The Heritage Classic resembled an exhibition game for most of the night.
The ice was bad, there were strange bounces all night, and the play was often
one-sided. Unfortunately for the Habs, it counts in the standings and the
result wasn’t favourable, as Montreal dropped a 4-0 decision to the host Flames.
The Habs got in penalty trouble early on and Calgary made them pay, scoring on a
two-man advantage to take a 1-0 lead heading into the 2nd.
As has often been the case on this slump the Habs are in, they showed up and
put forth a decent effort to kick off the 2nd period. Montreal got their
lone powerplay (the 2nd straight game with only one) just past the halfway point
but it was the Flames who controlled the puck for most of it, leading to a
shorthanded goal by Anton Babchuk to make it 2-0. Rene Bourque picked up
his 2nd of the night two minutes later and that pretty much sealed Montreal’s
fate in this one.
Both teams coasted somewhat through the 3rd which ultimately didn’t help the
Habs out either. Former Canadien Alex Tanguay scored on the PP just after
the teams changed ends to put this one well out of reach. Carey Price
started the game strong but faded as it went on, he wound up turning aside 33/37
shots when the buzzer sounded. Miikka Kiprusoff stopped all 39 Habs’ shots
to pick up his 4th shutout of the season. Montreal was 0/1 on their
powerplay (allowing a SHG to boot) while the Flames were 2/4.
HW 3 Stars of the Night:
1st Star: Scott Gomez (0 points, even rating, 2 takeaways, 7/12
faceoffs, 19:47 TOI)
For the second straight game, whatever line he was on (and it changed several
times in-game) was the most effective in terms of generating scoring chances.
When you don’t get any goals as a team, this I suppose is the next best thing.
2nd Star: Yannick Weber (0 points, -1 rating, 2 shots, 2 hits,
I was a little disappointed to see his ice time this low as he was the one
defenceman who was effective in all 3 zones in this one. Some were strong
in the offensive end and struggled defensively (Subban), or vice versa
(Wisniewski…which is a little surprising). Weber was also the one
defenceman who was able to corral the bouncing puck more often than not, leading
to some scoring chances.
3rd Star: Travis Moen (0 points, even rating, 3 shots, 2 hits,
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not a fan of seeing him with Gomez (or on any
line that’s counted on to score) but he was one of the better offensive threats
with a couple of shots in the slot. He also was one of the few players to
even attempt to screen Kiprusoff.
Honourable Mention: Paul Mara (0 points, even rating, 2 shots,
2 hits, 15:46 TOI)
This one isn’t exactly based on his positive impact on the game. For a
player who had played just once since December 18th and adjusting to a semi-new
team, I was simply impressed he didn’t screw up too badly. On a night like
this, somehow that’s a positive.
Stat of the Night: It’s a little too soon to start calling this
the tradition, but this was the second straight Heritage Classic where whoever
won the alumni game lost the NHL affair.