This is a much easier game when it's your goalie who's stopping everything, not the other guy. Your veterans look ready and in charge, your rookies have this gleam about them, you wonder how many rookie defencemen you can carry on your roster at the same time, is it three, or four? Five?
Anton Khudobin, as if he already hadn't done enough as a Bruin, thwarted all our efforts tonight, stopping fourty shots before finally allowing a carom goal off Michaël Bournival's shin pad. Yeah, him again. Anyway, Mr. Khudobin finished with a .976 save percentage.
Carey Price's successes were more muted, allowing 3 goals on 27 shots. While some will jump at this result and cry foul, I think we need to remember that he's now working with a new goalie coach, and we should probably permit him an adjustment period, to work in some new concepts. Again, it's pointless to rant and rave, or act rashly, he's a great talent, and should be given time to put things together. We're going to dance with the one we brunged, and there's not much we can do about that, unless Canadiens fans want Marc Bergevin to start sniffing around the Vancouver goal crease. Or to sign Tim Thomas.
I wrote about yesterday's game that this is a results business, and compared the situation of Michaël Bournival to Gabriel Dumont's. Gaston Therrien tonight on l'Antichambre did much the same, and explained that Mr. Dumont has been disappointing during training camp, and been sent off the main practice ice to practice with the 'B' team at the Brossard rink. Meanwhile, Michaël gets another start tonight, and bags the team's only goal by being in the right place at the right time. Thanks for that one Andrei, but it's not as if that was Mr. Bournival's highlight for the night, he again buzzed around all game, and was a threat on a few point-blank chances. Looking at the scoresheet, he and veteran sniper Daniel Brière led the team in shots with six(!) Marc Bergevin's only hope at this point is to keep giving games and hope he cools off, and/or screws up a couple of times, or he'll be in a real pickle, he'll have to do something crazy like trade a veteran to give him a roster spot.
Jarred Tinordi is making a strong case for himself too. Again, how quickly things change. Last night, all we could talk about was Greg Pateryn, Darren Dietz and Magnus Nygren, they'd collected points, showed something on offence. With the gate slammed shut by Mr. Khudobin, it wasn't the offensively-inclined D-men who hogged the spotlight, but rather young Jarred, son of Mark Tinordi, the former scourge of the league and slayer of forwards who skated with their head down. Tonight, Jarred was a chip off the old block, drawing attention of the fans and management and pusillanimous 'Canes with three thunderous bodychecks, all of them clean. His mobility and hard work in the gym are starting to pay off, he's no longer gangly or spindly, he's solid and verging on intimidating. He's another kid who's causing Marc Bergevin headaches, and he vaulted to the top of the list for us weathervane fans.
The veterans worked at getting ready. Tomas Plekanec and René Bourque had many chances on net and played hard, maybe giving it 95%, and Daniel Brière showed he can play with anybody. Andrei Markov knew this was a tuneup game and acted like it. He's earned that dispensation, but it doesn't apply to Raphaël Diaz, who needs to show that he's a starting defenceman, with the youngsters nipping at his heels.
So a game that generated many fewer high-fives than that of the preceding evening. Not a great result, but sometimes these can't be helped.