News for Saturday, February 2nd

SI.com notes the special occasion: "The Kostitsyn brothers both scored in the Canadiens 5-4 overtime loss to Washington on Thursday night, becoming the first siblings to score a goal in the same game for Montreal since Frank and Pete Mahovolich did it on April 14, 1974 against the New York Rangers in the playoffs." Can the Kostitsyns become as good as the Mahovolich brothers? Hey, they might become better!

What the hell is wrong with Carey Price? Last year he tore the AHL a new one, dominating its shooters while helping the Bulldogs win the Calder. Then he made the Montreal Canadiens at age 19, beating out the more experienced Jaro Halak, and started the NHL season off on a roll. Lots of fans - not the smarter ones, it must be said - wanted him to be made the numero uno in October. And now? Sent down by the Habs to keep off the rust and recover his form after his play trailed off, he's sputtered in Hamilton, going 4-4 with a 3.29 GAA and .878 save percentage. Time for Bob to start tucking away cash for Huet's payday this summer, I'd say.

Newsday New York has Isles coach Ted Nolan promising a better effort on the part of his team against the Canadiens this afternoon. The Isles are just 1-4-1 in their last six and haven't looked good doing it. They've lost six straight at home and are eager to get into the Bell Centre, where the Habs are not often at their best. They'd better be watching out today: I don't like these weird, matinee games against struggling teams ... the Habs never seem motivated for them. With any luck, though, the Habs will want to rebound after getting arse-raped by Alex Ovechkin the other night.

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy: Cristobal Huet is the NHL's third star for January. He was hot, going 8-2-1 with a 2.40 goals-against average. Another article discusses what could be his finest season yet, looking back to the beginning of the year, when fans wanted Price to be the starter (an opinion Chris Higgins calls "unbelievable"), and moving to the present, in which Huet has started 15 of the team's last 16 games and dominated the league. Some great quotes in this piece, and also in this one, which speculates on the big raise the 32-year old goalie is in for this summer.

The Sporting News discusses the ever-murky playoff picture, noting that Montreal is turning up the heat on Ottawa, who are no longer a sure-thing for first-place in the East, especially with their recent spate of injuries. Montreal is firing on all cylinders (thanks, according to the article, to the roster-work of Bob Gainey) while Ottawa is stumbling: today, a Sens loss and a Habs win would put Les Boys just three points back. Well, Ottawa's troubles are not surprising, given their bad luck lately, and not troubling ... all good teams seem to go through a mid-season dry spell. They'll be back as soon as Heatley and Alfie are healthy. As for the Habs, they've been very good, and very consistent, but they face the emerging team's perpetual challenge: developing the winning attitude and belief that will get them through the tough spots.

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