A Statement Win for the Canadiens
e Phildelphia Flyers marched into the Bell Centre, backed by a 9-0-1 record in their last ten games, a monster offense and a dastardly reputation on the ice.
Well the winning streak ended, the offense was shut down by Carey Price, and the latter, well that clearly was present in the Montreal Canadiens 3-0 win Tuesday night.
Price was kept busy, facing 41 shots en route to his third shutout of the season. The total matches his career season high in 2007-08.
The game puck was flung into the stands by Price, after captain Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez retrieved it from the Flyers' Chris Pronger. Pronger made a rather pathetic habit, in last season's playoffs, of grabbing the game puck in a win or lose situation. This time he wasn't so lucky.
Pronger's act was just the tip of the iceberg in some brutal plays and a series of miscalls by the officials. The game's final six minutes and change attested to that, as it took over nearly 30 minutes to complete.
The most concerning play was a clear missed call when Darrol Powe hit Jeff Halpen clearly from behind. Halpern had to leave the ice, and did not return. Even though there was no penalty assesed, the NHL can still investigate the hit based on the new rulings on illegal hits.
In the second period, Powe was called for elbowing on what was argued to be a clean hit on Josh Gorges.
I'll let the video below open the debate there.
So did the referees realize that they made one mistake, and let Powe get away with the hit on Halpern?
The third period in general was filled with skirmishes, and the referees took forever to sort them out.
Many of those battles centered around P.K. Subban, who was chirping the Flyers practically all night. Subban also stepped in to challenge Flyers captain Mike Richards, who had a beef with Andrei Kostitsyn over a stick to the ribs.
Subban's chatter can be effective, but he still has to learn where to draw the line. His six minutes in penalties do not help the team with Andrei Markov on the shelf indefinitely. The Canadiens need Subban out there to carry the extra minutes in Markov's absence.
Speaking of Markov, the power play did pretty good without him ,eh? Mike Cammalerri converted on the 5 on 3 and Gionta added another in the third period. Both players are ridign 5-game point-scoring streaks.
As the game wound down, Peter Laviolette went with a Jr. C coaching move and put Powe out with, of all people, Jody Shelley. No argument what Laviolette was trying to stir there, especially considering the two teams meet again on Monday.
Aside of the poor officiating and shenanigans, the story of the game was Carey Price, who continues to prove the critics of the Jaroslav Halak trade wrong.
Price was nothing less than outstanding, making a highlight reel full of outstanding saves, right down to the wire.
As our counterparts at Broad Street Hockey said, "Price just forced it down their throats."
The Habs netminder moves into a three-way tie in wins with Sergei Bobrovsky, who took the loss Tuesday night, and the Washington Capitals' Michal Neuvirth. His GAA dropped to 2.05 ,and his SvPct sits at .930.
Price also had help from his defence, who blocked 15 shots on the night, and held the Flyers to just eight shots in the third period.
In all, Tuesday night's game was a statement game for the Canadiens on three levels.
- They proved they can beat a hot and contending team, albeit the Flyers did play Monday night.
- The Canadiens can score on the power play without Andrei Markov and the PK leads the league.
They can handle the physical style of the Flyers, who dished out 38 hits on the night.
Now whether these three elements can remain consistent remain to be seen. The Canadiens next host the Nashville Predators on Thursday, the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday and then off to Philadelphia for there second of three Monday night games in the 2010-11 season.
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