Two games in two nights? No problem. The Montreal Canadiens played a perfect record game en route to a 4-1 win over the the Detroit Red Wings. It was their sixth straight victory, a string that started in Buffalo with Dustin Tokarski in goal.
The backup picked up his third win of the season and made big saves when the team needed him to, especially in the third period. Detroit out-shot Montreal 19-7 in the final frame and 29-19 overall.
Tokarski outplayed seasoned veteran Jimmy Howard, who looked weak on goals by Brandon Prust and Brendan Gallagher. Prust fooled Howard with a no-look shot to make it 1-0 as Sergei Gonchar stepped out of the penalty box to earn himself a free plus-one. Meanwhile, Gallagher closed out the evening with arguably the most Gallagher goal ever.
Gallagher scored top shelf while sitting on his rear end from behind the Detroit net while being cross-checked repeatedly by defenseman Jonathan Ericsson. Don't believe me? Watch:
Montreal forced a number of turnovers in the first period but eventually ran into penalty trouble. Manny Malholtra and the Canadiens' PK unit got the job done. The lone Red Wings goal came shortly after a heavy shot by Dekeyser detached Tokarski's helmet. The refs missed it and Riley Sheahan scored his second of the season with Tokarski still fuming.
Sheahan's goal cut Montreal's lead back down to two just minutes after Tomas Plekanec had made it 3-0.
Plekanec's line with Alex Galchenyuk and Gallagher contributed both third period goals and you have to wonder if Michel Therrien's top nine tinkering is done, at least for awhile. Prust and Jiri Sekac have rejuvenated Lars Eller's game while Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau finally fits in with Desharnais and Pacioretty.
P.K. Subban also scored on a goal that caught Kyle Quincey a little too close to home before finding the back of the net.
- Detroit pulled Howard with over five minutes left to play in the third period. By some horrible miracle, Montreal couldn't put it away. By my count, Pacioretty could have had any empty-net hat-trick.
- I was really hoping Tokarski would sail one down the ice for a goal so we could see the look on Carey Price's face.
- Mike Weaver only played four shifts in the second period, a little over two minutes on the penalty-kill. With seven defensemen at his disposal, Therrien seems to be employing them by role.
- Montreal has out-scored opponents 24 to 7 during their six game win streak.
- Is there a better player in the league at absorbing a hit than Eller? He may not have found the scoresheet tonight but Eller continues to generate chances, whether he's taking a check to make a play to create a 4-on-2 situation or simply carrying the puck in himself.
- Watching Eller match up against Johan Franzen tonight, it's hard not to compare The Great Dane to The Mule. Both have played their best hockey in the post-season.
- Galchenyuk missed the start of the third period while he got patched up after taking an innocent Plekanec dump in off the chin at the end of the second. He came back in time to assist on Gallagher's goal.
Next up: Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins roll into town on Tuesday. Can the Habs make it seven straight?