A Sunburn and a Star
The Montreal Canadiens organization allowed their players to bring one guest along during their road trip in Phoenix, so the team could take advantage of a little break with three days between their games.
Some invited their fathers, others their wives or girlfriends. Activities were organized, such as golf, or fishing.
Visibly happy to get back in the net to face the Coyotes, Carey Price described to the journalists the fun time he had with Jaroslav Halak and other teammates, fishing and getting a memorable sunburn with only the area around the eyes unscathed.
But that would not stop him from making 37 saves in a 4-2 win two days after, and at the same time grabbing the first star of the game.
Looking forward to avenge his previous play against San Jose, Price took the first 40 minutes in stride, racking up 30 saves. Only his cousin Shane Doan was able to beat him, by deflecting a shot from star defenseman Ed Jovanovksi while Maxime Lapierre was in the box in the second period. Doan tied the game at 1-1, as Tomas Plekanek had opened the scoring four minutes earlier, helped by Markov (for his 200th assist) and Kovalev (500th assist).
The Coyotes' Michalek gave the lead to his team in the third, but the power play helped the Habs bounce back and tie the game on a goal by Saku Koivu. Jovanovski was sent to the box for roughing on Andrei Markov, who quickly broke the tie. Sergei Kostitsyn then made it 4-2, helped by Chris Higgins.
By the end of the night, Kovalev had three assists, and now has 72 points in 68 games. Chris Higgins got two assists.
The Great One Talks About Kovalev
In an interview, Wayne Gretzky lauded Kovalev's accomplishments, adding that the Russian phenomenon should be considered for the Hart Trophy (awarded to the most valuable player to his team). The Coyotes' head coach also considered Guy Carbonneau to be a candidate for the Jack Adams Trophy, honouring the coach who had brought the most to his team's success.
Grabovski's Not Happy
Frustrated to be put on the healthy scratch list against Phoenix, newly-arrived-from-Hamilton Mikhail Grabovski decided he would not take the plane with his teammates, and organized himself a way to get to LA. The organization did not hold any sanction against the player, but it seems he earned a spot on the media gallery for the second time next Saturday, while former King Tom Kostopoulos will be back in the lineup.
Last season, Sergei Samsonov declared to the media that he regretted signing a contract with the Canadiens. He was put on the scratch list for the last 19 games of the season. He is now like a fish under water with the Carolina Hurricanes, netting 23 points in 26 games.
Halak'it Like That
Jaroslav Halak will get his first real start (the one that actually starts at the first period!) of the season.
Halak had a tough start in the AHL, having been cut after training camp, but he took the time to redeem himself and has now the chance to prove more as Price's backup. Last year, he brought the team as close to the playoffs as possible while Cristobal Huet was injured.
Halak has played twice so far this season. The first came when he replaced Carey Price in the third period, in a 1-5 loss against the Carolina Hurricanes. In the second, he replaced Cristobal Huet, in January, against the NY Rangers in a 1-4 loss.
The Habs will face the LA Kings on Saturday late afternoon at 4.00 pm, and then the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night at 8.00 pm.
From Montreal, it's Friday night!