The drought has ended. After three frustrating games, which included an absolute beat down at the hands of the Bruins, the Canadiens scored a goal.
More importantly, the Habs picked up another two points and have taken a big leap towards locking down a playoff spot. With 89 points in the bank, its unlikely they’ll pull off the mother of all collapses and miss the second season.
Also of note, is that the Habs have officially surpassed last season’s point total. A team decimated by injuries and once again without its best defenseman has improved over last season. A team littered with rookies up front and on the back end has progressed.
A team that infuriated fans around the city by trading their Slovakian Saviour has proven to be, at the very worst, half way decent.
After scoring two quick goals in the first period, the Habs proceeded to contain a young Thrashers team that looks like it’s destined for another year at the bottom of the standings.
Dustin Byfuglien has come back down to Earth after his MVP like start to the season. Andrew Ladd is once again a second line player at best, and Thrashers fans are likely realizing that their team is still a few years away from being relevant.
And now, a look at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from last night’s contest.
Scott Gomez and his line mates were the team’s most dangerous players. Scott Gomez was particularly impressive in this one. Aside from his assist and 18 minutes of ice time, Gomez displayed the intangibles that have been lacking all season long.
He skated hard, wasn’t afraid to get hit, and demonstrated the chippiness that made him such a valuable player in New Jersey. The head butt to Evander Kane showed a Gomez that wanted to get involved, mix things up, and be a player that others around the league hate to play against.
This is the Gomez the Habs will need in the playoffs. If this Gomez shows up against the Bruins or Flyers, their chances will start to look a lot better.
Mike Cammalleri is not right and it showed. According to Tony Marinaro of the Team 990, Cammalleri has been playing with an ankle injury. His semi-breakaway in the first period was very telling.
The Cammalleri of last season would have taken the puck to the net and gotten a serious scoring chance. In this scenario, Cammalleri had to stop skating about 10 feet from the goalie because an out of position defender was closing in.
With a playoff spot all but locked up, it would be wise to let Cammalleri rest for a couple of weeks, in order to get him ready for the playoffs. The Habs should take the lead from the Capitals and start taking precautions with the playoffs in mind.
The Thrashers goal was due entirely to the referee missing an easy call. Hal Gill was clipped above the eye, right in front of the zebras, leading him to lose track of the play and allow a clear path towards the goal.
That goal turned an easy game into a headache. If the game would have ended in anything but a win, the radio stations would have been flooded by conspiracy theorists by morning.