After a very convincing win over the Boston Bruins tuesday, the Montreal Canadiens came in New Jersey, looking forward to turn things around, with four points over four before the All-Star break.
02/05/02. February 5th 2002, back when Jose Theodore still wore the "Bleu Blanc Rouge" was the last game that the Montreal Canadiens won in New Jersey. And even before that, the last goalie to register a win there was legend Patrick Roy, back in 1993.
15,9%. Things were not looking good for Guy Carbonneau's crew in the first period, when the Devils dominated all aspects of the game and took advantage of a penalty served by rookie Sergei Kostitsyn to score the first goal of the evening. With a 15.9% rate in power play, they kept coming with another man-advantage in the second period, giving to Patrik Elias the opportunity to score his second of the night. Still in the first fourty minutes, they shut down Montreal 3-1 with a two-men advantage.
20/20. It seems the sky is blue for Montreal no20 Smolinski since his return after an injury. Indeed, he had tonight a two point game (again!), scoring the first and second goals of his team.
The big 3. the 3rd period seemed to give place to two different teams, when Montreal bounced back with 3 unanswered goals, while New Jersey had only 3 shots on G Cristobal Huet. Saku Koivu tied the game 3-3 after directing a shot from D Mike Komisarek.
5 ft 10. Captain Saku Koivu raised a few doubts about his goal, as it was a matter of inches that decided wether or not he was touching the puck above the authorized height. The goal would not have been accorded if he made a high-stick. Well, is it possible that if he was more than 5 ft 10, it would have been even higher? Finally, it was a call to Toronto that turned on the light at the end of the tunnel for the Habs.
9 is fine. Chris Higgins made it 4-3 with five minutes to go in the third, with his first in his last 9 games, and a first win for Montreal after 9 losses in New Jersey; while Captain Koivu got his 9th goal of the year.
The 30s and the 40s. Montreal seems to gain confidence lately, recording so far 7-2-1 in January, along with a 45-points Kovalev (21-34), followed by 42-points super-center Tomas Plekanek (16-26); while having among them All-Star defensemen Andrei Markov with 34 points (11-23).
A new day has come: against Atlanta, G Cristobal Huet recorded his first win in shoutout, and Montreal got its first win of the season when being down by one after the first period. Against Boston, they got their first 8-goals scoring win, since October 2006 against former teammate Jose Theodore. Tonight is the team's first win in nine games in New Jersey, as well as the first win of the team this season after being down by two when begining the third period.
As reported on several post-game articles, some of the crew members did not appear present anymore in the plane back to Montreal. Alexei Kovalev, Mike Komisarek and Christopher Higgins are heading to New York for some family time; while Andrei Markov will leave for Atlanta in the morning, to have his first appearance at the NHL All-Star Games.