Habs Win A Big One In Manhattan

Sometimes those plain and simple no-frills road games can be so important in the scheme of things.

Montreal, in beating the Rangers 2-1 at Madison Square Garden, earn a blue collar road win, collect two points, and they do it with Alex Auld getting it done in nets and coming through when we needed him to.

Auld was sometimes good, sometimes average, and sometimes lucky, and this successful outing can only help his game and give his coaches and fans the confidence that all is not lost when Carey Price has a well-deserved night off.

It was a road game the Canadiens wanted to win, which is another of those understatements I seem to come with every so often. They edge just two points closer to New York in the Eastern Conference. They stay neck and neck with the Bruins for first in the Northeast. And Carolina, chasing the Habs for the final playoff spot, beat Calgary tonight 6-5 in a shootout, but failed to gain ground with Auld and company winning this big game in the Big Apple, a city bracing itself as a frigid Mother Nature decides to be bitchy again..

Now Price gets his rest, the team gets the points, Auld gets his win, and even though the Habs continue to be a feeble scoring machine, a win is a win.

Now, all they have to do is fight the snow and winds to get back to Montreal to meet and greet the Penguins, who are already there all toasty and pampered.

Random Notes:

So far it’s still Jaroslav Spacek credited with Montreal’s first goal but it sure seemed that it went in off Mathieu Darche, who also thought so. Regardless, it tied it at one.

Benoit Pouliot fooled Henrik Lundqvist with a nice shot over the goalie’s shoulder to win it. Pouliot’s had his moments lately to be sure.

Penguins tomorrow. Let’s hope the plane back to Montreal ride isn’t too stressful.

Shots on goal – 38-26 Habs.

14 thoughts on “Habs Win A Big One In Manhattan”

  1. Dennis, I really had my doubts about starting Alex Auld against the Rangers. My thinking was that gaining two points against the Rangers was way more important than gaining two points on the Penguins so why not put our best out for this game?
    Turns out Jacques Martin looked up Auld’s record against the Rangers which shows he remains undefeated against them.
    He was lucky at times. But as they say, you have to be good to be lucky and you have to be lucky to be good.
    Now back to Montreal and maybe we can beat the Penguins too.
    Why not have it all?

  2. Auld entered the game with a goals-against average of 0.97 versus New York along with a .966 save percentage.

    And his record against the Rangers is now 4-0-2.

    Some goalies just own certain teams.

  3. Good points Danno. I think he was a bit shakey at the beginning but that is more due to inactivity. I, too, had doubts early on but he really came through for us. Good on Alex as we do need to use him more, better strategically than we have been using him this year. The boys played well tonight. I think I can see some gelling and bonding going on. We just need to start scoring as D and goalies are doing their jobs. It’s nice to not be so negative on here once in a while.

  4. when you only score 2 goals it is hit and miss to win no matter who is in net. i wouldn’t mention it if it was the exception rather than the norm………… good for the win anyway.

  5. I agree with Hobo. The lack of goal production is definitely an ongoing concern. And certain key players need to wake up and play a lot more like Mathieu Darche and a lot less like Andrei Kostitsyn.

    But as everybody knows, it almost always comes down to goaltending. Auld had to shake off lots of rust to finally get into a groove. And while he started off a bit shaky, Auld ended strong and solid.

    Lots of people rolled their eyes when they heard Auld was going to be Price’s backup, but he’s always been there when we needed him. And he’s done the job surprisingly well in spite of the very limited times he’s had to fill in for Price. That’s what a good backup goalie is all about.

    Auld’s well that ends well, I guess.

    I suspect Auld will see much more action as we near the end of the season. So long as we secure a decent playoff spot.

  6. Danno, I sure had my doubts too about statring Auld. He got the win, but in reality, he’s not a very good goalie, so it was a big night on several fronts. Vancouver has two excellent goalies right now and what a luxury it is that they have. But Auld came through, although he was out of position a few times and the Rangers didn’t really put the heat on him. I don’t even know why I’m saying this. Good for him. He helped get us two points.

  7. It sure wasn’t fancy, Mayo, but a huge game it was. They’ve got themselves 9 points out of 10 and they’re doing it in plain fashion. Nothing fancy about this team.

  8. Hobo, it seems every game there’s no scoring. I’ve tracked every game and without going into details, three goals is an offensive explosion for them. But as long as they keep winning……

  9. I can feel a big night from Desharnais and Paccioretti coming on. Desharnias doesn’t look like the type to be happy off the scoresheet.

  10. I might as well tell you all now that the Magic Quebec Maple Syrup has run out. What am I saying, it ran out before Christmas. Just as we hit the slump. I think its powers were waning badly. I had no means to get more. So the boys had to soldier on without it. And it wasn’t pretty.

    But now they’ve won 3 straight I’m starting to wonder whether it was ever the syrup. So it must be something else. But what?

    Has someone done a deal with God (assuming the Judeo-Christian theological model for the purpose of the question but feel free to insert your own belief system/philosophy/superstition)?

    You know, giving up beer, or chocolate, or diddling the neighbour at No. 53 when you’re meant to be at origami classes just so we could put a run together for a dozen games.

    Surely no animal sacrifice? Unless it’s for a couple of bagfuls of goals.

    And lets face it nothing less than Lord Stanley’s pot if you’ve gone down the Wicker man route…..

  11. Once again we outshot the opposition. I’m not big on the shot count or even the quality-scoring-chance meter, but all things being equal I think this is better than last year when the opposition would usually outshoot us.

    Two goals on 38 shots is pitiful, but thankfully still better than one goal on 26 shots.

  12. Blue Bayou, I watched The Wicker Man video and I kept thinking the burning wicker man was going to fall over and crush the singing men and women.
    And about the syrup. Yes it was the syrup. It worked indeed. But charms don’t last and need to be changed often. They’re like candles. Hell, Gaston had us going for three games or so. Now it’s time to have another maple syrup-type charm. Do you have any Gerry and the Pacemakers albums you could dig out and put near the TV? Or Cilla Black? Or Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders? I’m thinking these will work.

  13. Christopher, you may not be big on shot counts but you certainly make valid points regarding them.

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