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Full steam ahead

Thursday, 27.09.2007 / 11:39 PM / News
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Full steam ahead
 The line of Steve Begin, Maxim Lapierre and Tom Kostopoulos didn't make it an easy night for the Bruins.
MONTREAL – Nothing’s more uncomfortable than having a rock stuck in your shoe. Guy Carbonneau decided to stick three in the Bruins’ skates Thursday night at the Bell Centre.

The Canadiens’ bench boss put together a line that could rival a Red Bull, joining the forces of Steve Begin, Tom Kostopoulos and Maxim Lapierre.  Judging by the number of close encounters the Bruins had with the Bell Centre boards, the experiment was a successful one.  At the end of the night, the trio dished out 10 hits.

“It’s always fun to play with guys with as much energy as Begin and Lapierre,” said Kostopoulos, who introduced Aaron Ward and Matt Hunwick to his shoulder with a couple of solid checks.  “Those two always work really hard.  They know how to do the little things well and don’t hold back.  You have no choice but to do the same.”

One of the Canadiens’ free agent signings this summer, Kostopoulos came to Begin’s defense after the latter was on the receiving end of a Milan Lucic check.  Despite being four inches shorter and 15 pounds lighter than his opponent, the 28-year-old didn’t hesitate before dropping the gloves for a little dance with the Bruins left-winger.

“The concept of a team is important,” explained Kostopoulos.  “In this case, I just happened to be quicker than Begin to have a go at it with Lucic, otherwise, he would have done it.  One thing is for sure, we have to stick together.”

Lapierre was also at ease skating with a couple of guys whose style of play echoes his own.

“Playing with them, it gives you a whole different perspective to the game,” said Lapierre.  “When you’re surrounded by guys who are constantly working hard and always looking to finish their checks, it makes for a more intense game.”

The 22-year-old center was happy with his performance after his coach expressed his wish for a little more.

“It went better than the last game, that’s for sure,” admitted the Montreal native, who was minus-3 in three games before Thursday’s contest.  “Our line played well and we were in their zone almost the entire time.  Aside from a few times in the second period, we were always on their backs.”

The message was loud and clear.  The Senators will be the next ones to face the music, and the boards, Saturday night in Ottawa.

Heather Engel is a writer for canadiens.com