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Canadiens vs Hurricanes Game Recap: Two games, two wins. Finally.

It wasn't always pretty, but at the end of the day, the Habs came away with the two points, and a much-needed second straight win.

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

With nearly every game a must-win, it almost doesn't matter how they won this one.

Which is good, because it was a pretty rocky game for the Montreal Canadiens.

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As is tradition, Michel Therrien didn't mess with a winning lineup. Which meant that Nathan Beaulieu sat again, and Ben Scrivens played back-to-back games; the second time a goalie pulled double duty within the last week of action.

Right off the bat, the Habs were forced into their own zone by the Carolina Hurricanes, and then proceeded to spend the next few minutes there. A clearing attempt by Tom Gilbert was intercepted with disastrous results, as the Habs surrendered a Jeff Skinner goal 2:27 in. Things didn't get a whole lot better from there for a long time.

Although every line got decent looks, Cam Ward stood strong. Fortunately for the Habs, Ben Scrivens made some great saves of his own to keep the damage minimal.

Jeff Petry took the game's first penalty just after the twelve minute mark, and then followed two minutes of terror as the Habs' zone resembled nothing so much as a pinball machine. Luckily, the 'Canes missed several open nets in quick succession, and the Habs survived.

As the period drew to a close, the Habs seemed to find their feet a little bit more, and all four lines strung together some stronger shifts and began to even the play out. With thirty seconds left in the period, Scrivens made a sprawling save to keep the score 1-0, and the Habs peppered Ward with a lively salvo of shots to end the period, but to no avail.

The second period opened much like the first, and the Habs' luck held as the Hurricanes missed a wide open cage yet again. The momentum that the Canadiens had built at the end of the second was nowhere to be seen, and Dale Weise tempted fate by taking the second penalty of the game. This time around, the Habs were much more focused in their penalty-killing duties, and Max Pacioretty had two breakaway chances at one end while Scrivens traded some key — if flailing — saves at the other.

Right off the end of the penalty kill, Pacioretty received one more chance in front of Carolina's net, and rocketed a shot bar down to finish off a beautiful bit of passing by Andrei Markov — playing in his 900th game — and P.K. Subban.

Lars Eller played yet another dominant game, looking good all night, and stopped what could have been the game-winner with a huge sliding shot block in front of the net. The defensive effort allowed the play to turn back up-ice, where Tomas Fleischmann drew a penalty for the Habs deep in the Carolina zone.

The power play had some dangerous looking moments, with David Desharnais coming the closest, nearly tipping home another goal off more beautiful passing by the first line and P.K. Subban, but to no avail.

The third period began in a much more promising fashion, as Weise put the puck perfectly onto the stick of a flying Pacioretty, but Ward made yet another great save. Both sides traded some rushes, but the final frame featured very few chances to start.

Eller and Fleischmann proved to be a highly effective combination, as the latter drew his second penalty of the game on a neutral zone rush just past the fourteen minute mark. Unfortunately, the power play remained frustratingly unable to capitalize, despite multiple valiant efforts by Alex Galchenyuk to bang home a series of rebounds.

Scrivens again was remarkable as Eric Staal and the Hurricanes bore down at the end of the period, throwing a veritable storm of shots on the Canadiens net, and an erstwhile sleepy, lackadaisical game abruptly amped up in intensity in the final five minutes of the period.

Despite the flurry of chances on both ends of the ice (mostly for the Canes), the game would go into overtime, giving the Habs one desperately needed point for their playoff aspirations.

Gallagher and Eller had a spectacular shift, nearly putting the game away on a beautiful drop pass, with Subban walking around a defender and nearly scoring on a point-blank chance on another, but Ward stood tall, and matched the effort of Scrivens at the opposite end through 65 minutes of action.

The shootout took five rounds, but Sven Andrighetto scored the only goal of the penalty-shot contest, and The Professor claimed the second point for the Habs with five saves on five shots, giving the team its first back-to-back wins since the 27th of November.


  • From a stats point of view, it was not one of the Habs' better efforts. However, if they really are going to make the playoffs (and not just come up just short after a spirited, but ultimately unsuccessful late charge), they have to win nearly every game however they can,
  • Moving Lars Eller back to centre was a very, very good idea, as the Dane was perhaps the best skater for the Habs, at both ends of the ice.
  • As often as Therrien's decisions baffle, his trios for the overtime period were pretty great. No Weise, no too-slow Markov, no out-of-his-element Alexei Emelin. While I'm not sure why Petry didn't get a shift (is he hurt? gulp), it is very hard to argue with the way any of the nine Habs played in the extra frame. Eller and Gallagher were especially fun to watch.
  • I really hope Beaulieu makes it back into the lineup against Tampa.... I don't think I can handle Emelin against them again
Congratulations to Twitter user @imn0tfam0us who won the #EOTPFanCap with his submission "Class Dismissed"!