November 10, 2010

Alberts Takes Two Penalties, Leaves His Mark on Game, Darche's Face

There were many possible storylines that could have potentially shaped the Montreal Canadiens' 2-0 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday.

For example, on the Canadiens' side of things, you had the fact that Montreal's $8-million-man Scott Gomez was mired in a slump and on pace for 18 points this season, or $444,444.44 per point, for all you math whizzes out there. So bad had it gotten that Maxim Lapierre was put on Gomez's line yesterday to help get him going, with head coach Jacques Martin clearly trying to employ the old "Do you want to turn out like him? Do you?" approach as a way of hitting home and sparking an epiphany of sorts deep within his oversized paper weight.

You also had the newly formed PhD line of Benoit Pouliot, Jeff Halpern, and Mathieu Darche, which was aptly named not only for the three members' initials but also because it takes a doctorate to understand just how the three have been able to develop scoring chemistry with one another when one member is a career minor-leaguer, another would be well on his way to becoming one were it not for the fact that there appears to be a shortage of lanky, lazy, and inconsistent scoring wingers in Montreal, and a third whose days of scoring at an other-wordly pace of 0.50 points per game are well behind him.

As for the Canucks, they were looking for their seventh-straight win, goalie Roberto Luongo was returning home, and head coach Alain Vigneault was in search of his 300th career win against the team that first hired him.

As it happens, Gomez didn't get a point, neither did Lapierre (big surprise on both fronts), the PhD line was held off the scoresheet for the second-straight game, thereby restoring some sense of normalcy to the line-up, the Canucks and Vigneault lost, and Luongo got outshone by former-Jaroslav Halak-understudy Carey Price. Did I leave anything out?

Oh, and it was the least likely of culprits, Canucks defenseman Andrew Alberts, that actually had the biggest impact on the game, making this hit on Darche and later taking another dumb penalty that allowed the Canadiens to actually leapfrog over the New Jersey Devils for the honour of not having the league's worst power play. That's right, the Habs now have scored an amazing four times on 51 opportunities to move ahead of the 3-for-46 Devils. Way to go Alberts. Is it too late to get Shane O'Brien back from the Nashville Predators?

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