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Shooting star

Saturday, 03.11.2007 / 10:57 PM / News
canadiens.com
Christopher Higgins is on pace for 315 shots this season.
MONTREAL - Shoot the puck and good things will happen. Like all players, Christopher Higgins has heard that since he was playing pee-wee hockey, but you couldn’t blame him for doubting that advice these days.

Although he did notch his sixth goal of the season on Saturday against the Leafs, Higgins season-high eight shots understandably left him wondering what could have been.

“This is definitely a tough one to swallow,” admitted Higgins. “I think the team played well overall, but the final result doesn’t do us any good in the standings.”

Among the league leaders with 50 shots on the season, Higgins has been unable to buy a goal in many games so far in 2007-08. Second and third efforts have seen him come painfully close to scoring on most nights, but Higgins is anxious to start converting on more of his chances.

“We created chances all night and took the game to them,” added Higgins, who is on pace for 315 shots this season which would be the most by a Habs player since Guy Lafleur fired 323 shots back in 1979-80. “We just couldn’t capitalize on our opportunities. The puck just wouldn’t go in for us tonight.”

In addition to giving the Canadiens a 2-1 lead in the second period, Higgins had a handful of glorious opportunities to put his team ahead to stay. Team captain and linemate Saku Koivu had a front row seat for all of Higgins’ handy work against the Maple Leafs.

“He works really hard, he battles in the corners and he crashes the net. Basically, he does exactly what you need to do to get scoring chances,” said Koivu. “He’s put up some solid numbers this season, but like me, he would have loved for us to put this game out of reach for the Leafs in the second period when he had a great chance to do just that.”

Also adding to Higgins’ frustration was the fact he normally feasts on the archrival Leafs. With 13 points in 17 career games against Toronto, Higgins has had more success against the Leafs than any other team so far in his young NHL career.

Thankfully for Higgins, there are six games against Toronto remaining on the Canadiens' 2007-08 schedule, including a rematch in less than two weeks at the Air Canada Centre.

Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com