A game of many highs and a potentially large low for Habs
For the first time in over two years, the Montreal Canadiens scored seven goals, crushing the Carolina Hurricanes 7-2.
The game came at a potentially huge cost, after a knee on knee hit between Eric Staal and Andrei Markov sent the Canadiens defenseman crashing into the boards. There, Markov punched the boards in frustration and was helped off the ice, unable to put any weight on his right knee.
The collision was clearly not intentional. Markov saw Staal moving in, but didn't expect him to try and avoid him at the last second.
The initial response coming out, and I didn't realise that some of the RDS staff had medical degrees, is that Markov could be out for up to three months. There will likely be a better evaluation as the week progresses.
If the prognosis is anywhere near correct, it could be a long period for the Canadiens, who managed to battle the first ten games without him. But another three months? It won't be as easy.
The question now lies on the ability of Alexandre Picard to take up the challenge on the depth chart. Chances are that Yannick Webercould get a call up. Meanwhile Ryan O'Byrne supporters are likely shaking their heads.
The injury knocked the wind out of the sails of an impressive offensive performance, that was complimented by a 31 save night from Carey Price.
Defensively it seems like Roman Hamrlik and Jaroslav Spacek have finally found that gel that eluded them early in the season, and are quickly establishing themselves as a shutdown duo. They'll need to continue at this pace, depending on the severity of the injury to Markov.
The Canadiens attacked was balanced, with goals from seven different players and eight different players having three shots each. Carolina only blocked five shots, showing that the Canadiens are being more selective in their shot selection.
The Habs remained physical against the Canes, with Andrei Kostitsyn throwing six of the team's 27 hits. Maxim Lapierre added five of his own to go with 14 PIM and a Savaridan/Subbanoo spinerama gola to chase Cam Ward,
Things got a little dicey late in the game, leading to a Habs 5 on 3 that they capitalized on, twice. Add a Benoit Pouliot marker, at the end of the second period, and that's three straight power play goals.
With that, the Canadiens have skyrocketed into 20th place in the league with the man advantage, scoring 6 power play goals on the week. Can they continue to surge without No. 79, who was in on two of the six?
As mentioned, Carey Price played another solid game, and can't be faulted for either of the two Hurricanes goals. His 3-0-0 record, with a 1.00 GAA and .972 SvPct, should net him a Three Stars of the Week nod.
This save should pretty much seal it. Bad glove hand you say??
To sum up the night, EOTP's Chris Boyle, who was in attendance with his family at the Bell Centre, put it this way, "I am somebody who tries to remain even keel in regards to the Habs, but they are sucking me in."
Oh, with regards to the G&G watch. Brian Gionta has a four-game point streak (plus 3), and Scott Gomez has three points in his last two games.
The Canadiens have three games at home this week, facing the Philadelphia Flyers, Sergei Kostitsyn and the Nashville Predators, and the Toronto Maple Leafs.