Montreal and Carolina, both on three game winning streaks, faced off at the Bell Centre with both teams eyeing to keep their streaks alive. Hurricanes head coach and former Hab Kirk Muller has done an exceptional job with this young Hurricanes team this season but ran into a little bit of trouble in a city and with a team he knows all too well. With Carey Price still out due to the flu Peter Budaj made his second straight start for the Canadiens who were looking to build on a pretty lively streak strictly their own. Coming into tonight’s tilt the Canadiens were 7-0 when facing non-divisional teams and now we can add yet another number to that statistic. It also appears that Max Pacioretty simply possesses superhuman healing powers after suffering a deep cut to his rub area during their last game versus Philadelphia and was in tonight’s lineup as the Canadiens turned on the jets in the third period to push their winning streak to four games.
After 40 minutes of scoreless play Brandon Prust broke the seal with his second of the season with assists from Galchenyuk (8) and Eller (5). In fact Montreal would blow this game wide open in a matter of 10:15 seconds including two goals in just 18 seconds. Tomas Plekanec notched his eighth of the campaign from Pacioretty (9) and Emelin (3) while Max Pacioretty finally got the monkey off his back with an odd goal that I am sure Cam Ward would love to have back. After a seemingly harmless dump in by Pacioretty the puck took a deflection off a Hurricanes defender and took a weird bounce thta found its way behind Ward giving the Habs a 3-0 lead. Assists on the play went to Desharnais (3) and Diaz (11).
As for Budaj, he has now won two straight starts and has helped his team gain at least a point in three of his four starts this season. As much as well all poke fun at Budaj from time to time he has surely proven his worth so far don’t you think? This marks the first shutout for Budaj since he stopped 31 shots in a 5-0 rout of the Dallas Stars back on November 6th, 2010. Looks like Pacioretty was not the only player throwing the perverbial monkey off of his back.
Overall, Carolina did not put their best effort forward tonight and when Montreal noticed the door open just a little they barged right through it and never looked back. I mentioned earlier in the season the Canadiens lacked that killer instinct (especially late in games) however tonight they channeled that energy and it pay off with tonight’s victory. Budding star Brendan Gallagher missed tonight’s game due to a concussion while Ryan White played his first game since his double-minor versus Buffalo playing a much simpler game and keeping his gloves on his hands. Up next for the Canadiens are the New York Rangers who are a juggernaut at home with a record of 6-2-1 and will be Brandon Prust’s return to Madison Square Garden. Montreal will be looking for their first five game winning streak since they won five straight dating back to February 26th, 2011 to March 8th, 2011 which also included a victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.
GO HABS GO