On December 28th, 2009, a Bob Gainey 2009 UFA signing scored the 20,000th goal in Montreal Canadiens history. Last night, a Bob Gainey 2009 UFA signing scored the 20,000th NHL goal in Montreal Canadiens history. In both games, the Canadiens were outscored by double against a team that was below them in the standings.
In 2009, the Canadiens had just been buoyed by the return of Andrei Markov returning from injury, a slashed tendon on the top of his foot, courtesy of Carey Price's skate. The Habs were fourth in their division with a 19-18-3 record and 7th overall in the Eastern Conference.
In 2013, Markov has been healthy from the start, and the Canadiens ended an 11 game points streak in Long Island where they went 8-0-3. The Habs are first in their division and first in the Eastern Conference with a 14-5-4 record.
But about the game itself...
Things were looking pretty good after the first period, with the new top line of Alex Galchenyuk and Michael Ryder flanking Tomas Plekanec giving the Habs a 1-0 lead. However as EOTP warned in the morning, the Habs taking penalties changed the flow of the game.
It took the Islanders' deadly powerplay just 34 seconds into Alexei Emelin's slashing penalty at the top of the second period to even the score. From there Montreal allowed the Islanders to basically have free reign in their zone the rest of the way through, and with Carey Price not at the top of his game, it wasn't long before the dam broke.
Tavares finished the job late in the game, but the Canadiens never really mounted a comeback. Therrien pulling the goalie at the end was basically putting an extra nail in a coffin that was already buried.
But a glance at the standings shows the Montreal Canadiens still in first place. The sky is not falling. Last season could you imagine going 11 straight games without a regulation loss? This team has so much potential, and we've only scratched the surface.
For reaction from the winning side, check out Lighthouse Hockey's game recap.