MONTREAL – Be honest, put your hand up if you expected Robert Lang to be the Habs' leading goal-scorer after 27 games.
Thanks to his pair of goals against the Flames, Lang now finds himself atop the Canadiens' scoring heap with 10 goals, and his former linemate turned current linemate doesn’t get what all the commotion is about.
“What’s wrong with Robert Lang leading the team in scoring?” asked Alex Kovalev after assisting on of both his old buddy’s goals on Tuesday. “He’s a big, strong player who can put the puck in the net. I’m not surprised at all.”
If anyone knows Lang, it’s Kovalev. Having enjoyed the most explosive season of his career with 44 goals and 95 points alongside Lang in Pittsburgh back in 2000-01, Kovy might just be returning the favor this year.
“It’s nice to see us find that timing again after a few years,” added Kovalev. “I knew we were doing the right things and that it was only matter of time before the puck started going in the net.”
A 37-year-old veteran, Lang refused to get caught up in all of the hype as he muscled his way to his dressing room stall past the media horde that awaited him.
“It’s only one game, but the chemistry is definitely there with our line right now,” understated Lang after his first three-point night since joining the Canadiens. “We had a lot of chances and thankfully we buried a few of them. Kovy is really controlling the game out there and he’s opening up a ton of ice for us.
“I don’t know if Kovy and I are rediscovering our past chemistry or not, but this is certainly a start,” continued Lang. “At the end of the day, we helped the team win tonight and that’s what it’s all about.”
The decision to reunite Lang and Kovalev was an easy one for Carbonneau, who was crossing his fingers that they could turn back the clock and light a fire under former Flames winger Alex Tanguay.
“I got the idea to put Alex with Kovy and Lang on Saturday when we were tied 1-1 with the Devils, but I decided to wait,” admitted Carbonneau, who was rewarded with trio combining for seven points against the Flames. “I had a feeling that facing his former team and his ex-coach would make Alex want to make a statement.”
And it was a statement heard loud and clear.
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com