Well the Montreal Canadiens chance to win five straight came to an end. Given they played the previous night, and were coming off a 5-day break, a single point would have been satisfactory..
Unfortunately that was not the case, as the New York Rangers came out with the 5-3 victory.
Now I am not one to solely put the blame on the officiating, but this may be the exception that proves the rule. The crew of Tim Peel and Dean Martin, I mean Morton, made a mockery of the game. And to be honest, it was on calls on both sides, albeit the Habs were the primary victims.
I wasn't the only one with this observation as several MSM on Twitter, and the coverage team on HNIC all felt the same way.
The catastrophe started when Mike Blunden jumped over the boards and nailed Brandon Dubinsky with a clean hit. Dubinsky took exception and raced after Blunden. In the mean time, Rangers captain Ryan Callahan got into the ruckus too and dropped the gloves with Blunden.
Callahan and Blunden both received fighting majors, and Blunden also received a minor for interference. Interference, for hitting the puck carrier with a clean hit! Say what? And with Callahan jumping in, where was the instigator call?
The interference call may be derived from the fact there were six Canadiens on the ice, and it is appropriately treated as so. If someone can check the rule book to clarify that, please do. Regardless the missed call on Callahan spurred the momentum.
With Hal Gill also in the box for a roughing call, the Rangers wound up with a 2-minute two man advantage. They capitalized on the power play when Erik Christensen scored his first of the season at 4:57.
The Canadiens saw four more minor penalties in succession, several calls very borderline.
The Rangers second goal came at 10:28, just after a hooking call to David Desharnais had ended. Dan Girardi rushed in off the point, capitalizing on a weak Jaroslav Spacek poke-check, beating Carey Price.
Michael Del Zotto's goal at 17:40, was a legit goal resulting from a blocked shot that had the Habs forwards chasing. The Rangers moved up ice and pressed the Canadiens defense back. Del Zotto followed up and took a perfect pass from Artem Anisimov and deked Price.
Despite the deflating lead after 20 minutes, the Canadiens kept their resilience and finally had a call go their way.
Max Pacioretty got the Habs on the board at 2:04 of the second period, gobbling up a fat rebound off the pad of Henrik Lundqvist.
Lee and Co. then dropped the ball on a holding call to Ryan McDonagh, as Brian Gionta clearly stepped on the puck.
The Canadiens power play then capitalized at 12:20, with Andrei Kostitsyn redirecting a Tomas Plekanec pass in the slot.
With the visitors down by a goal, it looked like the momentum was swinging their way. That was until there was 1:10 left in the period. After Erik Cole rang a shot off the post, the Rangers moved back up ice and got the puck to their money maker, Brad Richards. The New York center came down the middle and sniped a wrist shot past Price. The Canadiens netminder appeared out of position, but was partially screened by his own defenseman on the shot.
From that point on, the refs figured they had done their damage. That was until 13:19 when P.K. Subban was given an unsportsmanlike penalty call for, oh wait for....snowing the goalie? Apparently this infraction happened in another NHL game last week, but when the option is either crash into the net or a defenseman, or...stop! What's a guy to do?
Montreal was not willing to give up the fight, and with their goalie pulled managed to get within one when Brian Gionta netted his third of the season at 18:10.
Callahan added an empty net goal forty seconds later to put it put of reach.
Players and coaches won't question a call publicly, as we know that just opens up more cans of worms. Gionta did say post game that they just had to be more disciplined. "We need to be smarter than that," the captain said, commenting on the Subban call.
The Canadiens return home to face the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday.
Winning reaction from Blueshirt Banter