The Montreal Canadiens and thier newly found talent Alex Kovalev and Jimmy Dowd roll into Wayne Gretzky’s Phoenix Coyotes to attempt a new winning streak. The Canadiens lost on Wednesday to the San Jose Sharks but have still won 6 of their last 8. The Coyotes will be without Jan Hrdina, who was traded to the New Jersey devils earlier today. Theodore in net for the Canadiens, Boucher in goal for Phoenix.
Zednik – Koivu – Kovalev
Perrault – Ribeiro – Ryder
Dagenais – Begin – Ward
Langdon – Dowd – Dackell
Markov – Quintal
Brisebois – Boullion
Rivet – Komisarek
First Period Wrap-up: Chances both ways, but the advantage would have to go to Montreal. They couldn’t convert on the 5-on-3 and seemed downright sloppy getting it into the zone, but they made up for it with some key shots at the end of the man-advantage. Kovalev played a good period, smart with the puck, and the first PP unit stayed on for a full 2:15. Shots for the period were 10-6 for les boys.
Montreal Goal (1-0 MTL): Markov takes a shot from the point and Dagenais gets the tip in front of the net. Dagenais’ 14th of the campaign from Markov and Brisebois at the 2:46 mark of the 2nd. Powerplay goal. (I apologize for the lack of detail, my cable feed cut out)
Phoenix Goal (1-1): Helmer takes a shot from the point which is stopped by Theo, but he can’t control the rebound so Jose tries to clear it away. He clears it straight to Langkow’s stick and he feeds one into the yawning cage. Langkow’s 20th of the season from Helmer at the 3:46 mark of the 2nd period.
Montreal Goal (2-1 MTL): Andreas Dackell makes a nice pick off the boards in his own blueline enters the offensive zone with newcomer Dowd on the PK. Dackell carries it in close, then fires a hard pass to Dowd, which Jimmy redirects into the net. Dowd’s 5th of the year from Dackell at the 6:29 mark of the 2nd period. Shorthanded goal.
Injury Report: Newly aquired sniper Alex Kovalev has an injured shoulder and will not return tonight.
Montreal Goal (3-1 MTL): Saku Koivu has the puck in the corner, steps out a bit then tried to fire a pass into the crease. The puck bounces around and between Boucher’s legs and just barely squeaks over the line. Koivu’s 12th on the year from Zednik at the 15:36 mark of the 2nd stanza. Powerplay goal.
Second Period Wrap-Up: Lots of scoring in this period, but it comes at a cost. Franchise winger Alex Kovalev left the game with what looks to be a bruised shoulder and will not return tonight. The game’s starting to get physical, and there was a pretty big scrum at the end of the 2nd. Look for a hard-hitting 3rd. Shots in the second were 7-8 in favour of Phoenix.
Montreal Goal (4-1 MTL): Koivu gains the zone and creates some time. He feeds Markov streaking along the outside. Markov carries it near the corner, then hits Zednik with a pass in the slot. Zednik makes no mistake and hits the one-time shot in the top shelf, where grandma hides the cookies. Zednik’s 21st from Markov and Koivu at the 0:47 mark of the 3rd period.
Phoenix Goal (4-2 MTL): Comrie gets a pass alone in front of the net on the backhand, spins around and gets a good wrist shot on net that beats Theo. Comrie’s 6th of the year from Hulse at the 2:58 mark of the 3rd. 4on4 goal.
Phoenix Goal (4-3 MTL): Faceoff win goes to Mara, who feeds Langkow on the half-boards. Langkow fires the puck at a completely unmolested Gratton in front of the net who deflects it in. Gratton’s 11th on the season from Langkow and Mara at the 4:05 mark of the 3rd period. 5-on-3 powerplay goal.
Injury Report: Markov left the game after recieving a late boarding hit from Doan. Markov went head/shoulder first into the boards and did not move much afterwards. On the next shift, Koivu found Doan along the boards and leveled him with a hard open-ice hit.
Injury Update: Markov has returned to the lineup.
Game Wrap-up: Ugly game in the 3rd. We’ll have to wait and see how Kovalev and Markov are, but the good news is that Markov finished the game. Lots of good hitting late in the game (who predicted that..hrm…;)) and a strong finish by the Coyotes. Shots in the 3rd were 8-10 for Phoenix.
Three Stars (as selected by RDS):
Shots on Goal:
Montreal 24 – Phoenix 25
Habs Best Player: Saku Koivu. He had a goal, and an assist, but he did everything tonight. He was great on the point on the powerplay, and make things happen. He also stuck up for his teammate Markov and nailed Doan with a crushing open-ice hit.
Habs Worst Player: I’m giving this one to the Penalty Killing Defencemen. Bad coverage in front of the net lead to two goals (one was technically a 4on4).