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First Period Recap:

A strange 1st period. A discouraging 1st period. Montreal carried the play to Carolina for most of the period but still come out down two goals. Montreal’s pressure might not have been outstanding but, for the better part, they kept the play in Carolina’s half of the ice. Unfortunately, Théodore allowed what are arguably two soft goals. The rookies played well, especially Tomas Plekanec. The newcomer, Downey seems to have belonged where he was placed. Bonk could hold his head high also. The 1st, 3rd and 4th lines put good pressure on the Hurricanes players. The shots may have ended 11 – 11 but they don’t reflect the efforts put in by the Canadiens skaters. Carolina has simply been opportunistic. It’s easy (and accurate) to say that Cam Ward outplayed José Théodore when it counted but Théodore did make some big saves off of Eric Staal among others, late in the period.

0.30 – Théodore makes 1st stop
1:00 – Canadiens puts a bit of pressure on Hurricanes
2:00 – Plekanec has good shot on nets.
3:00 – Canadiens continues to put pressure on Hurricanes
4:30 – 1st line puts good sustained pressure
5:00 – Plekanec skating well
6:00 – Continued pressure by Canadiens 3rd line
7:30 – Hurricanes score – one of the 2nd shot on nets (Théodore screened?)
10:00 – Canadiens still generally keep the pressure on Hurricanes – Bonk has good shift
11:00 – Komisarek stops one-on-one – Bouillon makes great pass – sustained pressure by Plekanec/Downey/Kostitsyn line
13:00 – Bonk playing well – Ribeiro invisible so far
15:00 – Continued minor dominance by Canadiens
17:30 – Goal by Carolina
18:00 – Continued pressure by Carolina – Ribeiro penalty – Montreal defending well – chance by Staal – super stop by Théodore

Period Stats:
SHOTS ON GOAL – Canadiens 11, Hurricanes 11

GOALS – CAR, B. HEDICAN (4) (C. LAROSE), 07:26
CAR, C. ADAMS (5) (K. ADAMS, F. KABERLE), 17:15

Second Period Recap:

Play in the second period was more evenly divided. It started well with the goal by Plekanec on a forwarding pass by Steve Bégin. Montreal seemed to control the game as well at the beginning of the period. Unfortunately, two penalties, one after the other by Streit & Dandenault gave Carolina a 5 on 3 which led to two power play goals. The Hurricanes, shortly after that, put more hustle and outscrummed the Canadiens defense which led to their 5th goal. After that, the play became more evenly balanced without any noteworthy chances by both teams. Better players this period were, again, Plekanec (by far), Kostitsyn and Bonk. Bouillon, Rivet, Komisarek and Streit were quietly efficient in their tasks.

First two minutes – evenly balanced play – broken plays 3:00 – Plekanec takes begin forwarding pass and scores on breakaway. (Welcome back – TP)
4:00 – Théodore stops Cullen ( 2 on 1) – Streit penalty, good defensive play by Sundstrom
5:00 Dandenault penalty – Hurricanes scores on a deflected goal
6:00 Staal scores – poor defensive coverage (more opportunism)
9:00 – Hurricanes score on Canadiens confusion in front of the nets – Théodore made 1st stop – Huet replaces Théodore
10:00 – Pressure by Canadiens – shot by Kovalev deflected away from the nets
11:00 – Strong pressure by Canadiens – no score but good shots – good fake by Kostitsyn
13:00 – 14:00 broken play – no real threat on both sides
16:00 – Good check by Ribeiro on Cullen
17:00 – Hurricanes penalty – weak passes back to the defence 

Period Stats: 
SHOTS ON GOAL – Canadiens 15 – Hurricanes 9

GOALS – MTL, T. PLEKANEC (5) (S. BEGIN), 02:23
CAR, M. CULLEN (18) (E. STAAL, R. WHITNEY), 06:07
CAR, E. STAAL (31) (E. COLE, J. WILLIAMS), 06:56
CAR, A. LADD (6) (F. KABERLE, J. WILLIAMS), 08:45 

Third Period Recap:

At the beginning of the period, the play was pretty even. Carolina got more shots on net and did score but, aside from that, were not threatening. Montreal got their 1st shot on net at around the 8 minute mark. Interestingly, Carolina outshot Montreal by a 2 to 1 but both teams came out of the period with two goals. The better players for the Canadiens were again Plekanec, Bouillon. Rivet, Kostitsyn & Ryder can also hold their heads up for their efforts. I’m impressed by Downey. Whenever he was on the ice, he was, at worst, effective defensively.

3:00 – Hurricanes score
4:00 – Rivet & Adams fight – Rivet wins
6:00 – Canadiens penalty Eric Staal almost has a breakaway
8:00 – 1st shot on net by the Canadiens (Komisarek)
9:00 – Kostitsyn is hurt but he comes back
14:00 – nice deke and shot by Ryder blocked by Ward
15:00 – Hurricanes penalty – Bouillon scores
18:00 – Hurricanes score on scrum in front of Huet
19:00 – Plekanec scores – outskates defense and backhands into the net (lead pass by Bouillon – relayed by Downey) 

Period Stats:
SHOTS ON GOAL – Canadiens 8, Hurricanes 17

GOALS – CAR, J. WILLIAMS (17) (A. LADD), 03:32
17:28 MTL, T. PLEKANEC (6) (A. DOWNEY, F. BOUILLON), 19:21

Final Game Thoughts:

Though it has come out badly for Montreal, there have been games in which the reverse was true (ie. the last two Tampa Bay games). Though many would see just black in this game, there are a number of positives here. 1 – Kostitsyn & Plekanec looked good and promising, especially the latter. 2 – Downey fits in well. 3 – Huet held his own. The Canadiens kept up with the Hurricanes for the better part of the game, it’s just that Carolina’s opportunities went in. The score could have been quite different if Montreal’s opportunities had gone in in the 1st period. I almost get a sense that the last three games are payback for some of the games that they won in a ‘cardiac’ way earlier in the year. I was thrilled with those wins but, like some of us in this community, I had a sense of ‘this looks awfully fragile’.