Thanksgiving may have come and gone, but the Habs should be thankful for the
fact there are no style points in the NHL, as Montreal, despite sleepwalking
virtually through the entire game, did enough to topple San Jose 3-1. The
surprise of the game came before puck drop as P.K. Subban was a late scratch as
Josh Gorges was healthy enough to play.
The 4th line (though they aren’t playing like one) got things started yet
again as Mathieu Darche got the scoring started at the 6 minute mark of the 1st.
Benn Ferriero knotted the game up at 1 before the end of the frame, but that was
it for the Sharks’ offence. Tomas Plekanec, responsible for shutting down
the vaunted Marleau-Thornton-Heatley line, scored what proved to the winner with
just over 6 minutes left in the 2nd, while Mike Cammalleri scored the clinching
goal, potting the rebound on a Roman Hamrlik breakaway…yes, a Hamrlik
breakaway; this game may not have had much, but it had that.
Carey Price picked up his league leading 16th win stopping 26 of 27 San Jose
shots while Antti Niemi, fresh off a shutout in Ottawa, was unable to repeat the
feat, allowing 3 Montreal goals on only 19 shots.
HW 3 Stars of the Afternoon:
1st Star: Carey Price (26 saves on 27 shots, 60:00 TOI)
In a game where the offence was largely non-existent for lengthy stretches, the
goaltending (and defence which played well too) needed to be sharp and Price was
exactly that today. The goal he allowed was on a tough angle, but he made
several key saves to prevent the Sharks from getting any sort of sustained
momentum as the game progressed.
2nd Star: Tomas Plekanec (1 goal, +1 rating, 2 PIMS, 2 blocks,
9/16 faceoffs, 15:17 TOI)
As I noted earlier, his line was responsible for shutting down San Jose’s top
unit. They did that. His line, also the team’s top line, also needs
to score. He did that. Shut down the opponents’ top scorers and
score yourself? Not a bad day at the office.
3rd Star: Mathieu Darche (1 goal, +1 rating, 2 hits, 2 blocks,
Remember all the fans upset over the fact the Habs re-signed him to a league
minimum deal instead of saving the spot for a rookie? I’m pretty sure
those critics have been largely silenced. He isn’t doing anything flashy,
he’s just making the right reads at the right time and chipping in with some
Honourable Mention: Roman Hamrlik (1 assist, +1 rating, 2
shots, 5 blocks, 23:01 TOI)
The point streak continued with an assist on that breakaway, and he led all Habs
in TOI plus all players in blocked shots. For whatever reason, injuries to
Markov seem to bring out the best in him.
Stats of the Afternoon: The 19 shots the Habs fired on net was
a season low, their previous low being 23 on November 6th, a 3-2 loss vs Ottawa.
Montreal also had 0 PP opportunities for the first time this season, the prior
low in that category was 1 against the Maple Leafs on November 20th (and the
Habs scored on that lone chance).