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The Montreal Canadiens rebounded from a heartbreaking loss in Toronto Saturday night to skate to a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was Mathieu Garon bobblehead doll night, but Jose Theodore backstopped the Habs to the victory, making just 16 saves on the night. It was a much needed rebound-game for the Habs after losing to the Leafs in the final minute of play in their last contest. Montreal allowed just 7 shots combined in the first and third periods, and controlled much of the action despite a sloppy start to the game. When Penguin blueliner Dick Tarnstrom hit the post in the opening minutes, it seemed to settle the Habs down and they responded by outshooting the Penguins 15-3 in the first period.


Montreal 1-0: It all started with Rico Fata bumping into Theodore and surprisingly being called on the goaltender interference. Montreal’s Power Play has been red hot as of late, climbing into the league’s top 10. It starts with a Souray shot from the point which Dagenais accidentally blocks, sending the puck into the corner. With some hard work, Saku Koivu retrieves it and finds Dagenais in front of the net and he beats the Penguins netminder Caron to make it 1-0 for the home side.


Montreal 2-0: On a controversial icing call from the linesmen, the Habs get an offensive zone faceoff to Caron’s left. The Canadiens win the draw right back to Sheldon Souray, who lets his tremendous shot fly from the point. The rebound comes right out to Koivu, who buries it for his 6th of the season. Ed Olcyk was livid with the linesmen because he thought that Quintal could have played the puck to prevent the icing. The Penguins later received a bench minor due to more complaining.


Pittsburgh 2-1: On a complete mental breakdown, the Penguins are able to get an odd man situation down low. Theodore is left completely helpless as Holzinger is able to get the puck over to Tomas Surovy, who pokes it into the wide open cage. Both Rivet and Bouillon were on the ice for this one, two defensemen that have been under much scrutiny the past couple of games.


Montreal 3-1: Montreal creates a turnover and then an odd man rush the other way. Gratton brings the puck all the way into Pittsburgh territory before dishing it off to the NHL’s highest scoring defensemen who buries it top shelf. Souray continues to impress Hab fans everywhere as he registers his 12th goal of the season.


Montreal 4-1: After the Pens pull their goalie with an unorthodox 2 and a half minutes left, Montreal is able to nail down the win with a Sundstrom empty netter.



-Montreal’s Power Play continues to light the lamp with another goal tonight. Koivu has been a great playmaker at the point, helping to set up numerous chances with the first unit. He has also been great at letting Souray set up his booming shot, Souray rung one off the post in the first period on the PP.


-Chad Kilger continues to struggle, he was caught fumbling around with the puck on numerous occasions and just isn’t adding anything to this team right now. A few press box appearances and even a demotion can’t be too far out of sight, especially with the return of Jason Ward.


-Ribeiro was absolutely robbed on one play in the third period where Caron came out to play the puck. Ribeiro stole it from behind the net and came out front to fire it into the open net when Caron stuck his stick into the air in an attempt to stop the puck, miraculously it worked and that play has to be one of the best saves in the NHL this season, even if it was quite lucky.


Habs Hero: Sheldon Souray had another tremendous outing, registering a goal and an assist, a +2 rating and 6 shots on goal. I hope Souray is buying his surgeon a nice Christmas present, because this offensive outburst has been totally unexpected after his wrist troubles of the past couple seasons.

Pierre Dagenais registered another goal and created numerous scoring chances, if he keeps this up he will surely stick with the Habs.


Habs Zero: It was a solid all-around night for the Habs, but I’m going to pick on Craig Rivet, Hab fan’s latest whipping boy. Craig didn’t have that bad of a night, but he was a -1 and he took a horribly undisciplined penalty in the third frame, in fact he is lucky he didn’t end up with a double minor. This type of move is simply inexcusable by anyone, especially a veteran like Rivet. Craig is definitely showing his overall frustration on how poorly he has played throughout most of this season, at this point it is going to get tougher and tougher for him to break out of his season-long funk.


Final Thoughts: Tonight, Montreal did what good teams do, beat the bad teams. The Habs have made steps towards being a solid team in the east, but now it’s time to emerge as better than solid, they play the Capitals Tuesday night and the Hurricanes on Saturday, two teams that are definitely beatable.