The Canadiens take out the Leafs 4-3 in overtime with a Max Pacioretty twine bulger, and somehow, some way, the boys just keep on clicking.
Three straight games where it goes to OT, all with Peter Budaj in nets. Two wins in those three games. One loss in their last six.
Putting a tad more distance from the Torontonians who are breathing down their neck.
It’s good but there’s no letting up. A tough California/Arizona test is next on the agenda. Four games against four good teams. But that’s getting way ahead of myself.
This Habs/Leafs clash had its moments for sure, although it started out with whistles about every ten seconds it seemed. But then things got rolling.
The Canadiens overall enjoyed a good first period, taking a 2-0 lead on goals by Alex Galchenyuk and Max Pacioretty, but the Leafs would narrow it to one late in the frame when James Van Riemsdyk slipped it under Budaj.
There was no scoring in a bit of an uneventful second period, but in the third, after Budaj had robbed Phil Kessel close in, Andrei Markov on the power play sent a nice pass to the far point which led to a serious change of momentum.
Because no one happened to be there at the time. Except the enemy.
Van Riemsdyck burst down the ice ahead of P.K, Subban and scored one of those depressing shorthanded goals that sinks ships.
It became even worse when Kessel put the Buds ahead. (The Kessel, Bozak, Van Riemsdyck line was definitely a pain in the ass).
But it all worked out (except for the Leafs and Leaf fans) when Leafs netminder Jonathan Bernier came out of his crease to corral a puck, was penalized, and P.K. on the power play blasted it home to tie it and send it to overtime.
And that was when good old Max got it done.
Of course if you saw the game, you already know all this.
Montreal outshot Toronto 30-25.
I thought Lars Eller skated much better than we’ve seen recently and he seemed confident and relaxed.
P.K. was full of beans and did his fair share of dipsy-doodling.
Dale Weise was nailed in the mouth by an errant skate, got sewn up and came back with a cage on. Weise’s wife probably isn’t looking forward to a goodnight kiss tonight.
Budaj came up with some beauty saves and has filled in nicely for an injured Carey Price. Thanks Peter. Now, hopefully, Price will suit up in L.A.
It’s going to be a tough road trip for the boys (aside from leaving frigid Montreal and going to the land of palm trees), with contenders L.A., Anaheim, Phoenix, and San Jose coming up. But with the Habs, who knows, they just might grab a bunch of points along the way.
They don’t overpower, but they stay high in the standings. It’s all quite surprising.
The next four games are late – 10:30 ET, 10:00, 9:00, and 10:00.