Montreal 3, Washington 4 SO (Bell Centre)
posted by Rocket
The Canadiens suffered a loss tonight, bringing their season record to 12-12-2. But is it possible that the dark cloud of despair hanging over Montreal fans is starting to lift?
After being down, 2-0, the Canadiens came back to go ahead of the Washington Capitals, and came within 11 seconds of defeating one of the elite teams in the Eastern conference.
The Habs took three of four points from Washington in their two games this season.
And is there not a silver lining in all the injury-riddled lineup? Let's be clear. The Canadiens are a better team with a healthy Andrei Markov, Andrei Kostitsyn, Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta.
However, if the Canadiens don't have a rash of injuries...
- Do we really get to see the warrior-like effort by Jaroslav Spacek and Roman Hamrlik?
- Can we truly appreciate the versatility of Glen Metropolit and Travis Moen?
- Are we treated to the solid, give-everything-on-every-shift play by Ryan White and Tom Pyatt?
All are goood experience building situations that will bode well for the team when the injured Habs return to the lineup.
While I wish coach Martin could prepare the team well enough for a good start, one really has to admire this team, who refuses to give up.
And in the absence of a captain, we must acknowledge the leadership of their 22-year-old goaltender, who keeps the Canadiens in every game until they can get on track.
Tonight was no exception. With 1:41 gone in the second period, it was Carey Price who, with his team down 2-0, stopped Alexander Ovechkin on a breakaway. Cue the comeback!
Four minutes later, Jaroslav Spacek scored a powerplay goal with Max Pacioretty screening at the top of the crease.
Similarly, Price made a spectacular save on Jay Beagle (pictured above) at 10:35 of the second period. Bell Centre fans chanted CA-REY, CA-REY!
Three minutes later, Sergei Kostitsyn tipped a Roman Hamrlik point shot. Tomas Plekanec corralled the rebound and backhanded it past Varlamov.
Moen was the other two-goal scorer for the Canadiens. Pacioretty and Kostitsyn had strong games for the Habs.
On defense, it was another solid game for Spacek, as he defended Ovechkin. In addition to his goal and an assist, Spacek blocked six shots. Hamrlik blocked five shots to add to his two assists.
Hamrlik logged more than 25 minutes but was surpassed tonight by both Plekanec and Mike Cammalleri. Cammalleri led the Canadiens with five shots.
The large ice-time totals resulted from coach Martin shortening his bench. Jay Leach played 1:11. James Wyman played 2:50. Kyle Chipchura had only 5:09 ice-time with, curiously, 1:19 coming on the power-play.
While Ovechkin had a goal, an assist and eight shots, he was not credited with any hits, which is rare, given his style of play.
Canadiens now prepare for their first December game against the Leafs on Tuesday.
Rocket's three stars
1. Carey Price
2. Eric Fehr
3. Jaroslav Spacek
Special mentions: Ovechkin, Hamrlik, Moen