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Article written by Michel Brazeau

1st Period

I missed the first five minutes of the period but if the rest of the period was the same, it will have been quiet, interpersed by a few high moments. Montreal scored two goals on the power play and was able to stop Dallas on their power plays. The skating looked to be fast. The players seemed to play as a unit in both the defensive and offensive zones, that is the forwards came back to help the defense and the defense were there to support the attack. There were some shots from the point again and the forwards were able to scrum in front of the Dallas nets which led directly to both power play goals. Two more power play goals makes it makes six in a row.

– an early/quick power play goal by Ribeiro
– Streit played comfortably. – good heading passes & good shot on nets
– Bonk penalty – defense maintained a solid box – kept the Stars out of the slot
– Theodore looks solid – stopped 2 on 1 shot by modano & stayed up on a shot by Guerin
– Kostitsyn played again in this game
– quick return by Ryder to help defensemen – mid-way through the period
– second goal also on the power play and scored again by Ribeiro
– Bouillon was solid on the offense and defense
– Koivu played with grit
– Theodore – stop with no rebound
– a mishandling of the puck by Théodore almost cost a goal last few seconds but a spectacular save kept the puck out.

SHOTS ON GOAL: Dallas 10, Montreal 6

MTL, M. RIBEIRO (10) (J. BULIS, R. BONK), 14:42


2nd period

The Canadiens continued to play with quiet confidence. The team’s skating was still at a high level which made it more difficult for the Stars to confine them. Two more goals by the Canadiens, another on the power play and their first on a 5 on 5 under Gainey’s coaching.
The players continued to support each other in all zones. Théodore continues to play well. He doesn’t seem to drop as quickly. He stayed standing on a breakaway shot by Steve Ott. Also, he played the puck well, making accurate passes to his defensemen. He took a big risk going out past the face-off circle to gather the puck and pass it to a defender despite a rush by some Stars players. He seemed to do it with confidence. The defense cleared the zone with pretty good success and were head-manning the puck successfully also.

– slow start to the 2nd
– penalty stars led to the power play goal by Kovalev
– nice pressure by the 1st line early in the period
– Theodore continued controlling his rebounds
– goal by the Stars, result of a bad bounce/deflection off of a skate in front of the net
– Canadiens didn’t panic after the goal
– goal by Ryder, the result of a good pass by Higgins and one-timed into the net (1st 5 on 5 goal)
– continued solid play by Théodore – good puck handling & passes
– Théodore stayed standing on Steve Ott’s breakaway
– fast skating continued
– great pass by Kostitsyn around 15 minute mark
– efficient zone clearance by the defense
– Souray saved a goal late in the period
– Théodore tried risky pass (way out of the net) but, this time, it worked

SHOTS ON GOAL: Dallas 10, Montreal 7

DAL, B. GUERIN (9) (S. OTT), 04:27
MTL, M. RYDER (19) (S. KOIVU, C. HIGGINS), 07:50


3rd Period

This was a more laid back period as it was in the last game. It could be argued that the Canadiens laid back in order to protect their three goal lead. I didn’t get that impression. Their play was fairly consistent with what they did in the first two periods. The skating continued to be fast but the Stars, of necessity, put more pressure on the Canadiens but our team didn’t panic. The defense and the offense still seemed to play as a unit in both zones. The defense continued to clear the puck and head-manned when needed. Théodore continued to play solidly. He continued to make good passes and the stops when necessary. He gave up a weak 5-hole goal to Miettinen but, up to the last 5 minutes, he was solid. After that, he gave up more rebounds and lost a few pucks and had to be saved by his defensemen but, on the whole, he was much closer to the play-off goalie that he’s been in the past. The penalty kill was perfect. Dallas didn’t really threaten Théodore during their power plays.

– Bonk, Bulis & Kostitsyn line still did a solid defensive effort
– Bouillon logged the most ice time up to early in the period
– quiet play so far – no one taking the upper hand
– rebound given by Théodore but covered by defensemen
– early in the period the Stars pressed but Montreal gave them no serious shot on net
– players continued to all come back to protect Théodore defensively
– Streit continued taking great shots on net
– Higgins did great defensive work
– Bonk was solid on face-offs
– Montreal didn’t seem to be laying back
– Stars second goal was on their 28th shot
– Streit had a late minute penalty leading to a 6 on 4 power play
– defense held fast with good zone clearance throughout the penalty, stalling the attack
– Dallas only had a few hard shots

SHOTS ON GOAL: Dallas 17, Montreal 2.


Game Comments

This was Montreal’s 1st win against Dallas since March 1998 and their 1st back to back win since November. Again, the team played with vigour and intensity and unity throughout most of the game. Any let-downs or slacking off was rare. As a result, the team was able to dominate one of the best offensive units in the league.

José Théodore played solidly again. He faced a huge amount of shots but the majority of those were not of a threatening nature. Yet, for the second game in a row, he was, for the greater part, the kind of goalie that has been needed and expected from him. He had a few weak moments, such as the five-hole goal that he allowed on Miettinen and the increased straight out in front of him rebounds and misplays near the end of the periods & the game but the defense (including the returned forwards) were able to surround him and protect him.

All four rookies, Kostitsyn, Ferland, Murray & Higgins logged respectable time on the ice with Higgins being a regular throughout the game. For the first two periods, Kostitsyn & Murray were logging as many, if not more, minutes than Mike Ribeiro. Ribeiro had more ice time in the 3rd period.

Another interesting development is that there were only 10 penalties throughout the game, five for each team. Maybe, for our interest, the Canadiens players are beginning to get used to the new rules. In this game, this likely contributed to our team’s success.

In all, I’m pleasantly surprised to see the unity of the team on the ice. It doesn’t seem to have been the case in the dressing room (some mud-stirring by Kovalev) but this may be more a matter of the press looking to make a story by creating more of a controversy than there really is.

Of course, we hope that the team can continue at this pace. They’ll need to, considering the opponents they’re going to face during the road trip. We can’t expect an unbroken string of wins but, if Gainey & co. can continue to exert their influence, our game nights should be filled with more thrills than chills.

3 stars – 3 – Ribeiro, 2- Higgins, 1 – Koivu