Whitby - Oct. 30, 2011 - Carey Price stood on his head making 26 saves and the Canadiens got power-play goals from both Brian Gionta and David Desharnais to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 4-2 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champions in front of a sold out crowd at the Bell Centre on Saturday night.
Lars Eller and Tomas Plekanec (empty net marker) scored the Canadiens’ other two goals in the contest. With the win, Montreal has completed a home-and-home series sweep against Boston and Les Bleu-Blanc-Rouge are also now on a three-game winning streak (4-5-2) that does not see them play again until Friday when they face the surging Ottawa Senators.
Boston (3-7-0) now sits in the basement of the NHL Eastern Conference and are currently riding a three-game losing streak. Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin scored the Bruins’ markers in the contest. The Bruins played with uncontrolled emotion and took needless, undisciplined penalties throughout the game. Tuuka Rask was the only reason Boston was even in the game after two periods of play.
Saturday night’s contest at the Bell Centre started with much intensity and similar to Thursday night, the Canadiens maximized their on-ice efforts for another full 60 minutes. Montreal’s compete level was evident as the team set the level of physicality. Erik Cole was a force to be reckoned with in the contest as he was in Boston’s Zdeno Chara’s grill all night. Cole had five hits on the night and saw 7:59 minutes of power-play ice-time to lead all Canadiens.
Speaking of Chara, he and Max Pacioretty renewed acquaintances for the first time in Montreal since Chara sent Pacioretty into a stanchion, fracturing Pacioretty’s vertebrae. Even though the two faced one another frequently on Saturday night, there were no resulting incidents as a result.
The announced three stars of the contest were owned by the Canadiens. Tomas Plekanec (3rd star, one goal, one assist), Lars Eller (2nd star, one goal) and Carey Price (1st star, 26 saves, .929 save percentage).
For a complete statistical review of the game and individual Canadiens’ performances, please see the NHL.com link below.
View From the Whitby Cheap Seats
After three straight wins and counting, could this past week be the key turning point for the Montreal Canadiens in this 2011-12 NHL regular season?
Canadiens’ Head Coach Jacques Martin rather seemingly unimpressed by the win, shared a few sound bytes with reporters after the Montreal win. “…it was a good effort…we’re still below .500…we’re more efficient when we stick to the game plan.” When Martin was asked about the lopsided amount of penalties in the game, Martin replied “…you need to use your speed and discipline…you go to war with the soldiers you’re given…we finished our checks”.
Positives to take away from Saturday night: Michael Cammalleri is starting to look like the leader for the Canadiens - especially when he is playing at the top of his game. Travis Moen had a big-time hit on Milan Lucic in the game and Moen is continuing to give Andrei Kostitsyn and Lars Eller space on the ice with his aggressive style of play.
Eller has put on some much-needed weight since last season and definitely looks like he is playing with more confidence. None more evident than when he made a bad giveaway in the defensive zone at 16:28 on the second period that led to Lucic’s goal. Eller bounced back well from the bad giveaway.
Is the Canadiens’ power-play starting to come alive?
Game Stats Review
Montreal went two-for-six on the power-play. Boston was zero-for-two.
Montreal was narrowly outshot 28-27 in the contest.
Montreal won the majority of the faceoffs, 30-of-56.
Speaking of winning faceoffs, here is how the primary Habs’ centremen faired:
David Desharnais went 10-for-16 (.625)
Lars Eller went four-for-nine (.444)
Petteri Nokelainen went five-for-nine (.556)
Tomas Plekanec went 6-for-14 (.429)
Erik Cole and Michael Cammalleri led the team with four shots on goal each.
Tomas Plekanec led the team with 21:45 of ice-time, had three shots, was a plus+1 and registered two points.
Montreal dominated the blocked shots category 29-12 as Jaroslav Spacek blocked 7 of the 29 shots.
Recent call up forward, Aaron Palushaj, was sent back to the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs earlier in the day.
Rookie defenseman Alexei Emelin was the healthy scratch again for Montreal.
Until next time, play every game as if it is your last one…