Carey Price stopped all 34 Vancouver shots en route to a 2-0 win and his second shutout of the season. Montreal’s powerplay also obtained an ever elusive goal, with Roman Hamrlik scoring on a man-advantage in the third period.
Overall, the Canadiens played a solid game at even-strength and also killed off four Vancouver penalties, including a short two-man advantage at the end of the first frame.
Andrei Markov opened the scoring for the home team, tucking in a rebound after a Tomas Plekanec shot. It was the Russian’s first goal of the campaign. For the rest of the frame, the Habs managed to keep the Canucks mostly on the perimeter, allowing the Vancouverites to obtain only 6 shots. Even with Jaroslav Spacek and Tomas Plekanec in the box later in the period, the Cancuks were unable to generate much offensively.
Early in the second, the Canadiens were afforded an extended man-advantage after Andrew Alberts was charged with a double-minor for high-sticking Mathieu Darche. However, it would not be until the third period before the powerplay finally produced a goal. With Andrew Alberts in the box once again, Roman Hamrlik managed to obtain the team’s fourth powerplay tally of the year. On the play, Michael Cammalleri attempted a one-time shot that missed the net and took a fortunate bounce off the backboards, eventually reaching the fortunate Czech’s blade. Following the goal, Vancouver upped the pressure considerably, directing a total of 19 shots on the Montreal net in the third period. However, Carey Price continued to make several impressive saves, including a late lunging save on Ryan Kesler to preserve his clean sheet. As for Roberto Luongo, the Quebec native finished the game with 27 saves.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
1. Carey Price His strong play never allowed Vancouver to get into the contest and the British Columbia netminder looked as calm as ever in his net. The saves against a trailing Kevin Bieska and Daniel Sedin on a breakway were very impressive, but his final save on Ryan Kesler was easily his best.
Statline: 34 saves on 34 shots, 1.000 save percentage
2. Tomas Plekanec The Czech centre looks to have fully recovered from his previous ailment and was his usual self tonight. Plekanec was around the net constantly, helped set up the first goal and was stellar defensively.
Statline: 0 G, 1 A, +1, 4 SOG, 4 Takeaways, 19:31 TOI
3. Andrei Markov The Russian defender still lacks some synchronism, but there is no denying that he seemed much more at ease this evening. He led the team in ice-time, was involved in all facets of the game and contributed the only goal Montreal would need.
Statline: 1 G, 0 A, +2, 2 SOG, 2 BS, 24:53 TOI
HM: Jeff Halpern The statistics will not do him justice, but Jeff Halpern was excellent, especially on the defensive end. He was one of the team’s most utilized players on the penalty kill, did an excellent job of getting his stick in passing lanes and breaking up plays. As low key as his acquisition was, there is no denying his value to the Habs.
Statline: 0 G, 0 A, Even, 1 SOG, 2 BS, 18:21 TOI
Final ThoughtA bit off topic, but it continues to baffle me how Vancouver’s signing of Manny Malhorta is considered by many analysts to be an astute one. Mind you, it is not the player I object to, but simply his cost. From a salary cap perspective, I simply cannot fathom why a third-line centre who has never produced more than 35 points is worth 2.5 million dollars a year. What exactly does he do that Jeff Halpern, for example, doesn’t do at 600,000$?