The Canadiens earned a valuable two points after only starting to play hockey in the second period. They came back to win the game in a shootout after trailing by two goals early in the first period. These types of victories are going to prove very valuable come the end of the season when fighting for a playoff position.
The Habs started this game like they were still on their All-Star break and before they knew it they were chasing the game. Another French-Canadian, Mathieu Perreault decided to have a good game against the Habs and he started by scoring a weak goal between the pads of Carey Price. He followed that up by assisting on a powerplay goal to give the Caps a 2-0 lead heading in the second period.
Jacques Martin used his charisma to motivate his players and the Canadiens decided to play in the second period. They started the period on the man advantage; although they didn’t score, the momentum contributed to a great period for the Habs. They cut the lead in half when Brian Gionta scored on a two-on-one with Andrei Kostitsyn. Gionta got his second just before the end of the period when he was sent in all alone and scored with a shot to the blocker side.
The Canadiens continued their good play into the third with both teams having chances but unable to get that elusive go-ahead goal. Overtime solved nothing, even though defense seemed to be optional, so it was off to a shootout.
The shootout was a microcosm of the game with Gionta scoring the only goal and Carey Price making the key saves. This gave Montreal two important points and now puts them 5 points clear of 9th place.
HW 3 Stars of the Night:
1st Star: Brian Gionta (2 goals, +2 rating, 7 shots, 23:09 TOI)
Was there any doubt as to who the Habs’ best player was? He got his 17th and 18th goals of the season and also the only goal in the shootout. He almost single-handedly dragged the team to victory.
2nd Star: Tomas Plekanec (1 assist, +1 rating, 4 shots, 22:47 TOI)
He was paired on a line with Andrei Kostitsyn and Brian Gionta and they were Montreal’s best trio all night. Combine that with some effective penalty killing and Plekanec played one of his typical two-way games.
3rd Star: Carey Price (27 saves, .931 SV%, 25th win)
He didn’t start the game well by letting in a soft goal but followed that up with some solid play for the rest of the game. Capping it off by stopping all three shots in the shootout to earn his league-leading 25th win.