The Montreal Canadiens haven't allowed a goal at home by the Toronto Maple Leafs since April of 2010. With one regular season game to play at the Bell Centre on February 24, it could be a full year's whitewash for the Blue and White
At the rate they are going, it could very well happen. Carey Price made 27 saves on the night, for his sixth shutout of the season, but the fans voting him as Second Star was a testament that the Habs netminder had a relatively easy night.
Phil Kessel, who Leafs GM Burke basically gambled the franchise's future on, is now at or over 59 shots on goal without a goal. Burke's latest acquisition, Joffrey Lupul, was a non-factor on the night and didn't record a single shot on goal.
The biggest breakdown in Leafs land seems to be their defence, that allowed a team that's usually critiqued for not going to the net to do just the opposite tonight. So much for the defensive minded blueprint that Burke envisioned at the season's start with Tomas Kaberle, Dion Phaneuf, Mike Komisarek and the now dealt Francois Beauchemin anchoring the Leafs blueline. In fact a rearguard considered on the bubble, Luke Schenn, has been the only one to respond and leads his teams in hits.
Ok that's enough about the Leafs for one post. How about the winning team?
Such as, how about David Desharnais? He's been given the green light to find an apartment and hasn't slowed down since his callup from the Hamilton Bulldogs. Desharnais' work behind the net set up Benout Pouliot's 12th goal of the season, that proved to be the game-winner. He was also 12-4 on the draw.
How about Ryan White, who got not only the post-game interview on HNIC, but also kudos from Donald S. Cherry for his bump and grind work?
A nice note by Arpon Basu on Twitter: "So, in case you've lost count, Habs Max Pacioretty has 6-5-11 in last 9.5 games." Pacioretty did leave the game in the third period, favoring his left arm after taking a hit on the boards. He appeared to be grinning after the initial contact, and may have left as a precautionary measure.
The Habs youth group were not the only ones who faired well on the evening. Roman Hamrlik led his team in TOI with 25:15, added two assists and blocked SIX Leafs shots. With Hal Gill sitting out a second straight game, and not even in the morning skate, expect the veteran rearguard to be picking up a lot of the slack until Gill's return.
Scott Gomez also appeared to have returned to for, well for this game anyways. The Habs centre set up Desharnais' goal on a perfect pass in front of Giguere's crease. Andrei Kostitsyn laid out four hits to lead the Habs in that category, but a very undisciplined shove cost him two minutes for boarding. Lars Eller spent most of his limited ice time with Pouliot and Desharnais, but took a hooking call early in the third period. Before anyone jumps the gun on Eller, the guy we traded to get him was pulled midway into the second period, after allowing three goals on 20 shots.
The Habs are now tied in points with the Washington Capitals, but remain in 6th spot, as the Caps have a game in hand. They'll host the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, before embarking on a trip to Western Canada.
Mathieu Darche, who also missed his second consecutive game, did skate Saturday morning and is expected to return on Tuesday.
Mike Cammalleri and James Wisniewski are scheduled for a conference call on Monday, to discuss the upcoming Heritage Classic against the Calgary Flames. Hopefully Cammalleri will give us some clues as to weather or not he will be ready to play the big outdoor game, that he has been looking forward too for most of the season.
Three Stars: 1. Davis Desharnais 2. Carey Price 3. Benoit Pouliot
|10:12 MTL||Benoit Pouliot, 12 (David Desharnais, 6 Roman Hamrlik, 19) (TOR: 35 8 23 84 81 41 MTL: 44 20 57 31 58 53)|
|11:52 MTL||Brian Gionta, 21 (Max Pacioretty, 9) (TOR: 35 15 19 16 2 42 MTL: 21 6 14 31 76 67)|
|06:19 MTL||David Desharnais, 5 (PP) (Scott Gomez, 22 Roman Hamrlik, 20) (TOR: 35 46 37 3 2 MTL: 44 11 46 31 58 68)|
More game reaction:
The losing side at Pension Plan Puppets