Dustin Tokarski, in nets for the Canadiens for his very first time, came up big in stopping 39 of 42 shots as the boys beat the quackers 4-3 in a shootout and grab a massive two points and a ton of confidence.
Tokarski had previously seen big time duty in the NHL when he was between the pipes for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2009-10 for two games and then another five in 2011-12, but he played like a seasoned pro in what must have been a nerve-wracking experience last night.
How great is it when your gold-medalist goes down, backup Budaj, fills in nicely, and then Budaj’s backup, Tokarski, also does his job in fine fashion.
It’s very satisfying for all concerned. Except for other teams and people who hate the Habs of course.
Montreal came out flying and took a big 2-0 lead on goals by Brian Gionta and Max with his 30th of the season (which is a fine season indeed).
Max has been playing on another level since returning from the Olympics. More fire, more jump, more confidence. At the perfect time of the year.
Things got slightly dismal in the second frame when a puck got behind a screened Tokarski, another hit a glass support and caromed in while Toker was preparing to corral it around the boards, and then after a terrible and confused Habs power play, the Ducks took the lead.
At this point, it all could have fallen apart like a great party raided by the cops, but credit to the Canadiens, they never gave up, and in the last minute of the second period, Brendan Gallagher banged it home and game was tied.
The game was scoreless in the third period and overtime, but in the shootout, Desharnais, Briere, and finally Andrei Markov beat Jonas Hiller and it made my heart soar like a Himalayan Snowcock.
This was a Habs team with good legs, with jump (aside from their zero for five power play attempts), and the many Habs fans at Anaheim’s Honda Center certainly must have enjoyed themselves.
I know I did, from the friendly confines of my apartment the morning after. I tried to stay up last night but my eyelids felt like they had pucks stapled to them.
Shots on goal – Ducks 42, Habs 31
Lars Eller was a healthy scratch, and George Parros was given a small tribute on the screen, in which he gave a heartfelt response. George spent six seasons as a Duck.
A huge win. A road trip like this, against some of the league’s elite, seemed daunting, and although they lost a tight one (2-1) the other night in L.A., they came out with jump against the league leading Ducks, played well, and won the thing.
This has to be great for their confidence, and with Weaver and Vanek poised to join their new team, who knows? Maybe a great march onwards and upwards is in the making.
Coyotes on the agenda tonight (9:00 pm ET), and we’re expecting the same jump and character as we just saw. So c’mon boys, keep it up.