The Devils were fighting for their playoff lives on Saturday when they hosted
the Habs but to Montreal’s benefit, they folded without much of a fight as the
Habs prevailed with a 3-1 victory. It was tense early on as the Devils’
Mattias Tedenby had a penalty shot before the 5 minute mark of the first, but
with the aid of a goal post, Carey Price was able to make the save.
That seemed to bolster the Habs as less than 5 minutes later, Mathieu Darche
picked up his first of two goals to give the Habs a 1-0 lead that would carry
over into the 3rd period. Montreal started the period on the powerplay due
to former Hab Jay Leach getting a delay of game penalty late in the 2nd.
P.K. Subban capitalized on that man advantage just 29 seconds in while Darche’s
second of the night came not even 3 minutes later. Ilya Kovalchuk spoiled
Price’s shutout in the dying stages of the 3rd but it wasn’t enough to keep the
Devils’ playoff hopes alive.
Price stopped 20 of 21 shots in the win while Martin Brodeur kicked aside 26
shots. There weren’t many powerplays in this one as New Jersey was
scoreless on their lone man advantage while the Habs were 1 for 2. Yes, a
game where Montreal had more powerplays than their opponent.
HW 3 Stars of the Night:
1st Star: Mathieu Darche (2 goals, +2 rating, 3 shots, 2 hits,
The saying goes, "Good things happen when you go to the net."
Evidently, good things also happen when you put your stick on the ice while
driving the net. Both of his goals came on redirections from Brian Gionta
and they weren’t just little tips either, they really changed direction.
Right now, he is complementing Gomez and Gionta quite well.
2nd Star: P.K. Subban (1 goal, 4 shots, 3 hits, 24:20 TOI)
Any time you play in New Jersey, offence will come at a premium and he
supplied a good chunk of it as he led all Montreal defencemen in shots while
also tying for the team lead in hits. Though an unofficial stat, he also
led the team in going in circles as he used that to stave off New Jersey
attackers more than once. He made a bad play leading to the penalty shot
but certainly bounced back.
3rd Star: Carey Price (20 saves on 21 shots, 1.00 GAA, .952 SV%)
He didn’t have to do a whole lot in this game but with the score staying at
1-0 for as long as it did (over 30 minutes), any save really becomes a key one
to preserve the lead. After a rough night in Carolina, this was a decent
bounce back effort.
Honourable Mention: Mike Cammalleri (1 assist, 7 shots, 19:05
I could easily give this to Gionta (2 assists, +2) and it would be justified
but I wanted to highlight Cammalleri here. Though he didn’t score, this
was the most engaged he has been in a game for a while now and it showed as he
led all players in shots on goal and shots attempted. Of all the positives
from this win, this may be the biggest, him starting to return to form.
Stat of the Night: The faceoff dot, as it often is on the road,
was troublesome in this game. The Habs as a whole were 22/50 for 44%.
When you take away Tomas Plekanec’s efforts (11/15, surprisingly strong given
his documented struggles on the draw away from the Bell Centre), the rest of the
team combined for a miserable 11/35, good for a 31.4% success rate.
The Hamilton Bulldogs moved closer to clinching a playoff spot with a 3-2
shootout win over Manitoba on Saturday afternoon, leaving their magic number at
1 point. The spot would be clinched with an Abbotsford loss in a game set
for late on Saturday night.