Hurricanes-Canadiens: Carey Price, Andrei Kostitsyn Bail Out Weak Habs' Effort
Montreal 3 Carolina 2 (Bell Centre)
posted by Rocket
Wow! Andrei Kostitsyn scored with just over two minutes left in the third period to tie the game. In overtime Carey Price was brilliant as Carolina outshot Montreal 7-to-1. Price shut down each of the six Hurricanes' shooters making some spectacular saves in the shootout. Maxim Lapierre scored the lone shootout goal for the win.
Bell Centre fans left happy and the Canadiens had two points, their first win at home in November.
But, wait a minute. Prior to the shootout, overtime, and last three minutes of the third period, this game was a dud. Other than for a handful of players, it was a lackluster effort by the Canadiens.
Let's not forget that Carolina came into the game last in points and goals scored in the conference and without a win on the road. It should also be noted that the Canes were without Cam Ward, Eric Staal, and Joni Pitkanen.
One more not-so-minor detail. Carolina's starting goaltender, Michael Leighton was injured in the second period while stretching making a glove save. He was replaced by Manny Legace who was winless in four starts. The Habs weak offense proceeded to make Legace look like a star. In fact, it was the first time in 13 games that the opposition had scored fewer than three goals against the Hurricanes.
The Habs were outhit 24-14 and outplayed for the majority of the game. Only the heroics of Carey Price game them a chance to win. There was a standing ovation for Price at the end of overtime. Chants of CA-REY,CA-REY filled the Bell Centre to start the shootout.
Coach Jacques Martin was more modest in praising his goaltender, "Carey played a good game but is still a work in progress. He has lots of things to improve and work on."
Besides Price, Kostitsyn had one of his better games of the year. In addition to scoring the tying goal, he was physical, created scoring chances, and was good on the forecheck and backcheck. Kostitsyn didn't appear on the scoresheet for Habs first goal but he made the play by going to the net, taking the defense and providing a screen. Andrei even won a draw in his own end against the vaunted face-off man, Rod Brind'Amour.
Tomas Plekanec had two assists and continues to be the Canadiens most consistent forward. Max Pacioretty played with Plekanec and Kostitsyn and scored his first goal in the last 12 games. The second line was the Canadiens best of the game.
None of the other Habs were deserving of positive mention for this game. It would be a reach to credit Jay Leach for his steady play or to recognize that Guillaume Latendresse awoke from his season-long snooze to deliver four hits.
The Canadiens fourth line struggled in the game and was limited in ice time. Being caught in the offensive zone created an an odd man rush for Carolina. Josh Gorges couldn't catch Brandon Sutter and the Hurricanes had their first goal.
Due to the depleted defense corps Jaroslav Spacek is playing more than he should. Spacek also seems to be nursing an injury. A stretch pass from Spacek in the second period was intercepted creating a 3-on-2 for the Carolina and their second goal.
Canadiens will have to raise their level of play with Washington and Detroit on the schedule this Friday and Saturday.
Rocket's three stars
1. Carey Price
2. Andrei Kostitsyn
3. Tomas Plekanec
3. Brandon Sutter
3. Matt Cullen
(photo credit: Getty)
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