The whole hockey town of Montreal has been in panic mode for the past several days mourning over the four consecutive losses of their favourite team. During these rough times, the Habs stumbled in games against teams like Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Florida.
The loss to the Panthers was one that was unacceptable by any fan and the media sure made a big deal about. In addition, goaltender Carey Price's show of displeasure the game, tossing his bag around. In his interview with the media, he also dropped the f-bomb on national television.
It was a bad loss because even the coach said that the team lacked character and that itself is a big statement. The game today against Los Angeles was important for the Canadiens who, through the losing stretch, gave up the first goal and allowerd more than four goals per game.
The decrease of physicality, the confusion in the defensive zone, allowing many break-aways and below-par performance from the star players were all factors which contributed to this sequence.
Soemthing was wrong with the team. Coach Carbonneau then decided to do some line-juggling and decided to have one ''plugger'' (energy player) on every line. Sergei Kostitsyn had to watch from the pressbox because of his lack of contribution previously.
The game started with some jump from both teams and the Habs looked hungry for a victory. The first goal which the Kings thought they had scored was disallowed upon video review. Few minutes later, the Kings did score the first goal, yet again putting the Habs on their heels. In the same period, Tomas Plekanec later picked up a lose puck to tie the game at one.
The second period once again got off to a strong start. After a goaltender interference minor, the Canadiens were on a powerplay during which Denis Gauthier threw a dirty elbow in the face of defenseman Josh Gorges who was thrown off balance.
Andrei Kostitsyn scored just three seconds into the ensuing five minute major penalty. However, two bad giveaways by the Canadiens' defensemen lead to two goals for the Kinsg in the second period to give them a 3-2 lead.
In the beginning of the third period, the Habs seemed to play with no urgency getting only four shots on goal during 18 minutes. But Christopher Higgins scored a goal with two minutes left to tie the game on just the fifth shot of the period. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the goal because Higgins took down 19-year-old defenseman Drew Doughty to score the goal.
The Kings believed it should've been a penalty but fortunately for the Habs, it was ruled a goal. With 23 seconds left to play, during a powerplay, a slapshot from the point by Markov found its way through Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick. It was eventually accorded to Saku Koivu who seemed to have tipped it in.
The Montreal Canadiens who were two minutes away from dropping a fifth straight game could thank Carey Price for the 12 saves he made in the third period including three breakaways by Frolov. Those key saves allowed the Habs to stay in the game and battle back for this victory.
Although this comes as a huge sigh of relief for everyone, it is more reassuring. Going into tomorrow's matinee match-up with the mighty Boston Bruins, the Habs will feel like they have chance at this and the hockey Gods haven't cursed them forever. As Carbo pointed out, it's better to go in with a victory than a five-game losing streak.
Tomorrow presents a big test for the Habs who have always suited up to the mark against quality opponent. It will sure be a classic game not to be missed for sure.
What did you think of the hit on Gorges? Should Higgins should've been suspended? Do you think the Habs are ready to face the Bruins tomorrow?