The Canadiens looked like they were coming off a Demerol party when they lost 4-0 to the Sharks on March 2nd in San Jose, and which kicked off the 3-game hard-to-swallow California crushing.
It had us all in a dither.
But Saturday at the Bell, the boys played hard-hitting, slick passing big time hockey as they slayed the Sharks 2-0, making it three straight wins, four of their last five, coming not long after the aforementioned California slide had us searching for the key to the liquor cabinet.
Great game by the Habs, regardless of the fact the shirtless Joe Thornton told Sportsnet’s Christine Simpson between periods that his line had been in Montreal’s end all game.
Not what I saw, Joe. And really, for the sake of us guys watching, could you please put a shirt on.
Carey Price saved the day when called upon, which could be said for just about every time he’s manned the nets this season, with this being his 9th shutout (tying M.A. Fleury for the lead), and second in a row after beating Carolina 4-0 on Thursday.
The win is also Price 40th of the season, just two back of the Habs all-time leaders Jacques Plante and Ken Dryden, which is absolutely exciting. Price has entered the Land of the Giants.
Tomas Plekanec got his team on the board in the first period, his 22nd of the year, on a great play that gave him most of a wide-open net to shoot at. The goal also came at a great time, with just 1:14 remaining in the period, and we could see that with the way they were playing, taking the lead late like that could very well spell serious trouble for The Shirtless One and his fish.
Brendan Gallagher would notch the insurance marker, his 21st, in the third with the Sharks’ net empty, and with just seconds left and the boys up 2-0, the Ole, Ole song began, with props to the singers. You sang it at the proper time for a change. When the game wasn’t in doubt.
And man, were the last few minutes tense with the goalie pulled and the score still 1-0, and with the game, and a shutout, on the line.
But the Canadiens came through, as they did all night, standing their ground, checking hard, passing well, and all in all, unless you’re a Sharks fan, a mighty fine night at the not-so-old Bell Centre.
A nice, impressive hometown win by the gang, and a tremendous thing to see, considering there’s only nine games to go and maybe, just maybe, they’re rounding into playoff form.
Tom Gilbert took a puck in the mouth area during the second period and was gone for the night. Hopefully it’s only a chiclet or two and nothing more.
Props to Brandon Prust for playing a fine game, including a nice piece of business on the penalty kill late in the game.
The Canadiens have reached 99 points, tied with Anaheim for top of the heap.
Alex Galchenyuk needs just one more to reach 20 goals.
Next up – Tuesday, when the team hits Music City, U.S.A. to shut out the Predators.