For 57 plus minutes, the Habs’ offence was held silent. Fortunately,
games in the NHL are 60 minutes long. A 3rd period comeback erased a late
2-goal deficit while Max Pacioretty scored in OT to give Montreal a 3-2 win over
division rival Boston. It was a milestone night for the Canadiens
franchise as they played in their 3,000th home game all time.
But the historic game didn’t get off to a good start for the Habs. The
game was scoreless after the 1st before the Patrice Bergeron show began, as he
popped home a pair in the 2nd to send the Bruins, who were unbeaten (16-0-0)
when leading after 2, with the lead heading into the 3rd. Even worse, Mike
Cammalleri left early in the frame with an illness and did not return.
Even the 3rd didn’t start off well for Montreal. Mathieu Darche had a
goal called off that in all likelihood stemmed from the on-ice call as replays
showed that it may or may not have been a high stick. However, Darche got
his revenge though, sort of, as a multi-bounce shot appeared to hit him along
the way before Zdeno Chara put it past Tim Thomas to give the Habs hope.
At the time of writing, the goal was credited to Gomez but I suspect that may
change. Montreal pulled the goalie late, which led to a Boston scoring
chance which missed by about all of 6-8 inches. That icing, however, set
the stage for the late heroics.
The Habs won the draw, gained control and worked the puck back to James
Wisniewski, whose shot was redirected by Brian Gionta by Thomas, sending this
game to overtime. Montreal had their chances on an early PP but were
unable to generate much down low. Fortunately, that didn’t come back to
bite them as Pacioretty wristed one just inside the blueline that beat a
screened Thomas, giving the Habs the win and a share of the division lead.
(Boston still has the lead though due to 2 games in hand, but Montreal holds the
win tiebreak currently.)
Thomas, who had a fairly strong outing save for some bad luck, stopped 39 of
42 shots while Carey Price got the win, making 27 saves. Both teams had 3
powerplays, Boston went 0/3, Montreal 1/3.
HW 3 Stars of the Night:
1st Star: Max Pacioretty (1 goal, 1 assist, +2 rating, 6 shots,
5 hits, 19:03 TOI)
Now this is why the Habs made him a 1st rounder. He drove the net, played
physical, and showed a scoring touch as well. Better still is that even
with these offensive improvements, his defensive game hasn’t suffered, he was
quite effective in his own end as well. The only blemish was the bump with
Chara at the end of the game. Yes, it was minor, but unwarranted.
I’m sure he’ll learn from that though.
2nd Star: Brian Gionta (1 goal, even rating, 5 shots, 2
takeaways, 22:14 TOI)
The captain seems to bring his ‘A’ game when he faces off against Chara and the
Bruins and tonight was no exception. He was aggressive and of course,
scored the crucial game tying goal. He even stood up for Subban earlier
when Shawn Thornton wanted to go after him.
3rd Star: Mathieu Darche (1 assist (could change to a goal),
even rating, 4 shots, 14:38 TOI)
Yes, he missed several opportunities in front of the net and could be just as
effective there without a stick as he is with one. That said, credit needs
to be given for the fact he got into the traffic areas plus he did play a role
in the 1st goal.
Honourable Mention: Carey Price (27 saves on 29 shots, 63:06
TOI, .931 SV%, 1.90 GAA)
It was a quiet but effective outing for Price in this affair. It was hard
to fault him on either of the goals, and although he didn’t make any game saving
saves, he stopped all the ones he had to as well. When a goalie isn’t
quite on, this is a good way to turn things back in the right direction.
Stat of the Night: This was the 4th straight game that has gone to
extra time this season. Prior to this stretch, only 3 needed extra time.