Canadiens-Rangers: Game of the Week Lives Up to Billing

Chris GschwendtnerCorrespondent IFebruary 3, 2008

The Super Bowl wasn't the only source of sports entertainment on Sunday.

The New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens battled at the Bell Centre in a very thrilling show. Hard hits, great goals, huge saves, and even a penalty shot were a part of this contest. 

Montreal's No. 2-ranked power play scored three times, including Sergei Kostitsyn's penalty shot, which gave them a 3-0 lead and brought the crowd to their feet. The famous "Olé" chant could be heard throughout the rafters early in the second period. 

However, the Rangers did not quit, scoring five unanswered goals for the 5-3 victory.  Nigel Dawes beautiful spin-o-rama set up Chris Drury for a tap in go-ahead goal halfway through the third period. Martin Straka scored late to secure the win for the Rangers.

Looking beyond the game story, these two teams fought their hearts out. After Montreal relinquished the lead, the game became much more physical. Alex Kovalev landed an undetected flying elbow to Rangers' Ryan Hollweg. A few shifts later, Hollweg checked Kostitsyn from behind into the boards, which lead to a scrum and a scrap between Francis Boullion and Colton Orr. Hollweg was assessed a game misconduct and ejected from the game.

Chris Drury's game winner was one of many highlight reel goals on the day. Kovalev's power play goal was a result of a tic-tac-toe play past the Rangers defense. There could have been more, had some of the pretty passing plays by the Montreal Canadiens been finished off.

Huet and Lundqvist made some spectacular saves, keeping both teams within reach of a victory. Lundqvist seems be "on again" when it comes to his back-and-forth play. He has won four of his last five starts.

Even the coaches were into the game on Sunday. Guy Carboneau matched Mike Komisarek against Jaromir Jagr all game. Head coach Tom Renney of the New York Rangers did all he could to get the hard-nosed defensemen off of Jagr; giving the superstar double shifts and switching line combinations.

In the end, multiple hits by Komisarek and battles in the corners between the two kept Jagr off the score sheet.

The game was a great display of how entertaining hockey can be. I can't wait until next week's "Game of the Week" on NBC featuring the Stanley Cup Champs Anaheim Ducks, and the Cup favorites, the Detroit Red Wings.

This Super Bowl Sunday wasn't just about the NFL, and that's all the hardcore hockey fan can ask for.