There were a few players who stood out, including, but not limited to, the man between the pipes, Antti Niemi. The 34-year-old netminder from Vantaa, Finland, finished last season being bought out by the Dallas Stars. He signed a one-year contract with the reigning Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, was placed on waivers and claimed by Florida, and finally waived again before finding a home in Montreal.
He stood tall last night, and came up with some huge saves against one of the toughest offences in the NHL, one leads the league in goals thanks in no small part to Alex Ovechkin, who had scored four of his league-leading 28 goals in his previous game against the Habs. Niemi wound up making 24 saves for his first win since April 4, 2017, snapping a personal 10-game losing streak.
Captain Max Pacioretty had another big game for the Canadiens, notching a pair of goals, including the empty-net game-winner, and adding an assist. Since the start of the New Year, he has collected six goals and eight points through seven games.
The Canadiens (19-21-6) will look to continue riding high as they face a very familiar foe of this past week when the Boston Bruins return to town on Saturday evening. Montreal dropped both games against them in the past week, losing 4-3 in a shootout at the Bell Centre last Saturday before dropping a 4-1 decision in Boston on Wednesday.
How to watch
Puck drop: 7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST
In Canada: Sportsnet (English), TVA Sports (French)
In the US: NHL Network
In the Bruins region: NESN
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL GameCentre Live, NHL Center Ice
Tale of the Tape
|1-1-0||H2H Record (2016/17)||1-1-0|
The Bruins (26-10-8) are probably one of, if not the hottest team in the entire NHL right now. In the course of their last 15 games (10-0-5) they have gained at least a point, one off from tying their franchise record.
Since their victory over the Habs on Wednesday, they travelled to Brooklyn to face the Islanders and veteran forward Patrice Bergeron stole the show by scoring three goals. Entering the 2017-18 season, Bergeron had only registered one career hat trick in 899 games. He now has two in his last six games, the previous one coming January 6, in a game against the Carolina Hurricanes scoring four times and adding a helper for a five-point game.
Saturday night’s meeting with Boston will be the third of four meetings between these two rivals. Their final game is on March 3 when the Canadiens travel to TD Garden. By then, the playoff picture should be a little clearer and the trade deadline will have changed the look of both teams.
If last night’s game for Montreal against Washington gave us any indication, we might be in store for a good game this evening.