Chris Higgins said the Canadiens stole a point but that’s a skewed perception through rose coloured glasses, in reality the Canadiens lost a point to the worst team in the league. Saku Koivu called his teams performance lazy and he could not be more correct.
The first period looked worse than it really was on the score sheet as the Habs were out shot 13-2 but had more scoring chances than Atlanta. Canadiens fans jeered Komisarek and the Canadiens when his 77 foot shot with 3 minutes left in the period was easily stopped by Thrashers goalie Johan Hedberg who picked up his first career win against the Canadiens.
While enjoying their second power play of the game Alex Kovalev scored on the Canadiens 4th shot on net at 8:10 of the second period. For Kovalev it was his sixth goal of the season. Eight minutes later the Thrashers tied the game when Carey Price and Andrei Markov got confused and sloppy beside the Canadiens net. Eric Perrin was Johnny on the spot and picked up his second goal in four games. Just 57 seconds later Atlanta grabbed the lead courtesy of Josh Gorges. Gorges fanned on a pass in the defensive zone that was picked up by Vyacheslav Kozlov who calmly slid the puck between the legs of Carey Price. Montreal was handed a marvellous opportunity to tie the game late in the season period when Pascal Dupuis was sent to the box for holding while the Canadiens were already on the power play. On the ensuing two man advantage Bryan Smolinski mustered the Canadiens only two pathetic shots. All three 2nd period goals were unassisted.
Interim Atlanta head coach Don Waddell threw on the breaks in the third period as Atlanta became less concerned with offence and puck position and more concerned with the neutral zone and dumping the puck in. Guy Carbonneau attempted to counter by making changes to all four offensive trios but still Montreal could not generate anything while playing 5 on 5.
With 2 and a half minutes left Alex Kovalev sent the Canadiens to the power play again forcing Todd White this time to hook him in the offensive zone. Twelve seconds into the power play Saku Koivu slid the puck through the crease to the visor free Chris Higgins who buried his 4th of the season.
Overtime solved nothing.
So for consecutive games the Canadiens headed to the shootout.
Price was able to stop Kozlov but Bryan Little and Ilya Kovalchuck scored and provided the Thrashers with the bonus point and their 4th win in 6 games.
1. C. Price- He kept the Canadiens in the game they were out shot and out hustled.
2. M. Hossa – nothing on the score sheet but 8 shots and a +1 rating…not to shabby.
3. A. Kovalev – Another goal and an assists and drew a few penalty’s to boot.