear view mirror in a hurry.
Now on to a Saturday matinee against the San Jose Sharks with the plan being to break this win one-lose one habit. Do that and regain the status as one of the top clubs in the league.