The Canadiens try to get back on track tonight with a win tonight in New York against the Rangers. The Canadiens have lost 5 of their past 6 games , and turn to Jose Theodore to lead them to victory tonight. Darren Langdon and Jason Ward are back in the lineup for the Habs, while Yanic Perreault and Chad Kilger will be watching this one from the sidelines. Tonight’s game is the final meeting between the teams this season , the Canadiens hold a 2-1-1 edge in the season series.
Bulis – Koivu – Zednik
Dagenais – Ribeiro – Ryder
Sundstrom – Juneau – Dackell
Langdon – Begin – Ward
Bouillon – Brisebois
Rivet – Komisarek
Dykhuis – Quintal
1-0 HABS: Habs putting all sorts of pressure on the Rangers early in the game. Bulis finds Koivu streaking down the right side all alone after some poor defensive zone coverage by the Rangers, and Koivu beats Dunham 5 hole with a wrist shot. Quintal and Bulis get the assists on the even strength goal.
2-0 HABS: With 9 seconds left Ribeiro scores. Play started out with a Habs 2 on 1, where Ryder kept the puck and shot. The leading rookie scorer in the NHL whiffed on the shot and the puck went behind the net. Dagenais later retrieved the puck and from behind the net fed an open Ribeiro in the slot , Ribeiro scores glove side on Dunham. A nice pass from Dagenais.
Notes: Habs had the only powerplay of the period thanks to an Ortmeyer interference penalty. They had two good scoring chances but did not manage to get a goal. When Ortmeyer left the box he found himself on a breakaway, and he got off a weak shot that Theodore easily deflected into the corner. Habs outshot the Rangers 9-5 in the period.
2-1 HABS: Rangers score on their 2nd 5 on 3 advantage of the period. Dackell and Begin take consecutive questionable penalties. Rangers finally get a puck by Theodore as Holik’s pass deflects to a wide open Jagr across the crease, which sees Jagr score into open net.
3-1 HABS: Montreal finally gets their own 5 on 3, and they make no mistake. Brisebois with a bullet shot from the left point that trickles through Dunham and into the net. Koivu and Ribeiro with the helpers on the PP goal.
Notes: The Rangers outshot the Habs 17-5 in the period , which can be blamed on the fact that the Rangers spent much of the period with the man advantage (or 2 man advantage). The 2nd period featured a fight between 5’8 Francis Bouillon and 6’3 Tom Poti , depite the size difference Bouillon got himself a draw.
4-1 HABS: Jason Ward finally breaks his goal-less drought. Habs with good hard work to keep the puck in the Rangers zone , Bouillon with the shot , bounces around and finds its way to Koivu’s stick , Koivu takes the shot , Ward deflects it past Dunham while screening him. 4-1 Habs.
Notes: Rangers outshot habs 9-7 in the period.
Final Score: 4-1 Habs
Final Shots: 31-21 Rangers
Habs Hero: The captain Saku Koivu. On a night when most of the Habs played a strong game, you have to give it to the guy who finished with the most points. Koivu had 1 goal and 2 assists for 3 points, and finished a +2. Ribeiro, Quintal and Theodore also deserve a mention for their performances.
Habs Zero: Karl Dykhuis, who played a below average game. His legs and mind are still going at the AHL speed. The Habs surely cannot wait until Markov returns from Russia and makes his way back into the lineup.
Injury Update: Jan Bulis left the game in the first period with a knee injury after checking a Rangers player into the boards , he did not return.