Habs evade Flames flurry in overtime

MONTREAL CANADA - JANUARY 17: Lars Eller #81 of the Montreal Canadiens celebrates his first period goal with team mates during the NHL game against the Calgary Flames at the Bell Centre on January 17 2011 in Montreal Quebec Canada. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

It looked like it would be an easy win, and it seemed to freshadow that the upcoming HEritage Classic between these same two teams would be less than a classic.

The Montreal Canadiens scored four straight goals, chasing Miikka Kiprusoff from the Calgary Flames goal. You would think that would be enough, but once a Calgary goaltending change was made the Canadiens stopped skating.

The Flames scored four straight goals of their own, chasing Alex Auld from his first home start at the Bell Centre. Carey Price, who was hoping for a rest, before tomorrow's start against the Bufflao Sabres, was called out in relief.


Price only needed to make four saves in his 18+ minutes of play to earn the win, after P.K. Subban ripped a wrist shot past Henrik Karlsson at 1:06 of overtime for the 5-4 victory.

It was another night where the Canadiens seemed to sit back and let a lead slip away, much similar to Saturday against the New York Rangers

I can't fault Auld, who let in the four goals on seven shots. In three situations the Habs netminder had no support in front of his crease, allowing Rene Bourque, Jarome Iginla (he'll get credit) and Alex Tanguay to move or screen him at their leisure. The Ales Kotalik was the only one I really felt that Auld would want back, but a goalie naturally wants all of them back.

"It wasn't the way I envisioned it," Auld said post game. "But we ended up with the win, and that's the most important thing. You just have to move on and learn from it."

The games Three Stars, voted by the fans, were right on the money. Something I suspect will be a little tainted come Saturday, when Saku Koivu returns.

Subban played a solid 27:13, despite a brain fart on the bench that resulted in a too many men call against the Canadiens in the third period, and also picked up an assist on the night.

"Gomez made such a nice pass and Gio (Brian Gionta) was driving to the net to give me the open space," Subban said on the winning goal. "I just buried my head and took the shot."

Mike Cammalleri picked up an assist on Lars Eller's third goal of the season, then raced out of the penalty box to fire a classic Cammalleri shot past Kiprusoff for the second goal of the night.

The game's Third Star, Andrei Kostitsyn, continues to feed off of his chat with Jacques Martin. The Belarusian scored the third goal of the game, and led the team in shots on gaol (4) and hits (3). Whether or not it's just a streaky surge in a contract year remains to be seen. If it is a streak, let's hope it continues for a longer period over a short one.

The honourable mention in my book goes to Scott Gomez, who set up the Subban winner and was a dominating 13-2 in the faceoff circle.

The Canadiens now shuffle off to Buffalo to visit the Sabres tomorrow night, and move into sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings. More important, they remain pace with the Boston Bruins, who won earlier in the day, to stay two points back in the Northeast Division.

More on the game from the Flames side, via Matchsticks and Gasoline

 

   SCORERS
  First period
04:27 MTL Lars Eller, 3 (Michael Cammalleri, 18 Tomas Plekanec, 22) (CGY: 12 34 6 40 18 5   MTL: 75 35 13 14 76 81)
11:42 MTL Michael Cammalleri, 13 (Jeff Halpern, 12 P.k. Subban, 13) (CGY: 12 34 13 40 26 5   MTL: 75 15 35 13 94 76)
  Second period
03:14 MTL Andrei Kostitsyn, 12 (Yannick Weber, 4 Jaroslav Spacek, 13) (CGY: 34 10 18 33 20 7   MTL: 6 35 32 14 46 68)
06:34 MTL Jeff Halpern, 7 (Travis Moen, 5 Jaroslav Spacek, 14) (CGY: 34 13 10 33 20 7   MTL: 6 15 35 32 46 68)
13:26 CGY Rene Bourque, 15 (Olli Jokinen, 17 Cory Sarich, 8) (CGY: 13 26 33 7 17 35   MTL: 44 15 35 32 20 46)
18:48 CGY Jay Bouwmeester, 5 (CGY: 8 12 40 4 5 35   MTL: 75 35 52 94 58 76)
  Third period
01:37 CGY Ales Kotalik, 3 (Olli Jokinen, 18) (CGY: 13 26 5 7 17 35   MTL: 44 11 21 35 20 67)
02:56 CGY Alex Tanguay, 11 (Jarome Iginla, 23 Brendan Morrison, 17) (CGY: 8 12 40 28 4 35   MTL: 6 35 13 14 76 81)
  First overtime
01:06 MTL P.k. Subban, 4 (Scott Gomez, 17 Hal Gill, 4) (CGY: 13 10 5 7 35   MTL: 75 11 21 31 76)
 
   Team Shots Faceoffs
 
Flames
Canadiens
1 2 3 OT - 1 Total
10 10 8 0 28
12 10 1 0 29
Won Lost
21 30
30 21
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