As Susan Lucci's Daytime Emmy losing streak ultimately ended, the Montreal Canadiens 199 minute and one second run of not scoring a goal is also over.
The Canadiens scored twice, in an eleven second span, and finished with a 3-1 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers.
Montreal's opening two goals came in a manner that the club have failed miserably at accomplishing in their last three games, getting to the net.
Roman Hamrlik's fifth goal of the season came after a flurry of players got their whacks at the puck. With Thrashers goalie Ondrej Pavelec out of position, and his own players falling into the net, the Habs' veteran rearguard swung around the back of the net and tucked the puck just inside the post.
The home team played solid at both ends, and they had to in some tough battles for the puck. Montreal used the long pass and their speed to stretch out the Thrashers defense, and it seemedto work to negate an equally fast Atlanta club,
For the fist time since their 8-1 win in Minnesota, the Candiens played like a determined team. If they hadn't done so, it would certainly have meant that they learned nothing from Jacques Martin's practice session this past Sunday.
In doing so, it gave Carey Price an easier night than usual. The Canadiens netminder made 27 saves on the night, and when needed made the big stops on his way to his 35th win of the season.
Price appearedto be on his way to his ninth shutout of the season, but...
OK, so can someone explain to me how two referees can miss a guy 6'7", who is right in the play, get high-sticked and cut? No? Well, somehow it happened.
Bill McCreary and Kyle Rehman completely dropped the ball as Hal Gill took an errant, stick just off his eye, from Eric Boulton. Everyone on the ice, and in the Bell Centre clearly saw Gill lean back and cover his face. The play continued and Boulton got the puck across the crease to Nik Antropov. Possible shutout stolen!
After a "meeting of the minds", the goal stood despite the vocal concernsof both Gill and Canadiens associatecoach Kirk Muller, who concluded his discussion with a simple word, "F*%k!
So instead of what should have been a four-minute minor, and a two goal lead, the Canadiensfound themselves up by one goal with 11:25 to play. Perhaps out of guilt the officials tried to make up for it by giving Dustin Byfuglien a tripping call that could have gone either way.
The Thrashers goal gave them motivation, as they began to put more pressure on the Canadiens. Fortunately Price and the Montreal defense kept the visitors at bay.
Andrei Kostitsyn put it away with an empty net goal, his 20th of the season.
The win gives the Canadiens sole possession of sixth place in the Eastern Conference, and pretty much eliminates the Thrashers from contention.
The Habs now head to Raleigh, to face another team clawing for the last playoff spot, on Wednesday. The Carolina Hurricanes beat the Washington Capitals 3-2 , in a shootout, to stay three points back of the eighth place Buffalo Sabres.
Worst play of the night? P.K. Subban made a brutal "western roll" that cost him an unspotsmanlike penalty. Even ex-Habs Maxim Lapierre would have said, "You gotta be kidding me!" A runner up was the Habs too many men call, that saw seven skater, and Price, on the ice at the same time. I know Martin emphasized bodies to the net, but...
Response on the Thrashers side from Bird Watchers Anonymous
|13:07 MTL||Mathieu Darche, 10 (Scott Gomez, 29) (ATL: 36 27 29 5 31 8 MTL: 55 22 11 21 52 31)|
|12:56 MTL||Roman Hamrlik, 5 (Jeff Halpern, 15 Mike Cammalleri, 26) (ATL: 80 29 16 31 4 8 MTL: 44 15 13 14 20 31)|
|08:35 ATL||Nik Antropov, 14 (Eric Boulton, 4) (ATL: 36 80 27 29 5 31 MTL: 75 55 15 13 14 31)|
|18:40 MTL||Andrei Kostitsyn, 20 (Paul Mara, 4) (ATL: 80 6 16 14 49 4 MTL: 55 22 32 46 31 81)|