On Saturday night, the Habs were looking to get things back on track after
Thursday’s loss on Long Island. They were also looking to exact some
revenge on the Rangers after a tough loss at Madison Square Garden a couple of
weeks ago. They did just that, picking up their second shutout of the
week, with a 4-0 victory.
Montreal got things going early as their now-hot powerplay continued its
recent success. Erik Cole skated in down the wing and wristed one past
Martin Biron. Both teams had good chances in the first but aside from the
Cole tally, neither side was able to get another one.
The Rangers carried the play in the early stages of the second in terms of
territorial control but the Habs’ defence corps, aided by the forwards, kept the
puck mostly to the perimeter which prevented them from getting much in the way
of momentum. Montreal captain Brian Gionta scored the only goal of the
period, a wrister from nearly the same spot as Cole. This one had a degree
of ugly to it but they all count the same on the scoreboard.
Indisciplined play was the story of the 3rd for New York. Ranger
captain Ryan Callahan took an early hooking penalty and the Habs capitalized
once again with the man advantage as Tomas Plekanec blasted one home (from the
point no less) to make it 3-0. Gionta capped off the scoring, one-timing a
Carey Price picked up his second 4-0 shutout of the week, turning aside all
17 shots he faced. Biron took the loss, snapping the Rangers’ 7 game
winning streak in the process; he made 27 saves. The Habs, as mentioned,
had a strong night on the powerplay going 2/6 while the Rangers were 0/3.
This means Montreal’s successful penalty kill streak has extended to 7 games and
24 straight successful kills.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
1st Star: Brian Gionta (2 goals, +2 rating, 5 shots (10
attempts), 19:15 TOI)
It was the captain’s most impressive overall performance so far this season.
He played a feisty game, got to the scoring areas (including in front of the net
on the powerplay) and made good things happen all night long.
2nd Star: Erik Cole (1 goal, 1 assist, even rating, 3 shots,
It’s hard to believe that around this time a month ago, he was the talk of
the town for basically doing nothing on the scoreboard. Even though he
wasn’t as physical as usual, he was still a force in the offensive zone while
extending his season long point streak to five games (3-4-7) in the process.
3rd Star: Scott Gomez (2 assists, +2 rating, 4 shots, 14:43 TOI)
Like Gionta, the ex-Ranger had his best effort of the season. On top of
his pair of helpers, he had several good scoring chances while he set up a few
quality chances himself. He quietly has put together a series of effective
games in a row which is a step in the right direction.
Honourable Mention: Carey Price (17 saves on 17 shots, 59:42
It’s hard not to give some praise to the goalie when he gets a shutout so he
gets the extra nod in this one. He made the key saves early when necessary
(including one before the game was 90 seconds old) that gave the offence time to
do their job.
Stat of the Night: One of the things not discussed in the
Montreal-New York game two weeks ago was the Habs’ horrendous effort in the
faceoff dot (19/50). They were able to turn that around a bit as they were
52% on the night in this one (27/52). Interestingly enough, the only two
centres to record a point (Plekanec/Gomez) were the only ones who lost more
draws than they won.