Montreal continues to take care of business on the road as on Friday night,
the Habs doubled up New Jersey by a score of 4-2.
The Devils got a bit of a boost in their lineup for this one as veterans
Patrik Elias, Michael Ryder, and Martin Havlat all returned to the lineup.
Montreal made only one change from their victory over Florida, that being
between the pipes as Carey Price made the start, appearing in his 400th game in
Montreal – New Jersey matchups have a history of being slow starters and this
game was no exception. The Habs had four shots on goal in the first 2:19
of the game…and had all of three the rest of the way. The Devils
couldn’t muster up much themselves, getting just six shots against Price in a
scoreless frame. It was the third straight scoreless opening period for
Montreal; their last first period goal came back on December 20th against
In the second, the Habs opened up the scoring although it wasn’t them who put
the puck in the net. Michael Bournival came down the boards on the rush
and passed it towards the net; the puck bounced off Jon Merrill past Keith
Kincaid. Late in the period, the Canadiens doubled their lead as Max
Pacioretty snapped one home on the powerplay. It wasn’t all good news for
the Habs though as P-A Parenteau left the game and was visibly shaken after a
hit from Tim Sestito. He did not return. The shot tally was the
inverse of the opening frame as this time it was the Devils with seven shots and
Montreal with 6.
Things were looking good early in the third as Bournival picked up his second
on the night, potting home a rebound in the crease. Unfortunately for
Montreal, some of their former players came back to haunt their former club as
Ryder and Mike Cammalleri each scored to cut the lead to one. Alex
Galchenyuk took a high sticking penalty with under five minutes left but the
penalty kill got the job done. Tomas Plekanec sealed the victory with a
late empty netter, his first road goal in nine games.
Price made 22 saves for the win while Kincaid, a surprise starter for the
Devils (who will start Cory Schneider on Saturday instead), also turned aside 22
shots. Montreal was 1/4 with the man advantage while New Jersey was 0/3.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
1st Star: P.K. Subban – The $9 million blueliner didn’t have
the flashiest of games but he certainly was effective. He made some fine
reads in the defensive zone (including a couple of nice zone clears in the dying
minutes with the Devils’ net empty) while his passing skills were on display.
Stats: 3 assists, +2 rating, 0 shots, 1 takeaway, 2 blocks, 27:28 TOI
2nd Star: Max Pacioretty – Michel Therrien really leaned on the
Habs’ top winger and Pacioretty rewarded him for it. He scored on a nice
shot with the man advantage while playing particularly well shorthanded. I
fear that they overused him a bit too much in this one, hopefully that doesn’t
come back to bite them against the Penguins.
Stats: 1 goal, even rating, 6 shots, 23:19 TOI
3rd Star: Michael Bournival – While I don’t think he really
stood out in a big way, he did score two goals, including the game winner.
That has to count for something. If Parenteau can’t go on Saturday (my
uneducated guess says that’s likely to happen), Bournival would be a good pick
to slide into his spot.
Stats: 2 goals, +1 rating, 3 shots, 8:54 TOI
Honourable Mention: Brendan Gallagher – Gallagher was his
typical feisty self and had one particularly dangerous rush in the 2nd.
Galchenyuk and Pacioretty are drawing most of the attention on his line and that
should continue to give Gallagher a bit more time and space to make things
Stats: 1 assist, even rating, 3 shots, 3/5 faceoffs, 17:39 TOI
Stat of the Night: 3 – The number of Montreal prospects who
have moved onto the semi-finals at the World Juniors. Only Artturi
Lehkonen’s (Finland) tournament is over after a loss to Sweden.