The Montreal Canadiens snapped a few Tampa Bay streaks last night, most importantly their five game unbeaten streak. The Canadiens also became the first team to hold Marty St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier pointless in eleven games. Tampa was also unable to score a power play goal for the first time in five games.
Montreal was handed the first power play opportunity when Lecavalier was called for a weak holding penalty on Andrei Markov. On the ensuing power play Saku Koivu found Sheldon Souray who let go his booming slap shot that beat Marc Denis, Guillaume Latendresse provided the screen.
Cristobal Huet who made 15 first period saves made his biggest and best save of the night in the opening minute of the second period. Lecavalier was left wide open and made a great move to get Huet out of position but Hut was able to snatch Lecavalier’s’ shot out of thin air.
Vaclav Prospal tied the game ending a personal drought of seven games without a goal. Prospal deflected a Cory Sarich shot; Janne Niinimaa was guilty of leaving Prospal unattended directly in front of Huet.
With less than five minutes remaining in the second period and Tampa Bay already short one man, defenseman Luke Richardson tripped up Michael Ryder sending the Canadiens to a two man advantage. It did not take long to make the Bolts pay, just eight seconds into the 5 on 3 Sheldon Souray buried his second of the game and eighth of the season providing the Canadiens with what would turn out to be the game winning goal.
Latendresse would provide the Canadiens with an insurance goal mid way through the 3rd period on what was surely his best NHL goal in his young career. Latendresse toe dragged the puck around both Tampa defenseman Filip Kuba and teammate Sergei Samsonov and then launched a snap shot off the far post and in.
Mathieu Dandenault returned to the Canadiens lineup, after missing 12 games with a thigh injury. Lightning coach John Tortorella who believes the officiating has been fairly consistent this year did not feel that way tonight as he described it as a “horror show”. Tampa Captain Tim Taylor had to leave the game early with a neck injury after a Dandenault body check.
1. Sheldon Souray- notched his 3rd 2 goal game of the season and led the Canadiens in shots with 6.
2. Cristobal Huet- a 29 save performance allowing just one goal and keeping the Canadiens in the game early on making countless key saves.
3. Vincent Lecavalier- had his chances with 7 shots on goal but Huet was just a tad better all night long.
1. The Canadiens have won 4 of their last 5 games in Tampa Bay and all of those wins were multiple goal victories.
2. For only the second time in the Canadiens last ten games they had more power plays than their opposition.
3. Saku Koivu extended his point streak to 6 games matching his best streak since March of 2004.