A period and a half of magic from the Desharnais, Max, Vanek line and solid netminding throughout from Carey Price added up to a 4-1 win over the Panthers in Florida, and the team just keeps rolling along.
A five-game game winning streak to end the month of March. Eight wins in nine games.
Just amazing what’s transpired. And in my book, more than anything it’s been Thomas Vanek who’s lit the fire.
The DD, Vanek, Max line combined for all four goals and seven points on the night, and so important is the fact that the team is finally getting serious close-in chances now, led mostly by Vanek.
Until he showed up, play seemed far too often on the perimeter, except for most nights when Brendan Gallagher crashed the net two or three times.
Now things are different. Play is down low on a more regular basis. And the power play, which often had been so feeble, has become much more of threat even when the lamp isn’t always lit.
Vanek knows what to do with the puck, the chemistry with his linemates is a sight to behold, and a dangerous line like that, combined with solid work and contributions from the other three lines, gives us a team transformed.
And yes, it was mostly all Panthers in the second half, outshooting the Canadiens 15-3 in the third period, but no matter, the Habs held a 3-1 lead before the empty netter, and they played to protect the lead, not pad it.
According to all sorts of folks, the Canadiens were supposed to fade in the stretch. And the opposite happened.
Max’s two goals gives him 35 on the season, which is a tremendous season to be sure. Would love to see him reach 40, but with just six games to go, it’ll be tough but not impossible.
Plenty of high sticks to the face from the Panthers. More than what we’d normally see on most nights.
Panthers outshot Montreal 37-19.
The Eggs played well in the early going, but like most of the team, weren’t exactly burning things up later on. But that’s fine. The end justifies the means.
Scott Gomez played tonight for the Panthers. Hard to watch the guy. He triggers so many bad memories.
HNIC three stars went to Price, Max, and Vanek.
Tuesday, the guys head across state to visit the Tampa Bay Lightning, and it goes without saying that this is a big one. The team Montreal will meet in the opening round. The team they’re fighting it out with for home ice advantage in that round. And a win would make a solid statement for things to come.
Toronto lost to Detroit Saturday night, their eighth straight. Just an amazing meltdown by Toronto at the most important time in the season. So glad I didn’t grow up a Leafs fan.