Whitby - November 24, 2011 - Montreal Canadiens’ captain Brian Gionta scored the lone shootout goal to give his team a 4-3 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night. Both teams played an ugly game for the first 60 minutes of the contest, but managed to turn up the entertainment value in overtime as there was end-to-end action at both ends of the ice. Montreal accounted for the majority of the good scoring chances in the overtime frame.
Wednesday night marked Habs’ power forward Erik Cole’s homecoming to Carolina. Cole last played in Raleigh three years ago when he was a member of the Edmonton Oilers. He started his NHL career with Carolina in 2001-02 and played six seasons before being shipped off to Edmonton.
Unfortunately for Cole, he had a quiet game overall after playing extremely strong of late for Les Bleu-Blanc-Rouge. In 18:54 minutes of icetime, he only delivered one hit and did not register any points. The Canadiens collectively did not play their best game against the Hurricanes.
Hurricanes’ forward Jiri Tlusty wristed the game’s first goal at 34 seconds of the opening frame. Habs’ netminder Carey Price was terrible on Tlusty’s goal. Carolina would then jump out to a two - goal lead at the six - minute mark of the first period. The Canadiens would bring the game to within one goal at 9:06 of the second period on a short-handed goal by Lars Eller. Eller played his strongest game as a Canadien on this night. Eller made things happen on virtually every shift over 12:54 minutes of icetime. Eller would finish the game with a goal and an assist.
Michael Cammalleri was buzzing all over the ice during the contest and was in the right place, at the right time as he tipped in a Josh Gorges’ wrist shot from the left point and notched the game at two, only 27 seconds into the third period. Hurricanes’ Brandon Sutter would once again give Carolina their second lead of the night at the 3:18 minute mark. Habs’ sniper Travis Moen registered his 50th career NHL goal and 100th career NHL point 79 seconds later to deadlock the game at three goals aside.
There would be no more scoring in the contest until Brian Gionta’s shootout goal that gave Montreal (10-9-3) the victory. Carolina’s Cam Ward would suffer the loss for the Hurricanes (8-11-4). For a complete statistical review of the game and individual Canadiens’ player performances, please see the NHL.com link below.
The announced three stars of the game were Carolina’s Brandon Sutter (3rd star, one assist, plus+1), Montreal’s Carey Price (2nd star, 30 saves, .909 save percentage) and Lars Eller (1st star, one short-handed goal, one assist). There were 14,862 spectators in attendance at the RBC Center.
The Canadiens now travel to the City of “Brotherly Love” when they face the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday at 3:00 p.m.
Game Stats Review
Canadiens’ veteran defenseman Hal Gill returned to the Montreal lineup after missing past five games with a leg infection. Gill played 21:57 minutes.
Alexei Emelin delivered 6 of Montreal’s 18 hits. Carolina had 27 hits in the contest.
Scott Gomez suffered a suspected groin injury in the second period and did not return to the Canadiens’ bench after the second intermission.
P.K. Subban played one of his worst games as a Hab. Subban made some ill-advised plays in the game and there seemed to be alot of indecision written across Subban’s face. He has not yet had a strong season of play thus far.
Montreal won 32-of-60 faceoffs against Carolina:
David Desharnais went 12-for-17 in the faceoff department (.706 winning faceoff percentage)
Lars Eller went 3-for-8 (.375)
Scott Gomez went 3-for-8 (.375)
Tomas Plekanec went 11-for-20 (.550)
Montreal’s powerplay was a bust again, going zero-for-three.
Montreal scratches for the game were: Spacek, St-Denis, Engqvist. Andrei Kostitsyn did not dress as well.
Carolina scratches for the game were: Joni Pitkanen, Derek Joslin.
Until next time, play every game as if it is your last one…