This one hurt. Not just a little bit but a lot. Yes the Canadiens still sit high in the Eastern Conference but dropping two games to the Isles in less than two weeks is a hard pill to swallow. With how tight the race is within the Northeast division it is games like these can may come back to cost them the divisional title. As for the Isles well they certainly appear to have Montreal’s number don’t they? As I write this I am reading god awful tweets about how bad Carey Price played as well as a few other players but in professional sports you can’t have a perfect game every time. Also, was it Price who had a bad game or did the Isles just play a very solid game?
Montreal fired the shot in tonight’s tilt with Tomas Plekanec’s 10th goal of the campaign from Galchenyuk (10) and Ryder (10). Unfortunately this would be Montreal’s only lead of the night. The Isles would break out for three unanswered goals in the second frame in a span of 11:35 (two in 48 seconds) putting doubt in all Habs fans everywhere that their point streak would continue. New York’s goals came from a few usual suspects in Matt Moulson (11) and Michael Grabner (9) while tough guy Matt Martin also chipped in with his second of the season. Moulson and Martin’s goals came on the man advantage but I raise my hand at the tripping penalty assessed to Lars Eller that culminated in Martin’s power play marker. A simple check resulting in a falling Islander does not qualify as a tripping infraction I’m sorry. Several minutes later Montreal would get back on the board with a power play goal of their own with P.K Subban utilizing his patented slap shot for his fifth goal of the season. Assists credited to Markov (9) and Ryder (11). After a leaving a dent in the post earlier in the power play, Subban would sneak the puck just off the post and in to cut the lead to just one goal. Enter the third period.
With David Ullstrom serving the Isles too many men penalty Habs Captain Brian Gionta pounced on a rebound and tied the game with his seventh of the season and fourth goal in four games. This goal was also quite the milestone as it stands for the 20,000th goal in franchise history. So then the game was tied and it appeared the Habs would continue their strong play late in the game and possibly earn a point for the 12th straight game. unfortunately this did not happen as the game would not be tied up for long as 1:49 later Radek Martinek would beat Price for his first of the season and eventually be the game winner. Assists credited to Okposo (7) and Hickey (2). The Isles would add another pair of goals with the latter being an empty net marker to hand the Canadiens their first regulation loss since February 9th.
Overall, the Habs found themselves in penalty trouble and were unable to neutralize the Isles special teams and it wound up costing them in the end. Many will point the finger at Price but really that is just the easy way out. Many a night Price becomes the teams’ scapegoat and most of the time it is not justified such as tonight. On the other side of the rink 37-year-old Evgeni Nabokov improved his record to 10-7-2 while the Isles earned just their fourth win at home all season. With the loss combined with Boston’s loss in the extra frame to Washington their lead in division drops to just one point while they currently sit atop the Eastern Conference with 32 points. Up next for the Habs are the Carolina Hurricanes who are without their number one tender Cam Ward who is out of for the season with an MCL sprain. Can the Canadiens bounce back against a team who is without their star goalie? Will Michael Ryder score his first goal back as a Hab? Which will coincidentally be his 100th as a Habs as well.
GO HABS GO