22 December 2007

Game Day preview: ATL v MON

Ah yes, les Habitants. One of the most storied franchises in the NHL. Have you heard that old joke?
Q: What's the difference between the Leafs and the Habs?
A: The Habs have a color photo of their last Cup win.
This one is hard to predict. The Habs have Cristobal "Ooh-eh" Huet back in net after missing 7 games with a groin pull, and have rookie tender Carey "It's Carey, not Kari" Price ready to take the ice should Huet tire. Thursday night Huet made his return and helped the Habs put up a 5-2 win against the Caps, turning away 35 shots without fatiguing. Additionally, Huet is 3-0-0 with a 1.33 GAA lifetime against the Thrash.

However, the Thrash are hot. Kari is hot - 4-2-0 with 2.87 GAA since his return, and .913% in the last five. Kovy, Rex, Hoss, and Perrin are all hot, with 6 points in 5 games, 5 in 5, 5 in 4, and 4 in 4, respectively. Additionally, the team met, and possibly broke, the franchise record of SOG in the game v Ottawa, with 45. Hellooooo shooting gallery! The team as a whole is hot. So let's look at some stats real quick (like we haven't been thus far?):

Career v. Montreal

Hossa 39 6 18 24 -2 16 0
0 2 0 136 4.4
Kovalchuk 21 6 10 16 -1 14 3 0 0 1 81 7.4
Kozlov 30 14 11 25 14 14 3 0 2 0 98 14.3
Recchi 45 8 26 34 2 2 3 0 2 0 112 7.1

And of course, Kari's stats:

Career vs. MTL 4 243 2 2 0 0 11 129 0 2.72 .915

The W/L columns don't speak fantastically of his record, however looking at the GAA and especially the SV%, it bodes well.

In the end, we can analyze stats and watch tape and read tea leaves and hypothesize until the cows come home, but ultimately it all comes down to what is basically chaos theory. It's wholly unpredictable in scientific terms, which is why there are so many upsets in sports. But given the state of Blueland right now, given the Habs are coming into Blueland, given this is the last game in Blueland before (North American) Christmas, I'll go ahead and say Thrash by 2 (I laid down a half-mill this morning on the game). This team is hot and there's absolutely no reason for them to not come away with 2 points.

And I am loving these two quotes:
"This was the game [v. Ott] that I needed to come up big at the end when the game was on the line. That helps me," Lehtonen said.

"That's two games in a row that he's risen to the challenge," coach Don Waddell said. "Certainly, those two games he's played extremely well, and we won both games."

Thanks for pointing that out, Coach. You can expect your Captain Obvious cape under the tree Tuesday morning.

OK, OK, one more Habs joke:
One cold winter day a couple of kids were playing hockey on Rideau Canal and a vicious dog ran up and started biting one of the kids' legs. Thinking fast the other kids took his hockey stick and started beating the dog until it was dead.

A news reporter for the Ottawa Sun was walking by and saw the entire incident and came runny up to the kids. He pulled out his memo book and starts writing: "Little Sens fan saves boy from vicious dog." The boy said, "I'm not a Sens fan."

The reporter said, "Oh since you lived in Kanata I just figured you were," and crosses out what he had written and started to write again: "Little Renegades fan saves boy from vicious dog." And again the boy said, "I'm not a Gades fan."

The reporter thinks for a minute and said, "Oh since you live in Kanata I figured you were either a Gades fan or a Sens fan, who do you cheer for?" The boy replied, "I'm a Habs fan." So the reporter flipped to a different page and started to write: "Little French bastard kills beloved family pet."

Yes, I'm well aware I'm going to hell if the Habs should win.

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