An oddly played game with a satisfying conclusion.
The best player on the ice was Carey Price, once again. He was solid and made some spectacular saves and was perfect in the shootout. Saku Koivu, centred the best line of the night and scored the winner on the last shot of the shootout. Michael Ryder had another strong game creating chances and being physical. Josh Gorges seemed to be skating miles and was more involved in the offense. Streit, Markov and Hamrlik all had good games in the absence of Komisarek. Steve Begin delivered doses of energy (albeit a little reckless at times). Two fights in the game: Begin fought Hnidy. Earlier on, Lapierre picked Boston’s Lady Byng candidate for a fight. It was Axelsson’s first tussle in 8 years. In general though, the 3rd and 4th lines were less prominent tonight. The KPK line was quiet for stretches too.
The first period was penalty filled which made it difficult for both teams to establish a flow to their game. The second period was relatively slow. The third period had more of a playoff feel with a number of chances. This seemed to be a game that the Canadiens wanted to get through. They were happy to get the win without Mike Komisarek and happy to keep the streak alive over the Bruins.
Hockey Night in Canada has changed a lot in recent years, mostly for the worse. One glaring error is hiring someone with so little hockey knowledge and even less ability to convey a cogent thought. Of course, I’m speaking about P.J. Stock. More about this in an upcoming article but I would like to congratulate the CBC for something they have done right.
In a number of ways HNIC does a good job featuring minor hockey. It’s always a real treat (and even moreso for family and friends) to watched the opening introductions delivered by members of various small town minor hockey league teams from acoross Canada…and delivered with great enthusiasm. Tonight, it was the North End Flames from Thunder Bay, Ontario. Nice job guys!
Carbo starts the 4th line at home. urghhhh!
Sergei K, Ryder and Koivu have several chances. This line looks good already.
Markov with a good shot through Lucic who is screening Thomas. Canadiens with a early lead 1-0.
Lapierre fights with Axelsson..actually more wrestling than fighting.
Good cycle by Grabovski with Higgins and Kovalev.
Good save by Price. O’Byrne and Bouillon clear the crease.
Crazy play with Thomas reaching the bench before he realizes it is a Boston penalty and scrambles back.
Lucic penalty. Higgins, Ryder and Koivu on the PP.
Kovalev penalty…weak call.
Mark Savard all alone around crease. Price is patient, tracks him and makes great save near far post.
4 on 4. Savard with speed on wraparound. Price tangled up with defenseman and late to come across. Game tied 1-1.
Plekanec nice pass to Streit who wrists it to the net. Andrei K quick on the rebound and scores. Canadiens lead 2-1.
Wideman blast. Good save Price.
Bruins PP 4 on 3. Savard from circle spectacular glove save by Price.
Another good shift by Koivu and Ryder.
Another weak penalty call on Kovalev.
Boston outshot Montreal 16-12 in the first period.
Begin big hit on Reich. Good rebound control by Price.
O’Byrne big hit behind Bruin net.
Sturm crashes the net. price knocked down but makes 2 saves and covers.
Nokelainen left alone tips a Stuart shot past Price. Game tied 2-2.
2nd period is slow and dull. Habs lack intensity.
Koivu, Ryder and Sergei K with great pressure. Crowd comes to life.
Begin big hit on Hnidy. Begin & Hnidy fight.
Bruins continue to outshot Habs after two periods 25-19.
Shot from point tipped in front by Krejci. Caught by Price. Terrific save.
Streit to Plekanec all alone in slot. Save Thomas.
Chara holding Kovalev…no penalty call.
Ryder, Koivu and Sergei K continue to create chances. Big hit by Sergei K.
Kovalev dragged down in the slot. Tripping penalty Nokelainen.
KPK quiet on PP. Higgins, Ryder, Koivu with more pressure.
Kovalev feeds Andrei K with speed around Thomas but hits side of the net.
Big hit by Ryder. Pressure by Sergei K, Ryder and Koivu.
Kosto unfortunate penalty for chipping it over the glass.
Kovalev to streaking Gorges. Good save Thomas.
Price with saves on Chara (big slapshot from a few feet out), Kessel and Wideman.
Thomas with saves on Streit and Kovalev. Koivu scores the winner.
Canadiens win 3-2.
Canadiens win 3-2.
Rocket’s 3 stars:
1. Carey Price
2. Saku Koivu
3. Tim Thomas
2. Saku Koivu
3. Tim Thomas
(photo credit: AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ian Barrett)