Carey Price and the Habs are currently in the Western Conference, where they will face the San Jose Sharks, Phoenix Coyotes, LA Kings, and finally the Anaheim Ducks during the week.
They played the Sharks Tuesday night, with Captain Saku Koivu looking forward to meeting former teammate Craig Rivet for the first time since Rivet was traded a year ago. But the night was more special for the Sharks than it was for the captain, as Montreal lost 4-6.
The Sharks started the game with Patrick Marleau's early goal, 56 seconds into the first. Tomas Plekanek replied after two minutes with his 25th of the season. Later, Montreal Smolinski accidentally tripped his goalie, who lost balance and allowed Sharks Joe Thornton to make it 2-1. Ending the first, Montreal "sacochegate" Ryan O'Byrne got his first NHL goal to tie the game.
With a four on three, Joe Thornton got his second goal of the night in the second period from a pass by new Shark Brian Campbell. Plekanek replied again with five minutes to go. The Habs however went back to the dressing room down by one goal as Jody Shelley fired a puck almost from the blue line to get passed goalie Price who was already in butterfly style to score his first NHL goal.
Starting the third, Jonathan Cheechoo added to his team's lead, making it 5-3. Less than a minute later, Maxime Lapierre gave hope back to Montreal fans. However, Brian Campbell scored the final goal of the night, while Andrei Markov was in the box for a game misconduct.
Despite a few amazing stops, especially on a three-on-five penalty kill, it was not really Carey Price's night. Apart from allowing six goals, he suffered the Sharks attempts to break his door by pushing and disturbing him in his net. However, no call for interference was made despite coach Carbonneau and Price's complains. In his postgame interview, the young goalie declared it won't be the last time he will be disturbed by the other teams and will have to prepare for that.
Carbonneau also had a lot to say to the referees when Montreal's Mikhail Grabovski got cut by Pavelski's stick, resulting in only two minutes despite Grabovski's bleeding.
Blaming the referees for the loss would not help. Declaring that two of the Sharks goals should not have been allowed since Price got pushed on both would even be hopeless. (Some will say that I am a sore looser if I do so!)
On the other side, the Habs could have gotten more chances had they taken advantage of any of their seven power plays. Also, Price could have had played better on some shots, like Shelley's for instance.
A few words were exchanged during the game between both teams. Craig Rivet and his former teammate, Maxime Lapierre, argued a bit after Lapierre accused Rivet of cross-checking Chris Higgins. Josh Georges and his former teammates also had a few things to say to each other as the game got more tense.
Despite the loss, the team still woke up first in the Northeast Division, as the Ottawa Senators lost to Stanley Cups finals rivals the Anaheim Ducks Tuesday night. The Penguins Pittsburgh are now the Eastern Conference leaders, with the same points as the Habs, and are facing the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning tonight, with Sidney Crosby back in the lineup.
The Montreal Canadiens will play Wayne Gretzky's crew on Thursday, and are currently taking advantage of two days off with their families in Phoenix.
Coach Carbonneau will nevertheless come back with Price in the net, against Shane Doan and his team.
From a Montreal swimming in the snow, GO HABS GO!