On top of the (snow) hill: New Jersey vs Montreal (#71)

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    Rocket:

    Remember when I mentioned that I was nervous about this game? Turns out that it was just too much caffeine. After the return from a long road trip, the entire Canadiens team played very well. Good effort from all four lines.


    I’m not happy about the Habs giving up another 38 shots, but Carey Price was sensational!



    Pregame:

    Last game, Brunet was praising Brisebois. Tonight, he is critical of Komisarek. Brunet presents his evidence: in the past 15 games, Komisarek has no points, 27 PIM and is a minus 5. Conveniently missing from Benoit’s tally are Komisarek’s hits and blocked shots (MK is in the top two in the league in both categories). Komisarek was also named the Canadien’s nominee for the Masterton trophy. As usual, it seems that Brunet’s ‘analysis’ is determined by the name on the jersey rather than the play on the ice.

    First period:

    Plekanec, after being a game-time decision with lingering effects of the flu, makes a surprise start.

    Good start for the Habs. Great first shift for the KPK line. O’Byrne with a nice hit. Carey Price with a good save on a deflected shot.

    Koivu to the dressing room after taking a stick from Brodeur. Too bad Grabovski isn’t in the lineup.

    Andrei K with a wrap around. Good save by Brodeur.

    Good shift for the 4th line. Kostopoulos with a solid hit on Brookbank leads to a scoring chance. After bring the puck back down the ice, Kosto with a drop pass to Smolinski for the Canadiens first goal from a sharp angle. It was the kind of save normally made by Brodeur. Habs up 1-0.

    Andrei K with a 4 minute penalty for highsticking. Great saves by Price. Solid hits by Bouillon. Good clears by Markov. PK kills the double minor. Habs are clearing the zone much better tonight. Koivu is back.

    Sergei K great return pass to Koivu. His nice shot beats Brodeur. Nice work in front of the net by Higgins. Habs lead 2-0.

    Bad penalty near the end of the period by Kovalev.

    A great period of hockey for the Canadiens. Price was sensational with 20 saves. Kostopoulos, Sergei K and Bouillon also had a strong first period.

    Second period:

    Langenbrunner trips Markov. Canadiens first powerplay of the night. Great save by Brodeur on Kovalev from the slot. NJ kills the penalty.

    Langenbrunner and Markov back at it, this time tangling in Price’s crease. Meanwhile Komisarek makes a long pass to Streit at the NJ blueline. A quick pass to Sergei K, who makes a great pass to Lapierre for a goal. Habs up 3-0.

    Linesman misses NJ offside. Fortunately Habs clear the zone a second time.

    Ryder is forechecking well tonight. Good shift for Koivu, Higgins and Latendresse.

    Price makes a great save on Brylin. Streit uses good hustle to negate icing. Hard work is contagious!

    Period ends with New Jersey holding a 33-18 shot advantage after two. Price is absolutely sensational and is outplaying Brodeur again. Wow! Another good period for Sergei K.

    Third period:

    Kostopoulos with some great work behind the net to create a scoring chance. Same shift, he delivers a solid hit.

    Nice pass from Sergei K to Koivu Good save by Brodeur.

    Electricity in the Bell Centre. Chants of “Carey..Carey”.

    Big shot from O’Byrne saved by Brodeur…rebound to Sergei K. Another save by Brodeur.

    Carbo is resting Plekanec. Kovalev is playing with the Kostitsyn brothers.

    Price goes down after being high-sticked by Smolinski. Crowd chants “Carey..Carey”.

    Good work by Ryder and Lapierre. Ryder scores a well-deserved goal. Habs lead 4-0.

    Ryder searching for his second goal with a quick snap shot. Brodeur with a good glove save.

    Habs controlled the play in the third outshooting the Devils 15-5. PK was good again going 3 for 3 on the night.

    Standing ovation at the Bell Centre. Carbo grins. Price was sensational for the shutout! Great win for the Canadiens puts them back atop the (snow) hill: first in the conference!!

    Rocket’s 3 stars:

    1. Carey Price
    2. Sergei Kostitsyn
    3. Michael Ryder / Tom Kostopoulos (tie)

    (photo credit: AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)