The Habs set out on Tuesday to put a stop to their recent road woes against
the Rangers and although they got off to a slow start, they did just that,
beating New York 2-1. The game didn’t get off to a great start as Montreal
was listless early on and the Rangers made them pay, as Brandon Dubinsky scored
before the 5 minute mark. The Habs woke up after that and slowly took
New York carried a lead late into the 2nd despite being outshot before
Jaroslav Spacek tied it up with just over a minute left in the middle stanza.
However, expect Mathieu Darche to get credit for that one at some point…this
is the 2nd straight game I’ve expected this too. Montreal carried the
momentum from that late tally into the 3rd, where Benoit Pouliot beat Henrik
Lundqvist from a tight angle, a goal that proved to be the winner, despite a
late flurry of chances by the Rangers.
Lundqvist turned aside 36 of 38 Montreal shots in the loss, while Alex Auld,
making just his 5th start of the season, made 25 saves for the win.
Despite Chris Lee being the referee, powerplays were not the difference in this
one, as both teams went 0/2 with the man advantage (including an 8-second chance
for each team).
HW 3 Stars of the Night:
1st Star: Benoit Pouliot (1 goal, +1 rating, 6 shots, 2 hits,
For the first time in what seemed like ages, he was moved up into the top-6
and wouldn’t you know it, he made something of it. He was aggressive all
night and could have easily had a couple of other goals. It was last
season in a fight against the Rangers where his momentum died, perhaps this
return visit will get him going.
2nd Star: Alex Auld (25 saves on 26 shots, 1.00 GAA, .962 SV%)
Auld was on his game in this one, making several key saves, especially late
in the 3rd whenever there was blown coverage in the defensive zone.
Interestingly enough, his career numbers vs the Rangers will be worse after this
one though, as he came into the night with a GAA below 1 and a SV% of .966.
3rd Star: Mathieu Darche (0 points…for now, even rating, 4
shots, 2 hits, 15:27 TOI)
In the first period, he was the top Canadiens’ forward out there, getting
most of his chances early on. Better still that most of those shots came
around the net, where he needs to be. I thought he tailed off when moved
up with Plekanec and Pouliot but still a solid game overall.
Honourable Mention: Jaroslav Spacek (1 goal…for now, +1
rating, 2 shots, 16:30 TOI)
It was a pretty quiet game for him overall, nothing flashy either way.
I give him the nod here though as it was his diving sprawl across the crease to
knock the puck away from Artem Anisimov who was about to tie it late in the 3rd.
That was a game saver.
Scoreboard Watching: It may be January, but scoreboard watching
is in full effect now. In Boston, the Bruins held on to first in the
Northeast with a 6-0 drubbing of the Ottawa Senators who are now in the basement
in the Northeast. In terms of the battle for 8th, the Hurricanes chased
Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff early, but the Flames battled back and eventually
forced a shootout. Unfortunately for the Habs, Carolina prevailed in that
shootout, so they remain 3 points back of Montreal.