It was a very sloppy game on Saturday night between the Habs and the
Hurricanes but in the end, the Habs prevailed by a 4-3 count in their final game
before Monday’s trade deadline. Alex Auld got the start for the 2nd game
with an ailing Carey Price dressing but basically unavailable.
Unfortunately for the Habs, the game didn’t get off to a good start as Jussi
Jokinen gave the ‘Canes a lead before the midway point of the 1st.
That generated a mini-rally for the Habs, as Mike Cammalleri scored for the
second straight game to tie it up. Lars Eller gave Montreal a lead barely
3 minutes later, while Tom Pyatt missed on a prime opportunity seconds later.
In the 2nd, it was the inverse, as the Hurricanes scored a pair and the Habs
one. Tuomo Ruutu tied it two minutes into the frame before Tomas Plekanec
restored the Habs’ lead three minutes later. Sadly, that lead lasted all
of five minutes before recently re-acquired Cory Stillman knotted the score once
The 3rd period was a little less frantic with both teams seemingly playing to
not lose (or to get a point). The Habs survived the second straight
penalty to David Desharnais at the midpoint of the stanza before getting their
first and only powerplay opportunity of the game. Brian Gionta scored but
it was waved off as the official lost sight of the puck. However, that
didn’t matter as Andrei Kostitsyn tipped a Roman Hamrlik point shot home to give
the Habs the lead and ultimately, the game. Auld stopped 28 of 31 Carolina
shots while Cam Ward turned aside 23 of 27 from Montreal. The Habs, as
noted earlier, were 1/1 on the powerplay while Montreal’s penalty kill was sharp
in this one, killing off all 4 Carolina chances.
HW 3 Stars of the Night:
1st Star: Andrei Kostitsyn (1 goal, 1 assist, -1 rating, 1
shot, 1 hit, 11:12 TOI)
If this is indeed his final game with the Habs, he’s going out with a bang.
Any time you can get a game winner in the dying minutes of the game, you deserve
the first star. Better still was the fact that it was on a perfect
redirect with him partially screening Ward.
2nd Star: Mike Cammalleri (1 goal, 1 assist, +2 rating, 1 shot,
2 blocks, 19:46 TOI)
So much for the talk of being rusty. His goal in the 1st still has me
shaking my head with the quickness of his release and although he only had the
one shot on goal, he was an offensive threat throughout the game.
3rd Star: Roman Hamrlik (2 assists, even rating, 2 shots, 3
blocks, 17:30 TOI)
I can’t get why RDS was talking all night about how this could be his last
game unless they know something we all don’t. That aside, his ice time was
curtailed and it worked to his benefit as there was life to his game throughout
the contest. His offensive contributions were key, while he tied for the
team lead in blocks in the defensive end.
Honourable Mention: Tomas Plekanec (1 goal, 1 assist, +2
rating, 10/18 faceoffs, 22:22 TOI)
Home ice seems to get him going and Saturday night was no exception. He
along with Cammalleri were the Habs’ most dangerous duo throughout the game and
as has been said lots this season, his penalty killing effort was very strong.
Stat of the Night: If you thought it was a little odd seeing a
Hab wear #55, you’re not alone. Sopel became just the 4th Canadien in
franchise history to wear the numbers, and the first since Matthieu Descoteaux
wore it in the 2000-01 campaign.