Nice, juicy, 4-0 blanking of the home team Florida Panthers by the Habs this fine Thursday evening as Carey Price recorded his seventh shutout of the season, the Canadiens won their third straight, and…….how many times does one get to say this……Hal Gill opened the scoring with what proved to be the game winner!
Best of all, Andrei Kostitsyn and his linemates Lars Eller and Travis Moen combined for six points to do much of the damage up front and the threesome is oozing chemistry at the moment. Eller is getting better and better. Kostitsyn is playing like we’d hoped. And Moen is chipping in with the odd set-up and some nastiness in heavy traffic.
As trigger-happy as coach Martin has been this year in breaking up lines, surely he can keep these three together, at least for the time being. They’ve really added some new-found pizazz to what has mostly been a very lacklustre offence this season.
In nets, picking up the slack when things got dangerous, was Price, again as solid as can be, stopping 30 shots to notch his 30th win of the season.
Geez, all these great things! It’s just so much nicer when things go well for a change.
Roman Hamrlik on this night played with poise found only with experience, and several times set his forwards loose with heads-ups passes. James Wisniewski had a strong game. And late in the third period, Max Pacioretty and Kostitsyn both rang pucks off the post about ten seconds apart. If the game had been close, we would have moaned in agony. Instead, at least for me, it put a smile on my face.
What a contrast between this three-game southern road trip and the three-game western trip the boys made recently. In Edmonton they stunk, and in Calgary they stunk and also froze. This trip began with a 3-1 win in the land of magnolias – Atlanta, and then Thursday’s 4-0 shut out in Sunrise with palm trees swaying outside.
Oh, I hope Gary Bettman doesn’t read this. He’ll think we like hockey in the deep south.
Montreal scorers on this night were Gill, Kostitsyn, David Desharnais, and Lars Eller. Nope, none from Scott Gomez.
Shots on goal – 31-30 Montreal.
Maybe Jacques Martin read the riot act about penalty-taking as the boys only skated slowly to the penalty box three times. That’s more like it.
Next up – Saturday against a good team, Tampa Bay. But Montreal doesn’t need to take a back seat to anyone and is perfectly capable of enjoying some fine southern hospitality by blitzing the Lightning and keeping their somewhat modest win streak alive.