There was something slightly odd about the Habs-Phoenix Coyotes game tonight. Four goals by the Canadiens was odd, although the last was in an empty net, and the Habs stifled the Coyotes 4-2.
But even odder was seeing a game in Phoenix. We’ve just spent the past six months being bombarded by all the goings-on between Jim Balsillie and Gary Bettman and moving the team to Hamilton and not moving the team to Hamilton. And tonight, there it was, in living colour, the team that was almost a Hamilton team, playing in a half-empty building.
The Canadiens won on this night and is a welcomed relief, a nice alternative to losing. But it wasn’t easy and it wasn’t pretty. It was a quiet night, the type of game spectators might have wished they’d saved their money and watched it at home instead. Hey, 8,000 did stay home. Attendance was 10,064.
The Jobing.com Arena in hockey-mad Glendale/Phoenix holds 18,000.
But there were some highlights, most of which can be labelled “Tomas Plekanec and Mike Cammalleri.” Both speedsters did an outstanding job, creating chances, sending others in, with Cammalleri scoring a goal and adding an assist, and Plekanec with three assists. They were flying, especially Plekanec.
Unfortunately, a few others took the night off and continued their lacklustre play. But I’m tired of naming names. So I’ll just blame Andrei Kostitsyn only.
Brian Gionta had a goal and an assist, and Glen Metropolit also found the back of the net.
Carey Price was in goal, and it’s nice to see him there when the team wins.
Jaroslav Spacek hurt his foot in the second period, so another defenceman may or may not have bit the dust.
Next game: Saturday in Nashville. Maybe Martina McBride or the Dixie Chicks will sing the anthem.
A few teams that are nice to see lose, lost. Boston, Rangers, Ottawa, Pittsburgh and Vancouver all leave the buildings with their tails between their legs.