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Marinaro: How Halak and the Blues beat the Canadiens

Tony Marinaro
1/11/2012 1:54:02 PM
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It was Jaroslav Halak's first game back at the Bell Centre. The former Canadiens goaltender was victorious, shutting out the Habs 3-0. Halak stopped all 19 shots he faced, quite a contrast from the 2010 Playoffs. Back on April 26, 2010 in Game 6 against the Washington Capitals, Halak made 53 saves, many of the spectacular variety. Last night, Halak had a relatively easy night's work. After the game, Halak received a nice ovation as the game's first star.

The Habs, on the other hand, were booed off the ice.

They were dominated from start to finish.

The Canadiens went up against a well-coached team.

The Blues are big and strong, especially at the forward position. With the likes of Arnott at 6'5", 220lbs, Berglund at 6'4", 219lbs, Backes at 6'3", 225lbs, Stewart at 6'2", 232lbs, Reaves at 6'1", 229lbs, and Crombeen at 6'2", 210lbs, the Habs were simply overmatched. Those forwards smothered the Habs in all three zones. They suffocated them.

The Habs had little chance against a Blues team, so big, so strong and so tough. Even the Canadiens bigger forwards couldn't generate anything. One of the Habs biggest wingers, Erik Cole, was nullified and held to only one shot on goal.

Next up for the Habs is another big, strong, talented team in the Boston Bruins tomorrow night. The Canadiens practiced today before departing for Beantown. Brian Gionta, who left last night's game with an injury, was not on the ice. He met with the doctor and, for now, has been ruled out of the next three games. Mike Blunden will take Gionta's spot with Plekanec and Cammalleri.

Another change coming out of practice saw Yannick Weber being moved to the first wave of the power play, bumping PK Subban to the second unit. Also missing practice today was Max Pacioretty and Carey Price. They both took therapy days.

Speaking of injuries, Habs defenceman Andrei Markov continues his rehabilitation on his right knee. Markov is set to return in early February, barring another setback of course.

Interestingly, Markov is training under the supervision of former Habs strength and conditioning coach Scott Livingston.

You can follow me on twitter @tonymarinaro.

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