The Habs were looking to rebound on Saturday night after an ugly loss in
Atlanta the night before and they did just that, beating division rival Buffalo
3-1, rounding out the week with an even 2-2 record. Andrei Kostitsyn got
the scoring started in the 1st on a 2-man advantage before the "Brian Gionta
Gionta scored a crucial pair of 2nd period goals, the first of which proved
to be the game winner after Jordan Leopold broke Carey Price’s shutout with just
over a minute left in the game. Price stopped 34 Buffalo shots while Ryan
Miller, playing for the 2nd straight night after returning from injury, turned
aside 30 of 33 Montreal shots.
HW 3 Stars of the Night:
1st Star: Brian Gionta (2 goals, 1 assist, +1 rating, 8 shots,
3 takeaways, 21:28 TOI)
Coming off a tough loss, it’s important for your captain to lead the
rallying charge and that’s exactly what Gionta did tonight. His pair of
second period goals proved to do the Sabres in as it completely changed the
complexion of the game. He also led all players in shots on goal as well.
2nd Star: Carey Price (34 saves on 35 shots)
He didn’t have much to do in the 1st but the 2nd period is where he (and
Gionta of course) stole the show. For the 2nd straight night, the Habs
fell apart in the 2nd but Price held the fort long enough for Montreal to get
back on track. No rust for him tonight…though it’s not like he sat long
enough for there to be any.
3rd Star: Andrei Kostitsyn (1 goal, 1 assist, +1 rating, 3
shots, 3 hits, 17:08 TOI)
Earlier in the week, we had a stat under the Did You Know column that
mentioned that Kostitsyn’s Saturday scoring alone equaled his production on
every other night combined. Tonight’s 2 points ensures that this trend
continues, he now has 9 Saturday points on the campaign.
Honourable Mention: Travis Moen (0 points, even rating, 17 PIMS,
I’m not giving him this for his play (which was fine, mind you) but for
sticking up for a teammate at the right time. If you’re going to take an
instigator penalty (as he did), doing so in a 3-goal game and sticking up for
Cammalleri who was on the receiving end of a stick from Cody McCormick (who also
wanted to fight) is the right time to do it.
Stats of the Night: The victory gives the Habs a 7-2 divisional
record this season. Lars Eller, who was last on the Habs in faceoff
percentage amongst regular centres (46.6%) was a perfect 8-for-8 in this
contest; this actually brought his season percentage just over 50% as well.
The Habs as a whole won 60% of the draws. Benoit Pouliot played the least
amount again but saw just under 11 minutes of ice time, it’s not very often all
the Habs get double digit minutes.