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Sweet Relief

Regular season game #20

It felt like a carbon copy of Monday’s game in Ottawa. The Habs dominate all over the ice, but don’t finish where it counts, thus leaving the door open for opposition to steal another point or two. For the second game in a row, the Habs hit the 40 shot mark, but earning the win was harder than it needed to be thanks to strong opposition goaltending.

A little bit of luck, and a lot of discipline helped the Habs improve to 7-0-2 since the last time the Habs met the Leafs. The Leafs tried to go with the same rough and tumble game plan that had worked so well in previous meetings, the difference this time is that the Habs didn’t rise to take the bait, and the refs handed out a five minute major to Mike Brown on a boarding call that was more about curbing the Leafs cheap goon hockey before it got out of hand.

Flames doused, game plan busted.

When the Leafs managed to tie the game at two goals apiece, the sense of frustration among Habs fans was palpable, as their team was clearly better and deserved better than a tie. If the copycat act from Monday night’s game was to continue, things weren’t going to end well. But the Habs played a near-perfect road game, and they’ll win far more than they lose if they continue to play like this. To follow up on a stat I’ve been tracking all year, the Habs have now won the faceoff battle in 6 of their last 7 games. The only game they lost was Monday’s tilt in Ottawa, and the only game where they lost the faceoff battle was Saturday vs the Rangers where the Habs were clearly the better team en route to a 3-0 shutout.

With a 5-1-2 road record, and a warm seat at the top of the Eastern Conference standings, it’s getting harder and harder to not acknowledge that this team is for real, especially on the heels of the season’s most satisfying win.

Follow me on twitter: @kyleroussel

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