In a game heavy with playoff implications for Montreal, the Canadiens managed to play well for the first 40 minutes, but collapsed in the final frame, losing 2-1 . While the Habs did not outlandishly dominate the game, there is no doubt that they got the better of the scoring opportunities in the first two periods, a fact which is clearly indicated by the shot totals. However, Carolina picked things up in the third and took the lead, which they kept thereafter.
In the opening frame, the Habs obtained many quality scoring chances, skated hard and eventually were able to obtain the first goal. Marc-André Bergeron scored a powerplay marker, which had to be a confidence boost for an otherwise ice-cold man advantage unit. In addition, the Canadiens managed to largely contain the Hurricanes, who managed only 2 shots in the frame. However, Montreal was unable to maintain their lead in the second. Brandon Sutter evened things up off a strange goal. The Canes’ winger was on a partial break, took a shot and then Roman Hamrlik pushed in the rebound as he fell. Even though the Canadiens continued to lead on the shot clock, the Hurricanes took the lead early in the third period when Eric Staal banked in an Erik Cole rebound. This goal seemed to deflate the Habs, who looked hesitant for the better part of the third period. In fact, the Hurricanes outshot the Canadiens 17-10 in the thrid, which was quite a contrast versus the first two frames. In any event, Staal’s goal held up for the remainder of the contest and took two essential points away from Montreal. Cam Ward was sensational in the win, stopping 34 of 35 shots.
Finally, it should be noted that Sergei Kostitsyn left the game with a lower body injury and more will be known on his condition tomorrow.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
1. Carey Price While it is true that Price was outshone by Ward, the young netminder nonetheless played a strong game. He made 23 saves on the night, but was especially solid in the third period, keeping his team in the game with 16 saves while everyone else seemed to have given up. In the end though, this game only adds to the perception that Price cannot obtain wins.
Statline: 23 saves on 25 shots, .926 SV%
2. Brian Gionta In a game devoid of offensive stars, Gionta remained one of Montreal’s best forwards. The diminutive winger was unafraid to take shots and work in the dirty areas, which is something most of the other attackers cannot say.
Statline: 1 assist, 4 shots, 1 hit, 2 takeaway, 20:23 TOI
3. Josh Gorges Josh Gorges was one the Canadiens’ most solid defenders versus the Hurricanes. His positioning was intelligent, he used his stick well and kept the puck in with some good pinches. Interestingly, he, along with his partner Hal Gill are the only two defenders that did not finish with a minus.
Statline: 2 blocked shots, 1 hit, 14:26 TOI